The keyboard warriors have already spouted their two fils’ worth following the reveal of Lamborghini’s keenly awaited Urus SUV, but while the cyber-critics have only seen the first images of the car, Wheels is one of the few regional media outlets to have eyeballed the vehicle in the metal and poked all around it.
The unveiling, which literally took place alongside the all-new, high-tech production line for the all-terrainer, didn’t go without a hitch, as a technical snafu brought the multimedia razzamatazz to a grinding halt. Not to be deterred, CEO Stefano Domenicali saved the night by improvising and simply rolling out the Urus and letting R&D boss Maurizio Reggiani delve into all the technical nitty-gritty.
It’s already been well documented that the Urus shares its MLB Evo platform with the Audi Q7, Bentley Bentayga, Porsche Cayenne and next-gen VW Touareg, but Reggiani promises the Bolognese blaster is in keeping with the dynamic DNA of the Huracan and Aventador – never mind that it weighs 2.2 tonnes and stands more than 1.6m tall.
There’s certainly nothing wrong with the raw stats. Who could be disappointed with a 0-100kph split of 3.6sec, 0-200kph in 12.8sec and v-max of 305kph? Bear in mind this is a vehicle that seats up to five occupants, swallows 616 litres of luggage and is capable of light-duty off-roading. The full extent of its all-terrain prowess will only be known following our first drive in a few months but, in any case, this is not expected to be a key requirement for its target market.
Prospective customers are far more likely to pedal their Uruses to the racetrack than the dunes, and the early signs are that the Lambo will be more track-capable than any other SUV out there – Porsche Cayenne Turbo included – thanks in no small part to the largest stoppers fitted to any production vehicle.
The 21-inch rims at the front encase massive 440mm carbon-ceramic discs (seriously, they’re as big as garbage-can lids) clamped on by gargantuan 10-piston calipers. Out back, there are 370mm discs with six-piston calipers lurking within the (optional) 23-inch rims. Stand on the anchors at 100kph and the Urus will come to a halt in just 33.7 metres – that’s only just over 2m more than a Huracan LP610-4.
The rest of the dynamic package also looks up to the mark – at least on paper. There’s adaptive air suspension with active dampers, while the four-wheel-drive system features active rear torque vectoring to maximise traction out of tight corners.
As per the Aventador S, the Urus also gets four-wheel-steering to effectively shorten the SUV’s lengthy 3003mm wheelbase at low speeds (by turning the rear wheels in the opposite direction to the fronts) for greater manoeuvrability. Conversely, at higher velocities the rear wheels steer in the same direction as the fronts for added stability.
As per the Huracan and Aventador, the Urus gets an ‘Anima’ drive mode selector on the centre console, but in addition to the usual Strada, Sport and Corsa modes, it also features ‘Sabbia’ (Sand), ‘Terra’ (Mud/Rocks/Gravel) and ‘Neve’ (Snow) settings. There’s a locking centre differential that apportions torque in a 40:60 split to front and rear axles when cruising but, depending on the conditions, the system can send up to 70 per cent of drive to the front wheels or 87 per cent to rear.
In the off-road modes, ride height is raised and the anti-roll bars are loosened to enable greater wheel articulation, but obviously slotting the ‘Anima’ into Sport or Corsa modes has the opposite effect. All sounds hunky-dory in theory, but we’ll obviously reserve judgement on how well it all functions until we drive the vehicle in Italy next May.
Buyers in the Middle East will need to exercise even more patience, as local deliveries won’t commence until next October-November, with pricing expected to start around the Dh800k mark. Just one powertrain will be offered at launch – namely a twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 that pumps out 641bhp at 6,000rpm and 850Nm from 2,250-4,500rpm – but a plug-in hybrid will also join the range (not necessarily in our market though) in due course. An eight-speed auto will be the sole transmission choice.
Number crunching is all well and good, but there’s little doubt the vast majority of Urus buyers will be wooed by its badge and image alone. Having scrutinised it from all angles in the metal, my take is that the Urus is a mixed bag in the styling department.
The rear three-quarters and rump are quite nicely executed – there’s plenty of visual muscle over the rear wheelarches – but the front fascia is overly fussy with a mishmash of design elements. The central grille has a honeycomb theme, the side air intakes have a pair of Y-shaped strakes, while the lower air intake has a trio of vertical bars. To my eye, it doesn’t gel well together – almost as though the design team tried too hard to cram as many trademark Lambo styling cues as they could in a limited amount of space.
The rear door handle has come in for plenty of flak from the critics, as it sits at a slightly awkward angle on the sizeable rear wheelarch bulge, but, when probed on the subject, design boss Mitja Borkert shrugs his shoulders and says there was no alternative given the core architecture he was given to work with. There was no way of cleverly concealing the handle in the window frame (a la Alfa Romeo 156).
If you were expecting a drop-dead gorgeous car – which the Aventador and Huracan undoubtedly are – then you may be disappointed by the styling of the Urus. But let’s be realistic, how many truly attractive SUVs are there out there? Apart from the Range Rover Velar, I can barely think of one. And I don’t imagine there are many individuals out there who go weak at the knees at the sight of any of the Urus’s platform cousins (Audi Q7, Bentley Bentayga and Porsche Cayenne).
As for the more practical aspects, there’s a surprising amount of headroom in the Urus’s rear seats (provided you don’t tick the box for the optional sunroof), and I witnessed a gentleman who was 1.98m tall sit in the back without having his noggin space impinged on by the sharply plunging roofline. Similarly, the luggage compartment has ample room to swallow two or three large suitcases or golf bags. What it all means is that this is a Lamborghini that can ostensibly be used every day and for every occasion, which certainly isn’t the case with its low-slung supercar siblings.
The Urus may not please everyone, but there are many punters out there who will welcome its arrival. Lamborghini’s bean counters will also be well chuffed, with sales volumes set to double following the SUV’s launch.