What Lamborghini Urus' unapologetic unveiling tells us about the super SUV

BOLOGNA, Italy — “Like a storm at a wedding,” was Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni’s diplomatically lyrical description of the ‘problemo tecnico’ that plunged the Lamborghini Urus production line into an awkward silence just as the build-up to the car’s unveiling was reaching a crescendo. Given the scale of the event, the hundreds of media, customers and VIPs flown in, the preparation of the new production line for a gala dinner and all the rest of the glitz and glamour, this must have been an excruciatingly embarrassing moment for Lamborghini boss Stefano Domenicali.

If it was, he didn’t show it, gamely jumping into the middle of the unlit arena with the microphone and stalling for time as two examples of the Urus were whisked around from the adjacent production line, brought hurriedly before the waiting crowd and then thrown into the spotlight for R&D boss Maurizio Reggiani to do his thing.

All of this proves that flying all the way to Bologna to attend an unveiling event in person is the last place you want to be if you want the scoop on a new Lamborghini, the vital information on the car already live and online while we folks in the factory were — literally — in the dark.

You’ll have already read the headlines, gasped at the horror of a turbocharged Lamborghini and then again in amazement at the performance stats the 641-bhp 4.0-liter V8 delivers. 0-62 mph in just 3.6 seconds is but a few tenths off what a Huracán achieves, 0-124 mph in 12.8 seconds putting the Urus into the seriously fast league for any type of car, let alone an SUV.

The shock value of the looks has been tempered somewhat by the fact that concepts, test mules and drawings have been in the public domain for a long, long time. We’ve gotten used to the idea of a Lamborghini SUV, and the design theme of an Aventador on stilts was long-previewed. But what’s it like in the metal?

Unapologetic would be one word that springs to mind. But then that’s the Lamborghini way, right? This is not — never has been — a brand for wallflowers. Even with that in mind, the Urus is a middle finger raised to anyone concerned about brand values being cheapened by the fact it shares platform, engine and electrical architecture with similar products from Audi, Bentley and Porsche. You’ll have your own views there. You’ll also realize why Lamborghini had to do it and, perhaps, wonder why it took so long.

Certainly the 48V electrical system shared with the Audi SQ7, new Porsche Cayenne and Bentley Bentayga enables Lamborghini to make the Urus more Super Sports SUV than it ever could have done had it based the car on previous VW group architecture. More so than anything this side of the Cayenne, the Urus needs to be able to shrug off extra weight (and its distribution) to handle like a sports car. The only way you can do that is with tech like active anti-roll and multi-chamber air springs. And the only way you can control hardware like that is with a seriously beefed up electrical system.

This you knew already in all likelihood, ditto the fact you get Neve, Terra and Sabbia driving modes (the latter two optional) in addition to the familiar Strada, Sport, Corsa and driver-configurable Ego settings, activated via a new selector lever dubbed Tamburo. We checked the glovebox for an Italian phrasebook, but in case you couldn’t figure it out already, the Urus is good to go for (respectively) snow, off-road and sand depending on where you happen to live and the conditions you wish to explore in your $200,000 (plus taxes) Super Sport Utility Vehicle.

In the metal, the Urus is everything it needs to be, too: defiantly aggressive, unashamedly pushing supercar styling into the SUV world, and as unlikely to win over skeptics as it is delight those who want more Lamborghini, more of the time. Brand values be damned. Your move, Ferrari.

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