If you are a petrolhead, chances of your bedroom having a Lamborghini poster plastered on the wall are high. Bijoy is no different, but...
It is a well known fact that I have a soft corner for everything Lamborghini. I get goosebumps when someone pronounces Lamborghini right, let alone screams past me with a 12-cylinder howl in one. I like the legend of Feruccio, the tractor background, out of the world nomenclature of cars and so on. Everything about the brand is extreme and in the world of automobiles, Lamborghini has always been the tequila double shot while other supercars stop at being vodka-martinis. Then they decided to build an SUV.
Alright. Allow me to ask myself a simple question. Do I like the way the Urus looks? The answer dear readers, after a deep breath, is ‘no’. Please do notice that is not an emphatic ‘NO’ followed by many exclamation marks, but an almost polite ‘no’. I can explain.
Remember the LM 002? When Lamborghini decided to plonk a 12-cylinder engine under the hood of a utility vehicle, it was clothed in the most outrageous manner. Hell, it didn’t even have a grille. Then they gave it the biggest possible tyres man had invented and the end result was a brutal 4WD vehicle that did police duty in the Middle-East. It had extreme looks, an extreme engine, extreme running gear and in the process they created the world’s first ‘Super Utility Vehicle’. While the road going Lamborghinis of its time, like the Countach, looked as if they came from another planet, the LM 002 could easily pose as their demented alien sister from a parallel galaxy. It took a few decades and a bloody war for it to have a competitor, in the form of the Hummer.
What Mitja Borket and team at Lamborghini design had to do was a simpler exercise. They had the Porsche Panamera Turbo platform to begin with, they used the same V8 power plant, borrowed the all-wheel drive system and rear-wheel steering from the Aventador and bingo, the Urus running gear was ready. All they needed to do was go wild and create a monstrosity like no other on top of it and, alas, they failed. The Urus looks rather tame despite the fast-back roof line and a front-end treatment that can best be called rather complicated. I am sure long hours were spent in a wind-tunnel to make it aerodynamic so that it is still the quickest, fastest production SUV but hell, was that the brief? It may do 100kmph in 3.6 seconds and cross 300kmph on an air strip, but what it does not do is to make little children hide behind their mother’s skirts as it storms past them. Here was a chance to make a car that gorged on wildlife standing still; instead they decided to make rich soccer-moms who secretly listen to Justin Bieber, happy.
The problem is, it will do well in the market as it expands the footprint of Lamborghini to countries like China and India apart from appealing to above mentioned soccer-moms. It may save Lamborghini in the long run, as the money made by selling these `3 crore behemoths can be reinvested in making excellent sportscars with V10 and V12 engines or even a power-dense battery pack for crying out loud (hope mercy killing will be legal by then!). In short, what Mr Borket and team have sketched are the essentials of a success story meant to ape what the Cayenne did to Porsche. Maybe I will start appreciating the Urus more if and when I spend more time with it. I doubt whether the looks will grow on me though.