We cannot help smiling when driving this “soul & ego” Hyper machine
When you are the only car in “that” segment, you are either brave or stupid. When Lamborghini decided to create a Hyper Car niche in the SUV market, it first looked a bit crazy. The SUVs are already a compromise by definition, so how can you make a Hyper Car that can potentially ride dunes? It stretches the limits of a concept that many manufacturers already struggle to satisfy. Well, you need the German Audi technology and the arrogant Italian imagination combined.
One year after the launch of the Lamborghini URUS, we meet her again, this time on the road. As said, we don’t have any comparison in the market to make; hence, here, the untainted test drive outcome.
So, was the Lamborghini URUS project stupid or brave?
She shares the Audi Q7, the Bentley Bentayga, and the Porsche Cayenne Chassis, but surely, the exterior is one of a kind. Lamborghini’s razor-sharp lines, emblem of the brand’s DNA, make the URUS unmistakable. You can glimpse the Huracan here, and the Aventador there. In what’s already a crowded “Premium SUV” segment, you are not going to mistake it for anything other than a Lamborghini. It’s like a fighter jet, off weight-watchers, big enough to carry four passengers and their luggage. The front is exceptionally aggressive; less is the back. The body is slit with abandon to allow air to flow and cool down the radiators and the brakes.
Furthermore, some of the air needs to flow under the body. Hence fins and small wings are dedicated to increasing the efficiency between cooling, drag, and air penetration. Air extractors contribute to give this machine a proper look, combined with dynamic forces. The design is profoundly affected by these fluid-dynamic needs, and Lamborghini didn’t even try to hide them. I am sure that, hadn’t the German been vigilant, these would have come with arrows and flaming paint. That’s the way the Bull is.
Is there anything “Rational” in here?
The back-end follows the Audi Q8 concept, which is a coupe-like tail, giving the overall shape a smooth and more svelt curvature. It takes space off the cargo capability but, who cares?
The Interiors and the Comfort
As bucket list go, you just can’t forget the URUS. Particularly the driver seat. Yes, sure, the chairs are super comfy and very well shaped. Surely you feel the Audi contribution to the ergonomics immediately, but the admiration you instantly get as you assume the commanding post is quite exceptional. The multitude of art-like toggle switches make you think you have to go through a pre-flight check routine. In the center, you have the “Anima” selector, which offers the six preset driving modes.
I find hilarious and romantic that they chose “Anima,” which means “Soul” in Italian. It’s like you have to build a chemistry with the machine to extract her “intimacy.” Between “Strada” (Road) and “Neve” (Snow), you even find “Corsa” (Race…). It depends on what kind of soul you need from the Urus. She can be quiet and correct, or, depending on the mood of the moment, irrational and extremely aggressive.
In the very center, you have the start button, protected by a small red grill, like in a jet fighter ignition. You have to flick it up to access the switch. Then, slightly on the right, you have the “Ego” selector. Here you can modify the differential, the steering, and the suspension’s response. So you have a “Soul” and an “Ego” selector. Is there anything “Rational” in here? Yes, the German part, which thankfully operates behind the scenes of this concert of passion and irrational display.
The Dashboard contains enormous amounts of information that frankly, I didn’t even bother to explore fully. However, it’s excellent in its visibility, and it’s accessible with the buttons on the steering wheel. In the center console, you find a very well made display that replicates the remarkable amount of information and allows a more detailed set of the vehicle in its whole. Then you have a beautiful steering wheel, flat at the bottom, and perfectly shaped and excellent in touch and feel. The heads up display helps you not to get distracted while traveling at warp speed. The rear seats are as good as you can get. I think it could feel a little claustrophobic for the tallest passengers due to the limited height. This is given by the natural coupe shape of the body. However, comfort is guaranteed for long trips: rear seats are reclining…
The finishing is excellent. The model we drove has a beautiful mix of carbon fiber panels, leather, and suede leather (my favorite). The color combination (yellow and black) is not the one I’d select, but hey, it’s a Lamborghini for goodness sake. She needs to be noticed.
In “Strada” mode, she is an Audi. Silent, soft, she chooses the most extended gears. You forget you are on the most powerful SUV on the planet. You can munch kilometers and have a conversation too. But remember? The “Soul” can change.
She is supposed to easily surpass the 300 km/h top speed
Well, the aim was to produce the first-ever Hyper SUV and to attain the best power to weight ratio in the entire SUV segment. So it needed a mega engine, hyper-performance, and excellent dynamics.
The engine choice fell onto a four-liter twin-turbocharged V8, capable of 641 bhp and a tractor-like torque of 850 Nm, available between 2,250 and 4,500 Rpm. Lambo dropped the idea to install the V12. This is because in case you want to ride dunes, you need immediate power delivery and low rev torque. It burbles deeply when idling, and howls under full throttle. Lamborghini claims 3,6 seconds to reach 100 km/h from the pole and only 12,8 seconds to reach 200 km/h. We haven’t measured it, but we can guarantee it feels very much like that. There is no virtual end to the push of this motor.
The torque is immense and provides a breathtaking amount of speed in no time. She is supposed to easily surpass the 300 km/h top speed. These are the figures of a supercar that you can take on the track and beat your buddies. But it’s an SUV! The brakes are proportional to the engine power. Carbon-ceramic compound rotors and Brembo enormous caliper can stop this 2,200 kg (only 50 kg heavier than the Audi Q8) monster is record space. The dual-clutch gearbox is magnificent. The eight speed work smoothly when in “Strada” mode and becomes aggressive when you select “Sport” or “Race.” It even gives you a kick in your butt and a grunt in your ear when upshifting.
The experience is hilarious and very entertaining.
Does it drive well? The over two-ton racing elephant moves incredibly well on the road. The very controlled suspensions, the carbon fiber reinforced chassis, and 22 inches wheels help to maintain a remarkably composed ride. When I drove it on the racetrack, the limits came alive quite soon, due to its weight (like for every vehicle), but on the road, it feels even more impressive. It dashes and changes direction like a smaller car; it’s agile and intuitive. The steering is a bit filtered, as expected, but still one of the best I have driven. I can feel the Audi philosophy behind it, but at least it’s direct and gives plenty of feedback. Of course, traction is mighty and guaranteed by the four-wheel-drive system.
The experience is hilarious and very entertaining. The “soul” and the “ego” come alive every time the right foot goes heavy on the pedal. The senses are always engaged, including the marvelous smell of the leather of this brand new vehicle we have tested.
So, was the Lamborghini URUS project stupid or brave? Well, it could be a bit reductive to name this car with one word only. It’s crazy, sure. It’s not rational. It’s not cheap. But it triggers emotions, and your “ego” is boosted every time you drive it. Also, if you cherish the connection with your machine, your “soul” receives the food that always is asking for. For once, we have to say, welcome Hyper SUV. Let’s see what Ferrari comes up with.
- Engine: 8 Cylinder, 4.0 Lt Twin Turbocharged
- Power: 641 Bhp
- Torque: 850 Nm (2,250 – 4,500 Rpm)
- Weight: 2200 Kg
- Price in the UAE: 280,000 USD (approx)
Photos by: Mr. Solo