An SUV With Attitude
Posted on February 18, 2020
For most, Lamborghini stands for supercars that transport no more than two occupants in flamboyant style and speed. Now the brand’s new Urus model allows owners to frighten up to four additional victims with blistering acceleration while basking in the admiration of onlookers. And all this fun starts at an MSRP of $200,000, $61,274 less than the Huracan EVO, the former entrance-level Lambo.
Unlike its ultra-luxury rivals from the British Isles, the Urus isn’t Lamborghini’s first sports utility journey. That honor belongs to the LM002, a tarted-up truck that was conceived in 1986 as a military vehicle to compete with Humvee. Add a bit of leather, wood trim, and the big 12-cylinder engine lifted from the Countach, and the LM would create quite a stir rumbling down posh boulevards. Some of us scoffed at this impractical creation, but the few nice, low-mileage examples that remain sell easily for $350,000 to $400,000. That’s a good return from the LM’s original $158,000 base price.
Our Urus test sample, on the other hand, was a draft dodger with no armed forces ambition. Instead, Lamborghini shopped the parts bins of its parent VW Group to create what it calls a Super Sports Utility. The process begins with chassis architecture shared with Audi, Porsche, and Bentley, then adds a modified Audi twin turbo, 4.0-liter TSFI V8 powerplant tuned up to 650HP, nearly 80 more horses than the Italian automaker’s V10 sportscar, or enough oomph to sprint to 60 MPH in just 3.5 seconds on the way to its 190 MPH top speed — performance that Lamborghini claims makes Urus the fastest SUV available.
Lamborghini sportscars have long looked like fighter jets without wings, and the Urus designers kept that tradition alive, especially in the cockpit. A bright red cage covers the start/stop button. Lift the cage, press the button, and your gearhead ears are rewarded with growling splendor. A gearshift lever is AWOL, so you pull a center-mounted handle to reverse or the steering wheel-mounted paddle shift for a forward selection.
When I encountered the drive mode selection switch, I wished I hadn’t napped during Italian language studies. The ANIMA (Adaptive Network Intelligent MAnagement) handle cycles through six modes: Strada, Sport, Corsa, Neve, Terra, and Sabbia. The first three are comfort, sporty, and track, followed by programming for ice, rough terrain, and sand. Or, you can create your own driving algorithm, perhaps sporting in the sand, and save it in an adjacent Ego switch.
During my few fun-filled days in the Urus, I experienced suburban roads, the New Jersey Turnpike, Manhattan taxi faceoffs, and early winter snow. Through it all, the Urus performed flawlessly, pampering driver and passengers in soft Italian leather. Just the attributes one expects from a vehicle in this lofty price range. Brian Douglas
2020 Lamborghini Urus
Type: Front-engine, all-wheel-drive
Engine 4.0-liter Twin-Turbo V8
Horsepower: 650 @ 6,000-RPM
Torque: 627 lb.ft. @ 2250-RPM
Base Price: $200,000
As Tested: $244,605
Fuel Consumption: 12 city, 17 highway, 14 combined