Known for its low slung supercars, Automobili Lamborghini bowed to increasing consumer demand for crossovers and SUVs, using the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit on Monday as the backdrop to introduce its new Urus performance SUV.
Powered by a twin-turbocharged 4-liter V8 engine with 650 horsepower, the 2019 Urus joins the Maserati Levante, Bentley Bentayga and other high-performance luxury SUVs hitting the market recently to meet changing consumer preferences.
“The challenge that we gave to our engineers was to create the right balance between Lamborghini DNA and the expectations of an SUV,” said Maurizio Reggiani, chief technical officer at Lamborghini America.
Lamborghini held the reveal as part of the North American International Auto Show.
The Urus is the first SUV made by Lamborghini since it stopped making the boxy LM002 off-roader in 1992.
But where the LM002 was designed for rugged capability, the Urus is all about speed.
Its powerful engine is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The Urus can accelerate from zero to 62 mph in 3.6 seconds and has a top speed of 190 mph – faster than the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk and Tesla Model X P100D.
“We are sure that Urus will be able to set a new comparison for everybody,” Reggiani said.
The automaker hasn’t said how much the new vehicle will cost. The company currently sells a pair of two-seater sports cars – the $200,000 Huracán and $400,000 Aventador.
Lamborghini said the Urus has the best power-to-weight ratio available in an SUV, even though it tips the scales at 4,850 pounds – more than some versions of light duty pickup trucks like the Ford F-150.
The Urus features high-performance components such as carbon ceramic brakes, four-wheel steering and torque vectoring to send power to the wheel that needs it most. An adaptive air suspension and active roll stabilization keep the Urus comfortable on the highway and aggressive on back roads.
Full-time four-wheel drive is standard. The system sends a majority of the available torque to the rear axle for optimum performance.
While most drivers might question taking It a Lamborghini off-road, the automaker said it designed the Urus with adventure in mind.
There are six driving modes to select. On-road modes include Strada for comfort, Sport for performance and Corsa for the track. Off the pavement there is Neve for additional traction, Terra for all-terrain comfort and Sabbia for the sand. A seventh mode allows the driver to customize the Urus to their preferences.
The exterior design screams classic Lamborghini style with aggressive creases and angles. A wide air intake and honeycomb grille lead the pointed front fascia. The Urus adopts a “coupe-like” silhouette used in many modern SUVs but adds lines and scoops befitting an Italian exotic.
Inside, the Urus seats four or five passengers. It has three digital displays to relay information to the driver. Available materials include leather, wood, aluminum, carbon fiber and the suede-like Alcantara. The Urus offers the most options ever on a Lamborghini.
There is even adequate room for storage. The rear cargo compartment provides 21.8 cubic feet of space. With the second row seats folded down there is 56.4 cubic feet.
Lamborghini sold 1,095 vehicles in the U.S. in 2017, a 5.2 percent increase compared with the year prior, according to industry research firm Autodata Corp.
Lamborghini expects the Urus to increase its U.S. brand sales quickly.
“We believe it will perform really strong in the U.S. market,” said Alessandro Farmeschi, chief operating officer at Lamborghini America.
Recent trends seem to support his theory.
Luxury sport brands Jaguar and Maserati each recently added a new SUV model to their respective lineups. Jaguar sales grew by 8.8 percent in the U.S. in 2017, with 48 percent of sales coming from its F-Pace crossover. Maserati sales rose by 9.4 percent last year, with 40 percent coming from its Levante crossover.
Porsche, a corporate sibling of Lamborghini under the Volkswagen Group umbrella, has seen a sales boom thanks to its Cayenne and Macan SUV models. The two vehicles accounted for 62 percent of Porsche U.S. sales in 2017.
Lamborghini understands that in order to expand its customer base with an SUV, it needs to deliver a vehicle that can be driven every day while still delivering an emotional thrill, Farmeschi said.
“We need to make sure we take the opportunity,” he said.
The 2019 Urus will reach U.S. dealers in the third quarter of this year.