Home / Reviews / First Drive / Lamborghini Urus Performante First Drive Review – Leaner, Meaner, and Faster

 

The “Performante” tag is reserved for the Lamborghini cars that push their own boundaries. The Urus does it and does it well.

Lamborghini Urus Performante

Story: Joshua Varghese
Photography: Lamborghini India

Lamborghini have held on for as long as possible but the change was inevitable. They are one of the last supercar manufacturers in the world who have finally given in to the shift to hybrid powertrains in 2024. Before that actually takes place, though, every Lamborghini car on sale got a proper farewell, including the one that is most relevant to the Indian market and also the breadwinner of the brand. We were in Bengaluru to drive the Urus Performante: the most manic iteration of the super SUV yet and also the last hurrah before the hybrids arrive.

Lamborghini Urus Performante

The changes in styling between the Performante and the standard Urus are subtle. While the silhouette and shape remain the same, modifications have been made to improve aerodynamic efficiency and reduce weight. For the latter, several parts have been replaced with carbon-fibre units, including the bonnet. The new titanium exhaust system also contributes to weight-saving and, though not much of it is visible, it does make itself heard; loudly and clearly.

Lamborghini Urus Performante

Changes inside the cabin are minimal because it was already quite close to being perfect. Modern smartphone connectivity options are available and the infotainment is complemented by a touchscreen and a high-quality sound system. The massive dashboard and door-panels are generously swathed in alcantara, supplying a racy and premium feel. From the driver’s perspective, one would find the word “cockpit” appropriate to describe the position; be the car at standstill or at speed. The digital display with different layouts to match the driving modes and a visually intimidating array of switches on the centre console easily convey this Lamborghini’s aggression. An experience that is only compounded when one slips into the contoured bucket seat and holds the racing car-inspired steering wheel. The paddle-shifters jut out from behind the steering wheel like the devil’s horns, hinting at their fiendish potential. With all these suggestions strewn about, this is a cabin that urges the driver to start the car and get going.

Lamborghini Urus Performante

In the traditional Lamborghini way, an aircraft-style switch is used to start the car. The mode selected at the time makes all the difference between a soft purr or a violent roar from the titanium exhaust. It is really difficult to imagine that this Jekyll-and-Hyde performance is supplied by the most powerful version of Lamborghini’s 4.0-litre, twin-turbo, V8 petrol engine. In the Performante, it has been tuned to dish out a devilish 666 hp (feels intentional) and 850 Nm of peak torque. Transmission duties are managed by an eight-speed automatic, but the Performante gets a new Torsen differential that sends more power to the rear wheels.

Lamborghini Urus Performante

The ground clearance has taken a hit and the car rides slightly lower than the standard model and it is rather wide too. So, the “Strada” mode (the most sensible one) makes a lot of sense for people who want to get used to the car’s dimensions and handling before trying to extract their money’s worth in pure thrill. The Performante’s parent company’s characteristics are most evident here and it behaves like a fast and easy-to-drive SUV by taking the “super” out of the equation. The throttle response is soft (comparatively) and the torque arrives in a gentle wave; accompanied by smooth gear-shifts, a subtle soundtrack, effortless steering, and comfortable ride quality.

Lamborghini Urus Performante

When it is shifted into Sport, it feels as if the Lamborghini bull has just woken up from a slumber and begun to pace around the arena. The steering becomes more direct and positive, the suspension stiffens, the gears are held for longer and shift with a hint of violence, the engine begins to supply power and torque more aggressively, and the exhaust note becomes louder with occasional pops and crackles. Once accustomed to the car, I feel this is the mode that most people will end up using in India, because it offers the right balance of manoeuvrability and excitement; the next mode being Corsa and once that switch is flicked, the bull is properly awake, livid, and ready to attack.

Without a history of driving supercars, nothing really prepares you for what follows. The full transformation into a super SUV is done violently and with aggressive intent. Every single channel of driver input is on a hair-trigger. The throttle is at its most responsive and the right foot is used to unleash as many of the 666 hp as one dares because it is always lurking in the background, raring to go. Seated in the bucket-seat, the driver is securely held in place while the car screams around a corner. It encourages one to drive fast with confidence. Rushing each gear to the red-line becomes an addiction that is only amplified by an exhilarating exhaust note that also gets fully unleashed. However, that runs in the background because the driver is busy feeling the acceleration, deceleration, and the kick to the kidneys that each upshift brings. If driven to the best of one’s ability, it could leave one sweating even in the air-conditioned cabin. At the end of the day, one needs to be thankful for the safety net offered by the electronics. Their timely intervention is more crucial than is evident.

The Rally mode is a new addition and a speciality of the Urus Performante. Lamborghini organized a dirt-track experience for us to sample it and with nothing holding us back, the Performante was a different animal altogether. I would even venture so far as to say that it is the most fun that a Lamborghini can offer off the tarmac. The steering sends in loads of feedback that allows one to feed in opposite lock as needed to hold a slide through a curve and the car encouraged me to use a lot of its available power. The electronics work well in the background, allowing one to hold a drift if one wants to, cutting in only when absolutely essential, which makes this extremely lively on a dirt-track. How many expensive SUVs feel at home in the dirt?

One of the major contributors to weight loss is the replacement of the air suspension with steel springs which still retain a certain level of electronic adjustability. After my driving experience on the road and on the dirt-track, I can confidently say that the new set-up allows the car to hold the road well and is calibrated well for each mode, being most rich in feedback in the “Corsa” and “Rally” modes. Pirelli P Zero tyres complete the interface between brain and bitumen and they are as good as advertised. Along with ample traction on the road, they were quite decent on the dirt-track too. Our test car was equipped with the large 23-inch wheels and even so, the ride quality was good enough for most of our road conditions. However, I believe the 22-inch wheels are a better proposition.

Lamborghini Urus Performante

The Lamborghini Urus Performante is priced at Rs 4.22 crore (ex-showroom) and, in this manic form, it sits in a comfortable space between the Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT and the Aston Martin DBX 707. The numbers speak for themselves—no doubt about that—but the best part of this Lamborghini is that its actions speak the loudest. Although the Urus may have been a step away from the purity of a supercar, the Performante is a worthy successor to the legendary LM001 and LM002; the definitive modern super SUV. I would like to believe there is an SV in the pipeline that could run the naturally aspirated V12 one last time.

Video Review:

Also Read: 2023 Honda City First Drive Review

 

About the author: Joshua Varghese

 

Would gape at fast cars. Still does but now has a chance to drive some of them. Hates driving in traffic but makes up for with a spot of off-roading or the occasional track outing. Insta: @motoknight

 

Recent posts in First Drive

 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

AlphaOmega Captcha Classica  –  Enter Security Code
     
 


eight + 2 =

* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *