Before Lamborghini revealed its long-awaited Urus SUV at a star-studded celebration inside its Sant’Agata, Italy headquarters last month, a crowd of 700 sat in the dark with the same question: What will it look like? A light show, acrobatics performance, and 15 minutes of technical difficulties heightened the anticipation. Perhaps the Urus would look like an updated version of Lamborghini’s first off-roader, the LM002, discontinued a quarter century ago. Or maybe it would bear a stronger resemblance to its two current models, smacking of a Huracan or Aventador struck by a Super Mario Bros Mega Mushroom.
Once CEO Stefano Domenicali finally drew the curtain from Lamborghini’s newest family member, the answer was apparent: all of the above. The $200,000 Urus, which arrives in the spring, undeniably hews to the design theme of the LM002, with its signature square wheel arches, but look closer and its two-seater coupe lineage is clear. Now a stateside audience can see the SUV up close, as the Urus makes its North American debut at the Detroit Auto Show.
In the five years it spent developing the SUV’s production version, Lamborghini knew that designing the Urus wasn’t a simple exercise in making a milder version of a preexisting model. “Design is one of those things you must immediately like,” says Ranieri Niccoli, Lamborghini’s industrial director. “It’s been almost 30 years since Lamborghini had an SUV.” Instead, the SUV’s supercar-like curves constitute a roadmap for how Lamborghini designs an SUV for modern times: by borrowing from its other cars, past and present.
The Urus, which can seat up to five, borrows the hexagonal air vents of the Huracan, the angular silhouette of the Aventador, and the “smooth and fast” diagonal hood line of the classic Countach, according to Manuele Amprimo, chief interior designer, speaking at Lamborghini’s design studio in Sant’Agata the morning after the reveal.
But the Urus is far from a Frankenstein-like pastiche of Lamborghini’s greatest hits. Conforming to Lamborghini's standard two-thirds body, one-third window ratio, the SUV gets a cohesive look that weaves together an imposing peaked hood, epsilon-shaped headlights, and muscular short overhangs. Like its forbears, its sleek body is marked by a low roofline, single-line silhouette and low seating position. “If you sit inside, you are completely surrounded by car,” Amprimo says.
Like the other cars in Lamborghini’s line-up, the SUV is also named after a type of bull. But the Urus’ name, derived from the large, wild ancestor to domestic cattle, is especially fitting: it may be domesticated for the driveways of Beverly Hills and Scarsdale, but it’s undeniably wild when it cuts loose. Girded by a 650-horsepower twin-turbo V8 engine, the Urus will be able to reach a top speed of 189 mph (two miles faster than the Bentley Bentayga) to claim the mantle of world’s fastest SUV. With its four-wheel drive system, adaptive air suspension, and rear-wheel steering, it’s engineered to be a beast on- or off-road, an unmistakable Lamborghini. It’s also the first SUV on the market to offer 23-inch wheels, an upgrade that not only helps it conquer tough terrain but broadcasts its high-performance origins.
“Every time a Lamborghini comes, you don’t need to see the name,” Niccoli says, “You can tell from the look and the sound.”