TEST: Lamborghini Urus Performante – diabolical! – Test drives

Premium Does 16 hp and 47 kg really make a difference? The new Urus Performante comes with tighter muscles, a lower center of gravity, more equipment and steel springs instead of air suspension. We drive the newcomer with 666 hp and 850 Nm.

Matteo is satisfied. “Nice driving!” He probably says so to everyone who takes a seat to his left in the new Lamborghini Urus Performante and plows the short rally track more or less competently under his guidance.

The hilly circuit is in the same area as the Autodromo Vallelunga circuit north of Rome and is reached on foot via 2,000-year-old cobbled streets.

Here we meet the newcomer for the first time. In the Uru’s case, Performante stands for a seemingly barely noticeable power increase that increases the standard model’s power output from 650 to a diabolical 666 hp, a 20 mm lower body with a 16 mm wider track and a weight reduction of 47 kg.

This should give the around 2.2 tonne heavy performance SUV sharper driving characteristics and more driving pleasure which, according to the manufacturer, can also be enjoyed on loose surfaces. To ensure that these qualities are not only reserved for thoroughbred professionals like Matteo Milani, the Tamburo knob’s repertoire has been expanded with yet another driving mode: Rally!

In the standard version, the Urus is covered with the finest alcantara in the color Nero Cosmos. The infotainment and climate control comes from Audi. In the middle, as usual, we find the start button as well as the gear and driving mode selector.

Of course we choose the new setting and a second later the Urus sprints full speed towards the first 180-degree turn.

“Brake, steer and full throttle again,” reads the command from the passenger side. The rear turns outwards but the foot is glued to the gas pedal and with an elegant turn the Urus drifts around the bend, digs with all four wheels through the loose surface and sprints carefree up the steep grade like there’s no tomorrow. With a weight-to-power ratio of 3.2 kg per horsepower, it’s no miracle, however.

It goes as light as it sounds, with activated ESP and a long line with excellent feedback from the steering and chassis. However, that is only one of the driving pleasure aspects of the Urus Performante. Of course, Sant’Agata knows very well that hardly any Urus customer will drive their Performante on dirt roads, but Matteo assures that the rally mode also works perfectly on the country road.

To produce 16 hp more than the standard model does not require a lot of development work, but now at least 666 hp is in the product catalog.

Unfortunately, we don’t have time today to put his claim to the test, today’s next stop is the Vallelunga course. In the pit there is another copy of the newcomer, which, however, is on the Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R specially developed for Performante. The tire should work under a wider temperature spectrum and not be embarrassed on wet asphalt either.

Of course, the “Rally” setting doesn’t work on a racetrack, so we click on to the “Corsa” mode. Before it is time to depart, however, there is little time to look around the new performance SUV. The interior has been draped in the finest Alcantara and the seats carry the classic hexagon pattern first introduced in the Lamborghini Marzal in 1967.

The infotainment system and the climate control come in unchanged form from Audi, but also the design of various controls and fonts on the screen remind that Lamborghini is owned by Audi.

The air outlets in the wheel arches increase the car’s aerodynamic properties.

The Torsen center diff also comes from Ingolstadt and evens out minor speed differences between the front and rear axle. In case of larger differences, the differential blocks instead. In the Urus, the diff is also supported by an active rear axle differential with torque vectoring and a modified four-wheel steering. The best part of it all? While driving, you feel absolutely nothing of the technology.

After a short acclimatization phase, the Performante sprints like a scalded rat across the track, remains stable in fast turns and grips hard with the front wheels. Understeering? Not at all, despite the fact that 58 percent of the weight loads the front wheels.

Under hard braking it’s the same, there’s no jerking here as the front 440-millimeter carbon-ceramic discs are pinched hard by the massive ten-piston monoblock yokes. Fading? Bullshit! Even after a lot of laps, the pedal feel is as firm as before.

The titanium exhaust system saves 10.4 kg.

“At first glance, you might think that we have only improved the acceleration and cornering dynamics of the Performante, but performance is just as much about driving pleasure,” said technical director Rouven Mohr before the test.

With the Urus, Lamborghini claims to have invented a new segment, namely that of super sports SUVs, and the Performante tops it all off.

A bold claim, but somehow it hits the nail on the head: after a few quick laps at the Autodromo Piero Taruffi (after a former Ferrari factory driver) we are impressed by the car’s spontaneous steering response and excellent precision, the almost non-existent roll tendency, the extremely responsive steering – and the assistance systems and the sumptuous weight-to-power ratio that makes the big, heavy SUV dance as easily across the track as a much lighter sports car.

Especially for the Performante there are R tires from Pirelli with a wide working temperature and good functionality even in the rain.

In addition, the Urus Performante has the same utility value in everyday use as the ‘standard model’, although the suspension is not as soft and forgiving as in standard, air-sprung Urus.

The steering wheel also requires quite a lot of power in fast turns, but a certain amount of tacked-on masculinity simply belongs to Lamborghini’s brand image. If you want a little more comfort, you can look among the group’s siblings from Ingolstadt and Zuffenhausen.

Performante is more heavy metal than rock ballads, which is shown not least in the design, although the differences from the standard model require a trained eye. Design director Mitja Borkert wanted a Urus that looks as if it had been to the gym and come home with a little more muscle.

Rally mode is specially developed for loose surfaces, but should work at least as well on country roads.

He got that: the body feels more taut, with sharper contours. A nice side effect of the design work is the improved aerodynamics, but for most customers it doesn’t matter at all.

Most importantly, the wheel arches’ carbon fiber accents and new rear skirt look cool, just like one of many eye-catching body colors. Our suggestion? The test car’s Giallo Inti or why not the poison green Verde Viper?

Before the regular Urus is facelifted into the Urus S, the Performante is a worthy parting gift for the first edition of the manufacturer’s super sports SUV: extremely stable, plenty of grip and extremely safe driving characteristics on asphalt and gravel do not disappoint. Then you are also not disturbed by the lack of air suspension, even if the comfort suffers.

EDITING: Tobias Mersinger /// PHOTO: Lamborghini

Source: Senaste nytt från auto motor & sport by www.mestmotor.se.

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