2019 Urus Truck Takes First Drive
Slideshow: The 2019 Lamborghini Urus looks to set itself apart from its Bentley Bentayga, Porsche Cayenne, and Audi Q7 MLB Platform Brethren.
It’s Been a Long Time
Unlike Porsche, and seemingly every other performance ca company jumping on the SUV gravy train, Lamborghini showed a willingness to go, not only 4/AWD but truly off-road early in its history. The company dug its toes into the military vehicle sandbox in the 1970s with a rear-engined off-road vehicle called the Cheetah and followed it up in the ‘80s with the benchmark V12-powered LMOO2. A much more solvent Lamborghini has faith that a third truck will be the charm with the introduction of their 2019 Urus, a 4,900-pound, 189 mph SUV with a luxury interior option to match every boutique handbag its owners can chuck in it.
The Urus is built around the MLBevo platform shared by the Porsche Cayenne, Audi Q7, and Bentley Bentayga. Not only is Lamborghini visiting SUV country again with the Urus, but it’s also revisiting V8 territory as well. The Volkswagen Group 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 in the big Lambo, also found under the hoods of Porsche Panameras and your nicer Audis and Bentleys, is the Italian company’s first use of the configuration since the last Lamborghini Jalpa rolled out the door in 1988.
The V8 churns out 641 hp at 6,000 rpm, and a grunty 627 lb-ft of torque from an impressively low 2,250 rpm. An eight-speed automatic transmission delivers that motivation to all four wheels, with a default 40 front/60 rear torque split, though that can vary as needed with up to 85 percent going to the front wheels and nearly 100 percent to the rears. In addition, the Urus features rear-wheel steering to help the 201.6-inch long SUV maneuver like a much smaller vehicle.
The Urus sports an air suspension system that can raise it 1.6 inches or drop it down 0.6 inches depending on the handling mode selected. When raised, the system can disengage the active rollbars for improved dexterity over uneven terrain. Wheel choices range from giant to more giant with 21-, 22-, and 23-inch rims offered. Pirelli has done its part by developing seven completely new P Zero tires for the wheel configurations, even including a snow tire option.
Motor Trend got an early crack at driving the model and had a lot to say about it, most of it positive in nature. “The Urus feels casually fast. Lamborghini claims a 0-60 time of under 3.5 seconds, with 124 mph arriving in 12.8 seconds, but it all happens without the hair-on-fire shriek of an Aventador V-12 or barrel-chested boom of a Hurac n V-10,” they mused. About that exhaust note, they found that it varied depending on driving mode but shared that it was, “Mostly artificial and all rather mellow by comparison.”
MT singled out the Urus’s composure on the 2.5-mile Autodromo Vallelunga track, outside of Rome, Italy. “Although sporty and low-slung by SUV standards, the Urus is still a relatively tall and relatively heavy piece of machinery to hurl around a racetrack, which made the absence of roll, dive, squat, or diagonal pitch at Vallelunga all the more remarkable,” they said. “The big Lamborghini stayed flat and stuck hard.”
Picks and Pans
The Lamborghini’s carbon-ceramic brakes were called out for particular praise, MT labeling the 17.3-inch rotor, 10-piston fronts and 14.6-inch rear brakes, “unquenchable.” In the quibble department, MT felt that, although the steering was quite sharp, it lacked feedback from the massive tires. They also felt the eight-speed automatic wasn’t “as polished” as the rest of the drivetrain components and said, “The downshifts feel curiously slow and lazy, like an old Mercedes.”
While predicting that few Urus owners would venture off the tarmac with their luxury SUVs, MT took advantage of a P Zero Scorpion-shod example on an off-road stage the company had set up. They said the vehicle's size and weight made it less than nimble but offered that a quick boot to the gas could coax the tail out at any time if needed. Overall, they said, “Suffice it to say the Urus is more capable off the blacktop than many modern SUVs.”
The best news, or the worst depending on your pocketbook, is that the Urus is Lamborghini’s most affordable offering. For $200,000 you can have Lambo speed, style, and luxury in a more daily-driveable package than anything else the brand offers—on or off-road.