Lamborghini's talk of "dune surfing" has us thinking crazy thoughts.
We already know that the Urus is prompting big changes at Lamborghini. Aside from the automaker hiring a ton of new staff to build the SUV, there are changes coming to the brand’s showrooms and to its marketing; the new model is designed to appeal to single women and families. A lot of this info has come from interviews with CEO Stefano Domenicali. Domenicali and Lamborghini R&D head, Maurizio Reggiani, recently sat down for another interview, this time with Australia’s CarAdvice. And yes, the topic of “dune surfing” did in fact come up.
It was Reggiani who used the term dune surfing when describing why the Urus was going with a twin-turbo setup. “We will have a turbo — and for one reason. With an SUV you need to have a level of torque at low rpm and only a turbo engine can release this. Otherwise if you want to do… dune surfing… without a turbo you don’t have enough torque to come out from the dune,” he said. Obviously it appears like something was lost in translation but we get what Lamborghini’s R&D head honcho was talking about: In order to actually off-road the Urus will need to be able to put down some serious torque low down in the rev range. A diesel engine could have accomplished this…but yeah, no.
Although the Urus will apparently be capable of dune surfing, it will still be a Raging Bull through and through, not just a modern version of the LM-002. “If you perceive and close the eyes without seeing anything and drive the car, you will know it’s a real Lamborghini,” Domenicali said. When pressed on how “real” the automatic Urus could be (it doesn't use an ISR transmission) Reggiani was quick to note that the transmission choice was dictated by the torque output. “We’ll be using a torque converter, because the torque necessary will be so high that no double clutch can manage this level of torque. We want to be the best in terms of torque and power.”
What’s interesting about this interview is that it seems to suggest that the Urus will actually be able to hold its own off-road. This whole time we’ve been thinking that Lamborghini’s SUV would just be designed to tear up the street or track as the brand’s heritage is in supercars. But much like the Bentley Bentayga it seems as if the Italian automaker actually wants Urus owners to take the SUV out on dirt roads, or at least it wants them to consider doing so. Whether or not this focus on off-road capabilities backfires is anyone’s guess, but it’ll be interesting to see how it affects the SUV’s performance times on the track. Or is it time we switch focus from the tarmac to the dunes when it comes to measuring the Urus’ abilities?