I couldn’t use the 2019 Lamborghini Urus’ most aggressive mode with my kid in the back because, well, the acceleration doled out more force than his little neck could handle. Of course, he still loved every second of it. And you don’t have to be a kid to get seduced by this thing.
(Full Disclosure: Lamborghini let me borrow the Urus for a week, and included a full tank of gas that lasted a full two days.)
I was parked on 43rd street, window rolled down, waiting for my wife to come downstairs to meet me when a guy in workman’s clothes sauntered up to the car.
“Hey man, lemme get somma that good energy,” he said, gingerly offering a balled-up fist for a good luck fist bump.
I obliged, not having the heart (or patience) to explain to him that this was a press car, and that I did not own it. Never mind that I was wearing threadbare Old Navy pants and a pilled-up North Face jacket. They say the rich often look poor. The charade continued.
“Man, you got a card or somethin’? I wanna learn what you know.”
His eyes–which seemed to see himself where I was sitting–were pursed into a pleading expression. A week earlier, when I had been seated behind the wheel of my own ’87 Subaru wagon, he wouldn’t have given me a second look. But this costume of a yellow SUV had caught his attention. Throughout my week of Lambo life, other people had heaped me with God’s blessings, complimented me on my success, and straight up asked me, from the street, how much the car cost. Such is the power of a flashy automobile.
Like most people, I wouldn’t even consider buying something this expensive or thirsty. But even I had to admit that on some level of altered reality, the quality seemed worth the price. This, I thought to myself, is really nice. This is a Lambo people can actually use.
Sure, you can still drive like a maniac and impress people who want to be like the bejeweled impresarios depicted in rap videos, but there’s room in this thing for more than just a rich leather bag with a chihuahua in it or a stack of trust fund checks. Unlike most Lamborghini, a baby’s seat actually fit in this one. I even took my recycling to the town dump in the Urus. There’s something to be said for all that.
If the exterior leaves little doubt that the Urus is the Lamborghini of SUVs, the interior drops plenty of reminders, too. There’s soft back suede everywhere, and the engine mode switches look like fighter jet controls. The big red start button is in the middle of the dash beneath a flip-back cover, making firing the thing up feel like you’re arming a weapons system. ...In a way, you are.
The seats are comfortable. They hug you, like seats in a car that can corner at speeds 100-to-200-percent higher than other vehicles can. You can get the same crazy sports car seats in the back row, too, although you only get two of them (which also increases the price by $3,800) instead of three. They also don’t fold down, so you lose that crucial facet of practicality desired by almost all crossover owners: a Costco-friendly convertible cargo space.
That said, the Urus–which sits on the same Volkswagen MLB Evo platform as the Audi Q7 and Q8, Bentley Bentayga, and Porsche Cayenne–boasts a not-too-shabby 22-cubic feet cargo area behind the rear seats. That’s about half the space afforded behind the second row of a Toyota 4Runner, for what it’s worth.
With Lamborghini’s lower-option five-seater second row seats folded, you get more than 56 cubic feet of total haulage. If you sprung for the sports seats, the manufacturer assumes you can afford to call some guys with a box truck to deliver things where you need them to be.
The trunk is more than large enough to accommodate a stroller, groceries, luggage–anything a wealthy family would want to carry if they were sick of trying to find good help to carry it for them.
The LATCH kid seat anchors are straightforward and easy to use, and my son–whose visibility was hampered by a high beltline and lots of black leather and Alcantara–had an unwavering view of the yellow bull logo embroidered into the headrest he was facing. I hope it didn’t leave too much of an impression. Papà can’t afford vehicles that cost nearly as much as the house.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the short term effects of cocaine use include euphoria, increased mental alertness and hypersensitivity to light and sound. In short, they are the same effects one has driving balls-out in a Lamborghini Urus.
Even though I already have, I don’t want to further the cliché connection fast Italian cars seem to have with cocaine though. Suffice to say that the thing is bonkers in a way other high-performance SUVs aren’t. It’s got German reliability meshed in with Italian flamboyance in a package you can use to drive your children to soccer practice really, really fast.
Lamborghini says the cylinder heads are all Lambo, but the engine is basically a juiced-up version of Audi’s already very capable twin-turbo V8. That’s a good thing.
The numbers speak for themselves, but here’s a little anecdote to help you understand the power of this beast of a machine: I was toodling along, minding my own business, when a guy in a dehydrated-morning-piss-yellow Nissan 350Z pulled up alongside. A few blats from his fart can muffler alerted me to the fact that he wanted to see what the Lambo could do. A loud snarl belched from the Nissan as it slowly lurched forward. The next thing I knew, his car was a spec in the rearview mirror. I don’t know what happened.
There are several drive modes to choose from: Strada (street), Sport, Corsa (race), Terra (dirt), Sabbia (sand) and Neve (snow). In Strada mode, you wouldn’t even know you’re driving a vehicle that could easily get you thrown in jail for reckless endangerment. It lowers engine rpms, quiets the exhaust to reasonable levels and softens shifts. Supposedly you get better fuel economy, too. I wouldn’t know.
Sport is great–louder, faster–and Corsa even better–loudest, fastest. I had to promise not to use Corsa with the baby in the car, though, because the car’s acceleration was stronger than his ability to keep his head upright in a rear-facing seat. But he was giggling, so I had no idea until my wife told me. I even tried the Urus on the beach, where it performed splendidly. In most vehicles – especially heavy ones–it’s necessary to air down the tires to avoid sinking in soft sand. After taking a look at the ultra-wide tires on the Urus, I made some quick, non-scientific mental calculations and decided to go for a rip without airing down. Senza problemi, as they say in Sant’Agata Bolognese. I was spared the ever-so-common humiliation of burying an expensive vehicle in the sand as the tide rolled in.
Because of my proclivity to drive a certain way in a car like this, my fuel economy numbers were abysmal. I had expected as much. I drained a couple of 17-gallon tanks without even going 200 miles between fill-ups. Ah well, if you can afford a $250,000 vehicle…
Neither the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety nor the federal government have bothered to crash test the Urus. For starters, Lamborghini isn’t exactly a high-volume brand. The Urus has already increased sales for the high-end Volkswagen subsidiary, but only to the tune of 1,800 or so vehicles. Obviously, if you drive one of these things at the speeds of which they’re capable, you are practically guaranteed to vaporize yourself, along with anyone else in the vehicle.
The last day I had it, I drove the Urus on some errand or other. A county police cruiser fell in behind me at some point, no doubt attracted to the bright yellow look-at-me-and-how-fast-I-can-go paint and edgy, no-really-I’m-not-a-drug-dealer body sculpting, and stayed on my tail for a few miles. I withdrew into my own mind as I cruised along at the exact speed indicated by the roadside speed limit signs, recalling Norman Bates at the end of Psycho. “Look at him. He wouldn’t even harm a fly.” But I was driving a Lamborghini, so how innocent could I really be?
To Lambo purists, who surely exist somewhere, the Urus must be anathema. With all those razor sharp body lines, it sort of looks like an Aventador or Huracán, but the Urus doesn’t approach that weapon-with-wheels-attached level of ridiculousness. But, as sales numbers already indicate, the Urus is appealing to a larger new subset of Lamborghini owner–the marginally practical one. I was never one of those kids with a big poster of a Countach on the wall in my bedroom (there were a few old muscle car models and a book full of dowdy 1930s Mercedes touring cars on the shelf in the corner), so I’d probably fall into this camp.
As for my spouse’s assessment: “This thing might as well be a mistress. Didn’t see my husband much that week and I know he was keeping secrets about where he was and how fast he was going. Send more boring cars, please.”
Of course, considering the price of a Lambo SUV, I and most of my modestly paid colleagues must play an extreme game of pretend to imagine what it would be like to be able to afford one. So the question is, if I had the kind of money to make owning a quarter-million-dollar car a reality, would I get a Urus for my family? You bet your ass, although with the very real prospect of losing my license part of that equation, I’m not sure how long it would be before I’d have to trade it in for a chauffeur-driven Rolls-Royce.