We chat to Riccardo Bettini about the company's new Super SUV
More than five-and-a-half years has passed since Italy's most outrageous supercar manufacturer, Lamborghini, presented its striking SUV concept, the Urus (pronounced Ooo-rus).
The production version (still called Urus) had its Australian reveal this week, and true to form, it looks almost as good as the original concept. Frankly, we'd be worried if it didn't.
It's unashamedly fast, too. In fact, it's being billed as the world's first Super Sport Utility Vehicle, which is to say it's also the fastest SUV (with a combustion engine) on the planet.
Here's why. There's no naturally-aspirated V10 or V12 like there was in the LM002 – Lamborghini's first attempt at an SUV produced from 1986-1993 – instead, the Urus uses a potent 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox that drives all four wheels.
It's the same base engine fitted to the new Bentley Bentayga V8, Audi RS6 and Porsche Cayenne Turbo (all three are under the Volkswagen Group umbrella), only with the Urus they've wound the wick up - quite a bit. Try 485kW and 850Nm of torque, with the latter available between 2250rpm and 4500rpm, and you get the picture.
Getting there required many different, and difficult solutions according to Riccardo Bettini, head of R&D project management who spoke with CarAdvice at the local unveiling this week.
"We changed several components such as a different turbo, belt train, the clutch is different, the gearbox mapping is unique to us, and the exhaust line is completely different," he said
"We also changed the responsiveness of the engine for faster revving and the shape and dimension of the clutch itself provides more acceleration performance."
So, it's got some serious pace then. Floor the throttle and this 2200kg jacked-up Lambo will go from standstill to 100km/h in just 3.6 seconds. At least, that's what the company claims, but an insider told us the real number is actually closer to three seconds. We can't wait to put the V-Box on it.
It gets even better when you start drilling down into the detail. 0-200 in 12.8 seconds and a top speed of 305km/h. It's also got the largest and most powerful braking system in the production car world (440mm carbon-ceramic front discs with 10-piston calipers) - good enough for the Urus to go from 100-0 km/h in just 33.7m. All of these numbers claim best-in-class.
Being fast is important to Lamborghini and its customers, it's part of the brand's core DNA (always has been always will be - think of the Miura) as much as the design itself, says Bettini.
"Being the fastest is very important for us, whether we are building super sports cars or super sport SUVs, but it's not the only thing that matters to us, it's also about the handling.
"If you see this car go on track compared with our competitors, we have less horsepower, but we still managed an amazing performance at the Nurburgring last year where we were able to achieve the record for this type of vehicle with the Urus's unique mix of chassis, engine and aerodynamics," Bettini added.
In that regard, its armed to the teeth with an armoury of grip-enhancing technology including air-suspension with active damping, active anti-roll bars, four-wheel steering and torque-vectoring.
"Honestly speaking, the first time I drove the Urus was at the Nardo high-speed test facility, and it felt like a super sports car. There's no roll, there's no understeer and it's very agile if you're using all the available systems. It's something unbelievable," he said.