Urus launch provides lesson in the benefits of subtly

Urus launch provides lesson in the benefits of subtly

LAMBORGHINIS are ostentatious things, low, loud and sinister compared to the general population they get around in. So it was perhaps fitting that the Melbourne launch party for the Italian brand’s inaugural sports utility vehicle was a wildly busy affair. At full swing, it felt more like a nightclub than a car unveiling, with a shoulder-to-shoulder presence largely of men of European persuasion, some besuited and bejewelled, others sporting seriously slick hair and most of them engaged in conversation that was loud and flamboyant.

‘Lamborghini claims to have created a new niche in the luxury SUV segment. This is no ordinary SUV - it’s a Super Sport Utility Vehicle.’

Efforts by a visiting Italian Lamborghini spokesman to deliver a well-prepared presentation on the car’s offerings were drowned out by the party pack who clearly just wanted to get on with the show. It was embarrassing, especially given that a man who could be considered Italian automotive royalty, Horacio Pagani, was present. Is this why people throw eggs at these cars? I hope for Lamborghini’s sake that that’s not the case because women are the target market for the Urus and, as society is finally coming to understand, women don’t take kindly to being targets in day to day life. But they do enjoy luxury, and they love beautiful things, so those in the market for an SUV might like to take a look at this car.

In the Urus - named after a Spanish fighting bull - the Italian sports marque claims to have created a new niche in the luxury SUV segment. This is no ordinary SUV, apparently. It’s a Super Sport Utility Vehicle. Nevertheless, it’s not surprising there’s something remarkably familiar about the look of this car. It shares the same platform as its nearest rival, the Bentley Bentayga, as well as the Porsche Cayenne and Audi Q7. 

There’s no denying that the Italian 5-seater is a cool-looking car. It has a lower line than most in its class and its imposing front end and fender are topped with a peak mounded bonnet, bringing in shades of the Aventador. It actually should be thought of as a powerful super sports car, first and foremost, dressed up as an SUV. 

‘Those willing to take this beast off road might want to consider the Off-Road Package for the odd occasion when they feel like taking the Urus dune surfing. [Yeah, right!]’

Inside the look is extravagant, with the cockpit designed to make the driver feel like a pilot, right down to the flip-up ignition switch. Passengers are likely to enjoy being in it, too, given the combination of luxurious finishes and latest technologies. The seating positions are low, with all the controls within easy reach. Hexagonal references typical of Lamborghini feature on air vents, door handles and cup holders. A three-spoke steering wheel houses the indicators and windscreen wiper switches as well as most of the car’s infotainment controls including car set-up, media, phone and navigation. These details, which are rendered in 3D animation on a fully digital screen, can be customised by the driver.

The front electric sport seats, designed specially for the Urus, come heated as standard with 12-way adjustability. Ventilation and massage features can be optioned into a more luxurious 18-way version. In the back, trunk space extends from 616 litres to 1.596 litres by lowering the rear bench. For a sportier, more comfortable option, a two-rear seat alternative can be organised. 

As you’d expect, leather and trim options are expansive with stitching, complementary seat belt, floor mat and carpet colours able to be fully customised. The Piano Black and Brushed Aluminium dash can be upgraded with Open Pore wood and carbon fibre. An eight-speaker sound system comes standard in the car but can be replaced with a pretty fancy 21-speaker Bang & Olufsen system.

Lamborghini says the car has a dual personality - it can be specified to be as sporty or elegant as the owner wishes to provide an elegant daily drive or dynamic sports experience. Those willing to take this beast off road might want to consider the Off-Road Package which builds in metal-reinforced bumpers and additional underfloor protection for the odd occasion when they feel like taking the Urus dune surfing. (Yeah, right!) 

The rear wheels do the steering and come standard with 21-inch wheels, though can be specced up to 23-inches. Bigger may look better and shouldn’t interfere with this car’s two-thirds body, one-third window ratio typical of Lamborghini super sports cars. I’ll be very curious to see what the visibility is like out the back when driving this car given the slingback nature of its rear.

Under the bonnet, you might be surprised to know that the 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 engine is the first turbo in the automaker’s history. It’ll be quick, with a claimed 3.6 seconds to the 100km/h point and a top speed of 305km/h, making it the fastest SUV in the world, pipping the Bentley Bentayga’s short reign with that title. At 2.2 tonnes of car, that’s not bad. Not that Madam Wheels would be encouraging anyone out there to test things to that level.

Still, it’s good to know that if you did want to put this car on a race track, the suspension setup is adaptive and can be adjusted to meet requirements on the asphalt as well as off-road, with six driving modes available from road to race. As with all Lambos, you’ll feel and hear the difference in engine note, particularly as you switch from Strada to Corsa modes.

As I left the thunderous noise and smoky haze of the Urus launch event, I was reminded just how unhelpful it can be to standout too much. On the street in front, an impressive lineup of Lamborghinis graced the road but their owners were going to be less-than-impressed with the attention their cars had attracted in their absence. One after the other wore parking tickets on their windscreens. Which just goes to show that, sometimes, it pays to be subtle.

The base price for the Urus will be $A309,000 (including GST and the luxury car tax) before on-road costs. But customers won’t start seeing their cars before October this year.