While traditional automakers are seeing sales sort of drifting a bit lower in recent years, some of the exotic names are taking off. One in particular: Lamborghini (VOW.DE).
2019 saw the best sales numbers ever for the Italian supercar maker - with 8,205 cars sold. However fueling those sales figures - to the tune of just under 5,000 vehicles sold - was the latest addition to the stable, the Urus SUV.
When I first laid eyes on the Lamborghini Urus at the Detroit Auto Show two years back, it basically left an imprint on my mind which was the print pictures online did not do it justice.
The angular lines and rakish body, python-like headlights and outrageous, Huracán-like backend said this car was extreme, and all Lamborghini. As you can imagine, I was excited to get in the driver’s seat when Lamborghini dropped off the Urus for me to test. Would it live up to the hype as the latest Lamborghini SUV, following in the footsteps of the legendary LM1002? You know, the Lamborghini ‘ute guys like Stallone and Schwarzenegger used to drive around on the way to Spago back in the ‘80s?
In typical Lamborghini fashion, my Urus arrived in a you-can’t-miss-me yellow that Lambo calls Giallo Auge. When I drove through my local Starbucks drive-through before one of my test drives, the awestruck teenager behind the glass wondered if it was the “New Bumblebee.” It may as well have been.
Now the Urus exterior design is not for everyone. It is definitely not for those buyers who are used to something like the Audi Q7, Porsche Cayenne, or Bentley Bentayga. Why am I mentioning this? Because all these vehicles share the same architecture, the MBL Evo platform developed by the Volkswagen group, which owns all these automakers.
But I love the design. It’s pure Lamborghini through and through. Designer (and all-around cool guy) Mitja Borkert has a design language all his own, incorporating geometric shapes (mostly hexagons), naturally occurring design phenomena, and reptilian features to create that evil, vicious, and dangerous look that I actually find quite appealing.
You’re not going to wonder if it’s an SUV or not — it clearly is. But it hides it well, with all those hard angles, wider-than-wide stance, stout front end, and fastback roof with a barely-there cargo bay. Yeah it’s not the most practical SUV out there, but that’s not why celebs like Kylie Jenner and Kanye West are buying it. This thing is all about the vibe — and looks - but don’t necessarily know about the performance
Stepping inside the beast
Inside the cabin are, for the most part, lovely materials, with Audi tech inside (especially for the climate control screen, which isn’t hidden too well). The Lamborghini hexagons are everywhere, the leather is great, and so is the Alcantara headliner.
Then of course there is the jet fighter–like start button hidden under a safety latch, of course, which is very cool, and aviation-themed handles that you would associate with a plane’s thrust lever, which in this case are it the Urus drive selector modes (which we will get into later). It’s a fun way to select your drive mode, and when your paying above $200K+ for an exotic car, why not have fun with how you unleash it?
What I don’t like is there is a bit of plastic in the console and dash, and the tech is definitely ported from Audi and doesn’t look that much different. I think Lamborghini’s software user experience folks could have done more here.
Key to any test of a Lamborghini is the heart of the beat. Here we have a twin-turbocharged V8, pumping out a healthy 640hp and 627 lb-ft of torque. This engineering is also found in Porsche Cayenne Turbo and in select other Volkswagen group cars, however Lambo here has done some custom work to make the engine more its own.
Lamborghini says this motor takes the Urus to a top speed 190mph, making it the world’s fastest production SUV, with a 0-60 mph sprint done in 3.6 seconds.
Stepping into the driver’s seat, you notice the driving position is higher than expected. The Urus looks low slung, but once inside you’re immediately reminded you’re in a crossover. There’s no way to fake the height here.
Taking the Urus on the road, just dabbing at the accelerator and the Urus leaps, even at its curb weight of 4,850 pounds. Speed comes fast and in a blur, and that engine just revs and groans, with crackles bursting from the exhaust. It’s impressively fast, but something you can’t really wring out on public roads unfortunately.
What separates the Urus as a true performance SUV from others that cost about a quarter of it are features like active anti-roll control, active torque vectoring, active suspension, 4-wheel steering — features that are trickling down from its all-wheel drive sports cars like the Hurácan and Aventador. This is a good example of how the Urus is actually using the know-how Lamborghini has gained through sports cars and put that brainpower into something a little different.
That being said steering feel is good, but now great. As you can imagine it’s a little heavy since it is an SUV.
Lamborghini provides a number of drive modes that can be selected with one of those thrust levers: Strada, Sport, Corsa, Sabbia (sand), Terra (dirt), Neve (snow). Strada is your everyday street mode, Sport amps it up a notch with louder exhaust, tightened suspension, and higher steering. Corsa, or ‘race,’ ups those levels to the extreme. I say stick it in Sport for most of your travels, and Corsa when you have a nice piece of road ahead of you.
The Urus has taken some heat for its looks, but I’m not going to be one of the haters here. The unique look of the Urus is something that appealed to me, and is a unique presence on the road. The Urus drives like a Lamborghini, and is special car. There’s no denying that.
But ... the question is in my mind is, “Would you get an Urus, or pay a bit more for the Ferrari GTC4Lusso?” For those not familiar, the GTC4Lusso is an all-wheel drive Ferrari with just about the same amount of cargo space, two fewer doors, and has a Ferrari V-12, as well as the option of a turbocharged V8. (You can read my review of the GTC4Lusso here)
Now these two aren’t exact comps, but they’re close enough. And I have to admit, if I were in the market, I might pay the extra dough for the Ferrari.
Don’t get me wrong, the Urus is a great vehicle in this ultra-premium SUV market. And it looks like nothing from this world. The GTC4Lusso just seems to appeal to me more, it’s more of a “shooting brake” and not an SUV, which is more my style.
But don’t feel too bad for Urus buyers or Lamborghini, as Urus sales are soaring faster than you can say veloce.
URUS STARTING PRICE: $207,326
PRICE AS TESTED: $250,000 (approximate)