25 September 2023

2018 Lamborghini Urus – $390,000

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By Karl Peskett.

You know the world has changed when sports car companies make more SUVs than they do coupes.

The paradigm shift began with Porsche introducing the Cayenne over 15 years ago. At the time the company was lambasted, but the wisdom was proved not just correct but beneficial. In fact, the company has gone on record to state that without the Cayenne, it would have been finished.

Other manufacturers followed suit. Jaguar brought out the F-Pace, and then the E-Pace. Aston Martin has the DBX in the wings, Rolls-Royce has launched the Cullinan and even Ferrari has a crossover on the way.

But of all the sports car brands, the most flamboyant is Lamborghini. So when it makes an SUV, you’re assured that it’s going to be noticed. Not just in its styling, but also by its noise.

The Lamborghini Urus is the first SUV from the raging bull, and the folks in Sant’Agata Bolognese are very proud of the bright yellow beast that stands before us. So when it came time to collect our test car we were very curious to find out whether it lives up to the badge or not.

Walking around it there are so many creases and lines that it’s hard to take it all in. It certainly looks like an angular Lambo should, but is it aerodynamic? To be honest, that’s a moot point because if you give anything enough power, it will cut through the air. And power is something the Urus has in spades.

With a twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 (a derivative of the engine in the Audi RS6), it produces Lambo-like numbers: 478kW and 850Nm, to be precise. It will rocket from 0–100km/h in 3.6 seconds and from 0–200km/h in just 12.8 seconds. Yes, that’s definitely moving. Keep the foot buried and if you’re not on Australian roads, you’ll reach a top speed of 305km/h.

Definitely not numbers you’d associated with an SUV, let alone one with a big boot and seating for four or five.

Speaking of which, the Urus is quite practical. Just about anyone can fit comfortably up front, but anyone over 187cm will be brushing their head against the roof in the rear. Open the boot and there’s 616 litres of space which expands to 1596 litres with the second row folded flat.

The build quality inside is excellent, apart from the cheaper plastic which surrounds the centre air vents and surrounds the upper infotainment screen. Everywhere else is first class with beautiful metal, leather and carbon-fibre.

In the centre, near the driver is the familiar ‘Tamburo’ drive mode selector, which allows you to toggle between the various drive modes, and there’s also an ‘Ego’ option which allows for personalised settings for your drive experience.

The only problem with the Tamburo is that it only goes in one way, so if you want to go from street mode to Sport, it’s one pull back. If you want to go back to Strada again, you have to pull it five times instead of a quick tap forward. You can’t have it all, I guess.

So, how does it drive? Remarkably well, and not in the bone-jarring way you’d expect a Lamborghini to behave. Instead, the air suspension is supple enough in Strada mode, firming up in Sport or Corsa (Race) modes. There are also three off-road modes – Terra (dirt), Sabbia (sand) and Neve (snow). In each, the Urus will rise to give more ground clearance and alter the stability control to allow for the extra slip on the surface. While we didn’t get a chance to test its off-road chops, Lamborghini has demonstrated the Urus has some level of off-road ability.

On the road, however, the Urus is nothing short of remarkable. With blistering acceleration, the Urus thunders down the road, giving a very solid gear-shift from its eight-speed automatic. Its brakes are definitely up to the task, with the world’s largest production carbon-ceramic discs. But you do have to get some heat into them for them to work effectively.

However, it’s the way that it corners that really sets this SUV apart from even some sports cars. With torque vectoring, super sticky tyres and suspension that activates anti-roll bars, it can be thrown into corners with so much more force than you would expect possible from a car that sits this tall. The steering is super sharp (though it could feel a little more alive) and even when braking hard into a corner, it never feels like it will start to understeer. In fact, its limits are higher than where most mortals will dare tread.

All the while, it blasts its V8 symphony through the cabin and out the exhaust, letting you know exactly of its performance potential. Dynamically, the Urus is remarkable car, but when you realise that it’s an SUV, it becomes even more remarkable.

People have tried to give the title of the everyday Lamborghini to the Huracan, thanks to its broad spread of ability and ease of drive. But it’s still just a two seater and is still scared of kerbs. The Urus doesn’t care, and you can fit four or five people (depending on your spec) as well as their luggage. That it has tech like Apple Car Play, voice recognition, four-zone climate control and foldable rear seats means that there’s so much more to its arsenal, and so much more usability.

Yes, folks, this is the new everyday Lamborghini.

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