Is it a sports car? Is it a missile? No, it’s a super SUV!
I’m in Rome and certainly not doing what the Romans do. Yes, the Lamborghini Urus I am driving is super expensive, super exclusive and clearly not for plebeians! Over the next 12 months, only an approximate 3,500 lucky owners across the world will get delivery of this super luxury SUV, but not before shelling out a fortune and then waiting in a long queue (that can stretch to a year) for it to arrive. In fact, the India allocation for the Urus (at Rs. 3.10 crore a pop) we are told, is already sold out for 2018.
However, exclusivity at the rarefied end of the luxury car market can be a relative thing. Unlike Lamborghini’s exotic and ultra-niche super sports cars, the Huracan and Aventador, which only a handful of rich aficionados buy, the Urus has a much wider appeal and is aimed at a completely new set of Lamborghini buyers.
With the Urus, Lamborghini hopes to double sales, which could propel the legendary Italian brand into another orbit. So what is it that makes the Urus special? In a word, or rather three letters – SUV.
The Urus enters the party riding on a tidal wave of popularity for SUVs, which is a global trend. SUVs are selling hot and fast in all sorts of shapes, sizes and prices. So why not have an SUV at the very top of the pyramid then? For a brand like Lamborghini, such a thought would have been unthinkable even 10 years ago because deviating from the rich heritage of building some of the greatest sports cars ever (Miura, Countach) into something as crass as SUVs is anathema to traditionalists.
But when the order books explode and money starts cascading straight to the bottom line, traditionalists can be dammed. SUVs are hugely profitable and not just the bread and butter for a car company but the jam and honey too. It’s the reason why pedigreed brands like Porsche, Bentley, Maserati and even Rolls Royce have all succumbed to the lure of having an SUV in their portfolio.
The key question is can Lamborghini inject some of its super sports car DNA into this big, brutish SUV that is taller and much heavier than its sleek, road-hugging siblings?
It’s got the look
The Urus can’t quite turn heads like say the Lamborghini Aventador whose skyward opening scissor doors offer a visual drama like few other cars. The four-door Urus has a typical sports SUV silhouette and is more conventional-looking in that sense, but being five metres long and two metres wide, you can’t miss it either. The good thing is that the designers have given it all the Lamborghini design cues like sharp creases, angular line and Hexaganol shapes, so you won’t mistake it for anything else.
The cabin is spacious, in fact too spacious with enough room in the rear for six-footers. Frankly I don’t see the point of providing so much space because the back seat in any high performance car is not a place you would encourage passengers to be. It’s uncomfortable and plain scary at high speeds.
The driver’s seat is the place to be and the jet fighter theme with sophisticated-looking dials, controls and a heads-up display is similar to other Lambos, including the bright red flap on the centre console, which you have to flip up to fire press the starter button. It feels just like lifting the safety cover before launching a missile.
And we have lift-off
And a missile is what the Urus is. The acceleration is simply explosive and the massive 2.2 ton Urus rockets forward in a way that belies its weight. On the country roads outside Rome, I’m doing some unmentionable speeds and have to reign myself in. For the record the Urus will catapult from 0-100kph in 3.6 seconds and given the space, it can clock a top speed of 305kph. That is super car slaying performance.
The sound of the 4-litre V8 twin turbo engine is delicious with a deep growl at low speeds transforming into a higher pitched roar as you pile on the revs. The handling too defies belief in way the Urus flicks through tight bends, like it was a hatchback.
So what’s the verdict? I have to say I was a bit sceptical when it first came out, but the nagging feeling that this would be a more generic super sports SUV than a true blue Lamborghini has been dispelled. The performance, handling, engine sound and overall looks both inside and out will make you instantly mark out the Urus as a Lamborghini and nothing else.
Hormazd Sorabjee is one of the most senior and much loved auto journalists in India, and is editor of Autocar India
From HT Brunch, May 6, 2018
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