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Driven: 2021 Lamborghini Urus. Image by Lamborghini.

Driven: 2021 Lamborghini Urus
Is this the first Lamborghini you really can live with everyday?

   



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2021 Lamborghini Urus

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5

The Lamborghini Urus can probably be summed up in one word: controversial. This is not Lamborghiniís first foray into the SUV market Ė that was the Hummer-esque LM002 back in the 1980s Ė but itís just as likely to divide opinion. With fresh styling and a solid, Audi-derived architecture, is this Italian 4x4 a raging bull that mixes supercar speed with SUV space, or is it a half-baked cash cow designed to exploit customersí vanity? And perhaps more importantly, is it a proper Lamborghini?

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: Lamborghini Urus
Pricing: From £143,676 not including local taxes (£191,137+VAT as tested)
Engine: 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 petrol
Transmission: eight-speed automatic, four-wheel drive
Body style: five-door, five-seat SUV
CO2 emissions: 325g/km
Combined economy: 22.2mpg
Top speed: 190mph
0-62mph: 3.6 seconds
Power: 650hp
Torque: 850Nm
Boot space: 616-1,596 litres

What's this?

Itís a Lamborghini, Jim, but not as we know it. This is Lamborghiniís second SUV, and itís an entirely different proposition to the first. That car (well, vehicle) was called the LM002, and it was Italyís answer to the Hummer H1. Built in the 1980s, when excess was cool and Etch-a-Sketch design was still a thing, it had all the attributes to make it a sales success. Except it didnít, and it wasnít.

Now, Lamborghini has returned with something a little less ridiculous, but strangely enough, much more likely to sell. Itís called the Urus, and if you lowered the suspension, squinted a little and use a small dose of imagination, you can see how it vaguely resembles a Lamborghini supercar. It has the same curve in its silhouette, the same crouching stance and the same outrageous grilles. It just sits considerably further from the ground. And it has too many doors.

But that was fairly inevitable from an SUV. What wasnít inevitable (especially from a car based on an Audi) was that the Urus could genuinely look Lamborghini-ish. It has all the right design features, from the massive exhausts to the Y-shaped graphics in the lights, and from the pointy nose to the squared-off rear end, itís unmistakably a Lambo. Admittedly, the back doors look a bit forced and the height gives it a slight air of awkwardness Ė particularly with the suspension in its highest setting Ė but itís a Lamborghini nevertheless.

Inside, the Lamborghini-ishness continues, as long as you donít look behind you. Thereís lots of carbon-fibre on the dashboard, the Lamborghini legend is writ large on the passenger side and thereís a very fussy, information-rich and oh-so Lamborghini-ish digital instrument display. But most importantly, the ignition button is hidden under a little red cage that must be flipped up before the button can be pressed. Itís the stuff of fighter jets, which means Ė and weíll hear no arguments on this Ė itís very, very, very cool. In fact, itís probably the best thing about the interior. It may even be the best thing about the car.

There are some very obvious Audi-based features, though, including the twin central touchscreens taken straight from the more luxurious German models. Lamborghini hasnít even bothered to change the font on the display, which is a bit mean, but at least it all works quite well. Itís certainly logical and easy to use, which is more than can be said for most things youíll find in a Ferrari or Maserati.

More evidence of Audiís influence can be found in the back, where headroom is perfectly acceptable and legroom is bordering on plentiful. You could quite happily pack in four adults, which is quite something when you consider most Lamborghinis canít even transport one adultís luggage. Fortunately, there are no such problems in the Urus, which doesnít just have lots of cabin space, but also lots of luggage space. The sloping back window means it isnít as practical as a Maserati Levante, but itís as roomy as any other coupe-SUV of its size. The 616-litre space is about the same as that of the Porsche Cayenne Coupe, for example.

However, the Lamborghini badge on the front is worth its weight in petrol, and that means the Urus is not what youíd call cheap. Prices start at about £144,000, and thatís before youíve chosen options. Or paid any VAT. The car we tested, which came with some interesting options, including a towbar, came in at over £190,000 plus tax. So about £235,000, then.

Thatís a lot of money. You could have a Bentley Bentayga for that, and thatís bigger, more comfortable and much less cool. You could also have an Aston Martin DBX, which is a little more luxurious and slightly less cool. More enticing, perhaps, is the Porsche Cayenne Coupe. Admittedly, basic ones have far less power, a disappointing level of standard equipment and no Lamborghini badge, but letís not forget this is still a Porsche, and it costs just £67,000. Yes, the top-end V8 Turbo GT is the closer rival for the Urus and it costs £147,510, but that includes the tax.

How does it drive?

The Urus is astonishing. Thereís no other way of saying it.

It may not have the screaming V10 of the Huracan or the massive V12 of the Aventador, but the 4.0-litre V8 under the bonnet is more than powerful enough, producing 650hp and 850Nm of torque. That grunt gets this heavy, spacious SUV from 0-62mph in just 3.6 seconds, and itíll keep on accelerating until itís doing 190 mph. That doesnít mean much unless youíre playing Top Trumps, but the fact of the matter is this: the Urus not only accelerates faster than Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet, but itís even faster than the basic, rear-wheel-drive Audi R8 Coupe.

Strangely, sitting high above the road and in such a massive vehicle makes that kind of acceleration feel less impressive than it is, but itís still ballistically fast. The V8 snarls and screams as the car leaps forwards, and before you know it the scenery is going all blurry. It might be an SUV, but nobody is going to confuse the Urus with a Land Rover Discovery.

Not least because of the way this car rides and handles. Although it sits high above the ground, the Urus corners almost completely flat and provides a surprising amount of agility thanks to the rear-wheel steering system. That allows tighter turns at low speeds and improves high-speed stability, or at least thatís the idea. Itís difficult to pass judgement on the latter issue, although the Urus definitely feels stable, but the turning circle is certainly better than you might expect.

But the nuances of the Urusí ride handling are largely controlled by the little levers either side of the complicated gear selector arrangement. One is labelled ĎAnimaí and allows you to choose between a selection of pre-programmed parameters, instantly configuring the car for road, track or off-road use. Picking the right mode isnít necessarily easy if you donít speak Italian, but youíll quickly work out that Ďneveí means Ďsnowí, Ďsabbiaí means Ďsandí and Ďcorsaí means Ďtrackí.

With snow and sand modes, itís clear this isnít a normal Lamborghini, but one that offers a hint of off-road capability. We havenít sampled the full breadth of this carís capability Ė and we suspect few customers will either Ė but the Urus has stability and ground clearance suggests in abundance, which should give it some capability when the snow comes down.

On the road, where Uruses will spend most of their time, the ĎEgoí lever is the one to use. That allows the driver to set the carís drivetrain, suspension and steering up to suit their preferences. Each one has three settings, ranging from a comfort-orientated mode to a more hardcore, high-performance setting, via a kind of middle ground.

We found that midpoint to be the most appealing setting for the powertrain and suspension, which feels a little slack in its most comfortable mode, with slightly loose body control. Bringing it up a notch makes the car feel more composed over bumps, even if it is a little firmer when you hit a pothole. Similarly, the drivetrain feels a bit sluggish (everything is relative) in its most relaxed format, while the ĎSportiveí mode makes it too savage for day-to-day driving.

That said, the steering feels at its most natural in Sportive mode, with the less aggressive modes leaving it short on feel and precision. Pop it into its sportier setting and the wheel feels a tad more responsive, with an instant reaction from the front and rear wheels. Mix that with the natural stability of the Urus and its plentiful grip, and youíve got an SUV that can dart into corners like a well-sorted four-door sports saloon. For something with this much ground clearance, thatís quite the feat, and one only Porsche can compete with.

For all this, though, the Urus misses some of the drama you get from Lamborghini supercars. Perhaps because of the capability, it doesnít induce the same fear factor; the sense that the bull is well and truly raging. But then how many customers want their everyday SUV to be scary? The Urus treads a fine line between usability and drama, and Lamborghiniís decision to err on the side of common sense is not a bad one. After all, this is a car designed to appeal to new customers, as well as Lamborghiniís die-hard fans.

Verdict

The Urus doesnít quite have the shock and awe of a proper Lamborghini supercar, but thatís kind of the point. This is the first Lamborghini that really is easy to live with, but it still sounds great, drives well and looks stunning. In that, the Urus has fulfilled its brief perfectly, but it isnít perfect by any stretch of the imagination. Chief among its issues are the price tag, which is too steep, and the fact itís no better to drive than significantly cheaper rivals. Admittedly, thereís something magical about the badge on the steering wheel, but when a Porsche Cayenne Turbo Coupe costs just over £100,000, it doesnít look like great value.


4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Exterior Design

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Interior Ambience

4 4 4 4 4 Passenger Space

4 4 4 4 4 Luggage Space

0 0 0 0 0 Safety

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Comfort

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Driving Dynamics

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Powertrain


James Fossdyke - 9 Mar 2022



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2021 Lamborghini Urus. Image by Lamborghini.2021 Lamborghini Urus. Image by Lamborghini.2021 Lamborghini Urus. Image by Lamborghini.2021 Lamborghini Urus. Image by Lamborghini.2021 Lamborghini Urus. Image by Lamborghini.

2021 Lamborghini Urus. Image by Lamborghini.2021 Lamborghini Urus. Image by Lamborghini.2021 Lamborghini Urus. Image by Lamborghini.2021 Lamborghini Urus. Image by Lamborghini.2021 Lamborghini Urus. Image by Lamborghini.








 

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