DETROIT – A pavement-hugging Lamborghini Huracán is not the best vehicle for driving through the Alps for a weekend ski trip, nor is a low-slung Aventador suited for climbing a sand dune.
Enter the Lamborghini Urus, unveiled here during the North American International Auto Show, and billed as the world’s fastest SUV, capable of a sprint to 62 mph (100 km/h) in 3.6 seconds, yet well suited for treacherous terrain, with room for up to five people and three sets of golf clubs.
The Italian brand with a rich heritage tied to exotic cars capable of extreme speeds has been narrowly focused for generations on sleek machines intended to be experienced almost exclusively by a driver and one passenger. The automaker wants to change that.
“I believe there are those who will enjoy the daily drive, so they can have a bit of excitement driving the car, a Lamborghini,” Alessandro Farmeschi, Automobili Lamborghini America chief financial officer, says when asked by WardsAuto how customers will use the Urus (pronounced OO-rus).
“On a daily basis, they can have some fun with friends, with family. They can be going skiing in the mountains, or maybe have a week out enjoying their holidays somewhere,” Farmeschi says. “This is a car that has different souls. It can be an extreme sport car, but also a car you can use on a daily basis.”
Lamborghini’s customer base has been predominately male, but the company welcomes the prospect of women behind the wheel of the Urus, now positioned as Lamborghini’s first modern family car and going on sale in the third quarter.
With a base price of $200,000 – well below that of the Huracán and Aventador – and newfound versatility for the brand, Farmeschi tells WardsAuto he is convinced the Urus will at least double Lamborghini’s sales globally.
The brand sold a record 3,815 vehicles globally in 2017, representing a 10% improvement over the prior year. The U.S. is Lamborghini’s No.1 market (1,095 cars sold in 2017), and Farmeschi expects the Urus to be popular also in Japan, the U.K., Germany and Canada.
Part of the Volkswagen Group, Lamborghini derives its Urus SUV from the MLB Evo platform, which also underpins the Audi Q7, Porsche Cayenne and Bentley Bentayga. But each of these vehicles are significantly different from each other, as each brand adapted the architecture to advance certain dynamic attributes.
In the case of the Urus, Lamborghini styled the SUV to carry on the dramatic, athletic design lines of the Huracán and Aventador, with a roof line much lower than other luxury utility vehicles.
The Urus comes equipped with 4-wheel drive and up to six different driving modes, plus a customizable EGO mode, to adapt to any kind of terrain.
A 4.0L twin-turbo V-8 – Lamborghini’s first turbocharged production engine – delivers 650 hp at 6,000 rpm, with a staggering specific output of 163 hp per liter and a weight-to-power ratio of 7.4 lbs. (3.38 kg)/hp, the best among luxury utes. Porsche also has a 4.0L twin-turbo V-8 for the Cayenne, but Farmeschi says the Urus’ engine is unique.
The Urus has a top speed of 189.5 mph (305 km/h), making it the fastest SUV on the planet.
The name Urus is derived from the world of bulls – a tradition at Lamborghini. The Urus is one of the large, wild ancestors of domestic cattle. Today’s Spanish fighting bulls, as bred for the past 500 years, remain close in appearance to the Urus.
Automobili Lamborghini Chairman and Stefano Domenicali says the Urus embodies a new chapter for the brand.
“This is one car that can be super cool in the city center, can be fantastic driving on the gravel, or on ice, or in the sand, or dune surfing. Do whatever you want,” Domenicali says at the unveiling, staged at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit.
“At the end of the day, Lamborghini is an emotion, to be shared with your friends,” he says.