How many times have we heard a sports car company say ‘We won't make an SUV’? Porsche, Ferrari, Jaguar... Just to name a few. Well, guess what, as much as it pains me to say it, if making SUVs is going to save the V12 Aventador, then bring on the 2019 Lamborghini Urus SUV.
Actually, let's backtrack a little, because when I first saw the Urus concept at the 2012 Beijing Motor Show, it was somewhat horrifying. Why would Lamborghini build an SUV? Well, the answer is pretty simple. A car company survives on profits, and these days SUVs are profitable.
And, frankly, you don’t meet many Lamborghini or Ferrari owners that don’t have access to other cars. And usually those other cars are SUVs... So, as Porsche found out many years ago, instead of letting them buy another brand’s SUV, why not provide one yourself?
If you look at Porsche’s business, more than 75 per cent of its sales come from SUVs. Given that Porsche and Lamborghini are all part of the Volkswagen Group, it makes sense for Lamborghini to take the Cayenne platform (which is also shared with the Bentley Bentayga, Audi Q7 and VW Touareg) and create a super SUV.
Before driving it, I was pretty hesitant about the Urus. Why do you need one? Well, you don’t, but you want one. Having extensively driven the Bentayga, I have to admit that even though it’s not the most beautiful thing to look at, it's an absolute joy to drive.
The interior is Bentley through and through, and it's the sort of car you will love to be in for prolonged periods of time, which is exactly Bentley’s DNA. But what of Lambo?
The company can claim all it wants that it already had an SUV with the LM02, but really, let's not mince words. The German-owned Italian brand is a supercar manufacturer at its heart. Thankfully then, the Urus is actually a supercar. Really. The Lamborghini Urus is a very different beast to the other siblings that share its underpinnings.
It carries that Lamborghini design language, but it hasn’t gone overboard. It looks mean and Lambo enough, but it can also try its best to blend in if the need arises. Where it sits on par with the Huracan and the Aventador is performance. Holy f#$k it's fast.
There is no naturally aspirated V10 or V12 in the rear, but there’s something equally potent in the form of Porsche’s 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 at the front. In the Lambo application it gets a ridiculous 478kW of power and 850Nm, 0–100km/h in 3.6 seconds, 0–200km/h in just 12.8 seconds, and a top speed of 305km/h.
Honestly, that official 0–100km/h time is rubbish, as it can do mid to low threes every day based on our tests. It doesn’t sound like your V10 or V12, but it’s not terrible either. It’s very loud, but yeah, you’re not going to make a turbo V8 sound iconic any time soon.
Ignoring that, it’s not just the acceleration or sheer power figures, it’s how it drives. When we picked up the Urus, the nice man at Lamborghini said that he reckoned it would be just as quick – if not quicker – around a mountainous road or racetrack than a standard Huracan (not the new EVO). We nodded and smiled politely at the statement, while wondering if we could perhaps enquire about the drugs he was taking in the interest of science.
Seeing our hesitation, he was quick to show us out the door and on our way to prove a point. Our first stop was to find a twisty mountain road and work out if there was even a hint of truth to this car’s mythical dynamic ability.
Well, let me tell you, I think it’s quicker than a standard Huracan. Seriously. It has almost virtually no body roll thanks to its super-tricky suspension and it feels like half the size that it is.
The steering, the brakes (largest ever on a series production car) and the overall feel of it flat out are unlike any SUV we’ve ever driven. It drives with such sheer tenacity that you actually just have to laugh as you carve up one corner after another, nearly flat chat around bends that would scare the crap out of most ‘sports cars’.
Yes, there was definitely a lot of laughing at the absurdity of the Urus. That’s what yours truly was doing, which may have explained the look of derangement seen behind the wheel.
Lamborghini claims this is the world’s fastest SUV, and I am sure there are some Tesla fan boys desperate to jump on the comments and make a correction. Well, let me burst your electric bubble: it may not be the fastest from 0–100km/h (though I’d like to see the Model X try its 0–100 launch five times in a row on a hot day), but around a racetrack it will lap Musk’s baby in no time.
It’s hard to truly explain in words just how fast the Urus is because it’s on a whole new level compared to, say, the W12 Bentayga or Porsche Cayenne Turbo S. Mid-gear acceleration or 60–100km/h is genuinely scary fast. It’s sickeningly fast.
This thing will embarrass genuine supercars off the lights because not only does it have the might of its AWD system for pull, but Lamborghini is very conservative on its performance estimates.
My two sons thought their dad had gone mad with all the laughing and giggling. Mind you, it was also the first time they didn’t have to fight about which one got to come for a drive in a supercar with dad. Not to mention both their ISOFIX seats fit in the back of the Urus without issue.
What kind of supercar is this? A $400,000 one. So you do get what you pay for, that’s for sure.
Speaking of passengers, the Urus is best had as a four-seater. Yes, you can have five seats, but don’t. It looks sensational as a four, and if you don't need that middle-row seat, it really adds a great deal of visual appeal to the car when the doors are open.
There is so much to talk about with the Urus’s interior. The technology is truly astounding, and that’s largely thanks to the Audi-powered infotainment system, which even has this amazing 3D system that shows everything around you on the screen with the car superimposed. It genuinely looks like a scene out of Forza, but it’s real life. It’s breathtaking (video of that here on our Facebook).
As for the layout and instrument cluster, the Urus hosts the new interior design language that we’re now seeing in the Huracan EVO, with the cascading instrument cluster with the dual screens. Very similar to Audi’s new interiors. It’s a nice place to be, even if it feels like a bit of screen overload with the virtual cockpit in front.
Someone asked us if this thing goes off-road, and, honestly, I don’t want to test it off-road. There was no desire or need to take this off-road.
It seems a ridiculous question, so sorry, but we can take Lambo’s word for it that it’s very off-road capable and it certainly has all the driving modes (Sand, Snow, Earth etc) for it, but if you’re in anything bar Corsa, you’re doing it wrong.
Ultimately, we look forward to spending a bit more time to get to know the Urus, because as ridiculous as it may sound, it’s a genuine Lambo when it comes to speed and performance.
Really, it’s unfair to call it an SUV, because it’s actually a supercar with four really comfortable seats that – if you have the means – is the best family transport for the willing.