by Roger Biermann
With the growing popularity of the SUV, every luxury manufacturer from Aston Martin to Rolls-Royce has clambered to get one of their own on the market. If only they'd had the foresight to build one of these super-SUVs 30 years ago - as Lamborghini did. At the time, the LM 002 was originally conceived as a military vehicle, but with an outrageous V12 from the Countach loaded under the hood, it quickly became sought after by sheiks and civilians alike, and could be outfitted in any number of opulent appointments you wanted. But the LM 002 was ahead of its time, and while it enjoyed some success, it was hardly the mass-market savior of the Lamborghini brand.
Now, the Urus has come along to revive the spirit of the LM 002 for the 21st century, arriving at a time when the SUV revolution is in full swing. A 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 and MLBevo platform shared with the Audi RS Q8, Porsche Cayenne Coupe, and Bentley Bentayga are the core components of the newest Rambo Lambo, with 641 horsepower on tap capable of propelling it from 0-62 mph in just 3.6 seconds. It's the dawn of a new supercar era, and this new breed of fighting bull is ready to go.
In short, all of it. Despite being the spiritual successor to the LM 002, the Urus arrives 25 years after the demise of the original Lamborghini super-SUV. But while it's new for the Sant'Agata Bolognese firm where the Urus is assembled, much of the componentry is shared within the Volkswagen Group. The MLBevo architecture is used to underpin everything from the Audi A4 to the Bentley Bentayga, while the twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 under the Urus' hood is Audi sourced and shared with sister-SUVs like the Porsche Cayenne, Audi RS Q8, and Bentley Bentayga. However, it's been retuned here to develop 99 hp more than in prior iterations, resulting in performance that only a Bentayga Speed can get close to.
The Urus is an unmistakable sight on the roads, not just because of the Lamborghini badges and LED headlights with Y-shaped LED daytime running lights inherited from more traditional Lamborghini models, but because of the massive 21-inch alloy wheels housed in grotesquely angular wheel arches. Four quad mortar pipes stick out from the rear, two on either side of an aerodynamic rear splitter, with the Lamborghini name emblazoned across the rear between LED taillight clusters. It's anything but subtle, but for the modern-day Wolf of Wall Street, it might just be perfect. Of course, there are endless ways of customizing your Urus, with various black-out and carbon fiber styling packages among the arsenal of options.
While super-luxury SUVs generally don't fall into traditional categorization, the Urus is technically a midsize SUV. It may share a platform with the Bentayga and Q8, but the Urus' 118.23-inch wheelbase is longer than both its siblings, while an overall length of 201.26 inches falls short of only the Bentayga. Massive wheel arches and a hungry mouth are accentuated by a 79.37-inch body width sans mirrors, as well as a 64.5-inch height. That final measurement changes, however, as air suspension enables the Urus to vary its ground clearance between 6.2 and 9.8 inches depending on the task at hand. The large exterior footprint is backed up by a substantial curb weight of around 4,850 lbs, making it about 400 lbs lighter than the Bentayga.
Money talks, and if you're willing to pay for it, Lamborghini will build it in any color you want. But for those who prefer their super-SUVs a little more 'off-the-shelf' in nature, ten hues are available on the standard exterior palette. Three of these are classified as Solid options, including Nero Noctis, Bianco Monocerus, and a personal favorite and Lamborghini staple, Giallo Auge - a luminous yellow designed to match your Huracan Evo. The metallic sub-palette is a little less exciting, with sparkly yet subtle additions including Nero Helene, Bianco Icarus, and Grigio Nimbus. The two red hues of Rosso Mars and Rosso Anteros are far more striking, while the blue tones of Blu Astraeus and Blu Eleos are possibly the only options that can make the Urus vaguely blend in with the crowd. We'll have ours in yellow, with matching brake calipers - one of six predefined caliper choices.
When it debuted in 2017, the Lamborghini Urus held the official title of the world's fastest production SUV, capable of achieving a claimed top speed of 189.5 mph - an achievement for any supercar, let alone one carrying nearly 5,000 lbs of heft and up to 9.8 inches of ground clearance. It may since have been usurped by the Bentley Bentayga Speed (by half a mile per hour) but the Urus is still devilishly fast. It's quick off the line, too, running from 0-62 mph in 3.6 seconds and 0-124 mph in 12.8 seconds. It's not just rapid when it comes to getting up to speed, but it's just as capable when coming to a halt. Standard carbon-ceramic brakes are simply massive, with 17.3-inch rotors behind the front wheels measuring larger than most commuter cars' wheels. They bring the Urus to a stop from 62 mph in just 110.5 feet.
With all that power, and the claimed potential for off-roading a circa $200,000 SUV, all-wheel-drive is standard. It's a rear-biased system with a standard 40/60 front/rear split under standard conditions, but the Torsen self-locking center differential allows this bias to shift, sending up to 70% of the torque to the front axle or up to 87% of the torque to the rear. From there, a rear differential aids mechanical torque vectoring, turning the Urus into a weapon on any surface, be it Laguna Seca's infamous corkscrew or the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.
It's not all hustle and no work ethic, however. While Lamborghini makes no official towing capacity claims, you can order a tow hitch on your Urus, and several owners have reported being able to tow their Huracans to the racetrack without much fuss. 627 lb-ft of torque will do that.
Early rumors suggested the Urus might receive a V10 engine, but when it arrived, a familiar twin-turbo V8 was announced, measuring 4.0 liters in displacement with two turbos strapped 'hot in the vee'. The 4.0-liter bi-turbo unit is the same one you'll find in a Bentley Continental GT, the Porsche Cayenne, and the Audi RS6, but in the Urus, it's tuned to deliver 641 hp and 627 lb-ft - figures that logically have no sane place being in the same sentence as a luxury SUV. To manage that power, Lamborghini employs the use of an eight-speed torque converter automatic transmission, with paddles mounted behind the steering wheel for manual control when the urge takes you.
Truthfully, it's not necessary. The automatic 'box shifts with alacrity, selecting the right gear with telepathic instinct. Large doses of throttle are met with a jump down the gears, while a range of pitch and yaw sensors continuously read hundreds of metrics to ensure there's never an accidental up- or down-shift midway through a corner that could unsettle the Urus. It's near flawless, and yet utterly forgettable. That's because the V8 is simply mesmerizing: devastating in its power delivery and with a soundtrack angrier than in any other vehicle in which this mill has been used.
Jump on the throttle and the bi-turbo V8 is able to completely overcome the inertia of nearly 5,000 lbs without hesitation, while the hot-vee configuration of the turbos mitigates turbo-lag almost entirely. Immediate throttle responses and a burly soundtrack make even the V8 seem worthy of the Lamborghini badge.
An SUV shouldn't be able to lap race tracks with bonafide sports cars. Period. Lamborghini clearly didn't get the memo, though, and its engineers clearly don't abide by the laws of physics everyone else has to. How else does a midsize SUV manage to pull more than 1G in corners? As it turns out, all it takes is a load of development: auto-balancing air suspension with pitch and yaw sensors controlling adaptive dampers rear-wheel-steering to mimic the effects of a shorter wheelbase, torque vectoring to help curb understeer, and optional Pirelli P Zero Corsa tires measuring 315/40 at the rear to ensure endless levels of grip.
The tech pays dividends where it matters, and the Urus handles fluidly, and dare I say it, in a manner befitting any sports car worth its salt. The steering is quick, turn in sharp from the front end, and the body control well-measured after the initial shift in weight. The air spring suspension is comfortable when it needs to be and capable all the time, providing shocking levels of mid-corner support and an ability to soak up mid-corner bumps impeccably. Despite carrying its weight up high, the Urus is wildly athletic. Stick it in a sportier drive mode like Sport or Corsa, and the torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive system readily apportions power to the outer rear wheel, even allowing controlled oversteer - an oxymoron if ever there was one.
Somehow, this doesn't all come at the expense of day-to-day comfort, and while 21-inch alloy wheels and low-profile tires don't aid the level of comfort, the air suspension does a sublime job of it.
It also allows for a certain level of off-road dominance, where all the same features that let the Urus defy physics on track enable it to climb muddy embankments and negotiate loose sand with alacrity. It's no Wrangler Rubicon, but for the odd gravel stretch down to the beach, it's more than capable.
With great power comes a great thirst for premium unleaded gasoline, but you wouldn't expect anything less from the second SUV to bear the raging bull badge. EPA estimates of 12/17/14 mpg city/highway/combined are officially worse than the Lamborghini Huracan Evo (13/18/15 mpg). US market Urus SUVs receive a 19.8-gallon gas tank, giving the Urus a mixed-condition range of approximately 277 miles, but the option exists to increase this to a 22.5-gallon tank for extra distance. Don't expect real-world figures to prove much better - the lure of jumping on the throttle at every conceivable opportunity is too hard to resist.
Much like the exterior of the Urus, the interior design is hard to mistake for anything else. Hexagonal design elements are a clear familial trait shared with the Huracan, while the jet-fighter starter flap on the center console has become somewhat of a signature for the Lamborghini brand. Ultra-supportive sports seats are uniquely upholstered in a way that screams performance while peering through the steering wheel at the Lamborghini digital instrument cluster will be a familiar experience for Huracan owners. The customization options are endless, too, with everything from leather to carbon fiber available for most surfaces. There's no cutting of corners, either, and every surface feels of impeccable quality. It could be Lamborghini's finest cabin design yet, and yet this is one that can seat five.
Only the most intense cocaine bender would ever have seen five people crammed into a typical Lamborghini, but this is a new breed - one that can haul families and their stuff to school as easily as it will on a take-your-family-to-the-track day. With shared architecture from the Audi Q7 and Bentley Bentayga, one expects masses of interior space in the Urus, but unfortunately, that's not exactly the case. The Urus' focus on sporty design - including the sloping roofline - severely impedes headroom for taller passengers in the back seats, while the narrow rear windscreen aperture results in dreadful visibility. Average-sized adults will still fit, however, and unless you opt for individual rear bucket seats, five will be fairly well accommodated. The driver's seat is the one that will find the most use, however, and it provides a good balance between support and comfort, with innumerable ways of upholstering every soft surface.
Almost every conceivable surface inside the Urus' cabin can be tailored to personal preference, with a choice between two default upholstery materials: leather and Alcantara. Leather can be had as Unicolor, Sportivo (two-tone), and Elegante, while the Alcantara can be specified as either Unicolor or in Sportivo configuration. From there, each selection has further customization; primary colors, secondary colors, and any number of contrast stitching options. The upper and lower door and dash panels can be individually specced in matching leather, while hexagon-quilted seating is a special option Lamborghini calls Q-Citura with Leather. Even the floor mats can be customized, as can the choice of leather/Alcantara on the steering wheel, and the seatbelts can be had in three finishes - black, white, and brown. Trim elements throughout the cabin can be individually specified, with options including piano finish wood, open-pore wood and aluminum, and genuine carbon fiber.
With so many color options to choose from, it sometimes pays to keep it simple - single color black Alcantara for us, with yellow contrast stitching, black seatbelts, and carbon fiber trim.
In addition to being a genuine family car, the Urus is a somewhat practical piece of automotive exotica, too, with 21.7 cubic feet of cargo volume behind the standard second-row bench seat, although this drops to around 20 if you spec the second-row buckets. The standard bench will also fold nearly flat, increasing the available storage to 56.3 cubic feet. It's less than you might find in a BMW X6 overall, but considering the fact that this still performs like a Lambo should, those figures are impressive. Access to the cargo bay is granted by a standard power-operated tailgate with the option of hands-free access by means of a foot-swiper under the rear bumper. The air suspension can also be programmed for easy loading, where it drops to its lowest ride height and allows larger items to be loaded without fuss.
Despite the interior being a somewhat intimidating amalgam of sharp geometrical designs and fine finishes, there's a fair amount of personal storage. Two cupholders in the center console and a large bin beneath the center armrest are the main nooks, but decently sized door pockets and an average glovebox improve the offering, while thoughtful cubbies like a bin behind the floating center console are most useful. Those in the rear are treated, too, particularly when the rear bucket seats are selected. In this case, a center console boasts armrest storage and two cupholders.
As a Super Sports Utility Vehicle, performance comes first, but comfort can't be left too far behind. Lamborghini knows this and equips the Urus with a range of features, although a disappointing number are optional, driving an already exorbitant price even higher. A panoramic sunroof and even roof rails are optional, as are 18-way power-adjustable heated, ventilated, and massaging seats. Ambient lighting and off-road driving modes form part of the options list, along with a hands-free tailgate (power operation is standard) a head-up display, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, and a top-view camera.
So what is standard? Automatic LED headlights, rain-sensing wipers, 12-way power-adjustable front seats, a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot, keyless entry, push-button start, a HomeLink garage door opener, four-zone automatic climate control with voice recognition, cruise control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster. There aren't a huge number of standard or optional driver assists for the money, but the standard Advanced Driver Assist Systems (ADAS) include front and rear park sensors and forward collision warning, while options include a top-view camera, adaptive cruise control with traffic assist, blind-spot monitoring, and traffic sign recognition.
The Urus benefits from one of the most comprehensive infotainment suites ever equipped on a production Lamborghini, dubbed the Lamborghini Infotainment System III (LIS). Much of the suite is inherited from Audi's latest offerings, and as such the dual touchscreen suite will seem familiar to some. The upper screen controls media and traditional infotainment, with standard AM/FM radio, CD, DVD, MP3, auxiliary, and Bluetooth playback as well as hands-free phone use and navigation. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are available, but available is the key word as they don't come as standard.
The visuals are crisp, the screens large, and the system generally intuitive, but the lack of hard buttons makes using the suite a little tricky sometimes, especially since one has to rely on the lower touchscreen to act as a touchpad with keyboard and hand-writing functionality, while also controlling climate control throughout the cabin. Voice control is also standard, as is wireless device charging, while on the options list, you gain access to a TV tuner and a rear-seat entertainment system with two touchscreens. By default, audio is piped into the cabin via eight speakers, but a 21-speaker, 21-channel Bang & Olufsen 3D surround sound system is a worthwhile option, even at a princely sum of $6,313.
After a little more than a year on the market, at the time of writing, the Urus has not been the recipient of a single NHTSA complaint and is currently recall-free. It's good going from Lamborghini and is a testament to the positive impact on the brand as a result of its Audi ownership. Adding further peace of mind is a broad-spectrum factory warranty from Lamborghini covering the whole car for a period of 36 months with unlimited mileage. Extensions are available for coverage of up to either four or five years, while a three- or five-year maintenance package is also available. 24-hour roadside assistance is included with every Lamborghini purchase.
Neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS has evaluated the Urus for crash safety, not at all an uncommon occurrence when the vehicle in question costs in excess of $200,000. However, the closely related Audi Q8, with which the Urus shares a platform and many of its available safety features, was awarded a Top Safety Pick for 2019 by the IIHS. While the Urus may not achieve the same award, it's a good indication that it'll keep you safe in the event something goes wrong.
The Urus provides an abundance of safety features in three key areas. Firstly, high-performance carbon ceramic brakes - measuring 17.4 inches up front with ten-piston calipers - and advanced stability control systems, provide a frontline offense against crashes, but in the event you are involved in a collision, six standard airbags (dual front, front side, side curtain) keep occupants protected. Advanced driver aids include a rearview camera, front and rear park sensors, automatic high beams, and forward collision avoidance with auto-braking, while further assistance systems are broken down into three groupings: Urban Road, Highway, or Full ADAS, with full functionality including blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, vehicle exit alert, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, traffic sign recognition, a head-up display, and a 360-degree camera. Night vision is left as a standalone option. At this price point, we wish more of this was standard, but Urus buyers shouldn't have much trouble paying the premium to keep their families safe.
The Lamborghini Urus quite simply shouldn't be able to do what it does; the laws of physics preclude any circa 5,000-pound high-riding SUV from accelerating and handling like a sports car. But the Urus is no ordinary SUV - it's a new breed of Super Sports Utility Vehicles that are going to allow Lamborghini, Aston Martin, Ferrari, and numerous other exotic car manufacturers, to continue producing the low-sales-volume, high-performance machines we love.
That doesn't give it an exemption from needing to be an exceptional midsize SUV though, especially when it bears an asking price of over $200,000. Fortunately, in most areas, it performs admirably, providing exceptional performance deserving of the Lamborghini badge, built from high-quality materials that feel every bit as luxurious as its sister cars on the same platform, and fitting the bill as a genuine family-friendly five-seater. Compromises are made for the sake of performance and style, however, with limited cargo volume compared to the best in the segment. We're also not quite sure why so many safety features are left as optional when, at this price, they should be all-inclusive, as should several of the optional comfort features - but then again, that's nothing out of the ordinary for super-exotica.
The fact remains, Lamborghini has built what is arguably the most capable performance SUV the world has seen, with limited negative impact on its ability to function as a daily driver. It seems fitting, really, that the makers of the original super-SUV should be the ones to get the recipe right for the modern era, and what a recipe it is.
You can't buy the Urus in one of a number of trims to suit your budget, instead, you buy the Urus as is at a base MSRP of $200,000 and you pile on the options from there, a process which can quickly see things exceed $250,000 if you're not careful. Interestingly, the Urus is exempt from gas-guzzler tax as a result of its classification as an SUV, saving you a few thousand dollars. It is, however, subject to a $3,995 destination and handling charge over and above the price of the vehicle and options.
The Lamborghini Urus is a standalone model and the only SUV sold by the Italian supercar manufacturer.
It's powered by a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 with an eight-speed automatic gearbox and standard all-wheel-drive. 21-inch alloy wheels house standard carbon ceramic brakes, while the exterior also receives full LED lighting as standard. Inside, the standard arsenal of features comprises 12-way power-adjustable front seats, four-zone automatic climate control, seating for five, auto-dimming rearview mirrors, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, and a dual-screen infotainment suite with an eight-speaker sound system. A reverse camera, cruise control, forward collision warning, and front and rear park sensors make up the standard driver aid suite.
4.0-liter Twin-Turbo V8 Gas
Much of what the Urus can be is a byproduct of how deeply you delve into the options list. In addition to a number of exterior colors, you can choose gloss black styling packages, carbon fiber exterior treatments, a panoramic sunroof ($2,778), and even roof rails ($1,070) as options. A hands-free tailgate will set you back $827, while a surround-view camera asks $1,894.
Aside from the huge range of interior upholstery and trim choices priced up to $3,157 apiece, worthwhile options include heated and ventilated 18-way seats with massage function for $3,157, while an ambient lighting package adds $3,036. Swapping out the rear bench for a set of individual rear buckets is an expensive $3,788 option, but it pales in comparison to the fitment of the 21-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system at $6,313.
You can also option rear-seat entertainment screens, a head-up display, night vision, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, an Akrapovic racing exhaust, and Pirelli tires that cater to winter, summer, or all seasons.
It's easy to fall into the web of the Lamborghini online configurator and spec an absolutely insane Urus, but in reality, simple is better. We'd spec our ideal super-SUV in a sunny shade of Giallo Auge with Shiny Black 23-inch Taigete alloy wheels and yellow brake calipers. A panoramic sunroof and complete exterior carbon fiber kit would complete our black and yellow theme, along with matte black exhaust tips. Inside, we'd opt for the 18-way seats with heating, ventilation, and massage, resplendent in Nero Ade Alcantara upholstery with the Q-Citura patterning and matching seatbelts, offset by yellow stitching (Giallo Taurus) and an embroidered Lamborghini shield on the headrests. We would, however, retain the five-seat configuration, and for trim inserts, we'd go with the aluminum and open-pore wood inlays.
Feature-wise, ambient lighting is a must, as is the hands-free tailgate, Full ADAS Package including the head-up display, and a top-view camera. Lastly, we'd add the Akrapovic exhaust to wake the devil, rounding out our perfect Urus build.
Corporate cousins from the VW group, the Lamborghini Urus and Audi RS Q8 share more than just a passing resemblance. Both coupe SUVs share the same MLBevo platform, all-wheel-drive system, and a great big twin-turbo V8 under the hood, producing 592 hp in the RS Q8 to the 641 produced by the Urus, but despite the power deficit, the RS Q8 is capable of lapping the Nurburgring five seconds quicker than the Lamborghini. The Audi's also more practical, with around eight cubic feet more cargo space. Audi also equips more safety features as standard, and you get the same digital instrumentation and an almost identical infotainment suite. What it lacks is the brand cachet of the Lamborghini and the extreme levels of customization, but it'll ask well below the $200,000 price of the Lambo, and as far as we're concerned it's nearly as good.
The Bentayga is one of a handful of super-SUVs from the Volkswagen group that shares a platform and an engine, but unlike the Porsche Cayenne, Audi RS Q8, and of course, the Lamborghini Urus, the Bentayga focuses almost entirely on luxury. While it has a V8 as an option, the Bentayga's crown jewel is the W12 engine equipped to the Bentayga Speed. It's also the same engine that enables the Bentayga Speed to reach a top speed that's 0.5 mph higher than the Urus, thanks to a bump in power to 626 hp. The two differ substantially though, as the Bentayga has an abundance of interior space and is vastly more practical. It's also far more luxurious, with softer leathers and more detailed finishes befitting of its Bentley badge. With prices similar to the Urus, which of the two is better comes down to what you want out of life - if utmost luxury is your desire, the Bentayga takes the cake, but if you want to hustle your family around a race track, the Urus can't be beaten.