Some might think it blasphemy that the Italian Fighting Bull is making a sport utility, not even a mid-engined one. Many certainly did when the Urus was unveiled as a concept back in 2012. Nearly every super sports car marque is turning to the crossover-SUV as a way to bolster sluggish sales and revealing a more real-world Urus in 2015 showed the Lambo critics that it was doable.
But jumping on the SUV bandwagon isn't good enough if your signature color is the red of a bullfighter's cape and your expertise involves aero-wedges and ridiculously huge cylinder counts. Thus comes the Lamborghini Urus, a shortened name of the Aurochs, the ancestor of the modern bulls Lamborghini is so well known for.
This modern-day Aurochs in sport utility form is powered by one of Lamborghini's (ahem) smaller engines, a 4.0-liter V8. But with turbos. Yes, highly unusual for Lamborghini to choose a twin-turbocharged engine for one of its vehicles, but that's exactly what happened here. This is also a front-mounted engine, another unusual trait for the Italian make.
The twin-turbo V8 produces a phenomenal 650 horses (478 kW) at 6,000 rpm (maxing out at 6,800 rpm) and a twist of 627 pound-feet (850 Nm). Maximum torque comes at a mere 2,250 rpm and holds through most of the RPM band. The curb weight of the Urus makes that a weight-to-power ratio of just 3.38 kilograms per horsepower at 162.7 hp per liter of displacement.
Lamborghini says that the Urus rockets from 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) in a mere 3.6 seconds and hits 200 km/h (124 mph) in just 12.8 seconds. Top speed is 305 km/h (189.5 mph). Braking from 100 km/h to a stop takes only 33.7 meters. That's carbon ceramics in action right there.
Those straightaway numbers might sound impressive on their own, and they would be if the plan was to take on anything with "Hellcat" in its name, but what sets Lamborghini apart from the mass-production crowd is exclusivity through style, excellence, and road handling. Just as both of the other current Lambo models are track monsters hiding behind road-legal license plates, so the Urus SUV is a tarmac-holding sprinter and corner-maker pretending to be ready for family shuttle duties.
The low-mounted, all-aluminum engine is placed so as to balance weight with the rest of the Urus. Total vehicle weight is under 2,200 kilos (4,850 lb). An eight-speed automatic gearbox with a slip-control converter and specially-developed torque converter aim towards performance rather than power. Four-wheel drive is also included in the Urus with a Torsen self-locking differential to split torque 40/60 front:rear in standard driving modes. It can move up to 70 percent of torque to the front or up to 87 percent to the rear to enhance traction in various driving conditions.
Rear-wheel steering is added to the torque vectoring found on the rear axle, allowing the rear wheels to turn up to 30 degrees in either direction to aid cornering at any speed. At lower speeds, this effectively shortens the Lamborghini Urus' wheelbase by up to 600 mm (23.6 in). The opposing turn of the rear wheels in low-speed is swapped for alike-turning at higher speeds (called in-phase steering) to elongate the wheelbase by up to the same amount to aid stability and ride comfort.
Driving modes control the type of aids added to the various controls in the SUV's electronic stability control, braking, and so forth. Driving modes include Strada (standard), Terra (off-road), and Neve (snow). An option to upgrade with three more modes, Sport, Corsa (track), and Sabbia (sand) is available.
Each affects ride height, body roll management, engine sounds, and shock absorption differently. Strada holds the vehicle at maximum comfort while Sport and Corsa aim towards performance and road handling. The off-pavement modes (Terra, Sabbia) keep ride height high and traction maximized. Neve maximizes traction while keeping comfort at premium.
Much of the control offered through these drive modes is thanks to an electromechanical active roll stabilization system, a first for Lamborghini. In the Urus, it monitors the roll angle and decouples the stabilizer halves as needed to keep the SUV agile while traversing terrain. Suspension dampers take care of the rest, including in sport driving modes, and are controlled either by the computer or manually through driver settings in, wait for it .. EGO mode.
True to the Lamborghini brand, aerodynamics bring function to the form of the Urus, aiding its road-hugging abilities, airflow for the engine, and aerodynamic efficiency. These also work together to improve interior noise levels when at speed as well as to improve fuel economy.
Most of the chassis and framing in the Urus is of high-strength steels and aluminum alloys. Frameless aluminum doors, HS-steel torsional beams instead of a C-pillar, and aluminum cross-members all help reduce weight. Much of the suspension system is also made of aluminum and steel, either alone or in hybrid forms.
Inside, the new Urus is a four- or five-seat sport utility with luxurious fittings. Low, comfortable seating is the basis for the leather-clad insides. Elements found in current Lamborghini supercars are also present, starting with the Y-shaped dashboard and hexagonal theme throughout the cabin.
A fully digital TFT display gives an animated 3D representation of vehicle information tailored to the situation or by the driver. Options include seat massage, a true two-seat rear configuration, and several color/trim options.
The Lamborghini Infotainment System III works on two touchscreens in the dash. The upper screen is interfaced for entertainment, telephonics, and navigation. The lower screen provides most of the input options such as a keyboard, a handwriting recognition interface, and controls for climate and seat functions. Lamborghini also includes a natural-dialogue voice command system for the infotainment.
Upgrade options for infotainment include a TV tuner, card readers, a head-up display for the driver, and a rear seat entertainment system. Smartphone integration through Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are available, as is Baidu-Carlife for Chinese users. Sound system upgrades from the standard eight speaker system are also optional in the Urus.
For safety, the Lamborghini Urus includes advanced driver assistance systems at the SAE level 2 semi-automated scale. These include high beam assist, parking sensors to the front and rear, adaptive cruise control, and collision mitigation as standard equipment. Optional are traffic management systems, a 360-degree parking camera, and a trailering mode with tow kit.
Lamborghini says that the new Urus SUV will enter the market in the first quarter of 2018 throughout Europe, the US, China and Japan. Prices range from €168,852 for Italian buyers to $200,000 in the United States.
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