The Rise Of The Super SUV
The last few years have seen an unprecedented rise in the variety of premium 4×4 SUV’s manufacturers have made available to target the wealthy.
The Bentley Bentayga, the Rolls Royce Cullen, the new Improved Mercedes G63 AMG all taking care of the luxury end of things and Porsche is taking care of the more performance orientated customer and attacking the Numbering ring records in the new Cayenne Turbo.
These cars probably shouldn’t exist if truth be known, certainly not at a time when the green movement has re-energized the debate over global climate change, and closer to home, concerns over the poor air quality of our inner city’s.
But then if you take a long hard look at VAG group as a whole, in one camp they have Porsche and Audi building all-electric zero-emission sports cars and SUVs as in the Taycan and E-Tron and in the other side of the building designing the cars we have here, guess its all about balance.
It’s All Range Rovers Fault
So you’ll notice we didn’t mention Range Rover? Well, the reason why is because before the Bentaga there wasn’t anything else to buy if you wanted a luxury or performance SUV.
Luxury and sports cars manufacturers, especially Bentley, sick of their customers buying Range Rovers as a practical second car, decided they could no longer ignore the market, either here or abroad, and so one by one they entered the SUV 4×4 market, with ever more expensive, luxurious and powerful 4×4’s
Lamborghini wasn’t going to get left out of the party, but with luxury cars not really part of their image, they decided to make the first Supercar SUV, or at least the first Supercar Brand Suv.
So we now have this, the Lamborghini Urus.
Don’t laugh at the name, it’s named like many Lamborghinis after a bull, or rather the Urus which was a bison like an animal and the ancestor of all modern cattle.
Lamborghini decided that their customers would pay more than they were already paying for standard Range Rover Autobiography SVs and SVR’s. They had seen the heady prices custom-built Range Rovers, from brands such as Overfinch, Urban and Khan were commanding fro their cars and so decided they could justify a higher price.
So they decided to pitch it not just dynamically but price-wise, way above the level of a common or garden Land Rover, it’s actually circa double the price of a Range Rover Sport SVR
In doing so, they have produced a car that gives the footballers, rappers and bloggers, something extra special to brag about on twitter, Instagram or youtube, and therefore its marketing itself.
Is It Really A Lamborghini
So let’s examine what people asking this question are actually asking?
A Supercar as we know is exotic, difficult to live with and has quirky features that just don’t feature in mainstream cars, like gearboxes that don’t like creeping in traffic and turning circles that make navigating a mini-roundabout an occasional embarrassment.
In designing a car that could replace their customers Range Rovers as a practical daily car there obviously had to be concessions to the normal supercar experiance.
So the answer to those questions, it’s very much yes and no. While having a unique and edgy and quite obviously, Lamborghini body, it’s still based on a selection of parts from its VAG family parts bin.
But to be fair, it’s quite some parts bin.
The platform is from the Audi Q7, the rear axle and suspension from a Bentley Bentayga, the dashboard virtual cockpit from an Audi A8, the steering wheel’s from an R8, along with a host of familiar-looking switches, some of them like the electric windows switches will be familiar to any owner of a VW Golf.
The engine, the true heart of any supercar is not a V10 from the Huracan that they originally teased it could be, but a 4.0L twin-turbo V8 engine from the VAG family tree.
Seen in other cars from the VAG family including both the Porsche Cayenne and Panamera and Bentleys Bentaga, in this setting, it has more power than all those, due to some pretty radical reworking from Lamborghini’s engineers, such as new cylinder heads and produce’s 650 PS.
Headline figures are 0-62 In just 3.6 seconds and keep your foot planted and your nerve you’ll 189mph, we recommend taking your luggage off the roof before attempting this.
So like its namesake is it a bit of an Animal?
In normal mode, it drives as you’d expect, a fast SUV in the Style of the Porsche Cayenne or Range Rover SVR.
I.e. its fast, handles superbly with a steering accuracy that belies its size. But it’s not overly shouty, it burbles but the engine note is subdued, you can sit back and enjoy the superb Bang and Olufsen Stereo.
But before you cry “what! this is supposed to be a Supercar”, you spot CORSA on the mode selector and now the raging bull shows itself.
The engine note suddenly is all crackle and pop, the throttle response instant; you immediately forget you’re in a two-tonne SUV that can also go offroad.
How’s The Urus Handle.
The handling is courtesy of a combination of features taken from the aforementioned VAG parts bins but Lamborghini has refined and tuned them to suit the characteristics it wanted for the Urus.
The air suspension has three selectable ride heights, the steering, powertrain and damping also have their own setting available so you can fine-tune your preferences of how all the features work together, including the rear-wheel steering – which offers +/- 3 degrees of movement.
The torque split from the centre diff is 40:60 front: rear in normal driving, with up to 70 per cent able to be sent to the front axle or 87 per cent to the rear. The Torsen differential was chosen, say Lamborghini because of its reliability and lack of inertia, while the rear diff can distribute up to 75 per cent of the torque it is receiving to one side.
So although the rear rear-wheel steering, active anti-roll bars, torque-vectoring rear differential and ceramic brakes, feature on its lesser brethren, only the Lamborghini has all of them, in this configuration.
To switch modes there’s a fancy lever and a collection switches at the base of the centre console that Lamborghini refers to as the Tamburo, which means Drum in Italian, (yep we don’t get it either)
There’s Strada, Sport and Corsa modes, plus more seriously 4×4 type off-roading options of Neve (snow), Terra (gravel) and Sabbia (sand). Or you can flick the EGO switch for quick access to your preferred mix of steering, powertrain and damping.
In practice, there’s a bit of traditional Lamborghini Supercar DNA in the design of this selection lever because bizarrely it only moves one way. So flick it from Normal to Corsa by pulling it back once and then to get back to normal flick it back 4 more times to end up back in normal mode, or is it 5 times? nope were back in Corsa again it was 4 times, yep, it’s a bit irritating.
Day To Day
Other ergonomic irritations and Lamborghininess is the large lever in the centre which in every other VAG derived product is the gear selection lever but in the Lamborghini, all it does is moves forward to select reverse, that’s all it does, so don’t be fooled into thinking to pull it back will take it out of reverse or put it into drive, it doesn’t.
Also try to remember that if you have already reversed the car with 1/2 a turn of lock, as you would when reversing out of a parking space, that the right gear change paddle ( which is the only way to engage drive) is actually now the left one and so pulling that right lever (which is now actually the left one) lever won’t take it out of reverse either.
So be careful on first drives or you may end up accidentally reversing it into a wall, (obviously, that would never happen to us)
Just as in the Gallardo and Aventador supercars, you have to flick up a Top Gun style missile launcher cover to start the engine. (pity they don’t do this for the reverse lever)
In other ways, its familiar to the owner of any Audi with the same selection of switchgear, entertainment systems and satellite navigation all controlled by touch screens housed in a centre stack
Space-wise its impressive, despite the sloping roofline and steeply raked windscreen, the cabin is light and airy, especially under the glass panoramic roof, and there’s plenty of room in the back unless you’re over six feet tall. And the boot has enough room for a decent amount of luggage, football kit or record decks (were appealing to the key demographic here)
So there you have it, a Supercar SUV that can easily be a daily user, a few a supercar quirks thrown in to make you feel you’re driving something far from ordinary but overall its a valid replacement for a Range Rover SVR or rather Two Range Rover SVR’s which is what you could have instead, but then no one ever bought a supercar because they were good value did they.
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