Climbing the incline, the bright yellow SUV is building speed at an alarming rate. The induction howl only drowned out by a Gatling gun exhaust note that tells people this beast means business.
Tipping into the first corner, the huge crossover sits flat, begging us to push harder. We comply. The grip from the massive 325 section tires is immense, and even when in second gear, a flattened accelerator pedal does nothing to unstick it.
Yes, folks, this is definitely a Lamborghini.
And really, that was the goal here. The Italian sports-car manufacturer was always going to cop some criticism for making an SUV, but the profit that it brings means it wasn’t even a choice not to make it.
Considering in the Audi stable there was a platform available, a proven and powerful engine, a refined gearbox and a capable all-wheel-drive system, all the elements for success were there. It came down to the recipe to make it work.
So, yes, there are a lot of Audi influences (the steering wheel, instrumentation, infotainment), but Lamborghini has managed to “Italianize” the Urus so that it behaves very different to the Q7 on which it is based.
Clearly the styling is one area where the Lamborghini Urus is set apart from its German parent.
In the bright yellow of our test car, the design details tend to pop a bit more than in a dark color. The overall theme is very much a Lamborghini, but of course, it also has to look like an SUV. And getting this balance is the hard part. Some will like it, others, not so much. We’re quite firmly in the “love it” camp.
With a 4.0-litre V8 boosted by two turbochargers, the motor – which is effectively the same engine as in the Audi RS6 – definitely produces the right amount of power. With 641 bhp and 627 lb-ft on tap, this is absolutely fit to wear the Lamborghini badge.
The Urus will blast from 0–62 mph in just 3.6 seconds and carry on to a top speed of 190 mph. As you can tell, this is not your average SUV.
But because it’s billed as the everyday Lambo you can option this car in a four- or five-seat layout. Go for the five-seat version and you can fold down the second row, creating a massive trunk space. Opt for the four-seat layout and you get sports buckets for the rear passengers and a ski-port for loading through longer items.
There’s also a very long wheelbase, which should mean acres of legroom. Well, most people can fit comfortably in the front seat, but anyone over 6′ 3″ may struggle. That could be because of the sunroof fitted to our test car, so we’d suggest not ticking that box.
Open the tailgate and there’s a huge amount of space, and a couple of rails for tying things down. And with this amount of performance on-hand, it’s probably wise to have everything secured.
The cabin’s build quality is impressive, though we could think of better plastics to use around the center air vents and upper infotainment screen. Apart from that, tasteful use of carbon-fiber, metal and leather is applied, creating quite a luxurious interior.
A “Tamburo” selector changes the drive modes, going through six different settings, with the bottom three the various off-road modes. You get sand (Sabbia), dirt (Terra) and snow (Neve). Lamborghini has also included an “Ego” setting in which you can choose your own preferences.
It’s simple to use, but there is an issue. Because it cycles through the modes in one direction, you can’t quickly skip back by tapping it forward. Miss the mode you wanted and it’s another five pulls to get it through to your desired setting.
There’s another problem, too. When the Urus was converted from left-hand drive to right-hand drive, the wing mirrors have remained the same. You see, normally the driver has a flat mirror and the passenger’s side (where you need to see a little further past the vehicle) has a convex mirror.
Our test car was the opposite, which made judging where traffic was a little tricky. Considering the Urus doesn’t have the greatest visibility anyway, thanks to a tiny rearview mirror and a letterbox slot for a rear window, it would be nice to have the wing mirrors the right way around.
Voice commands are excellent – say I’m cold and it will ask you what temperature you would like the climate control set to, and will respond accordingly, with a nice voice notification that it has set the desired temp.
But what you really want to know is how it drives, right? Well, it’s a lot nicer than the Lambo badge would have you believe. Remember, this is the everyday Lambo and needs to be usable. Thus, the air suspension has been calibrated to give a comfortable ride in street mode, but to firm up in sports and race modes. Remarkably, the Urus is no stiffer than a premium saloon when in street mode (Strada).
Then, there are the three off-road modes. These have been set so that the Urus rises enough to give greater ground clearance, and each has a unique traction program to seek out grip whenever traction is lost. While we didn’t spend much time exploring these modes, it’s safe to say there’s a little bit of hidden ability which sadly most owners won’t explore.
It’s out on the open road where the Urus will spend most of its time and in this environment, this SUV is nothing short of wonderful. The way it builds speed puts you in mind of an electric car, with its instant takeoff and build of speed – there’s plenty of torque. But the sound is very un-EV, of course. That V8 isn’t quite as angry as others, but it does have a rich and intoxicating note.
Acceleration is one thing (and covering the quarter in high 11s isn’t mucking around) but the Urus is actually more adept at carving up corners. It puts its torque vectoring to good use, enabling the Urus to tuck into tighter and tighter radiuses that seem impossible. The SUV’s anti-roll bars make it sit flat and it never washes into understeer, instead asking you to push harder. Remember the old Mitsubishi Evo 8? Yep, it’s like that.
But unlike the Evo, the Urus looks and feels like a Lamborghini, creating aural drama with its turbocharged V8 and hinting at some much more ability than people realise. Remember, this isn’t a sports car, it’s an SUV. Keep that in mind.
It’s also dead simple to park, thanks to rear-wheel steering, which shortens the wheelbase and lessens the turning circle.
That you can mount kerbs and not be so precious about your supercar, while fitting four or five people plus all their gear makes this vehicle all the more special.
Yes, folks, this is the new everyday Lamborghini.
Photos: Jan Glovac Photography