by Jared Rosenholtz
The road to get here may have been long, but Lamborghini has finally revealed its second foray into the world of SUVs, with the new Urus. Instantly, everyone seems to have an opinion on what Lamborghini is calling the world's first Super Sports Utility Vehicle (SSUV). A lot people don't seem to be huge fans of the styling, and have nitpicked small things like the door handles, which aren't flush with the body. We have a slighter bigger nitpick to deal with. Based on performance claims and the Urus' price, this needs to be, unequivocally, the best SUV in the world.
4.0-liter Twin-Turbo V8 Gas
Lamborghini has yet to announce pricing for the Urus, but we can assume that it will be around the $200,000 mark. This puts the Urus right within spitting distance of its corporate cousin, the Bentley Bentayga. The Bentayga also has very impressive performance thanks to a 6.0-liter twin-turbo W12. It also holds the record for the fastest SUV in the world. But it won't be long before the Urus takes that away. Even though the Bentayga is an impressive car, its main focus is opulent luxury, not all-out performance. The Bentayga may end up being a bit more expensive than the Urus, but it's clear that Lamborghini wants its SUV to be the best in the world, which is why it will also be one of the priciest.
The title of "best SUV in the world" can be measured in many different ways, but we thought we'd take a crack at breaking down exactly what this means. We believe that for a performance SUV to truly be the best, it must lead the pack in a few categories. The best SUV in the world must have noteworthy styling, a bespoke interior, unmatched performance or a legendary driving experience, as well as real life usability. After all, there's no point building the fastest SUV in the world that only has space for one person and a handbag. The first point of contention with the Urus' claim to the best SUV in the world title, is with its exterior styling.
We recently took a look at how the Urus has changed from its original concept design back in 2012. Obviously, the production car had to have things like side-view mirrors, but we are amazed by how little the overall shape has changed since 2012. We like how the final design turned out, but many readers preferred the more outlandish look of the concept. We can forgive Lamborghini for the styling, because we still think that the Urus looks very good. There's no doubt in our minds that when the Urus starts to be seen on the street, people will instantly be able to recognize that something special has just past them.
It's not easy to make an SUV look so distinctive because they all need have a similar shape. Lamborghini has done enough to make the Urus look different than its corporate cousins like the Bentley Bentayga and Audi Q7, which is probably the most you can ask for given the shared platform they are all based on. The next area that's been difficult to achieve on these high-priced SUVs is a bespoke interior. We've seen luxury automakers completely fail to make their six-figure SUV feel any more special on the inside than a cheaper model from the same parent company. The Maserati Levante is a great example of interior styling gone wrong.
The Levante's interior isn't a bad place to sit, rather the opposite. We enjoy the Levante's easy-to-use infotainment system, we just wish that the same system wasn't found on a much cheaper Jeep Grand Cherokee. Bentley did a very good job making the Bentayga's interior feel bespoke, and we think that Lamborghini has also done an incredible job with the Urus. There's little evidence that the cabin shares any DNA with with other VW Group SUVs. The two closest siblings to the Urus, the Bentayga and the Cayenne, both have completely different interior layouts and design themes.
The styling of the Urus' interior is clearly befitting of a Lamborghini, and looks exactly what we imagine a Huracan would look like with a bit more practicality. We love the unique shifter and signature fighter pilot starter button as well as the drive mode selectors. All of the controls looked like they were hand picked from a supercar to be used in this SUV. This interior is not only striking to look at, but practical as well. Lamborghini has plucked some technology from Audi like the virtual cockpit and dual touch screens from the A8 for infotainment and climate controls. The Urus interior definitely feels special enough, so we will move onto arguably the most important category of all, performance.
By pricing the Urus at over $200,000, Lamborghini is telling the world that this will be the fastest, best driving SUV on the market. Unfortunately, the jury is still out on whether or not the Urus can justify its massive price tag. Going on performance figures alone, the Urus is powered by a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8, which produces 641 hp and 678 lb-ft of torque mated to an eight-speed automatic. This may not make it the most powerful SUV on the market, but it will hit 60 mph in 3.6 seconds and reach a top speed of around 190 mph. We know that the Urus will be faster than the Bentayga, but what about outside competitors?
It may sound silly to compare a Lamborghini to a Jeep, but FCA really laid down the gauntlet with the 707-hp Grand Cherokee Trackhawk. This Hellcat-powered SUV is able to beat the Urus to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds and come close to its top speed, falling just 10 mph short. Even the Porsche Cayenne Turbo is able to hit 60 mph in 3.7 seconds with the optional Sport Chrono Package, and Porsche has yet to reveal the new Cayenne Turbo S, which will be even quicker. The Urus has some serious rivals and we haven't even brought up the internet's biggest love obsession, the Tesla Model X P100D, which has dominated almost every drag race it has been placed in.
We want to give Lamborghini the benefit of the doubt, because the Volkswagen Group has a habit of underrating their cars. This means that the Cayenne Turbo will probably be able to beat its quoted 0-60 time, and the Urus will likely beat its quoted time as well. It's still a bit hard to believe that the Urus has around 100 horsepower more than the Cayenne Turbo, and that only translates to around one tenth of a second to 60 mph. On performance, the Urus will have to rely on its intangible driving characteristics, which we haven't had the chance to sample. Not many people haven driven the Urus, but those who have claim that it is on a different level than other "fast" SUVs.
We'll have to get behind the wheel of the Urus to determine this for ourselves, but there will be a more powerful hybrid version and even a possible Performante version that will be even faster. The Urus has passed through all but one of our criteria, which will have to be determined at a later time. Our final criteria, real life usability, the Urus passes with flying colors. Not only can the Urus be ordered in four, or five-seat configurations, it has a usable trunk and real off-road prowess. Lamborghini didn't just build this SUV to prowl around the world's most expensive mall parking lots. As long as you don't select the optional 23-inch wheels, this SUV can go off-road.
It may not be as mad as Lamborghini's first SUV, the LM002, but the Urus succeeds where that car failed. The Urus will be an SUV that people will actually want to experience everyday, not just put in the back of a garage to speculate on. People can voice their disappointment with the Urus all they want, but they can't deny that this thing will be a sales success for Lamborghini.