2019 Lamborghini Urus first drive review: All-around superstar


Corsa

Speed builds quickly in the 2019 Lamborghini Urus on the North Course of The Thermal Club outside of Palm Springs, California. I look down between turns 9 and 1, and the digital speedometer reads 126 mph and climbing. It feels like 80. Still, I feel I need more power. That’s what happens when you’re chasing Shinya Michimi, the 2016 Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America champion in the world’s first super SUV.

Not only can the Urus slay a track, it could attack a rally stage, pick up the kids and the groceries, and let onlookers know with no degree of uncertainty that you’re doing quite well for yourself.

2019 Lamborghini Urus, Palm Springs media drive, December, 2018

2019 Lamborghini Urus, Palm Springs media drive, December, 2018

2019 Lamborghini Urus, Palm Springs media drive, December, 2018

2019 Lamborghini Urus, Palm Springs media drive, December, 2018

2019 Lamborghini Urus, Palm Springs media drive, December, 2018

2019 Lamborghini Urus, Palm Springs media drive, December, 2018

A twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8 courtesy of the Volkswagen Group provides the ludicrous power. It’s used by Porsche and Audi, but here it’s tuned to the hilt to make 641 raging horses at 6,000 rpm and 627 determined pound-feet of torque from 2,250 to 4,500 rpm. This V-8 is no lightweight in its other guises, but Lamborghini engineers saw fit to change out the heads, pistons, connecting rods, valves, camshafts, intake manifold, turbos, and exhaust system to give it a distinct Italian flavor. Those turbos force up to 26 psi of boost into the combustion chambers to light off with a commensurate amount of gasoline. The big explosions of air and fuel shoot the Urus from 0-62 mph in 3.6 seconds and propel it all the way to a top speed of 189 mph.

The V-8 barks and growls as it accelerates, with a low, guttural tone, burps between gears of the quick-shifting 8-speed automatic transmission, then snaps and pops when I let off the throttle on the approach to the next turn.

2019 Lamborghini Urus, Palm Springs media drive, December, 2018

2019 Lamborghini Urus, Palm Springs media drive, December, 2018

I’m running in Corsa (Track) mode because when you have three laps in a 641-hp Lambo SUV, you go for broke. Initially, I let the transmission do the shifting, but after about a lap I feel the transmission could give me a lower gear on occasion, so I begin to grab the steering wheel-mounted magnesium shift paddles as I enter the turns.

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That part works to perfection because I can knock it down multiple times and the computer will determine the lowest possible gear that the revs will allow. Unfortunately, the plan backfires immediately. Yellow lights come together in the instrument cluster and turn red to act as a shift light, but with my eyes on the track and the V-8 revving at will, the Urus falls on its face when the V-8 hits the rev limiter at 6,500 rpm before I’m ready to shift. I quickly grab the next gear and resume my chase of a Squadra Corse champion.

For the most part, I can keep up, and I can cheat a little because he’s not going all out. My hole card is the monster set of carbon ceramic brakes. The Urus’ standard 17.3-inch front rotors are the the largest on the market and its 10-piston calipers are tied for the most pincers on any vehicle. The rear features 14.6-inch rotors with six-piston calipers that would stop your Corvette just fine if they were mounted up front. Together they bring the heavy Urus to a stop from 62 mph in a tidy 110 feet.


 
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