First drive: Lamborghini Urus S in Portugal
The Urus has been a runaway success for Lamborghini (it currently accounts for more than 60 per cent of the brand’s sales), but the rapid all-terrainer has now been around for four-and-a-half years, so the time was ripe to rejuvenate it with a mid-life revamp.
Cue the new Lamborghini Urus S, which will slot in as the base model of the range in the first quarter of 2023, sitting below the recently unveiled Performante. The Urus S sports the same 666hp/850Nm 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 as the latter, although it doesn’t ditch air suspension in favour of steel springs, as is the case with the Performante.
The Urus S is distinguishable from its predecessor via a cleaner front end whereby the hexagon and Y-shaped motifs incorporated in the front grille and air intakes have been ditched. Instead, the blackened grille and air intakes feature horizontal vanes, making for a sharper and less cluttered look.
There are new air curtains at the outer extremities of the air intakes, and these feed cooling air to the front brakes to keep temperatures in check during track use. The grille/air intakes are framed from above by a new fascia panel that extends lower, while nestled below is a new matte black stainless steel skid plate.
As per its Performante sibling, the Urus S sports a lightweight carbon-fibre bonnet with matte black air vents, although the latter can be specified in gloss black, body colour or glossy carbon-fibre if you prefer. There’s also the option of a visible carbon-fibre roof.
The rear of the Urus S is recognisable via a reshaped bumper and diffuser, while the new quad-exhaust system is finished in brushed steel as standard, with the optional availability of matte, gloss black or Ad Personam bright chrome.
The outgoing Urus already served up an electrifying drive for a weighty, lofty SUV, and that’s now even more, the case – although the difference between old and new is only subtly discernible.
It’s still hard to fathom that a 2.2-tonne SUV could cover ground this quickly, regardless of whether the road is straight or strewn with corners. How the Urus S can hide its substantial mass seems a little short of black magic.
Although the basic recipe of the Urus S is mainly as per the outgoing model, there have been tweaks made to the calibration of the chassis-control systems and the drivetrain.
Lamborghini Urus S Performance
As touched on earlier, propulsion for the Urus S comes from the same 666hp/850Nm 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 as the Performante. However, it makes do without the lightweight titanium Akrapovic exhaust system that the range-topper is fitted with.
Performance was hardly lacking in the outgoing Urus, but it’s now even more blindingly rapid than before, as the Urus S sprints from 0-100kph in 3.5sec and dispatches the dash to 200kph in just 12.5sec. The top speed is a largely academic 305kph.
As before, the Urus S rides on dual-axle air suspension, while a 48-volt active roll stabilisation system helps keep the vehicle flat during hard cornering. Four-wheel-steer boosts manoeuvrability at low speeds while enhancing stability at higher speeds.
A Torsen central self-locking differential splits torque in a 40/60 ratio to front and rear axles under normal conditions but can send up to 87 per cent to the rear or 70 per cent to the front if grip at either end is compromised.
In addition, the Urus S has a torque-vectoring rear differential, enabling the vehicle to launch out of slow corners with great vigour. In terms of sheer pace across all manner of roads – or gravel, for that matter – the only other SUVs in the same league are the Aston Martin DBX 707 and Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT.
There’s no questioning its rapidity, yet the big SUV also offers decent levels of comfort and utility, which means it’s a far better tool for cross-country trips than its Huracan or defunct Aventador siblings.
We covered some distinctly patchy Portuguese backroads – as well as a few gravel sections – during our maiden drive of the Urus S. We emerged refreshed even after spending three of four hours traversing this terrain. It’s little surprise Urus owners cover four or five times the annual mileage that Huracan owners do.
The Urus S might not be the right tool to haul furniture in, but a luggage capacity of 616 litres with all the seats in place still makes it a decently usable all-purpose SUV.
The cabin layout of the Urus S is largely like before, but there’s a new range of interior trim colours and materials on offer. Among these is a new bi-colour scheme dubbed Sportivo (pairing black trim with a choice of either Blu Leandro and Verde Aura, alongside tan, cream and brown). There’s also the availability of the same stitching pattern used in the Urus Performante.
The cabin’s ambience is suitably premium, and the seats are nicely contoured in both the front and rear compartments, so you’re unlikely to emerge with a backache even after several hours on the road.
There’s a plethora of personalisation options on the menu, but the Urus S comes generously equipped in standard form. Included at no extra cost are leather seats with 12-way electric adjustment at the front, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, LED headlights, daytime running lights, performance exhaust, LED taillights, 8.6-inch infotainment screen, 10.1-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, navigation, voice interaction, USB and AUX port and a 21-speaker Bang and Olufsen sound system.
The standard rims are 21-inch rims shod with Pirelli PZero tyres (285/45 ZR21 at the front and 315/40 ZR21 at the rear) but, for an extra outlay, you can opt for 22-inch ‘Nath’ rims with titanium matt and diamond polish finish or 23-inch ‘Taigete’ wheels in bronze and diamond polish alternatives.
Lamborghini Urus S Safety
Active safety features include ABS, traction control, Electronic Stability Control (ESC) And Roll Stability Control (RSC), Forward Collision Mitigation, Highway Assistant Lane Keeping Assist, Highway Assistant Lane Departure Warning, Low Tyre-Pressure Warning, Emergency SOS, front and rear parking sensors and Blind Spot Assist.
Let’s face it, most of those who buy a Lamborghini Urus do so because they want one, not because they need one. There are decently rapid luxury SUVs available for a much smaller outlay, but what makes the Urus – and now more so the Urus S – so appealing is the drama and pyrotechnics (both in terms of soundtrack and performance) that it brings to the table.
In this context, the Urus S builds on what was an already successful recipe, as clearly reflected by the sales charts. There’s little doubt the newbie will continue to lure buyers with its beguiling blend of pace and wow factor.
2023 Lamborghini Urus S at a glance
Engine: 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8
Power: 666hp at 6,000rpm
Torque: 850Nm at 2,300-4,500rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed auto
Top speed: 305kph
Kerb weight: 2,197kg
Price: From Dh1 million
On sale: Q1 2023