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HomeFEATUREDURUS LAUNCHED: A TRUE MANIFESTATION OF LAMBO

URUS LAUNCHED: A TRUE MANIFESTATION OF LAMBO

The Urus is the third arrow in Automobili Lamborghini’s performance utility quiver, that CALVIN FISHER reckons still makes the remaining performance purists huddle over in their dark corners somewhere. They rock themselves calm as marques that once teemed with sports car credentials, now churn out relative buses.

To huddled-over purists, I say, “Wake up or you’ll miss the Zeitgeist”. I refer of course to the trend that premium manufacturers have recently taken, most notably and originally Porsche with the Cayenne and eventually the Macan, to Alfa’s Stelvio and a bevy of Jaguars named F, E and I of Pace. They’re all looking to occupy the loftier clean air that BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi have enjoyed for well over a decade now.

Even Ferrari flirted with all-wheel aspirations with the FF, but that ultimately resembled a hyper hatchback. Not that we’re complaining, though.

As for the Lamborghini Urus, well, with it the Italian supercar maker is attempting to lay claim to the first Super Sports SUV, despite a great challenge from within the VW-Audi Group. I refer to its obvious origins in the group, that MLB Evo platform it shares with the VW Touareg and Audi Q7. But it also spawned the Bentley Bentayga that is no slouch in its own right. In truth, the Bentayga duels with the painfully premium, upper echelons of luxury Rolls-Royce Cullinan. And, I only mention these new cathedrals-on-wheels to rile up those purists in the first paragraph.

WHAT ABOUT THE LM002?

We’ll get to the Urus’s militant predecessor in a bit, but first, we must look at how the new car justifies its raging bull emblem. Under that scowl of a bonnet (and not the boot) resides a 4.0-litre bi-turbo V8 that’s capable of churning forth 478 kW and 850 Nm from its belly.

This endows the 2.2-tonne Super Sports SUV with a blistering (at any size) zero to 100 sprint in just 3.6 seconds. Left at it, it will cross the 200 km/h mark in just 12.8 seconds, and eventually top out at a maximum pace of 305 km/h. Credentials, we’d say, that’s pretty much required to ace any race circuit.

Lamborghini Urus

But this is only half the battle won – the asphalt bit. What about the gravel travel? For this, I will employ the shortest of history lessons – snippets in fact. Lesson one: this is a brand born from farming equipment, which more than qualifies it for playing in the mud.

And then there’s that earlier moniker to consider, on a car that baffled me the moment I encountered it as a 12-year old, not on a bedroom wall poster, but rather a game of Top Trumps. Here the LM002 was an oddity – high of cylinder count (V12, marvellous!) and higher of performance (zero to 100 km/h in 8.4 seconds) when it surely should have been so much lower. Also, there’s a beat in its name you might have missed – it isn’t even the first of a kind, the LM001 precedes it, and the Lamborghini Cheetah precedes that.

The LM series then was not so named in reference to Le Mans, rather the ‘Rambo Lambos’ were literally the Lamborghini Militaria series – rugged off-road utility vehicles reminiscent of American Humvees. Suddenly, the Lamborghini Urus is less “what have we done to deserve this,” and more “what took you so long?”.

LAMBO NEEDS THIS

Lamborghini Urus

There is a myriad of reasons to produce an SUV. The obvious one is demand – the people want SUVs, and crucially, they buy them too. This bolsters the brand, fortifies their position in the market and fills their coffers so that they can still produce the cars we love them for. I do not mean to presume that the 2018 911 GT3 RS exists today because Porsche sells a people-moving Cayenne but, well, it probably helps (a lot).

It really is about scalability. That and the topsy-turvy fact that despite off-roaders having a terrible reputation for petrol-guzzling and ruinous environmental credentials, they’re a lot smaller of an eco-footprint than their unobtanium siblings, the super and hypercar. SUVs niftily shrink the group’s carbon footprint across the board.

THE URUS IS STILL A LAMBORGHINI

Lamborghini Urus

LSM Distributors recently took on the Lambo mantle in South Africa. That’s the same company that owns Porsche and Bentley South Africa, not to mention the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit in Gauteng. They’re resoundingly adept at relaunching a high-end marque like Lamborghini, a fact that was made abundantly clear at the unveiling of the R3.4-million Urus in Cape Town.

For the event, none other than Stefano Domenicali, the passionate Global CEO of Lambo, was in attendance to make it clear that the Urus, along with hybridisation technology was the future of the company, alongside the established running order, a pair of petrol-swilling supercars – in this case, the Huracan and Aventador. Parked alongside them, the Lamborghini Urus clearly has all the commonality you can ask for, despite towering above them. It’s tall, but poised to strike, a medley of chiselled surfaces with hexagonal everything. The arches are swollen, not fat – they’re far too muscular for that – resembling instead the coils of sinew and muscle fibres of a predator in motion. The ‘Y’ details that live in the crystal headlamps are also signature items, as are the vents and creases and the rear lamps that are absorbed into the black wraparound plastic that also houses the logo script.

Athleticism and alacrity are still priorities here so to complement the power, and despite the intended duplicity of its underpinnings, there’s much here to make the Urus a sensation around a circuit. I refer to an advanced adaptive suspension, rear-wheel steer, and the largest carbon-ceramic brakes fitted to any production car, plus sporty centre and rear differentials. There’s Anima, the switchgear selector for the driving modes, complete with evocative Italian names like Strada and Corsa. Still, you can add new Terra and Sabbia modes to the mix if you opt for the extra Off-Road package.

Lamborghini Urus

Yet, once physically confronted by the Urus, I found that clambering aboard its cosseting cabin revealed its most ‘Lamborghini’ of angles, the interior. It is a futuristic affair that sacrifices nothing in the luxury department – a wonderfully tactile experience that surprises and delights the eyes as well as the touch. Obviously, it boasts all the connectivity features 2018 can muster; multimedia and controls are relayed via LIS, or Lamborghini Infotainment System, across two screens. Tech levels are stratospheric with driver aids, smartphone integration, total audio immersion via a 21-speaker system – the list is far too extensive to begin to indulge, so I’ll abandon it and the Urus entirely by alighting its cabin for a moment to ponder.

LAST WORD

This is as much a Lamborghini as the Huracán and Aventador. It is more so when you consider the Sant’ Agata brand over history. Oddly, despite it being more car in terms of physical dimension, many expected the price tag to be less than the supercars it keeps company with. I’ve spent quite a bit of time contemplating this and can only assume that the Lamborghini Urus, while excellent, is not quite super enough. It must play in a saturated market where previously it roamed alone, a champion bull.

Lamborghinis have famously been the ultimate poster car, special even in a world full of supercars. So, while I suppose there’ll be a few who will lament this fact, I guarantee that there’ll be infinitely more who will not care one bit.

Report by CALVIN FISCHER | Images © LAMBORGHINI S.P.A

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