It wasn’t a secret, nor did it come as much of a surprise, but it was a promise delivered.
It has been five years since its debut in Shanghai, and Lamborghini’s Urus SUV has re-emerged as a production model right at the finishing line of 2017, as promised. Surprisingly much of the concept’s edgy shape has been carried over into production form, and what’s more, its interior looks even more bombastic with driving mode selectors that are fashioned after the thrust levers on an aircraft. Utterly magnificent.
The only disappointing part is that it lacks a full-fledged supercar derived V12 engine, something its predecessor, the LM002, was known for. Instead, it has a comparatively tiny twin-turbocharged 4-litre V8 that’s good for 650PS and 850Nm, which is channelled through an eight-speed auto to all four wheels via a four-wheel drive system with a 40/60 front/rear torque split. That is enough to punt this “below 2,200kg” heavy giant to 100km/h from a standstill in 3.6sec.
Still, Lamborghini boasts that the Urus comes with rear-wheel steering, aerodynamics that works, and giant 440mm front and 370mm rear carbon-ceramic brakes to ensure that it has the talent for customers to get the most out of its power, or at the very least, not appear in too many unfortunate events that are soon to be YouTube gold.
Nevertheless, V12 or not, the Urus looks every bit as a Lamborghini should, even more so than the LM002, which was – let’s face it – basically, a military reject that was refashioned as an automotive brick s–thouse for oil sheikhs. And yet the fanbase has moaned and groaned that Lamborghini has succumbed to the “SUV malaise” that has spread throughout the automotive world, which I find perplexing. If anything, the Urus is a bona fide Lamborghini, it is the model that they should be producing because they are Lamborghini.
It is understandable to be upset over the likes of BMW’s X5M and X6M, or at Porsche for the Cayenne and Macan because they were brands whose foundations were built upon racing success and the merit of competition. For them building an SUV was a bit hard to swallow, probably in the same way Taylor Swift fans went a little ballistic when she ‘shook it off’ and went all pop-princess on her music.
But Lamborghini isn’t like BMW M or Porsche, their legacy wasn’t built on racetracks or on high street boulevards. Rather, Ferruccio Lamborghini’s car business started out as the antithesis of the sports car establishment. A two-fingered salute to sports car makers who used their racing pedigree to attract bored aristocrats and wealthy playboys. Instead, Lamborghini didn’t play their game on the racing circuits and focused on building cars that were loud, proud, and captured people’s attention.
Although Lamborghini’s long-serving test driver, Valentino Balboni worked tirelessly to imbue most Lamborghini’s cars with a talent to match its rivals, his work went largely unrecognised by Lamborghini connoisseurs for decades, because most of them were marvelling at the startling looks and startling lack of practical considerations that had come to define Sant’Agata’s cars. Read today’s reviews on the Countach and Diablo and the most common response from the reviewers are the sheer surprise at just how well Balboni’s handiwork was, and how it was buried under the car’s infamous reputation of turning day-to-day driving into a masochistic affair.
Even though Lamborghini today often makes mention of its quest to deliver great handling cars, continually support a gentleman’s racing series, and even gun for the Nurburgring lap record – twice – people still remember Lamborghini as that company that makes cars that are impossible to park, as it is impossible to look away from. And looking at the sheer audacity of the production Urus and the response it elicits, it is a true blood Lamborghini, and people who say otherwise have forgotten of the very rebellious streak that we love Lamborghini for.