Lamborghini Urus Performante review: a 657 hp SUV unleashed (with a Rally mode) Review 2022

Two words. Rally mode.

Yes, quite impactful. We are at Vallelunga, the melodious sounding circuit located about 20 miles north of Rome. It’s a tight, technical track, and the fact that we’re here in the new Lamborghini Urus Performante – all 2,150kg – speaks to the company’s confidence in its fast-selling super-SUV.

But on the outskirts of this you will find an old Roman road, beyond which is a makeshift dirt track/rally stage (not built by the ancient Romans). The Urus Performante’s transmission now has a fourth setting on its ‘Tamburo’ drive controller, in addition to the familiar Strada, Sport and Corsa modes, called Rally. This lowers the ESP threshold and uses the torque-biased rear differential to give more power to the fun part of the car. As expected, the results are slippery.

We’re not saying the Urus Performante is suddenly transformed into a Lancia Delta S4, but you can sabotage it in a physics-baiting way. It’s a little wide in tight corners, but that’s more driver error than vehicle incompetence. And yes, while dragging a £209,000, 657bhp, two-tonne-plus SUV around a muddy, rutted track might seem indulgent at best, it’s also fun.

He even manages to land safely after what our Finnish friends still call a “yomp”. One of the major changes to the Performante is the fitment of steel springs instead of the standard air suspension, for more linear responses. Together with the 48-volt anti-roll bar, it evokes a level of body control that’s slightly scary in a car of this type.

Congratulations to you. Dare we suggest that the Urus Performante reads the room even less shrewdly than the ordinary car?

We happened to come across four brave souls blocking one of Rome’s thoroughfares on the way to the circuit. Imagine what they would do with a purple Performante spinning on its side? Lamborghini’s charming CEO, Stephan Winkelmann, acknowledges that the company’s drive to achieve carbon neutrality via a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2025 is partly due to the perception and growing problems of social acceptability. Lamborghini’s commitment to making dream cars is adjusted accordingly.

Nonetheless, the Urus has been a resounding success for the company, with 21,000 deliveries since its arrival in 2018, 84% of which are conquest sales. The company is in the midst of a €1.8 billion investment program, which will produce the hybrid replacement for the 2023 Aventador, the 2024 Huracán successor and the 2028 all-electric car. come from somewhere, and the Urus continues to feed the coffers of Sant’Agata.

Technical director Rouven Mohr, a hip-hop enthusiast and owner of many Nissan GTRs, among other cars, says rapidly improving battery technology and infrastructure will likely make heavy batteries superfluous in favor of more smaller and lighter. Perhaps the first Lamborghini BEV will embody these principles. Let’s hope so.

Back to the Urus Performante… walk us through some of the main changes.

Sure. The steering and throttle have been reprogrammed for quicker responses, and the active rear axle also acts quicker than on the standard car. The eight-speed gearbox is more aggressive. There’s a new Torsen center differential and active torque vectoring in the rear, along with various aero revisions. A new air curtain on the front bumper tidies away rowdy kerfuffle around the wheel arches, and a rear spoiler generates 38% more downforce in that area (that figure is 8% overall).

The Urus Performante sits 20mm lower than before and has a wider front and rear track. A carbon fiber hood is standard, but you’ll have to pay more if you want a composite roof to go with it. An Akrapovič sports exhaust is installed, the low frequencies and overall resonance of which depend on the drive mode you select. There are also sound actuators inside. In the spirit of marginal gains, titanium bolts feature on the wheels, with three new designs available, including optional 23ers. The overall weight reduction is 47 kg, modest but not negligible.

What does it do?

Whether you’re a fan of super-fast SUVs or not, there’s no denying that this thing can take some serious thrashing on a trail. We’re on tacky, specially developed Pirelli Trofeo R rubber, 285/40 front, 325/35 rear, and they clearly make a difference. We were on regular Pirelli P Zeros on the rally stage. There was a puncture.

The 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 has not been radically reworked; its power has increased by 16 to 657 hp, there is 627 lb-ft of torque and the turbos are now working harder. Lamborghini claims the best power-to-weight ratio in its class, and the new production SUV record the Performante recently set at Pike’s Peak – 10:32.064, 17 seconds faster than the previous one – backs it up.

Accelerating to 62 mph in 3.3 seconds (compared to 3.6 for the regular Urus) and 124 mph in 11.5 in a car with this kind of mass is initially disconcerting. But it only takes a few laps to overcome the challenges of Vallelunga, and the way the Performante settles through a fast fifth-gear sweeper and smashes its way out of a second-gear hairpin with only minimal of understeer and minimal body roll is deeply impressive. Soon I’m throwing the big beast in and out of corners with impunity. Ridiculous, really.

It turns out rally mode prefers looser surfaces to generate generous slip angles, but you can still drift it if you’re engaged. The carbon-ceramic brakes are unchanged – 440mm front with 10-piston calipers, 370mm rear – and although the pedal started to feel a bit long towards the end of the session, it didn’t. there are no other problems. Personally, I would prefer a bit more steering feel, and logistical challenges kept us from driving the Performante on the road. I suspect it will feel uncompromising in Strada mode but not horribly uncomfortable.

On the inside?

Lamborghini customers are typically extroverts, and the company’s Ad Personam customization program is a world of wonder where notions of good taste can be rigorously tested. The Performante comes standard with Nero Cosmos black Alcantara, new hexagonal seat trim and a different Performante graphic on the HMI. The 10.1-inch touchscreen is as easy to use and responsive as ever. The seats and driving position are great. And the boot is huge, if that really matters.

Good to know. Rivals?

The Urus Performante takes on the Aston Martin DBX 707 and the associated Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT. More than anything else, it speaks to the engineering and design talent that Lamborghini currently commands. Regardless of what you think of the optics of this particular market sector, this is undeniable. It’s quite a device, that.