The Lamborghini SUV, the Urus is here and I’m not sure what to think.
On one hand, the Lamborghini SUV thing has been done before. The mad LM002 was intended for sale to oil-exploration and production companies. It was an Italian Hum-Vee with a Countach V12. Equal parts brilliant and bonkers. Perfectly Lamborghini.
On the other hand, is this really necessary? Porsche set the precedent with the Cayenne and it seems that every other Volkswagen Group CEO wants to pad their bottom line in a similar way. First there was Bentley with the Bentayga – fair enough, SUVs are the shape of modern luxury and now this, a car Lamborghini is claiming to be the ‘first super sports utility vehicle’.
I’m not so sure about that, I’d have that mantle firmly with the Porsche Cayenne Turbo. Nothing like a bit of sibling rivalry to spice things up, though!
A Lamborghini SUV has to be Striking
It’s not a pretty thing. The concept car had an elegance to it and was positively dainty, if you could call a 2-plus tonne SUV that, compared to this production version. They’ve injected some extra testosterone and machismo to the styling and the Urus is not better for it. It’s overdone, with too many fussy details. Especially around the front grille and lower apron.
Based on the Volkswagen group’s MLB evo platform shared with everything from the Audi A8 to the Bentayga the Urus looks like a large wedge of cheese with an Aventador interior. Which is to mean an Audi/Porsche cross with added Italian tricolori, hexagons and the switches are all written in Italian, so you need your Google translate to figure out what they mean. Neve? What the hell is Neve mode? A special drive mode for picking up Neve Campbell? I mean I know car makers are really working hard to make sure there is a drive mode for every conceivable condition but this is ridiculous.
Unlike Ferraris, Lambos don’t have to be pretty. Striking – yes. Pretty – well the Countach was striking, but it was never Ferrari Daytona pretty. The Urus looks like a proper Lambo then. Because it’s definitely striking.
The signature of a proper Lambo, though, is a high-revving naturally aspirated engine with at least 2 more cylinders than necessary. Usually 4. Even the 2700kg LM002 had a 5.2L V12 that made 309kW at a typically Italian 6,800rpm! This is where the Urus really departs from its heritage and joins the corporate ranks of the integrated structure that is the Volkswagen group.
Lamborghini claim that the 4.0L Twin Turbo V8 is all theirs. I’m not buying that for a second. Porsche Panamera Turbo? 4.0L TT V8. New Porsche Cayenne Turbo? 4.0L TT V8. Audi S8? 4.0L TT V8. Guess which engine the 2018 RS7 will have when they announce it. Any takers?
I call shenanigans. A tweaked version of the corporate vee-dub motor it is. Forced induction is a first for a Lambo and it does make sense. Turbo torque is pretty much a must when trying to hurl near-on 2,200kg of fat bull up the tarmac.
Despite their claims, it definitely doesn’t have that emotional Lambo sound. Watch the acceleration run in the launch video, it sounds like all the other flat, turbo V8s that have hit the market. That’s a shame.
Business is Good
I’m torn. I do think the Urus is cool. I don’t like the way it looks. I don’t like that it has a tweaked off-the-shelf VW group heart. But I like the fact that the LM002 has a successor. It’ll be great business. Based on the number of Bentaygas and Levantes I’m already seeing around Melbourne, it won’t be long before this is the most common Lamborghini on the road and that’s a real problem.
It used to be special to see a Lamborghini. Rare. Thrilling. This will take the mystique away from the brand. All supercar brands need mystique. At this end of the market volume is the enemy – rarity makes cars special. Not that everyone can afford an Urus, but at an estimated $390,000AUD, it’s easily the cheapest Lamborghini. The democratisation of luxury marches on. It’s the Paganis and Koenigseggs of the world that are now the truly special cars.
The Urus is a car of two halves. On one hand it’s a proper, striking Lambo with genuine heritage. Unlike the Bentayga, Levante and Cayenne the Lamborghini SUV isn’t an SUV for an SUV’s sake – the LM002 makes this ok. On the other hand it’s another derivative Volkswagen group SUV product. Just this one has ‘Benzina’ written on the fuel gauge.