Prior Convictions: Urus looming

Lamborghini has released some more details of its upcoming Urus SUV. (Along with an undisguised infotainment image it probably wasn't intending to reveal.)

In a series of new videos, available below, a still-disguised Urus can be seen driving on various terrains after flicking through some of its different drive modes, which are Strada, Sport, Corsa, Sabbia, Terra and Neve. (Or Street, Sport, Race, Sand, Dirt/Gravel/Land or something, and Snow.)

Lamborghini says the new Urus will be 'the most versatile Lamborghini for everyday driving in a range of environments'. Which, no, I don't think is particularly easy to understand, either - but I think means: it's rather capable, everywhere.

It's based on the same MLB evo platform as the Audi Q7, Bentley Bentayga and Porsche Panamera, sensibly, I suppose, because what with Lamborghini being a member of VW Group, what else would it be?

The 4wd system, according to reports, can and will put most of its power towards the rear, most of the time, but it can also shuffle most of it forwards, as the big - 2.3 tonne, or thereabouts - Lamborghini tries to make the most of whatever grip you have.

Which is where things will get interesting. Bentley tried to give the Bentayga one of the hardest briefs in the motor industry: be a capable off-roader that's able to tow a big weight one minute, and be a luxury car - and lightly sporting with it - not even at the next minute, but at precisely the same time.

It's possible that Lamborghini is asking more of this car again. Some of the luxury will inevitably go - hence the kerb weight should be lighter than the Bentley's, which will help things, I'm sure - but the track performance will, no question, be turned up.

And so the same compromises and demands will remain because, as an engineer who's himself currently developing a luxury, sporting SUV told me the other day, in true Scotty fashion, that's physics. So the Urus gets the 48v active anti-roll bar system you'll find in Audi's SQ7 and the Bentley Bentayga, which can slacken off the anti-roll bars in a straight line or off-road, to give greater wheel travel and whatever comfort 21-23-inch wheels deign to give you, or stiffen up if you're inclined to give this car a workout. It'll have air springs, and adaptive dampers too.

The Urus also gets a twin-turbocharged 4.0 V8 petrol engine, because, it says, big SUVs suit turbo engines but also more likely because that platform was never meant to house Lamborghini's naturally-aspirated V10 or V12 - sadly, but inevitably. Anyway, it'll make around 650hp, by all accounts.

But the physics issue will never go away. For going off-road you want a tall ground clearance, good approach angles, articulate suspension and serious tyres. Everything on top of that helps, but them's the basics. For going around a race track you want low mass, low height, stiff suspension and minimal roll.

Which is where I'm torn. In a way, I don't feel that I should like a car that tries to do both of these things to such high levels, because ultimately, it's absurd, isn't it? These things are the absolute extreme ends of the automotive spectrum. Why make a 2.3-tonne car and make it drive a) up a sand dune and yet also b) around a race track? The same tyres aren't suitable for both. The same body height isn't suitable for both.

And why the heck would you want car that can do all of those things, anyway? It'll never be as good as anything that's designed to do each one even half properly. It's a patently, blatantly, shamelessly ridiculous and, ultimately, completely pointless idea. I prefer the Audi SQ7 to the Bentley Bentayga for precisely that reason: it's designed to do fewer things, and therefore feels better at those it's set up for.

And yet, here I am, at the same time, thinking: well, why the hell not?






[Spyshots: SB Medien]

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Comments (57) Join the discussion on the forum

  • PhantomPH 24 Nov 2017

    Gonna cost a fortune....and look outrageous! Love it. biggrin

  • SmartVenom 24 Nov 2017

    This just makes me want to cry. True car fans should organise one of those mass screams like ty did against trump. Pointless, but might just make us feel better. Now off to look at pictures of a red countach to make me feel better.

  • Turbobanana 24 Nov 2017

    The thing is though, is it REALLY necessary to be able to do all that you describe? Do owners of (insert prestige SUV here) ACTUALLY want to go off road and round the 'Ring in them, or do manufacturers just think they do?

    My belief, and I'm happy to be proved wrong, is that the vast majority want a big, impressive "look-at-me" kind of a car with a prestige badge on it. And, let's face it, if you can have one with a Lamborghini, Maserati or Bentley badge on then that's as "prestige" as any road car is likely to get (other brands are available).

    The proof seems to be in how many DON'T have towbars fitted, or run 20"+ wheels and road tyres.

    If I was in this rarefied, £100,000+ market I wouldn't care less about off road or track ability: if I did I'd by a proper 4x4 / track car.

  • Quickmoose 24 Nov 2017

    They want the image that it portrays and the obvious status of people knowing how much they have spent getting that image...

    The same way people spend shedloads for a car that'll do over 200mph....and have the quality of ride of an S class...with all mod-tech stuff with aircon and leather....
    If you like extreme hyper cars you won't care how much it costs
    If you like extreme SUVs same applies...
    I think...

  • PhantomPH 24 Nov 2017

    Turbobanana said:
    The thing is though, is it REALLY necessary to be able to do all that you describe? Do owners of (insert prestige SUV here) ACTUALLY want to go off road and round the 'Ring in them, or do manufacturers just think they do?
    Do owners of [insert prestige sportscar here] ACTUALLY want to go 200mph+ and round the ring in them or do manufacturers just think they do?

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