Evo India May  2019
Car Reviews

Test Drive Review: Lamborghini Urus – Worrying times for the Bentley Bentayga and the Range Rover SVR

Comfortable and practical, this one will widen the Italian marque’s reach no doubt. Yet the Urus remains as wild and as exciting as you’d expect a Lamborghini to be

Who would want a Lamborghini Urus anyway?

I mean, for crissake, it’s an SUV from a supercar maker. But before you pooh pooh at the idea, cough under your breath saying “bulls@#t”, here’s something for you to swallow. “Sixty eight per cent of all Urus buyers in India are first time Lamborghini owners,” says Sharad Agarwal, head, Lamborghini India. It’s a revelation, at least for me. For Sharad’s sudden and quietly delivered declaration hints at just one thing – that there are far greater numbers of potential Lambo owners waiting in the wings than I (and perhaps you too) had previously assumed. And presumably they weren’t waiting in the wings on the issue of affordability for at Rs 3 crore, ex-showroom, the Urus continues to be as pricey as you’d expect, hell, even want, a Lambo to be. Which, incidentally, also makes it cheaper than both the Bentley Bentayga and Range Rover SVR, its principal rivals in India.

So why were they waiting? The answer comes from newly appointed CEO of Lamborghini Asia Pacific, the affable Matteo Ortenzi. He tells us quite candidly that Lamborghini’s existing range of supersport cars is fantastic, but is not without its limitations. “If you want to enjoy the excitement of a Lamborghini with more than one family member or friend, the supersport format doesn’t allow it.” Which, in effect, led the crazy (I mean that in the best sense you can think of) folks at Sant A’gata Bolognese to introduce a hitherto unknown concept into their latest product, practicality.

“Just stick in Corsa and do a couple of launches and you’ll never go to a rave party again”

What you ought to know about the Lamborghini Urus

The first thing you ought to know about the Urus is that this is not Lamborghini’s first SUV. It’s something I am reminded of by Matteo the moment I draw a parallel between Porsche doing a Cayenne in 2003 and Lamborghini doing the Urus a decade and a half later. That accolade goes to the LM 002. And no, I’m not going to waste words telling you what that was. You can try this wonderful thing called Google search for the answer to the billion and one questions that just popped up.

Instead, I’m going to stay with the Urus and tell you while it’s not Lambo’s first SUV, it is in fact the first ever Lambo to feature a turbocharger. Two of them in fact, for under that lovely bonnet is a 4-litre twin-turbo V8. And if you’re sighing about downsizing and how Lambo is another one that’s just bitten the dust, then you should bite this first. That beating pulsating heart is no less a raging bull than what you find in any Lambo for it puts out a thrilling 642bhp and a staggering 850Nm. Sent to all four wheels via an 8-speed automatic and a limited slip diff. Of course, the transmission features torque vectoring too.

“She’s nimble as a gymnast and in spite of its wild streak there’s a certain grace with which she deals with sudden turns in her path”

The Urus also lay claim to having the largest brake dia in the world seen on any production vehicle. It features massive 440mm dia carbon ceramic discs up front and 370mm discs at the rear. In your hour of need these will bring you to a complete standstill from 100kmph over a distance of just 33.7 metres. All 2.2 tonnes of it.

In the hot seat of the Lamborghini Urus

But who on earth wants to know about how it stops? We all want to know how she goes, right? Boy, she goes. Step on the throttle and there’s a tremendous growl from the exhausts as she catapults towards whatever lies in her path. Horizon, corner, or, in India, the cow that’s too lazy to move out of the way. There’s serious poke and an unlike Lamborghini though it may be, this one has preserved those wild genes like a butterfly in a lepidopterist’s jar. 100…130…140…they’re all gone from the crystal clear head up display before you’ve blinked. And all the time you’re chased by the crackly roar of the exhausts and the dust flying in the rear view.

If you’re the serious sort who don’t smile much, I’ll wager you a pint that you’ll come as excited as a schoolboy who’s got a peek at a bikini clad celeb. Fine, I’ll admit, it won’t make you wet your pants in excitement as the Huracan will or the Aventador. But sweaty palms, butterflies in the tummy and the tingling sensation of a head rush? Guaranteed.

After all we’re talking 0-100kmph in a claimed 3.6 seconds and 200 in just 12.8. Top speed is just 305kmph. If you like staying on the boring side of legality then that would imply your fun’s over in four to four and a half seconds because you’re already at the speed limit, aren’t you? For the edgy, borderline crazy folks among you lot, just stick in Corsa and do a couple of launches and you’ll never go to a rave party again. That sensation of being thrown and then pinned back in your seat is the ultimate drug.

At first however there’s no hint of that wild insane streak that all Lamborghinis are famous for. The engine burbles mildly and it’s tremendously tractable too. At one point, if it wasn’t for the pre-tensioner equipped seat belts holding me back in those lovely leather bucket seats with massage function, I’m sure I would have fallen off. I mean, 35kmph in fourth in a Lamborghini without stalling? Are you kidding me? But the Urus wasn’t kidding for sure, for not only can it potter at incredibly slow speeds the huge shove of torque means getting back up to…ahem…cruising speeds is done without so much as a pause.

Back to mundane technicalities, the 8-speed auto ’box is a peach. It’ll keep pace with you irrespective of whether you’re in a ready to race frame of mind or just a casual drive along a lovely driving road kind of mood. Shifts are quick and seamless, and the ratios sorted for all sorts of driving conditions. In fact the shifts are so quick that most often you won’t have the urge to put it in manual mode and tug at the wonderfully crafted paddles behind that leather wrapped flat bottomed steering wheel with yellow stitching. Unless of course, like me, you just want to because there’s a psychological thrill in using a manual.

“Sixty eight per cent of all Urus buyers in India are first time Lamborghini owners”

The Lamborghini Urus and its dancing shoes

Well, the most obvious reference would be to the specially created Pirelli PZero tyres that those gorgeous alloys come shod with. In fact, there are seven types that have been created, but you could have learnt that from the spec sheet and the brochure too. What I’m on about is the Urus’ handling. She’s nimble as a gymnast and in spite of its wild streak there’s a certain grace with which she deals with sudden turns in her path. Helping her along the way is a four-wheel steering, which not only ensures super tight turns and an incredibly tight turning circle but also enhances stability around fast turns. Despite its 1638mm height, there’s not much by way of body roll and holding a line through a corner is as instinctive as blinking. Thus far, it’s exactly as you would expect of a Lamborghini. Any Lamborghini, even if it is an SUV as the Urus is.

What really blows you away, and I can’t believe I’m saying this of a Lamborghini, is the ride quality. Sportive, medium or Smooth – the three suspension settings you can access after toggling the fairly useless Ego button, the ride quality remained pliant. Our drive route was one that I use almost daily and I can tell you, it’s as far from the kind of roads you’ll associate Lamborghini with as Superman wants to be from kryptonite. But nothing jarred us inside the Urus. As a matter of fact, in Smooth or Medium, the rough stuff is barely felt. In Sportive you feel a bit of firmness but that’s it. A comfortable Lamborghini that you don’t mind driving on real roads. Can’t say I didn’t feel sorry for our friend Armaan Ebrahim who’s also Lamborghini’s ambassador in India and was driving at the head of the convoy in a Huracan. Naturally he had to crawl over the rough bits and the bumps. Naturally, we didn’t have to.

The Lamborghini Urus and its split personality

On the one hand you have the typically wild, bronco bull character of a Lamborghini. On the other, you have a lovely comfortable SUV that would be perfect for a millionaire who wants something sensible but doesn’t want to entirely give up on his crazy side just yet. Matteo agreed that it wasn’t easy for the engineers back in Sant A’gata Bolognese, combining these two worlds from two ends. But the Italians are adept at doing the impossible, and they have indeed made it possible. I just wonder what sort of target profile the man in charge of the project was chasing when he was giving shape to the Lamborghini Urus. I would imagine, a guy with a sense of sardonic humour who might have imagined his target customer to be Bruce Wayne after he has married Rachel and gotten busy.

Technical specifications of the Lamborghini Urus

Price (ex-showroom, Delhi) Rs 3 crore
Engine 3996cc, V8, twin-turbo
Maximum power 642bhp @ 6000rpm
Maximum torque 850Nm @ 2250-4500rpm
Transmission 8-speed automatic, AWD
L x W x H (in mm) 5112 x 2016 x 1638
Wheelbase (in mm) 3003
Kerb weight 2200kg
0-100kmph 3.6 seconds
0-200kmph 12.8 seconds
Top speed 305kmph
100-0kmph 33.7m
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