First Drive: 2019 Lamborghini Urus
No such thing as too much when it comes to this new SUV
As you wake in the cool gray tones of a coastal spring morning, your A.I. house assistant begins brewing coffee. Your partner rolls in bed, murmuring. Down the hall, the kids grumpily snooze their alarms. You lever up, swing feet onto polished concrete, and the hammer of another day in paradise comes crashing down. Why aren't you happy? What's missing? What can fill this hole?
Nothing, really, because happiness comes from within, and you've been on empty for a decade. As you wrestle with this fact yet again, turning it over for an unseen edge, a hidden seam, you catch a lime-green glimpse out the window, breath hitching.
It wasn't a dream.
You let out a whoop, running through the house. Call the school! Call the office! We're taking a family day!
The trouble with success is that it is cumulative. When you have the perfect family, the perfect job, the perfect life, "perfect" becomes normal, and normal sucks. You need something more. Enter Urus.
Whether that family day takes you to the Nurburgring Nordschleife or the Circuit of the Americas, Times Square or the Mall of America, the Skittles-bright Lamborghini Urus will light a child-like fire in each of you as you pile in and hit the fighter-style, shielded Start Engine button, putting spark to the twin-turbo V-8's Neronian conflagration.
That 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 might not have the cylinder count of Lamborghini's V-10 and V-12 mid-engine supercars, the Aventador and Huracan, and, thanks to a new sound limit law in California with a cap of 95 dB, it doesn't have their bark either—but it definitely has the bite. With 650 horsepower at 6,000 rpm, and 627 lb-ft of torque from 2,250-4,500 rpm, the Urus's sub-4,850-pound claimed curb weight is no hindrance to a blistering and easily repeatable (and quite likely conservative) launch-controlled 3.6-second sprint to 62 mph. Nor is its low-slung yet hulking multi-faceted silhouette an impediment to its 189-mph top speed. So there you have it: In every performance metric that usually matters, the Urus is undeniably a Lamborghini. But that's not the whole story.
Loosed on track at Vallelunga in Italy, a scant two sessions of three hot laps each in the offing, the Urus rises to the challenge. Led at an unusually fast pace by the race driver at the head of our three-car pack, the opportunity to stretch the super-SUV's legs shows it has the stuff it needs in the brake zones (world's largest car on ceramics, with 10-piston front calipers and six-piston rear) and in the corners (active roll stabilization, adaptive air suspension) to back up its meteoric power. Is it a perfectly balanced four-wheeled symphony, revelatory in its grace? No. But it's handily the world's most dynamically capable production SUV, and would easily be able to hang with any flock of super-sedans in the hands of a capable and confident driver.
Better yet, unlike those spiffy super-sedans, the Urus's party doesn't end when the pavement does. A few hundred meters away, a rally-style course carved from the Italian hillsides adjacent to the track is our next playground.
Smoother than your average wild dirt road, but laden with fine, silty dust and volcanic gravel, the dirt course is less about off-road challenge and more about low-friction fun. Here, the Lamborghini's variable all-wheel-drive system has its chance to truly shine, allowing big-throttle wallops to sling the tail around like a Coolidge-era bootlegger, with digital witchery managing torque, slip angle, and more. Genuine fun—just don't forget the protective wrap for the neurasthenic paint.
But these forays into malaise delay can't last forever. A weekend here, a vacation there, and you'll be right back in the loop of death by perfection. Fortunately, this Lamborghini isn't just for the occasional dalliance. It's for life, all of it.
Those grumpy, sleepy kids might only be waist-high now, but soon they'll be gangly teens, straining for their own space everywhere but the back seat of the Urus. Given the Urus' fastback profile and low overall height (just 64.5 inches tall), you might think it'd exclude taller passengers in the second row, but you'd be wrong. The Urus is designed to comfortably fit passengers as tall as 6-feet, 3-inches tall. I'd have no problem crossing the county, or a continent, in any of the available seats. Given the choice, however, I'd choose the driver's seat.
On the road, the Urus is surprisingly refined overall, from ride comfort to wind and road noise. There's a bit of chop over rougher pavement, a problem no doubt worsened on the available 23-inch wheels (the world's largest offering from a car manufacturer, for what that's worth)—perhaps the reason those huge rollers weren't available for our testing. We made do with the 22-inchers that were available, and even with the occasional rough spot, found nothing worse than you would in a sedan of equivalent performance.
Behind the spacious and comfy rear seats, Lamborghini has TARDISed in 21.7 cubic feet of storage space—enough for two golf bags placed cross-wise—or up to 56.4 cubic feet with the rear seats laid flat. Gear, groceries, room aplenty.
Of course, it isn't easy getting all of these seemingly conflicting features to come together, especially for a brand that's historically built go-fast performance art. But thanks to Lamborghini's chief technical officer Maurizio Reggiani and his team of engineers, that's exactly what the company managed to do.
The engine, traditionally, has been the heart of a Lamborghini. But the Urus's 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 is based on a Volkswagen Group design.
"The cylinder block comes from the group," says Reggiani. "The job that we did is in the more important part of the engine. If you want to have power, that is in the cylinder, right? Camshaft, intake manifold, turbo, and exhaust systems are where you create the flow of air, and when you create the backpressure of engine—and in this part is only Lamborghini, done for Lamborghini—and there is a reason why only our V-8 has 650 hp and 627 lb-ft at this level of rpm. That allowed us to have the best responsiveness of the engine when you accelerate and there is something that is much more complex compared to the other V-8 applications, but it is what allowed us to be different from the others."
Nevertheless it's not all about raw power and force with the Urus, or with Lamborghini these days, says Reggiani. "When I arrived in Lamborghini 23 years ago, this was still the motto. We were bigger and stronger in the engine department and all the rest was like a contour to the engine, to the power play. Now it's clear that the world has completely changed in 23 years. The approach of the car is completely different, more and more technology in the interiors, in the exteriors, in design. You are not able to finish a car if you think that in a car like ours, with engine in the front, the rest can be a complimentary accessory."
And the Urus delivers the expected goods in the digital interfaces that light the screens lining the center stack and instrument panel, too. It's all decidedly Lamborghini in graphic design, but also familiarly Volkswagen Group in its structure and function. It works great, as you should expect of a $200,000-ish SUV with a supercar pedigree. Ultimately, that the Urus does all of the day-to-day stuff well is nearly as impressive as its performance.
So what's the catch? The catch is that you need the catch. You need the off-kilter, the slightly warped, to throw just a bit of chaos into your picture-perfect world. You need the perfectly imperfect vehicle for your oh-so-perfect life.
You need the Urus.
|2019 Lamborghini Urus Specifications|
|ON SALE||Late 2018|
|ENGINE||4.0L DOHC 32-valve turbocharged V-8/650 hp @ 6,000 rpm, 627 lb-ft @ 4,500 rpm|
|LAYOUT||4-door, 4.5-passenger, front-engine, AWD SUV|
|L x W x H||201.2 x 79.4 x 64.5 in|
|WEIGHT||4,850 lb (est)|
|0-60 MPH||3.6 secs|
|TOP SPEED||189.5 mph|