Parkers overall rating: 3.9 out of 5 3.9

Lamborghini Urus (2021) front view, driving

  • Just one engine to choose from
  • …but it’s all you’ll ever need
  • Performance is off-the-scale fast

The Lamborghini Urus might be infinitely configurable from the buyer’s perspective, but there’s only one engine available. Given the original plan was to fit it with a Lamborghini V12 engine rather than the Audi-based V8 it comes with now, one can only imagine what that was going to be like – as this one really is all the engine you’ll ever need.

First a few numbers – maximum power is 650hp, and torque is a phenomenal 850Nm. The 0-62mph sprint is dispatched in 3.6 seconds, while the maximum speed is 190mph. As numbers in a review, they’re impressive enough, but on the road where it matters, it’s fast enough to completely reconfigure your view of what a car can be capable of. Remember that this is an SUV that weighs 2,197kg in standard form and this level of performance is all the more impressive.

Like every car we’ve driven that’s powered by versions of this basic engine (Bentley Bentayga, Audi RS 6 Avant), it’s one that thrives on being revved hard, really pulling from 3,000rpm to its redline at 7,000rpm. If your other car is an Aventador or Huracan, then you’re not going to be feel shortchanged for pace at all – which is what makes this car so special.

Drive modes really make a difference

The trouble is that it could be argued that it’s too fast for our cramped and busy Island, but we don’t agree. You’re going to be hitting illegal speeds from rest in around five seconds. And although the reality is that you’re not going to be blasting away from the lights on a regular basis, it does mean is that the 30-70mph overtaking ability of this car is seriously impressive, exposing you to the wrong side of the road for minimal amounts of time. A positive safety point.

As we’ve explained in the Interior and Comfort section, there’s a multitude of drive modes to choose from. But for most applications the standard Strada mode will serve you well – performance is unaffected, but engine noise is kept in check. You don’t lose the quality of the soundtrack, it’s just that the volume is turned down. In Sport, the volume is turned up, you get the full pop and crackle experience from the exhaust, and to remind you you’re in Sport, the cruise control is disabled.

The eight-speed automatic transmission is responsive and makes the most of all of its power. It changes up gears nice and early on a light throttle, but when you’re driving with a little more conviction, Sport mode keeps it in lower gears for longer, ready for action – but at no point does it ever leave you cursing about being in the wrong gear with no acceleration.

Lamborghini Urus (2021) side view, driving

Handling

  • Sweet and accurate steering
  • Phenomenal handling – it never feels like an SUV
  • The best SUV on sale for body control

The Urus’s straight line speed is enough to open your eyes, but it’s real crowning glory is its ride and handling, which are truly remarkable. Our test car rode on enormous 23-inch wheels, but the ride quality genuinely felt unaffected by that – and you can read more about that in the review’s Comfort and Practicality section. The good news is that despite its firm, controlled and impressive ride, the handling is pin-sharp and exactly what you’d expect from a Lamborghini.

In Strada mode it’s most at home on sweeping A-roads due to its sheer size, but should you take it down a B-road, the suspension is so well set-up that as long as you can see and there’s space, it’ll handle incredibly responsively – in that, the only SUV that is in the same league is the considerably smaller Porsche Macan.

As you would imagine, Sport mode firms things up considerably, but doesn’t completely destroy the ride quality. As for Corsa, leave that for the track as it’s so extreme both in its engine noise and gearchange, which shuffles between ratios with a pronounced jolt.

Is it as good as a super saloon?

The cornering is unnaturally good for a car that sits this high off the ground. The steering is quick and responsive and thanks to the Urus’s four-wheel steering gives this car an agility that really does bely its size – and the faster you go, the better it gets, as the steering gets heavier and more responsive the faster you go.

The other quality this car has in spades is body control. No matter how fast you’re going, there’s very little bodyroll, and that’s down to this car’s trick suspension which has active anti-roll bars. What this means is that as the car begins to lean as it takes a bend, the suspension’s dampers stiffens to keep it almost level. The responsiveness that results from the additional grip this brings you means that you always feel in control and it feels endlessly agile. Very impressive.

Will it go off-road?

Yes, if you have to. There are a couple of drive modes for different terrains, which will jack up the air suspension for more ground clearance, and change the throttle and differential settings. Using these, the Urus proves to be an easy car to drive over rough ground in low-grip situations.

While the car will deal with slippery conditions with ease, it’s not as capable as a Range Rover, and neither would it be reasonable to expect that it would be. It is what it is, and will handle grassy fields and snow perfectly well, and will tow up to 3,175kg while doing so.

Lamborghini Urus (2021) rear view, driving