When is an SUV not an SUV? According to Lamborghini, when it’s an SSUV – a Super Sports Utility Vehicle – and right now there’s only one of those: The Urus.
It could be argued that Lamborghini’s first foray into the SUV market, the LM002, fits the SSUV designation as well, however that was rather more utilitarian and originally designed for military use – more akin to the Hummer. The Urus is a different proposition altogether, offering genuine supercar performance with SUV practicality and comfort.
We’ve seen the car at various shows and even a couple ‘in the metal’ driving around leafy Hampstead, but the only way to get a true feel for any car is to get behind the wheel. Thanks to our friends at H.R. Owen, that’s exactly what we did – taking the car through its paces on a hilly road test track, a high speed oval, a mile straight and an off-road track. Each element has been designed to test the car (and driver’s) mettle and experience the Urus’ various driving modes.
Having driven the Aventador S, I was struck by the similarities in the cabin of the Urus. Of course, the ride is much higher and there’s a lot of extra room to enjoy (even before considering the rear seats), but the switchgear, finishing and Lamborghini ‘feel’ to it will be instantly recognisable to any Lambo owner. Firing up the 4 litre twin-turbo V8, that signature growl of the engine brings the car to life and a gentle nudge on the throttle sets us on our way. Before long, I’m on the test road and making full use of the responsive steering as I take a racing line through the track, turning hard into corners and punching the throttle to climb the hills. Even in Strada (road) setting the car is enormously impressive, however a quick switch to Sport tightens things up a bit and opens up the exhaust valves – soon it’s popping and cracking as a supercar should, and attacking corners with a deftness I’ve never experienced outside of a pocket-sized supercar.
Even with a decent level of speed and some sharp turns, road camber, dips and rises, the Urus doesn’t falter; it inspires confidence that it’s going to stick to the road and behave, without rolling me (or any passengers) around the cabin in the process.
HIGH SPEED TEST
My next stop was the high speed oval to test the out-and-out pace and control at speed. Calling upon all 650 horses with my right foot, the car handled perfectly as it sped towards 70mph (a speed that would soon seem pedestrian…) With foot to the floor still, I was soon topping 130mph in the outer lane of the oval. Despite the significant increase in speed, the Urus never strayed from its line – holding the road and charging imperiously onwards. Granted, it’s unlikely many owners will be taking their Urus to such speeds outside of the Autobahn, but it’s reassuring to know the car can handle itself so well at high speeds, so much so I found it hard to reconcile the fact I was driving an SUV and not a Huracan.
A quick switch to Corsa (track mode) using the Anima selector maximises the car’s performance – perfect for the mile sprint test where I want the car to hold its gears for longer and give me maximum power. On the topic of gears, the auto ‘box may not be quite as sweet as the Huracan’s twin-clutch but it more than makes up for it in its smoothness, which is a welcome relief for city drives. On to the sprint, under hard acceleration the Urus was off like a rocket, staying true and straight on the line as I reached 165mph before running out of road and applying the brake. Acceleration is intense (0-62 in 3.6s) but it’s the brakes that won me over. To stop a 2.2 tonne car as they did without any judder, slip or loss of line (or lunch) was nothing short of incredible!
Now I know the brakes are kosher, I feel ready to tackle the dirt and gravel track. For this I opt for Terra (dirt) mode (the other two modes – Sabbia and Neve – are for sand or snow, respectively). The ride height increases and the car swallows every bump, hump, dip and camber with ease. Even in spite of my own propensity to steer in at the last possible moment through a corner, the Urus was totally compliant and assured me it would stick to the track.
The P-Zero tryes offer grip in spades but it will slide a touch if you nudge the car correctly round those dirt track corners – a point proven multiple times by a pro driver who took me for a spin to show me what the car can really do off-road. Suffice to say, it’s the closest I’ve come to experiencing a proper rally experience… in an SUV!
As a lifelong Lamborghini fan who dreamt about the Diablo in my youth and fell in love with the Aventador S on a drive through Oxfordshire, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the Urus. Could the SUV really deliver on its supercar promise? Could this be the first SUV to tempt me away from my beloved two-seater roadsters? The answer, as you may have guessed, is yes. Despite its distant relative being the first Lambo SUV, the Urus is an altogether different proposition. There’s the occasional design nod, such as the wheel arches that are reminiscent of the LM002, but this is a bona fide supercar and, as I would concur with Lamborghini, the first Super SUV.