Before our dear readers get up in arms about how Lamborghini has no business being in the sport-utility-vehicle business, it’s important to remember that this isn’t the first time they’ve done so. In the late 1980s, the LM002 was the first Lamborghini SUV, with serious off-road capability and ruggedness. This is the 2019 Lamborghini Urus, and it looks absolutely wild. It definitely defies tradition and goes in the opposite direction from the LM002, featuring a coupe-like roofline and aggressive styling reflective of the brand’s current design language.
The Urus, while extremely Lamborghini in its demeanour, actually shares its “MLB” platform with the Audi Q8, Bentley Bentayga and the latest Porsche Cayenne (reviewed here). The overall profile is very similar to the Q8, but it’s more substantial and exotic looking, as if it comes from a legendary Italian brand primarily known for building supercars. The public seems to like it too, because the Urus got nearly as much attention out on the roads of Toronto as an exotic sports car. We were constantly given compliments and questions about it, and the response was generally positive.
The Volkswagen AG twin-turbocharged 4.0L V8 is the only available powertrain, and this marks the first time since 1988 that Lamborghini has used any fewer than ten cylinders in a vehicle. This 4.0L has been tuned specifically for this application and delivers a ground-shaking 641 horsepower at 6,000RPM and 627 lb-ft. of torque from 2,250 to 4,500RPM. It’s mated to a ZF eight-speed automatic transmission and a Torsen center differential. Long story short; this thing is insanely fast. Lamborghini claims it can hit 100km/h in just 3.6 seconds, and 200km/h in 12.8 seconds. It can haul ferociously to a top speed of 305km/h, an impressive feat for a 5,300-pound SUV.
The Urus is insanely fast and also comes with a very dramatic soundtrack. When the “Anima” drive mode selector is set to either “Sport” or “Corsa”, it instantly becomes louder through both synthetic sound brought into the cabin as well as an incredibly loud and dramatic bark from the exhaust. When this selector is kept in its default “Strada” setting, it quiets right down and is perfectly manageable as a daily driver. It’s still louder than a Q8 would be, but 90% of the Urus’ drama and fuss can be turned off at the touch of a switch.
Other modes include settings for sand, gravel, and snow. Each of these modes will adapt the engine tuning, throttle calibration, transmission shift points, differential, and also the active anti-roll bars which decouple in certain modes. When conditions allow, the Urus’ center differential can send up to 70% of torque to the front, or 87% to the rear axle. While the Urus isn’t necessarily a hardcore off-roader, features like rear-axle steering and all of this customizability can allow it to venture off the beaten path. Realistically though, the average buyer will enjoy the ability to drive this Lamborghini year-round.
For a 650-horsepower SUV, the Urus surprisingly delivered fuel economy that can be considered somewhat reasonable. In combined driving over our 500km test, we averaged a very reasonable 14.6L/100km. More aggressive city driving returned an expected 18L/100km, but we saw one longer highway run average a frugal 10.6L/100km with no real effort. The 85L fuel tank requires 93-octane premium or higher, and our test took place on 94-octane gas.
The Urus’ interior is a wonderful place to be, and our test vehicle’s cabin was upholstered in “Terra Asia” leather that is some of the most stunning leather I have ever seen in an automotive application. It’s the most perfect shade of saddle brown, and contrasts beautifully with metallic accents throughout the interior. The electronics are largely Audi, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because the digital Virtual Cockpit instrument cluster is a great application. Two large touchscreens house the infotainment, which supports Apple CarPlay, and the upper of the two actually has haptic feedback like a modern MacBook touchpad.
Urus pricing in Canada starts at $232,000, with our particular test vehicle having a sticker of $302,825. As with any other exotic brand of this caliber, plenty of customization is available to personalize your Urus to your tastes. Noteworthy options here are a Bang & Olufsen sound system, 23” Taigete wheels, heated and ventilated seats with massage, four-seat configuration, Terra Asia coloured seatbelts, a panoramic sunroof, rear seat entertainment, and night vision. Skipping some of the stylistic accents could easily render a well-equipped Urus around $275,000.
What’s not to like about the Urus? As equipped, even with the adjustable air suspension able to adapt to a variety of situations, the ride on the 23” wheels is quite firm. We’re in the midst of pothole season here in Toronto, so while it’s just fine on the highway, the Urus tends to get unsettled at city speeds. Additionally, a heated steering wheel is optional, and not standard equipment. Then again, if the only things we can find to whine about are the lack of a heated wheel and ride quality from 23” wheels, Lamborghini has done pretty well.
There are now so many choices in the ultra-luxury sport-utility market, with variety from the Rolls-Royce Cullinan (reviewed here) to the Bentley Bentayga. The Urus is a great alternative for the Lamborghini buyer who requires something with more than two seats, or a daily driver for when their Huracan (reviewed here) is stored for the winter. The premise of the 2019 Lamborghini Urus may be controversial, but the potential and practicality factor is undeniable. I’m all for exotic automakers creating products like this to generate more revenue, which in turn will allow them to continue creating the passion-filled products that have made the automaker legendary in the first place.