2019 Lamborghini Urus
Astonishment has always been what a Lamborghini can do best. Lambs fall jaws, the pupils, inspire goose bumps and knock frontal lobes back into the crown lobes. They are impractical, untemperate, impossible to see, out, and get silly hot inside, but, damn, look and listen. Now here is the new 2019 Urus, the first Lamborghini that does none of these things.
It’s the counter-Countach. A crossover.
Purely as a business proposition, the Urus was inevitable. The market is obsessed with SUVs, and ignoring that and the profits that go with it is a formula for permanent market marginalization. Lamborghini needs a crossover to anchor its cash flow, stabilize sales and recruit new customers who may want a Aventador or a Huracán, but need a vehicle that acts as a daily driver. When Lamborghini sells the 3500-plus Uruses it intends to annually that effectively doubles the sales of the company. Will the success of Lamborghini ruin?
It’s again V-8 time
The Urus is the first V-8-powered Lambo since the Lamborghini left production in 1988. But while the Lamborghini’s 255-hp 3.5-liter V-8 was an independent Lamborghini design, the Urus is a product of the Volkswagen Group and uses the assets of the massive corporation. The Urus engine is therefore a 641-hp version of the twin-turbo-4.0-liter-V-8, which is used in high-end Audis, some Bentleys and the Porsche Panamera. Lamborghini claims vaguely that demon tweaks were applied including certain cylinder heads, but the V-8 is mounted in a Volkswagen plant in Hungary and shipped Lamborghini as a complete unit.
It is not as charismatic as the Huracán’s V-10 or as intimidating as the Aventador’s V-12, but the hungry Hungarian V-8 under the Urus’s hood defines the character of the vehicle. Lamborghini has it equipped with an exhaust system that burbles with threat even idling and growls grimly under load as it approaches its 6750-rpm redline. The twin-scroll turbos between the cylinder benches lend it with low-end thump as opposed to any previous Lamborghini engine (they’ve all sucked out of course until now). There are 627 lb-ft of torque between 2250 and 4500 rpm-and much below and above these points-so the eight-cylinder gives the Urus with an appealing muscle power that should be as intriguing as a Lamborghini engine. Even though it grunts unlike any previous Lambo engine.
V-8 Feeds a version of the trusted eight-speed of ZF automatic transmission which can be manually shifted using triggerlike paddles behind the steering wheel. In turn, it sends power to an all-wheel-drive system with multiple selectable driving modes: Strada (Street), Terra (Off-Road), Neve (Snow), Sabbia (Sand), and Corsa (RAS). But the real trick is the torque-vectoring differential at the rear which coordinates with a rear-wheel-steering system to add agility at all speeds.
What the VW group gene Pool gives, it also takes off. The Urus uses the same large SUV platform used for the Audi Q7 and upcoming Q8, the Bentley Bentayga, and the Porsche Cayenne. In the universe of SUV engineering there is nothing wrong with VW MLB Evo platform, but it is designed primarily to line the preferences of Audi, with the engine hanging forward from the front axle. Aside from the obvious weight-bias concerns, it requires a blunter nose than perhaps even the euro-market regulation would have demanded and structural hard points that are more blocky than tight.
The body of the Urus shell is built at the same factory in Bratislava, Slovakia, where the Q7 and Cayenne are assembled, and then it is shipped to new Urus Lamborghini assembly line in Sant’Agata, Italy, with its mostly aluminum skin though Painted. From there, Lamborghini assured us, everything is assembled by hand by real people. The robots on the facility are moving parts to different workstations.
The Urus 118.2-inch wheel base is a light 0.3 inches taller than the Q7’s, and the 201.3-inch overall length extends 1.7 inches longer than that of the Audi. But conceptually the Urus is closer to the swoopy snackbar-roof BMW X6 and the coming Q8 than the three-row Q7. Both front seats are more aggressively reinforced than expected in a crossover, while a standard rear bench makes three-over seats. Most Urus buyers will probably choose the two-bucket rear-Seat option, however, which is more consistent with the Lamborghini Vibe.
Hexagons dominate the Urus dashboard with aviation-style controls. Does the Start button really need to be under a red Flip cover? And the shifter is a large handle that simulates the throttle of a Jet and is framed by smaller-tan levers for selecting Anima modes on the left and ego settings on the right. Consider it as Jungian on the left and Freudian on the right side.
Much of the interior is purely exotic-Car theater, but it is from the driver’s seat that the Urus feels most like other Lamborghinis. Yes, you sit upright and relatively high, but it is easy to suspend an unbelief and pretend that the engine is not in the wrong place and that there are not three too many apertures. Surrounded in contrast-stitched microsuede and carbon fiber, it is so much X-wing fighter as a family carrier.
It’s really athletic
And compared to basically another SUV, this is a sizzling fast beast. Lamborghini claims that zero to 62 mph takes only 3.6 seconds and that the Urus will reach a top speed just shy of 190 mph, making it the fastest SUV production on the market. The TESLA Model X ran to 60 mph in 3.3 seconds in our testing, but the Model X is limited to a 130-mph top speed-the Urus beats provided by 60 mph. And shouldn’t top speed be the criterion by which all crossovers are finally assessed?
Equipped with the optional 285/35R-23 front and 325/30R-23 Pirelli P Zero rear tires and running in the aggressive Corsa mode, the Urus has grip that seems to go on forever, until the moment it’s not. During a few proctored laps around the Vallelunga circuit outside Rome, the Urus steering was impressively fast, and the nose would turn into sweet. But burning in a corner a little warm and the nose will push. Lamborghinis are not supposed to understeer in our book.
Circuits are very nice, but the Urus is more impressive on the road, where the Lopes by the feeling oppressed and composed, as stiff sprung. When cruising the exhaust nicely quietly down, the transmission heads for high acceleration, and the engine speeds drop to barely above idle. Lamborghini has built long-legged tourers for, including the 350GT and Espada, and in an oblique manner, the Urus represents a return of those cars ‘ long lost talents.
Beyond that, the Urus also brings back part of the ability of the legendary LM002 SUV that Lamborghini built in the late years 1980 and early ‘ 90. The Urus is nowhere near as scary targeted as that rough off-roader, but the new model was easily pressed around a small dirt course set up outside Vallelunga. Moab and the Rubicon can still be out of it, however.
Few of us will ever drop the more than $200,000 needed to purchase a new Urus. But Lamborghini occupies a large part of the collective enthusiastic soul. If the Urus succeeds and allows the company to create more spectacular machines as it tails the electric future, it will have served all our dreams well – and will have done for the maker what the Cayenne (and now the Panamera) have done for Porsche.
A Lamborghini is a Lamborghini because Lamborghini says it is, but it’s hard to imagine any teenager with a poster of a Urus in their room. But it is easy to imagine their very rich parents with a real in the garage.
Price Starting at
Type of vehicle: Front motor, four-wheel drive, 4-or 5-person, 4-door hatchback Price: $207,000
Engine Type: Twin turbocharger and intercooled DOHC 32 Valve V-8, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection Displacement: 244 cu in, 3996 cc
Power: 641 HP @ 6000 rpm
Torque: 627 lb-ft @ 2250 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed automatic with manual switching mode
Wheelbase: 118.2 in length: 201.3 in width: 79.4 in height: 64.5 in freight volume: 22 cu ft Curb weight (c/d EST): 5000 lb
Power (c/d EST):
0 to 60 mph: 3.4 SEK
0 to 100 mph: 8.6 SEK
Standing ¼-mile: 11.8 sec
Top speed: 190 mph
EPA fuel consumption (c/d EST):
Combined/city/highway: 16/13/21 mpg