The 2019 Lamborghini Urus Sets a New Standard for High-Performance SUVs
By pulling tech from the performance portfolios of Lamborghini, Audi, and Porsche, the VW Group has made a speedy crossover few can match.
The Drive's chief auto critic Lawrence Ulrich recently climbed behind the wheel of Lamborghini's all-new crossover, the Urus, for a first drive in the carmaker's native land of Italy. The 641-horsepower SUV, he discovered, takes some of the best technology from Lamborghini, Audi, and Porsche and combines it to make a vehicle that can kick ass and take names like few others, both on- and off-road.
The following is an excerpt from his full review; click here to read it in its entirety.
Like many children of the late Seventies, I was one of those teenagers with a Lamborghini Countach poster taped to my bedroom wall in Detroit, near the equally iconic image of Farrah Fawcett in swimsuit and curls. (I know, such a cliché). Will modern teenagers feel compelled to pay boudoir homage to the Lamborghini Urus, an SUV that well-to-do parents might use to haul cases of Krug, or to dune-surf in Dubai? I kinda doubt it. What I don’t doubt, after testing the Urus near Rome, is that said parents won’t need to fantasize like broke teenagers: They’ll just cut a check and add a Urus to their multi-car collection.
Disappointed at the absence of a rip-snorting, high-revving, naturally aspirated Lamborghini V-10? We are, too, but Lamborghini insists that its portly bull demands a diet of turbocharged torque, with the 627 pound-feet fully on tap by 2,250 rpm. Lamborghini’s engine overhaul also brings a significant 71-horsepower, 37-pound-foot advantage over the Cayenne Turbo S. So girded, Lambo very conservatively claims the Urus charges to 100 kilometers per hour (62 mph) in 3.6 seconds. So I’d expect no worse than 3.4 seconds to 60 mph—making for an interesting drag race with either a 707-hp Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk (which I drove to 60 mph in 3.4 seconds), or a Tesla Model X. Lamborghini doesn’t consider either model as part of its competitive set, and frankly, it's right: Short stoplight bursts aside, the Urus will crap all over the Jeep or Tesla in any performance and handling metric. (Let’s not even discuss luxury, prestige, or exclusivity). Even in a straight line, the Urus should pass the Jeep or Tesla near the quarter-mile mark and never look back, broaching 200 kmh (124 mph) in 12.8 seconds, and peaking at 189.6 mph, the highest terminal velocity of any SUV yet.
This German-Italian Frankenstein's monster plucks some Audi organs from the lab to help put the power down, choosing a Quattro-based Torsen mechanical center differential over Porsche’s slower-footed, “hang-on” transfer case with wet multi-plate clutches. The default torque split is 40/60 percent front-to-rear, with a maximum of 70 percent able to head forward and 87 percent able to go out back.
Here’s where things get crazy: On top of the superhero brakes, the Lambo adopts an active rear torque-vectoring unit, adaptive dampers, adjustable-height air suspension, and active four-wheel steering. The gyroscope-based, multi-axis Lamborghini Piattiforma Inerziale (LPI), now revised to deal with slippery and off-road surfaces, is the nerve center that assesses and adjusts chassis systems in real time.
Still, we’re not done. Porsche lends another ghostly technical hand with its unique-until-now active electric anti-roll bars, enabled by a 48-volt electrical system. The bars’ integrated electric motors—two up front, two in back—apply torque to stiffen or soften resistance, based on vehicle settings and real-time parameters. That brings a vast operating range, from comfy commuting to ruthless control. And Pirelli helped develop seven tires especially for the Urus, from Scorpion off-road rubber to winter rubber and the summer performance P Zero Corsas that we drive on track.
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