Lamborghini's new Urus SUV is US$200,000 of awesome

By Bloomberg News, December 5 2017
Lamborghini's new Urus SUV is US$200,000 of awesome

Lamborghini's long-awaited Urus SUV fills the gap in the automaker’s lineup previously bereft of a utility vehicle. Lamborghini is among the last automakers worldwide to add an SUV or crossover to its portfolio of models.

Urus has a 650-horsepower, 4.0 liter V8 twin-turbo engine and gets 850 Nm of torque from a 4WD, eight-speed automatic transmission. It can hit 62 mph in 3.6 seconds and will continue accelerating all the way to 190 mph. The standard model rolls on 21-inch rims and comes with adaptive air suspension and carbon ceramic brakes, as well as active roll stabilization.

Inside, the Urus has a slim dashboard inspired by the no-nonsense, military-style LM002 truck.

Lamborghini-signature hexagonal shapes grace the air vents, door handles, and cup holders. It has seating for four or five, depending on whether the buyer chooses the rear bench seat or a 2+2 seating format. High-quality leather, alcantara, carbon fiber, and polished woods are replete throughout.

This being Lamborghini, upgrades are always upgrades, such as 23-inch rims, a 1,700 watt Bang & Olufsen 3D sound system with 21 speakers, or an off-road package with reinforced bumpers and underfloor protection.

Urus also features such new technologies for Lamborghini as a rear tailgate that is electrically operated via a switch on the driver’s door, a button on the key, or a manual button on the tailgate itself. Users may find rear space lacking; the low roofline styling of the small “sport coupe” BMW X6 is apparent here as well, and rear-seat room in the X6 comes at a premium.

The US$200,000 utility vehicle is the Italian company’s first since it halted production of the LM002 in 1993. Company executives unveiled a concept of the rig five years ago, but this is the first time they have shown a real-life production version to the public. As has long been tradition at the automaker, the name Urus is derived from the world of bulls: Urus, also known as Aurochs, was one of the large, wild ancestors of today’s domesticated cattle.

“Lamborghini is a hidden gem, and adding the Urus SUV will propel volume closer to Italian rival Ferrari,” Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Michael Dean said in an note about the vehicle. The model could lift the brand’s earnings by more than 50 percent in 2019, Dean said. The Urus will more than double the company's annual output of fewer than 3,500 units sold worldwide, according to Lamborghini.

Indeed, the addition of the Urus to Lamborghini’s otherwise extreme fleet of track-ready supercars – most outfitted with dihedral doors or outré spoilers that scream for attention – is intended to expand its appeal to both families and female buyers. It’s fairly small for an SUV and has multiple entertainment and personalization settings meant to appeal to younger, cosmopolitan buyers or anyone looking for a Lamborghini he or she can comfortably use in places other than a racetrack.

Chief Executive Officer Stefano Domenicali has often said the Volkswagen Group-owned house is working to soften its tone from the racer-boy image of the past.

“A bull is always aggressive, but I would like to give us a new philosophy toward the future: A bull can be gentle,” he said last year.

Roughly 5 percent of the company’s global buyers are female, according to Lamborghini, and most of them live in the U.S. and Europe. (In the U.S., women buy 53 percent of all small SUVs and 48 percent of small premium SUVs, according to J.D. Power & Associates.)

The SUV is also expected to help boost the brand in China, the world’s largest auto market, where buyers prefer large sedans and crossovers. Last year Lamborghini sold a mere 188 units in China, compared with 303 in the U.K., a market 90 percent smaller.

Deliveries of the Urus start in early 2018.

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