It’s real easy to get a bad taste in your mouth when yet another SUV rolls out from a company typically known for sports cars, another pumped-up, macho machine that looks to fly in the face of everything these companies have held dear. But, while lightness and driving engagement still matter, revenue and profits also matter to these companies, and so you can’t blame them for making hay while the sun shines.
In that spirit, get out your hay balers, because Lamborghini’s Urus SUV is here. I was at the manic unveiling at Lamborghini headquarters in Sant’Agata Bolognese, about an hour outside Bologna, and while I’m as skeptical as the rest when it comes to sporty SUVs like this, it’s safe to say the Urus is breaking the mold in a few key ways.
The biggest? Performance. With a 650 horsepower twin-turbo V8, the Urus will be the fastest SUV in the world. Its top speed of 190 mph beats theby a crucial few digits, and its 3.6-second sprint from 0-62 mph means it’ll be able to keep up with all but the most exotic machines on the road. Carbon ceramics help keep that speed in check, and you can be sure the team at Lamborghini will ensure this thing handles like no other.
But this an SUV, and air suspension purports to give Urus a modicum of off-roadability. Lamborghini repeatedly mentioned the Urus’ skills on the sand, thanks in large part to a new all-wheel drive system with a torque-vectoring rear differential and a Torsen center diff. That’s connected to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Yes, with a torque converter.
650 horsepower comes from a twin-turbocharged V8, Lamborghini’s first turbo, but despite that the Urus isn’t the first practical machine ever to wear the raging bull emblem. The company of course famously started by making tractors (beautiful, beautiful tractors), and first fiddled with the idea of an SUV in the ’70s with the Cheetah concept. That was followed up by the wonderfully brutish LM002. But, you’d be hard-pressed to find continuity between that off-road powerhouse and the new Urus beyond the logo on the hood.
Urus has four doors, seats four and is meant to be a car for the family, something that “opens up the social dimension.” Its exterior styling is also rather more family-friendly than any other modern Lamborghini, and whether that’s a good thing depends on your penchant for aggressive lines and military-inspired interiors. To me, it looks a little tame. The interior, however, has all the flare of other Lambos, and only slightly more headroom in the back. It will seat four, but not necessarily comfortably.
Urus is meant to be an every-day SUV, but then Lamborghini isn’t really calling it an SUV. By their terminology it’s a “Supersport Utility Vehicle” or “SSUV.” Whether or not this new moniker gains more traction than BMW and its “Sport Activity Vehicles” remains to be seen, but if you’re keeping score there’s a new “fastest” on the market, and that’s always worth getting excited about.