2019 Lamborghini Urus
2019 Lamborghini Urus

Is this really a Lamborghini? You bet it is!

LAMBORGHINI'S Urus SUV sticks with the brand's key character as a massively powerful prestige performer. Unlike its supercar siblings, it glides along in stop-start traffic, relaxed at such pace while soothing the driver with a gentle massage from ventilated seats.

The high-riding, dual-purpose Urus represents a new chapter for the brand with its active cruise control, lane keeping assistance and other features borrowed from the Audi shelf.

Built on the same platform as a handful of Volkswagen Group SUVs including the VW Touareg, Porsche Cayenne and Bentley Bentayga, the Urus is aimed at exploiting demand for ever-flashier crossovers while shoring up the brand's future.

Lamborghini Urus: Propelled by twin turbo V8 and shares VW Group SUV platform
Lamborghini Urus: Propelled by twin turbo V8 and shares VW Group SUV platform

The notion of a four-wheel drive Lamborghini wagon might upset hardcore fans, for whom single-minded two-door supercars such as the Aventador must be unhappy at low speed, with busy gearbox, grabby brakes and outward vision to rival a letterbox.

A wagon makes sense, however, when you consider that the Urus will no doubt attract new customers to the brand - and that no Lambo owner has only one car, so if they're going to drive something with four doors from Monday to Friday, it might as well have the brand's fighting bull badge on the nose.

During our time with the Urus, more than a few people asked the same three questions.

 

IS IT FAST?

Short answer, yes, thanks to the throaty 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 sending its enormous outputs (478kW/850Nm) to all four wheels through a slick eight-speed auto transmission.

Hard launches squeeze the air from your chest as it clocks a claimed 0-100km/h time of 3.6 seconds on to its top speed, 305km/h.

Any player holding a pair of threes for those benchmarks must be taken seriously. Next question …

 

HOW MUCH DOES THE URUS COST?

This isn't easy to answer. Officially priced from $390,000 plus on-roads, the SUV comes at a $10,000-plus premium over the V10-powered Huracan coupe.

Premium positioning: Urus soothes a driver who can afford the $400K starting price
Premium positioning: Urus soothes a driver who can afford the $400K starting price

Our example added more than $70,000 worth of options, pushing its on-road price beyond the half-million dollar mark. Extras include polished 23-inch rims ($10,428), sensational Bang & Olufsen audio ($11,665) and three-year service package ($6009). Yellow brake calipers resembling king-size bananas perched on dinner plates are a bargain at $2121.

Off-road drive modes with trailer towing preparation account for $1237 of the most hypothetical dollars you can spend. You can tow a boat or tear up dirt tracks with the Urus - we wouldn't recommend it. And now the big question.

 

IS THE URUS A REAL LAMBORGHINI?

We've been here before - the Cayenne redefined what it meant to be a Porsche while bringing the brand's values to a new class of car.

The Urus does the same, delivering drama, head-swivelling looks and a driving focus unmatched by any other crossover. Tech such as ceramic brakes, air suspension, four-wheel steering and active anti-roll bars make the Lambo much nimbler than it ought to be.

Urus: Head-turning styling and, among crossovers, unmatched driving focus
Urus: Head-turning styling and, among crossovers, unmatched driving focus

At pace, it feels more like an Audi RS6 performance wagon or BMW M5 sports sedan than a Range Rover rival, showing genuine composure when the driver dips into its deep performance reserves. The trade-off is a brittle ride at low speed and steering that feels a little stodgy compared with low-slung alternatives - but without such horns, it wouldn't be a bull.

 

VERDICT

3.5 stars

Expensive, dramatic and memorable, the Urus isn't perfect. But it deserves to be called the Lamborghini of SUVs.

 

COMING SOON

Lamborghini is in good company - Porsche, Maserati, Rolls-Royce and Bentley have already joined the trend for premium SUVs. Ferrari will join the hyper-SUV crowd with its Purosangue in 2020, shortly after Aston Martin's DBX reaches local showrooms.

 

LAMBORGHINI URUS

Lamborghini Urus
Lamborghini Urus

PRICE $390,000 plus on-roads

WARRANTY/SERVICING 2 years/unlimited km; $6009 for 3 years

ENGINE 4.0-litre V8 turbo, 478kW/850Nm

SAFETY Not yet rated, 6 airbags, AEB, adaptive cruise control, front collision warning, lane keeping assist

THIRST 12.7L/100km

SPARE None; inflation kit

BOOT 616L