When the SUV craze began, arguably with the Ford Explorer in the early 1990s, followed by the Mercedes-Benz M-Class beginning the luxury SUV craze later that decade, I think we all wondered how far it would go. Would Mercedes-Benz someday offer two SUVs? Now they have seven. Would Audi get an SUV? Now they have four. Would there be ultra-luxury SUVs?
But I don’t remember ever wondering, until recently, whether Lamborghini would make an SUV. That part of the SUV craze started when Bentley debuted the Bentayga, and Maserati came out with the Levante and other brands not traditionally associated with SUVs started coming out with SUVs. Well, it’s continued: Alfa-Romeo now has an SUV, Rolls-Royce is bringing one out soon and now there’s a Lamborghini SUV.
As crazy as the prospect of a Lamborghini SUV sounds, oddly, it isn’t their first rodeo. Lamborghini made an SUV once before, back when SUVs were very different than they are today — trucky, blocky, utilitarian vehicles, all variations of off-roaders. Lamborghini called their SUV the LM002, and it was powered by a V12, borrowed from the Countach sports car and mounted up front.
When I heard Lamborghini was going to make an SUV, my initial hope was that it would be similar to that one. I figured that Lamborghini already makes some of the craziest road-going sports cars, so it only makes sense that they’d want to build the craziest off-road SUV. Unfortunately, this wasn’t in the cards: Instead of a new LM002, a competitor to used Hummer models and the Mercedes-Benz G-Class, we have the Urus — the highest-performance SUV ever.
Not that I’m disappointed. On paper, the Urus is absolutely phenomenal, using a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 with a truly amazing 640 horsepower and 627 lb-ft of torque — good for 0-to-60 in 3.5 seconds and a top speed of 190 miles per hour, which makes this the fastest SUV in history. Consider that: this is the fastest SUV in history. Faster than the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, which — despite its raucous 707 horsepower — can only do a mere 180 mph.
So, obviously, I wanted to check out the Urus — and after Lamborghini announced it in December, it’s finally here. Well, sort of. The one I checked out was a European model lent to O’Gara Coach La Jolla, the Lamborghini dealership here in the San Diego area for demonstration purposes only, meaning it couldn’t be driven on public roads — so I just spent a few hours poking around it and checking out its quirks and features. But what I discovered is that there are a lot of quirks and features, and I’m really excited to drive it when the time comes.
The main reason I’m so excited is that the execution throughout the car is really terrific. The styling is a bit unusual, yes, and I certainly notice some Audi in the rear quarter-panel area — undoubtedly some hard points of the shared architecture that simply couldn’t be changed for production, even by mighty Lamborghini. But the general exterior aesthetic is nice, with sharp lines and aggressive styling befitting a Lamborghini.
More importantly, however, the interior is excellent. The example I checked out had rich Italian leather on all the right surfaces, with high-quality finishes throughout. There were four bucket seats — though you can specify a bench in back — and everything was high-quality and appropriately "Lamborghini-ish," with some weird quirks like a strange gear operation where you pull a giant lever backwards to engage reverse, like you’re pulling up in an airplane. The Urus also boasts virtually all of the latest technology, from a 3D camera to make parking easy to six different drive modes and a wide range of safety features. Here, finally, is a Lamborghini you can truly drive every day.
I have no doubt that many people actually will drive it every day, because it’s not as expensive as you might think. The Urus is expected to start around $200,000, or around $250,000 when equipped with the usual options. Massive money, obviously, but not so bad when you consider it offers the performance of a Huracan and the practicality of a Lexus RX. It’ll go on sale in September, and my guess is you’ll start seeing them on the road soon after: the 640-horsepower beast of the carpool run.
MORE FROM OVERSTEER:
Here’s Why This Porsche Speedster Isn’t Worth $200,000 –– Because It’s a Volkswagen
Yes, I Really Do Need That Many Cup Holders
Here’s Everything That’s Broken on My Cheap V12 Mercedes SL600