Cars

Sport util­ity ve­hi­cles have evolved into an en­tire ecosys­tem of their own, from com­pact to large, and mod­est to lux­u­ri­ous. In 2017, Lam­borgh­ini added an­other facet to the mar­ket with the fastest SUV of them all—the Urus. An­dre Lam heads to Rome to dis­cov

Singapore Tatler - - CONTENTS -

An­dre Lam dis­cov­ers the power of the Lam­borgh­ini Urus, the mar­que’s long-awaited sports car SUV

For the bet­ter part of the last two decades, Lam­borgh­ini was plan­ning to cre­ate a four-door sports saloon to com­ple­ment its su­per­car range, which com­prised the Aven­ta­dor and Hu­racán coupes. It even de­vel­oped a con­cept car called Es­toque but put it into cold stor­age when the sport util­ity ve­hi­cle (SUV) bug started spread­ing across the au­to­mo­tive world like wild­fire. The Ital­ian mar­que, how­ever, wasn’t en­tirely new to the SUV game—it had de­vel­oped a pro­to­type for mil­i­tary use in the late 1970s and later, the road-ready LM002 in 1986—and was thus more par­tial to en­ter­ing the bur­geon­ing car seg­ment. With that, the Urus is born. As Lam­borgh­ini’s de­sign­ers would re­alise, mor­ph­ing the sleek shape of the mar­que’s su­per­cars into a bulkier SUV was a mon­u­men­tal task. They took cues from the mil­i­tary look of the LM002 such as its hexag­o­nal wheel arches, and worked on creat­ing a dynamic an­gu­lar de­sign that would en­sure low aero­dy­namic drag and re­duce aero­dy­namic lift. The re­sult is a fierce and

de­cep­tively com­pact-look­ing five-seater SUV that is ac­tu­ally one of the big­gest in the mar­ket. The Urus’ in­te­rior comes across as the lux­u­ri­ous ver­sion of an air­craft cock­pit. Like its su­per­car si­b­lings, the car’s push start but­ton and tog­gle switches on its cen­tral con­sole give the im­pres­sion that an air­craft de­signer might have had a say on how it would look. In fact, the aero­nau­ti­cal look very much suits the Urus, which boasts a top speed of 305km/h—the fastest for any SUV. And in case one needed any re­mind­ing that this is a Lam­borgh­ini, the car sports the sig­na­ture hexag­o­nal air vents sim­i­lar to that of the Hu­racán.

EX­TREME EN­GI­NEER­ING

On the per­for­mance end, the Urus’ plat­form has been en­gi­neered to be shared with other mem­bers of the Volk­swa­gen Group, namely Porsche and Bent­ley. This means that top speed isn’t its pri­mary goal. Nev­er­the­less, Lam­borgh­ini kept this in mind and de­vel­oped

a new 4.0L V8 engine that in­cor­po­rated two tur­bocharg­ers for the first time to pro­duce an im­pres­sive 650hp and 850Nm of torque. With all-wheel drive, the trac­tion from the be­he­moth’s tyres dur­ing take-off is phe­nom­e­nal, al­low­ing it to claw its way to 100km/h in just 3.6sec. It em­ploys the lat­est eight-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion to send the power to a cen­tre dif­fer­en­tial for dis­tri­bu­tion be­tween the front and rear wheels. All four wheels are con­stantly be­ing driven, with a slight pref­er­ence to­wards the rear. The car also has rear-wheel steer for greater agility and sta­bil­ity. The Urus has a be­wil­der­ing ar­ray of hard­ware and con­trol sys­tems to do your bid­ding but to sim­plify the func­tions, Lam­borgh­ini col­lates them into a sin­gle master con­trol switch called Tam­buro, which lets you ac­cess the Lam­borgh­ini driv­ing dy­nam­ics con­trol sys­tem. De­pend­ing on the road con­di­tions, the drive modes in­clude Sport, Strada (street), Corsa (track), Terra (off-road) and Neve (snow) . Equipped with the lat­est three-cham­bered air sus­pen­sion, the car can also raise ride height for ter­rain cross­ing or lower it­self for a sportier drive. Granted, the Urus isn’t the last word in com­fort, but con­sid­er­ing its overtly sporty na­ture, it does de­liver a de­cently cush­ioned ride. The rea­son for this is the com­bi­na­tion of air sus­pen­sion and an ac­tive anti-roll sys­tem that pre­vents body roll in cor­ners. It is a clever en­gi­neer­ing so­lu­tion that al­lows you to have your cake and eat it.

LAP TIME

When in Rome on the in­vi­ta­tion of Lam­borgh­ini, I drove the Urus through the city as well as off-road and on the race track. The track is not the usual stomp­ing ground for an SUV, so hav­ing us take it on dur­ing

this trip showed Lam­borgh­ini’s con­fi­dence in the Urus’ abil­i­ties. And of course, we drove in the Corsa mode for a fe­ro­cious sports car ex­pe­ri­ence. Re­mark­ably, the car’s huge car­bon ce­ramic brakes soaked up the pun­ish­ment from any hard brak­ing. The im­mensely pow­er­ful engine also made the car feel nearly as spir­ited as the Hu­racán. In the cor­ners, it was not quite as ag­ile as its su­per car sib­ling though it has no equal in its seg­ment. Its mas­sive 23-inch wheel and tyre com­bi­na­tion, which is op­tional, en­sured in­cred­i­ble grip to the ground, so it took de­lib­er­ate pro­vok­ing to un­hinge the Urus. My ex­pe­ri­ence with the Urus turned out to be a lot bet­ter than I had ex­pected. I might have been a tad dis­ap­pointed that it didn’t have a rau­cous V12 engine, but its V8 engine more than made up for it with a mighty punch. Most im­por­tantly, su­per­car own­ers who have been lament­ing about only us­ing their ride on the week­ends now have the per­fect so­lu­tion that even their fam­ily can ap­pre­ci­ate.

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SKIL­FUL STROKES De­signer Mitja Bork­ert (be­low) churns out de­sign ren­der­ings of the Lam­borgh­ini Urus, which sports a striking su­per­car­likeap­pear­ance

CHAL­LENGE AC­CEPTED Lam­borgh­ini may have had three decades of rest since it last built an all-ter­rain car, but look­ing at how well the Urus drives off-road, it clearly has not lost its touch

IN HAR­MONY The in­te­rior de­sign of the Urus re­veals an aero­nau­ti­cal in­flu­ence that com­ple­ments the car’s edgy ex­te­rior styling

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