Lamborghini announces its return to SUVs with the striking Urus

After years of testing and months of teasing, Italian car-maker Lamborghini finally unveiled the Urus at its headquarters in Sant'Agata Bolognese, Bologna, Italy Monday. With this, Lamborghini becomes the second sports-car marque after Porsche to accept the inevitable and venture into the big and profitable world of luxury SUVs. Having said that, let's not forget the Urus isn't Lamborghini's first-ever production SUV. That honour goes to the LM002, produced in limited quantity between 1986 and 1993. Powered by a V12 engine from the Countach, the LM002 had on-road performance on par with the supercars of the time and off-road credentials rivaling the very best mud-slingers out there. The Urus, named after a Spanish fighting bull, certainly has big shoes to fill in then. 

Shown in concept form at the 2012 Beijing Motor Show, the Urus has taken its own sweet time to hit the market. And boy, does it impress!

Despite its SUV shape and form, the Urus is every bit a Lamborghini, be it in performance or looks. 

Nestled under that muscular hood is a V8 bi-turbo engine that churns out 650 horsepower and a peak torque of 850 Nm. The Urus accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.6 seconds while 200 km/h is reached in 12.8 seconds. Top speed is a whopping 305 km/h, the highest on a production SUV thus far. Mated to this monster of an engine is a 8-speed automatic gearbox and and a permanent 4-wheel drive system and 4-wheel steering with active torque vectoring, adaptive air suspension with active dampers and roll stabilization system.

Making all these hardware elements work is the Adaptive Network Intelligent MAnagement (ANIMA) Selector that transforms the vehicle's dynamics at the touch of a button. There are a total of seven driving modes to choose from depending on the terrain to be tackled. Three of them - STRADA, SPORT and CORSA are on-road modes while another three - NEVE, TERRA and SABBIA are for off-road purposes. Finally, the EGO mode allows the driver to cutomize the steering, suspension and traction settings.    

Despite its off-road credentials, the Urus stays true to Lamborghini's design ethos. 

Slim headlights featuring Lamborghini's signature illumination sit high on the front fasica that's dominated by a huge air dam. The gaping unit feeds the V8 under the hood and features multiple detailing including Y and hexagonal elements. The muscular hood is adorned with two prominent ridges on either sides and a subtle ridge at the center that ends in a peak featuring the Lamborghini logo. The silhouette features multiple cross lines and creases which, together with the rising window line and flared wheel arches, give the Urus all the aggression that it needs. Out back, the short rear windshield, ultra-slim taillights and the big diffuser with quad tail pipes reveal this isn't your normal SUV.

Lamborghini hasn't forgotten the LM002 - the hexagonal wheel arches and the triangular air vents in the fenders are cues lifted straight off it.

The interiors of the Urus are sporty yet luxurious, trying to strike a balance between the typical Lamborghini customers and luxury SUV-buyers. 

The dashboard and the consoles are centered around the driver, just how a Lamborghini should be. The flat-bottom steering wheel looks nice and features the Italian tricolour. Directly behind the wheel is a fully-digital and customizable TFT screen that acts as the instrument cluster. Two additional screens are placed on the center console - one for infotainment and the other for comfort functions with a virtual keyboard and hand-writing recognition. The Urus is said to feature the largest range of options ever offered on a Lamborghini. A host of colours and materials are on offer as well including natural leather, Alcantara, wood, aluminium and carbon fiber. 

When it goes on sale in 2018, Lamborghini would be hoping that the Urus repeats what the Cayenne did for Porsche. With its striking looks and sizzling performance, Lamborghini's third model line after the Huracan and the Aventador should have no problems in doing that. Ferrari, do you copy?

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