What Car? says...
Before you throw your hands up in disgust at the thought that the Lamborghini Urus is an SUV that wears the legendary raging bull emblem on its nose, we should mention that it's not a first.
Indeed, Lamborghini initially dabbled with off-roaders in 1977 before launching the LM002 – nicknamed the Rambo-Lambo – in 1986. Only a few hundred of those were produced and the model is largely forgotten today, but times have changed and lots of car brands have sports SUVs in their line-up now.
Naturally for a Lamborghini there’s no sensible diesel engine under the bonnet. Instead, you get a 4.0-litre V8, with a couple of turbochargers strapped on for good measure. The result is a mighty 657bhp – enough to hurl the Urus from 0-62mph in just 3.5sec. If you go for the more extreme Performante version, that time is dropped to 3.3sec, matching the Aston Martin DBX 707.
Although you could argue that the luxurious Range Rover could be a rival, the Lamborghini Urus is really closer to the similarly rapid Bentley Bentayga W12 and the Porsche Cayenne Turbo – both of which share plenty of oily bits with it.
So does the Urus prove that the performance car maker can build a fantastic sports SUV or should it stick to building supercars (the Lamborghini Huracán for example)?
Stick with us over the next few pages of this review as we answer that exact question. We'll tell you what the Urus is like to live with, what the buying and running costs are like, and whether it drives like a proper Lamborghini.
Once you’ve finished reading all about the Urus, remember we can help you get your next car for the lowest price if you search our free What Car? New Car Deals pages. They have lots of the best new sports SUV deals.
Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
A quick glance at our test car’s giant 22in wheels (21in wheels are standard and you can even have 23in ones) might lead you to think that the Lamborghini Urus will be about as comfortable as riding a shopping trolley over corrugated iron.
Mercifully, that's not the case, thanks to air suspension with lots of clever electronic controls. Yes, you do feel the car fidget more over crumbling road surfaces than in the Bentley Bentayga – especially at low speeds – and the Urus certainly prefers smoother surfaces, but it’s never downright uncomfortable.
In its softest Strada suspension setting, it proves relaxing over undulating Tarmac, and is compliant without feeling wallowy or uncontrolled. In Sport mode, there’s still enough give to deal with all but the worst bumps.
Indeed, if you keep to Strada or Sport, you’ll find the Urus very easy to live with in mundane driving scenarios. The firmest setting, Corsa, on the other hand, is best left for track driving or the smoothest of continental roads.
Right, now we’ve got the sensible stuff out of the way, let’s focus on more exciting matters – the handling and performance.
For something that weighs well over two tonnes, the Urus turns in to corners very keenly. The steering is quick, and it gets faster the more you turn the wheel. Although the weighting feels a little unnatural when that happens, you quickly get used to it, so you can place the nose accurately.
Once you’ve got the Urus turned in, you’ll notice that there’s very little body lean, regardless of your speed. That's down to another piece of clever tech: active anti-roll bars, which help to prop up the body in bends to the point that this sports SUV rolls less than some estate cars. Combined with tyres large enough to roll a cricket pitch, that gives you ridiculously high grip levels.
The Urus has another trick up its sleeve to make it even better at corners – four-wheel steering, which helps agility and reduces the turning circle at low speeds by turning the rear wheels in the opposite direction to the fronts. When you speed up, they turn in the same direction, improving stability.
Whether you go for the S or Performante version, the 657bhp V8 engine gets no less exciting. In fact, it's fast to the point that your vision starts to go slightly blurry at the edges. It launches hard from a standstill, then when it hits second gear it really gets going, reeling in the horizon like a frenzied fisherman.
Although you’re unlikely to complain about the way it picks up from around 1500rpm, it gets into its stride beyond 3000rpm on its way to more than 7000rpm. The engine is always audible but not intrusively so in Strada mode. In Sport or Corsa it sounds far meatier and chucks a few pops and crackles in for good measure.
It’s easy to keep the engine spinning in its sweet spot. The automatic gearbox kicks down keenly and is smooth in Strada mode. Sport mode makes it hang on to gears a bit too long, while Corsa adds a real thump with every gearchange. You can take over gear selection with paddles behind the steering wheel, and it’s very responsive when you do. As for the brakes, you get carbon ceramics as standard that resist fade well, stop the car quickly and are easy to modulate.
The S comes with a few modes for different off-road terrains, while the Performante comes with a Rally mode. They jack up the air suspension for more ground clearance and change how power is fed to the wheels. While the car will deal with slippery conditions with ease, it’s not as capable as a Range Rover.
The interior layout, fit and finish
There are plenty of Lamborghini-specific touches inside the Urus. From the fighter jet style covered starter button to the angular air vents, it looks very different to the (related) Audi Q7, the Bentley Bentayga and the Porsche Cayenne. If you look closer you will see Audi switches, stalks and even display fonts, but everything feels of high quality.
You’ll find dense and squishy plastics, supple leathers, grippy Alcantara and fancy trims throughout. Even though it shares some switchgear with the Audi A4 the Urus looks and feels as expensive as you’d expect.
The twin-screen infotainment system and digital instrument cluster will also look familiar to those with high-end Audis. The good news is that both have sharp graphics, are responsive to commands and have menus that are easy to get used to. You also get smartphone connectivity as standard.
It’s not perfect, though. We still prefer dial-controlled systems such as BMW’s iDrive, because you don’t have to take your eyes off the road quite so much to operate them, and the second screen is a bit of a faff. It looks smart, but physical controls for heating and ventilation are far easier to use than a touchscreen.
Once you’ve acclimatised, you’ll find it easy to get comfortable. The front seats come with electric adjustment as standard, including for lumbar support, and there’s loads of movement in the steering wheel.
The only negatives are pedals that are slightly offset to the right and poor rear visibility. You get front and rear parking sensors and a 360-degree camera system to make parking manoeuvres far less stressful.
Passenger & boot space
How it copes with people and clutter
Even tall adults won’t feel hemmed in up front in the Lamborghini Urus – this is a big sports SUV after all. Head room is good, the driver’s seat goes back a long way and there’s plenty of elbow room. There are even a few cubby holes dotted about and a large tray behind the lower touchscreen.
You can have your Urus with four or five seats, and in both configurations the back seats can be reclined. Leg room is very good in the rear, even with a couple of tall individuals up front. Head room is not so good because of the sloping roof line – you’ll find loads less than in the back of the Bentley Bentayga and a six-foot-plus adult is likely to find their head touching the roof.
The boot is wide enough to take two golf bags without having to remove clubs. At 616 litres with the seats up, it's about the same volume as the one in the Porsche Cayenne. With the seats folded down, you get 1596 litres, which is around 100 litres short of the main rivals. The boot has a useful square shape, with an electric tailgate (gesture control is optional) and a kneeling function helpful for loading a few heavy crates of champagne.
Buying & owning
Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is
It’s ‘state the obvious’ time: the Lamborghini Urus is not cheap, costing more than three times the price of the (more practical) Audi Q7. Still, even the entry-level S version comes rammed full of kit, including LED headlights, air suspension with active anti-roll bars, an electric tailgate, leather trim, electrically adjustable heated front seats and, of course, a 657bhp V8 engine.
If you want even more performance and focus, you'll want to take a look at the top-spec Performante. Much like the Lamborghini Huracán Performante, it comes with upgraded aerodynamics and is constructed using lighter materials. As a result, it’s slightly faster from 0-62mph and has a higher top speed.
Regardless of which you choose, the expense doesn’t end when you’ve bought your Urus. The official fuel-economy figure for both versions suggests a meagre 23mpg. That's achievable if you're careful, but can drop into the teens with ease.
The Urus emits an awful lot of CO2 – 320g/km, officially. That puts it in the top 37% bracket for company car tax and, on top of the £165 annual car tax, you’ll incur the £355 ‘premium’ fee in years two to six of your ownership.
Although Euro NCAP hasn’t crash-tested the Urus, all other SUVs built on the same underpinnings have scored the full five stars. You get automatic emergency braking (AEB) and a selection of electronic safety aids, including an anti-lock braking system and stability control.
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In short, yes. With a 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 under its bonnet, the Urus can sprint from 0-62mph in 3.5sec and on to a top speed of 190mph. The Performante version is lighter and even faster, matching the Aston Martin DBX 707’s 0-62mph sprint of 3.3sec.
Performante is the most expensive of the two Urus trims. Like the S below it, it comes with loads of equipment, but is more focused on performance, with lighter construction materials and revised aerodynamics.
|RRP price range||£185,511 - £213,743|
|Number of trims (see all)||2|
|Number of engines (see all)||1|
|Available fuel types (which is best for you?)||petrol|
|MPG range across all versions||20 - 20|
|Available doors options||5|
|Company car tax at 20% (min/max)||£13,531 / £15,620|
|Company car tax at 40% (min/max)||£27,062 / £31,240|