Photographs Vishnu G Haarinath
The gravity of the situation is decidedly unsettling,’ I remember thinking, rather tongue-in-cheek. I was barreling down a piece of tarmac scarcely wider than the car I was in, and fear remained a constant co-passenger. If it’s sounding more dramatic than it should, I should introduce the car I was in: the Lamborghini Urus. It’s a pretty spectacular landmark by the Italian marque that celebrates its departure from mainstream, hardcore, track-ready hooligans with a mainstream, hardcore, track-ready hooligan… that’s an SUV.
What is the Urus? Definitely not a successor to the LM002, but it’s pretty spectacular nonetheless. Lamborghini pegs it as the fastest SUV in the world (0-100 kph in 3.6 seconds and a top speed of 305 kph makes me want to believe that peg). It’s wide, imposing, has a million cuts and streaks along its body and defies logic and necessity. As an example, it’s outright strange to be told that the 22-inch wheels fall in the middle of the range on offer. Twenty-ones, 22s and 23s — that’s what you can have the Urus in, and honestly speaking, they’re all equally mad to look at.
If your intention is to cause shock and outrage to everyone (including yourself) that comes around to have a touch and feel of your car, the Urus does it pretty well. Take, for instance, the 641 bhp and 86.6 kgm that the Urus’s 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 makes. These aren’t numbers that are to be treated lightly, especially that torque figure. They’re about as monstrous as the size of this SUV, and yet, when you’re in it, you don’t quite get that feeling that it will rip off your head if you nudge the accelerator a percent more than required. There’s no violence. I am, of course, speaking of when the car’s in the most severe mode it has on offer — Corsa. What happens in this mode is that the steering is razor sharp, the engine responses are very quick and the gearshifts give you a decent kick every time you shift. In any other Lamborghini, this would enable some serious head-banging, but the Urus’s experience is, well, refined aggression. Pah!
Look, I’m not being picky. Lamborghinis are meant to be outrageous. They’re built with soul and have imperfections that are glaringly obvious and they’re mental to drive and behold. And the Urus delivers that…sparingly. It’s bloody quick, divine to be in, and a right laugh to scare some first-timers with, but the essence of Lamborghini is missing. It’s a bit too good at everything, I’m afraid. Oh, dear.
This is why I preferred sticking to Sport. Here, things get toned down a notch or two, but it’s still plenty, plenty fun, and once I’d gotten the whole point of it being less-than-a-Lambo, it became seriously fun. I know a lot of people say this about a lot of cars, but the Urus really does adore precision. Give it a line, it’ll follow; give it a curve, it’ll attack; give it a hairpin, and it’s around it before you can think, ‘Here we go — understeer!’. There is none, you know? The Urus just doesn’t get out of hand. It’s true that I probably didn’t push it as hard as it could go, but I pushed it plenty (enough to not get the Lamborghini reps worried, at least) and that’s as hard as most would dare, anyway. And it was fun. I stopped thinking of it as an SUV that was more than five metres long and weighed as much as a grocery store. What Lamborghini has done is astonishing. It’s just such a brilliant drive.
Out on an expressway run, I opened it up to see what’s what, and I’ll tell you one thing — it’ll do it. Do what, exactly? Anything. Whatever question you have, as long as it’s not asinine, the Urus will handle it. It’s got this weird ability to just be so underwhelmed with everything that you ask of it, that it’s kind of disheartening at the end of it. It’s just so capable that you never really reach the limit with it, which makes you instinctively question how good a driver you are. It’s a strange feeling, really. The laws of gratitude don’t apply for the Urus. It should, though. The Urus should be a Lamborghini that goads you into a mistake. Not one that’s fatal, mind; just one that’s serious enough to make onlookers think a twat is behind the wheel, and there should be a right bout of laughter in the cabin thereafter. And yet, there’s none of that. the Urus is a bit too good of a vehicle for any of that to happen.
It’s a bit too good at everything, I’m afraid. Oh, dear.
It’s solidly good in a straight line, it defies logic around bends, and you get used to it rather quickly when it’s at a standstill and you’re just eyeing it with a cup of coffee in your hand. It’s a Lamborghini that won’t intimidate after a while. I’m not just saying all this for the heck of it. The Urus gets active anti-roll bars, active torque vectoring, and even rear-wheel steer. To get everything to a decided halt, there’s even carbon ceramic brakes all around. These are the ingredients that make the Urus as good as it is. And then, when you’ve had enough of it being hardcore pretty much all the time, you can switch to Strada and dial everything down to zero. Here, the Urus feels like it’s ready to help old people cross the road, and knit a sweater right after, and be comfortable doing it, too. No fussy behaviour at all. Hmm. Strange.
And while you’re doing all of this, you’ll have plenty of time to go over the various buttons that adorn the dashboard. It’s fairly theatrical as the pictures suggest, and it’s bound to keep you entertained for a while, at least. It’s a bit hard to not spot the numerous bits and bobs that have been taken from the Audi parts bin, but gloss over that and it’s all good. I quite liked the way the Urus’s interior has been done, so good job with that.
The Lamborghini Urus, then. There’s no getting around the fact that this is a thoroughly entertaining car. I mean, when I got into the back and decided to see things from a passenger’s perspective, I was genuinely surprised by how comfortable I was. It’s got everything: multiple climate zones, premium embellishments to make it look like you’re getting your money’s worth, vast, open and airy seats, and an epic dashboard to glance over at every now and then. And then there’s the way it drives: it’s just so perfect. There’s hardly anything to complain about. Even the ride is surprising considering it was running 23s. It’s very quick, very agile, very comfortable, very spacious, brilliantly equipped, and it’ll probably be bullet-proof in terms of reliability. There’s just no way that this isn’t a thoroughly modern car, and a brilliant SUV at that, and truthfully, I shouldn’t have expected less from it. It’s just that, well, I did. I was expecting it to be brilliant and flawed at the same time. It’s supposed to Lamborghini, after all.