The crazy world of super SUVs is showing no signs of slowing down. High-end buyers can’t get enough of exotic manufacturers putting their name and reputation on SUVs. As absurd as it may seem, these exotic SUVs are going to become the norm and in most cases, buyers are choosing these vehicles over traditional supercars.
To put that into context, consider between January and September 2021, Lamborghini sold 108 vehicles in Australia of which 59 were Urus SUVs.
When you think of Lamborghini, you don’t think of an Urus. You think of a spaceship commanding a unrivalled sense of road presence with an alluring sound befitting of Bruce Wayne on date night.
There’s a fantastic scene in the 2005 film Batman Begins where Bruce Wayne drives his Murcielago into a hotel lobby with two of his dates in the passenger seat. The good news is, he doesn’t need to do that anymore because the Urus offers more seats. But is it really the same thing?
Purists have for years argued supercar manufacturers should stick with what they know and leave high-end SUVs to the likes of Range Rover so as to not dilute the brand. Those purists are clearly not with the times.
You have to look at the company that arguably started the trend, and has eventually forced the likes of Lamborghini and even Ferrari with its upcoming SUV to make the move. That company is Porsche.
During the same first eight-month period of 2021, Porsche has sold 2215 crossovers compared to just 291 examples of the 911. Oh, and the brand has never been stronger. In fact, it’s via the sale of SUVs on (relative) mass that brands like Porsche and now Lamborghini can justify their long term existence.
Lamborghini has more than doubled its yearly sales thanks to the Urus and so far as anyone can tell, it hasn’t hurt the sale of its more traditional supercars.
All that aside, the Lamborghini Urus is not just an SUV with a Lamborghini badge. It’s an SUV that is befitting of the Lamborghini badge. There’s actually a huge difference. Here you have a car that technically should be no faster than an Audi RSQ8, but in fact it’s on another planet entirely.
The Urus, especially in this newly available Verde Mantis colour we were given for testing, is the most striking, enjoyable-to-drive, fastest SUV you can buy in Australia. (Can the Tesla fanboys please kindly sit down).
I first came across the Lamborghini Urus all the way back in 2012 when it was unveiled at the Shanghai motor show in concept form. It took six years for the then-V10-powered SUV to go from concept to reality.
Despite the years gone by, Lamborghini largely stuck to its concept design and the Urus was born in 2018 using the Volkswagen Group’s MLB Evo platform, which underpins the Audi Q7, Audi Q8, Bentley Bentayga and Porsche Cayenne.
It ditched the V10 and went for a twin-turbo V8, and it’s all the better for it.
The 2022 Lamborghini Urus has a starting price of $395,888 before on-road costs. As is the case with any Italian exotic, you are not going to get away with the base price, because the list of options are substantial and in most cases, somewhat necessary.
Our test car had an impressive $101,915 in options, which brought the price up to $497,803 before on-road costs.
For some perspective, if you live in Victoria, there is at least $44,861.30 in stamp duty before you can drive your car out the dealership. Add dealer delivery and we are talking at least $50,000 on top of the list price.
The options fitted were:
- Verde Mantis Pearl Effect paint: $17,144
- 23-inch Taigete rims in shiny black: $9898
- Panoramic roof: $5302
- Black gloss style package: $3712
- Rear diffuser in high gloss black: $2298
- Door inserts in high gloss black: $3712
- Rear spoiler in high gloss black: $884
- Carbon ceramic brakes with green calipers: $2298
- Unicolor Interior with black leather and Alcantara: NCO
- Five-seat configuration: NCO
- Full Electric Front Seats with Ventilation and Massage: $5832
- DAB Radio: $1414
- Q-citura stitching on leather: $6186
- Contrast stitching in Verde Fauns (Green): $1414
- Embroidered Lamborghini shield on headrests: $1767
- Big interior carbon-fibre package: $9721
- Steering wheel with perforated leather inserts: $1237
- Contrast stitching steering wheel: $707
- Bang & Olufsen Advanced 3D Audio System: $11,665
- Off-road modes with trailer towing prep: $1237
- Ambient Light Package: $5832
- Door lights with Lamborghini Logo: $995
- Floor mats with leather piping and double stitching: $1237
- Hands-free tailgate: $1591
- Transparent protective film: $5832
The Lamborghini Urus is the fastest and most dynamic SUV from the Volkswagen Group. You can argue the Bentley Bentayga might be a more luxurious choice (and that’s true) but the Urus offers drivers that like driving an SUV that is simply unrivalled in its performance credentials.
For your near $500,000 you get the best performance SUV money can buy right now. A Ferrari SUV is an open secret as well, so we know Lamborghini’s nemesis is hard at work to bring something to the party. There are rumours it might even be offered with a V12, but that remains to be seen.
In terms of standard specification, the Urus lacks a fair few features. Having to pay nearly $1600 for the boot to automatically operate is a slight insult on a half-million dollar car.
Same can be said about the $1414 for DAB radio and the $1237 for fancy floor mats but as they say in Italian, that’s normale at this end of the market.
There’s no doubt there are huge similarities with the RSQ8 inside, but there’s enough of a differentiation, particularly with the centre console and the tactile feel and sensation of the switchgear, to make the Urus feel far more special.
It’s a genuine family-friendly SUV and you can get away with having five adults in the car without issue for short drives. It arguably lacks a little bit of headroom in the back seats if you measure more than 185cm, but that’s not unusual for a coupe-like SUV.
Ideally, it’s a four-seater with some comfort, and the boot’s maximum 1596-litre carrying capacity (rear seats folded) is more than enough if you ever feel the need to use the Urus as a cargo hauler. The standard 616L is plenty enough even for those weekends away, capable of fitting multiple suitcases.
The instrument cluster is very similar to the Huracan EVO and presents a very crisp display with all the information you need to know.
The seats are super comfortable and you can easily drive this from Brisbane to Sydney without back pain.
In saying that, you will probably get tired of just how much attention it will generate on the road on a long drive, especially if you pick such a bright colour such as this.
The Lamborghini Urus has not been tested by ANCAP.
As the car is based on the Volkswagen Group MLB Evo platform, it’s likely the five-star ANCAP result of the Audi Q8 is indicative of how the Urus would perform in a crash.
Standard safety equipment includes:
- AEB with pedestrian detection
- Blind-spot monitor
- Lane-keeping assist
- Adaptive cruise control
The concept Urus was powered by the Gallardo’s 5.0-litre V10, but the production version is equipped with a more powerful twin-turbo V8 petrol designed by Audi and manufactured at a Volkswagen plant in Hungary.
With 487kW of power and 850Nm of torque, it’s one of the most powerful V8 engines in production and it helps propel the big Urus to 100km/h in 3.6 seconds through an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission.
By comparison, the Audi RSQ8 ($208,500) uses a detuned version of the same V8 with 441kW and 800Nm.
Although the Urus is currently the only turbocharged Lamborghini, its 2200kg dry weight makes it roughly 700kg heavier than the Huracan EVO and up to 600kg heavier than the Aventador S, so the torque and drivability of the twin-turbo V8 is a perfect fit for the SUV.
Lamborghini says the Urus uses 12.7L of fuel per 100km, which we can categorically report is impossible to replicate. You’d need to drive it like a Toyota Prius to achieve anywhere near that. Expect around 18-20L/100km and even then, you might be a little disappointed. She’s thirsty.
You need to drive the Urus before buying into the notion it’s just an uprated RSQ8. In fact, it’s very easy to dismiss an Urus and suggest that the Audi is a half-priced Lamborghini, as Anthony Crawford did in his review of the Audi RSQ8.
In many ways the RSQ8 seems like incredible value at half the cost, but when you get behind the wheel of the Urus you can experience first-hand the fact there’s more to the Lamborghini than just a badge and a body kit.
I was fortunate enough to drive the Urus and RSQ8 within a few weeks of each other and can assure you the experience is completely different. Yes, the Audi is fantastic value, but it’s not in the same league as the Urus in terms of feel and dynamic performance.
The Urus has a sense of soul and purpose that can only be experienced from behind the wheel. It’s louder, it crackles, it’s incredibly stable and comes with a different suspension setup.
Not many will believe it, but on a twisty mountain road it’s actually quicker than a Huracan EVO. It really is. The compliance in the suspension allows for a much faster rate of entry and exit but it’s the mid-range torque, all 850Nm, that helps the Urus drive away from naturally-aspirated supercars out of tight corners.
It’s also worth just noting this really is unlike any SUV out there. It drives like a giant AWD hot-hatch.
It doesn’t lean into any corner nor does it feel big and heavy. The technical gadgetry and suspension tuning has turned what is on paper an overpowered heavy SUV into a delightful driver’s car.
The directness of the steering, the sense of confidence from the driver’s seat is hard to fault. Same goes for the 440mm front carbon-ceramic disc brakes (40mm thick) connected to aluminium 10-piston calipers. The rear makes do with 370mm carbon discs. Lamborghini says it can stop from 100km/h in only 33.7 meters.
The brakes are bloody enormous, some of the biggest you can get in any production car. Interestingly for such a small company (relatively), the brake system is made in-house at the Lamborghini factory in Italy.
We are yet to test an SUV that can find the right balance between daily practicality and dynamic competency that comes anywhere near the Urus.
It’s why plenty of previous Huracan and Aventador owners, who have realised they would love some of that same emotion and presence but in a more practical and comfortable vehicle, have come looking at the Urus.
The beauty of the Urus for us is its multi-purpose personality. It has six driving modes as part of its Anima mode selector and while it’s fun to find yourself in Sport or Corsa for maximum noise and performance, the street mode offers a very comforting experience with soft suspension compliance and easy road-going manners.
It can turn from a sleeper into an absolute monster in the push of a button.
It’s a case of if you have to ask here, but Lamborghini doesn’t provide servicing costs for its cars.
From experience, we can tell you to budget somewhere between $2500 and 4000 per service for the first few years.
The Urus is backed by the same three-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty as the wider Lamborghini.
The 2022 Lamborghini Urus is the best sports SUV money can buy right now. It’s as simple as that.
Yes, a Rolls Royce Cullinan or Bentley Bentayga is probably a more luxurious choice, but let’s not forget the S in SUV stands for sports and the Urus has that in droves.
The real question you need to ask yourself is whether you will go for the standard Urus or put an order down for the more hardcore version expected next year.
Either way, with the current allocation sold out for over six months, you will be waiting a while regardless.
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