Who Says There’s No Room at the Top of the Ultra-High-End Luxury Market?
Keeping up with the latest trend in the automotive industry, boutique carmakers that were traditionally known for sports and luxury cars have recently decided to join the high-quality SUV market. That includes Bentley and now Lamborghini. Still, these automakers – both part of the VW Group – have a strong belief that there is a room in the niche market for an ultra-high-end luxury vehicle that blends outstanding and brutal top speed of supercars, and the functionality and off-road capabilities of SUVs! Other ultra-premium players such as Rolls-Royce, Aston Martin and most likely, Ferrari, are to follow soon in the footsteps of these two VW Group brands.
Lamborghini has recently lifted the covers off its second SUV in its lifetime, the all-new 2019 Urus. Though the Hummer-esque, military-like LM002 of the 80s and 90s was Lambo’s first SUV, it’s very hard to compare LM002 or the Italian parallel to the Humvee to the once-improbable and most “exciting” SUV to hit the streets in recent memory, the Urus!
Some will argue that Urus isn’t a game changer as it appears to be. In other words, some may hate it, while others will definitely love it. It seems the same story reiterates itself over and over again. SUVs are the last thing expected from sports-car makers. Largely true, we have seen Porsche Cayenne defying the norms back in late 2001 for not remaining loyal to Porsche’s motorsports heritage. Now, history repeats itself with Bentley Bentayga and Lamborghini Urus! The latest examples want to replicate the success of Cayenne, albeit they seem to puzzle some journalists and outrage many fans alike. Yes, “this could be heaven or this could be hell,” like in Eagles’ Hotel California!
The sportier member of the Italian exotic automaker’s line-up combines luxury, modernism, outrageous acceleration and cutting-edge technology. It has got four or five seats and the engine puts out 650 hp along with 850 Newton meters of torque. It claims it can dash from Zero to 100 km/h in a zippy 3.6 seconds, reaching a top speed of 305 km/hour. The super SUV is touted as the fastest SUV in the world!
The Urus which was unveiled few days after the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show at Lamborghini’s headquarters in Sant’Agata, has a base price of about $200,000 in the U.S and 171,429 euros in Europe. We don’t know its price tag yet when it goes on sale across our region’s markets late next year. But, we may say that this luxury SUV will attract more attention in the Middle East, given the fact that it is more suited for desert roads, unlike the other exotic cars.
Typical Lamborghini Style with an SUV Flavour!
Despite the fact that the Urus shares the same platform as the Audi Q7, Bentley Bentayga, Porsche Cayenne and Volkswagen Touareg, the “Raging Bull of SUVs” bears no resemblance to the previously mentioned models. The Italian SUV’s drool-inducing exterior design is based mainly on mixing the rakishness, dynamism and aggressiveness of other Lambo models, especially Aventador and Huracan. In other words, one can label it as a “raised” exotic sports car!
Taken in this light, the Urus is unmistakably Lamborghini. This can be seen through the short overhangs, coupe-like roofline, frameless door windows, large wheels that range between 21 to 23 inches in diameter, slim headlights embrace Y-shaped housings and five individual squared-off LED elements, bold front grille with hexagonal intakes, bulging hood line, thin taillights with Y-shaped housings, rear diffuser, four rounded exhaust tips and the integrated rear spoiler.
The name Urus comes from the Aurochs, the ancestor of modern domestic cattle. The 680-kg cow went extinct in 1627.
In fact, we would love to see the gullwing doors with Urus, but it’s understandable not to see these radical elements in a production SUV model. Dimensionally speaking, this super SUV has an overall length of 5,112 mm, and measures 2,016 mm and 1,638 mm in width and height, respectively. It also sits on a 3,003 mm of wheelbase which means it has somehow a long wheelbase compared to some direct competitors like Porsche Cayenne Turbo S. The latter’s wheelbase measures 2,895 mm!
Attractive interior with luxurious touches…
Like all other Lambo’s models, the interior of Urus paid heed to blend the attractiveness with luxurious, yet dynamic styles. Through this engagement, the driver-oriented cockpit leverages from many hexagonal design elements which can be traced on the door handles, air vents and cup holders. Also, the dashboard design follows the “Y” theme inspired by other Lambo models.
The 2019 Urus includes a bevy of high-quality materials which can be easily discerned, such as the variety of choosing colours, natural and Alcantara leather upholstery, and brushed aluminium. Wood and carbon fiber trims are also offered. The Italian firm’s answer to Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, Bentley Bentayga and Porsche Cayenne Turbo S features a standard digital instrument cluster with a TFT display and 3D visualization. Among the other highlights are two TFT touchscreens for the infotainment system (an upper screen for the entertainment, phone and navigation, while the lower one has a virtual keyboard with handwriting recognition), a heads-up display, wireless charging and rear seat entertainment system.
Likewise, the interior offers a long list of features, such as the heated front seats with memory function for the electric seat adjustments (12-way adjustability), standard rear-three-seater arrangement or an optional two-seat second-row layout, a multi-functioned steering wheel and an eight-speaker audio system. However, the customers can order Bang & Olufsen surround sound system delivers 1700 Watts from 21 speakers and 18-way electric front seats with a ventilation and massage function.
Luggage capacity in the Urus is 616 litres, to be extended to 1,596 litres after folding the rear seatbacks. This means that this super SUV has a relatively small amount of cargo space compared to other competitors.
Twin-turbo V8 engine…
Under the fresh flavescent sheet metal, the long-awaited Urus hides a twin-turbo, direct-injected 4.0-liter V8 engine. The new engine produces 650 hp at 6,000 rpm, with 850 Newton meters of torque delivered at 2,250 rpm. This can be translated into 162.7 hp per liter; the highest specific output for its class and the best weight-to-power ration on the SUV market (3.38 kg per horsepower), according to Lamborghini!
The new all-aluminum engine leverages from a variable valve system to optimize the fuel delivery and generate high torque at low engine revs, double overhead cams, cylinder deactivation system, and, above all, twin-scroll turbocharges, which, in turn, make Urus the first Lambo using a turbocharged engine!
The engine can propel the super SUV from Zero to 100 km/h in a devastating 3.6 seconds, while top speed is rated at 305 km/h, making Urus the fastest SUV in the world! Power is channeled to all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic gearbox. The transmission feeds a new Lambo four-wheel-drive system, with a Torsen central self-locking differential that offers exceptional off-road driving capabilities. Torque split is 40 percent front and 60 percent rear as standard but can see a dramatic shift with up to 70 percent front or 87 percent rear when necessary. Furthermore, the Urus leverages from an active torque vectoring system via a real differential. This will help to control the yaw rates and avoid understeering.
A plug-in hybrid version of the Urus is reportedly confirmed for launch before the end of the decade. Most probably, the hybrid model will borrow the drivetrain from Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid which features a turbocharged, 4.0-liter V-8 engine and an electric motor. The powertrain is chugging out 680 hp and 850 Nm of torque.
The drivers can choose from a variety of engaging driving modes, most of them are named in Italian. For example, there are STRADA (street), TERRA (off-road), NEVE (snow), SABBIA (sand), SPORT and finally CORSA (race) modes. In SPORT or CORSA modes, the torque vectoring system allows Urus to become more agile, featuring less body roll, stiffer dampers and a greater oversteer character. With SABBIA mode, the luxury SUV becomes ready to run on terrains with reduced grip, like on gravel or sand dunes. In STRADA, TERRA and NEVE modes, the torque vectoring system will reduce understeer for a safer and more comfortable driving. Overall, the dynamic behavior of Urus is sport-oriented as most of the torque is directed to the rear wheels! The Urus is offered with an optional Off-Roader Package which includes metal-reinforced front and rear bumpers, along with additional underfloor protection!
The almost 2,200-kg SUV benefits from rear-wheel steering and an air suspension system. The latter system can provide a maximum of 250 mm of ground clearance for use in off-roading and slightly bumpy terrain. Similarly, Urus has the world’s largest set of carbon ceramic brakes on a production car. They measure 440 mm in front and 370 mm in the rear. The Italian firm claims that Urus will be able to stop from 100-0 km/h in just 33.7 meters!
The Sant’Agata-based automaker installed an assortment of high-tech, driver-focused technologies into its new super SUV. In this regard, the Urus is equipped with a standard cruise control system. Additionally, there are front and rear parking sensors, High Beam Assistant system, keyless ignition function and keyless entry system. The latter system allows the driver to grant access to the car via touching sensors panels in the doors. As for the rear tailgate, one can say that it is electrically operated through “a switch on the driver’s door, a button on the key, or a manual button on the tailgate itself.” I may say, to compensate the small amount of cargo space, Lambo offers an automatic rear ride height lowering feature for easier loading and unloading. Besides, a mitigation collision system called PreCognition is included as standard.
Among the optional features, one can mention “traffic management systems, top-view camera and a trailer coupling mode.”
Veering the review off onto another important feature, Lamborghini has developed a special exhaust system that can customize the sound output based on engine speed. For example, the Urus will produce a sporty and growling sound at high acceleration. This function is accompanied by another feature allows the driver to choose a selection of sound and driving feel changes via the “Tamburo”. The “Tamburo” (drum) is Urus’ ultimate driving dynamic controller which is located in the center console. Simply put, the driver may choose a variety of sounds ranging from the quite STRADA mode to the very loud CORSA mode!
Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, Porsche Cayenne Turbo S and Bentley Bentayga… Three Competitors on a Tough Mission!
Admittedly, the upscale SUV market is becoming tougher with more carmakers rolling out exceptionally high-end products. Bentley Bentayga, Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio, Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, Porsche Cayenne Turbo S and now Lambo Urus are but few examples in the market.
Though it might not have the same prestige as the Raging Bull of SUVs, the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is as compelling, impressive and powerful as its Italian counterpart. The Jeep’s real treasure is under the hood where there is a supercharged V-8, 6.2-liter engine that chugging out an incredible 707 hp and 875 Newton meters of torque. This means that the Trackhawk’s drivetrain is a little more powerful than the Urus’ turbocharged V-8, 4.0-liter engine that pumps out 650 hp and 850 Newton meters of torque. But, the two upscale SUVs share some figures and mechanical similarities: Both are capable of dashing from Zero to 100 km/h in an amazing 3.6 seconds, not to mention that they both have an all-wheel-drive system, an eight-speed automatic gearbox and large brakes! The only gap between the Italian and American SUVs is in the field of top speed. Taken in this light, the Urus has a distinct advantage over the American SUV: The Urus tops out at 305 km/h, compared to the Jeep’s 290km/h! Of course, the Trackhawk gets a slight edge regarding practicality, cargo space and the price tag. The Trackhawk’s price hardly goes over $100,000, compared to $200,000 for the Lambo!
Also, there is a German SUV under the radar: The Porsche Cayenne Turbo S. One can say that this German SUV has a great advantage against the Urus in terms of its price tag that starts from $159,600. But, Cayenne’s turbocharged V-8, 4.8-liter engine produces just 570 hp and 800 Newton meters of torque; a significant failing compared to the Urus’ 650 hp and 850 Newton meters of torque! Still, the Urus is only 0.3 seconds quicker and almost 20 km/h faster at the top speed than the German SUV!
Finally, to complete the triad of the Urus’ direct upscale competitors, there is another serious rival we have to mention: The Bentley Bentayga! Undoubtedly, this British super-elite sports-oriented SUV is considered one of the reasons behind convincing Lamborghini to join the SUV party. Under the fresh sheet metal lies a massive 6.0-liter W-12 engine. This engine produces 600 hp and 900 Newton meters of torque. But, with 4.1-second 0-100km/h sprint, 301-km/h top speed and a price tag that starts from $229,100, one can say that the Bentayga is lagging behind!
The Lamborghini Urus is meant to make life a lot harder for other high-end SUVs. Its success hinges on the timeliness of its release where there is an ever-growing appetite for luxury SUVs nowadays. In 2016, the deliveries of this type of vehicles surpassed 21,000 units, thanks partly to the Mercedes G-Class and the Bentley Bentayga, according to IHS Automotive. So, obviously, the Italian carmaker is trying to gain new grounds and attract different markets with its all-new super SUV.
Most probably, the Urus will sell like hotcakes, especially in the Middle East where there is always a need for an ultra-premium SUV that can spin around the desert with an off-roading experience. HIS Automotive forecasts Urus’ annual sales topping out at around 2,900 units in 2019/2020, given the fact that the Raging Bull brand built a record-breaking 3,457 units in 2016! This means Urus’ sales will make up around have of Lambo’s total sales in the next two years!
In all probability, the Urus is infused with the spirit of Huracan and Aventador, but provides more passenger and cargo space room. In other words, it’s fast as any other sports car plastered with the Raging Bull badge, and still, it’s the most extreme SUV ever built to date. It really “elevates the SUV to a level not previously possible, the super SUV,” citing Lamborghini CEO Stefano Domenicali.
On the other hand, the Urus has some issues pertinent to its practicality. Though the rear-seat room might be adequate in both the four- and five-seat arrangements, the rear cargo room is limited (ranges from 616 to 1,596 liters) and cannot be compared to what Porsche Cayenne is offering, for example (ranges from 668 to 1,781 liters)! Another issue is related to the Urus’ off-roading capabilities, since developing a true off-roader is a totally new arena for the Sant’Agata-based automaker. However, to quench any doubt about the new comer’s abilities, Lamborgini released a promotional video demonstrates a camouflaged Urus runs over 150 km/h on winding and unpaved roads with the TERRA driving mode activated! Still, we have to take it for a ride to truly test these off-roading abilities!
Finally, many Lambo’s deep-pocket devotees won’t like the idea of having a “raised” super-car with a twin-turbo V-8 versus naturally aspirated V-10 or V-12 units. But, it can equally be argued that Urus is simply a Lambo, after all!
|Type||Bi-Turbo V8, 4.0 Liter|
|Max Power||650 hp at 6,000 rpm|
|Max Torque||850 Nm at 2,250-4,500 rpm|
|0 to 100 km/h||3.6 seconds|
|0 to 200 km/h||12.8 seconds|
|Top Speed||305 km/h|
|In the U.S.||USD 200,000|
|In Europe||EUR 171,429|
|In Italy||EUR 168,852|
|In UK||GBP 131,500|
|Overall Length||5,112 mm|
|Overall Width||2,016 mm|
|Overall Height||1,638 mm|