Lamborghini’s first Super-SUV

It's almost closing time; the lights are about to turn on in the club. Lamborghini Urus is the last one to show up. She has arrived – blasted in, really – breathing heavily, having sprinted in record time for last call, before enthusiastically tearing it up on a corner of the dance floor. She's a great dancer, by the way, for her size.

Is Urus the last one past the bouncer at the carbon-fuelled super-SUV party? She's the fasted SUV available with best weight-to-power ratio in her class at 3.38kg/hp.

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On a straight, flat road we are talking 0 to 100 kilometres per hour in 3.6 seconds. That is pretty fast, especially for an SUV. The unmistakable, head-turning rumble of a twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 engine produces a whopping 641 hp with 627 lb-ft of torque. Top speed is 305 kilometres per hour if you are the only driver on the autobahn.

Just outside of Palm Springs, I had the opportunity to test this luxury crossover SUV on a racetrack in the desert. It is a Lamborghini after all, with a reputation to uphold as a charger.

Being on a track in an elevated seating position was totally new to most of the group. Speed is one thing, but how would this SUV handle in the corners? Surprisingly, there is zero roll. By the second curve, I was very impressed by the agility of this machine; it handles like a sports car half its size. Carbon ceramic brakes – the biggest on any production car – bring the Urus to a fast, dead stop on your choice of six Pirelli tire options.

Like the Lamborghini Aventador and Hurican, the Urus features several driving modes: Strada for the grocery run, Sport for more fun and agility, and Corsa for performance driving. Being from Canada it would be have been interesting to see how the Urus manages in the snow (there's actually a setting called “Neve” for snow), but as we were in California surrounded by sand, this presented an equally good opportunity for some light off-roading in the desert.

Lamborghini engineers chose a V8 twin turbo because they needed to respect the need for a more compact engine. The V8 twin turbo provides instant torque for off-road situations. In B.C., the chances of seeing a Urus up a mountain road that's not a ski hill are unlikely, but from what I could tell on the sand, it is a capable off-roader with decent ground clearance, permanent 4-wheel drive, plus plenty of premium cockpit comfort.

Lamborghini reports that over 70% of orders for the Urus are from consumers who are new to the brand. Consider that at $232,000, the Urus is the first "accessibly priced" Lamborghini. It may seem like an unusual move to put so much energy and horsepower into a brand new model at a time when many car companies are focused on electrification. Lamborghini is owned by the Volkswagen Group, who are playing catch-up after Deiselgate, and who now have an aggressive electric program in play.

Their plan targets battery electrification for small vehicles and some form of battery and hydrogen fuel cell combination for electrifying larger engine brands such as Audi, Bentley and Lamborghini. Let us imagine that Lamborghini must adapt and go electric.

Suddenly the Urus makes sense, as it will be the first of Lamborghini’s models to be offered either as a hybrid or full-electric. They cannot yet electrify the Aventador; perhaps not a palatable play, so it was a clever move by Lamborghini to create the Urus with an eye to the future. 

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