Lamborghini Urus Performante review, first drive - wild ride
At the very peak of the Urus lineup sits the new Performante, a faster, more dynamic, more exuberant super SUV. The standard Urus in itself is a phenomenally exciting vehicle to drive, and despite it sharing a platform with the Audi RS Q8, Lamborghini has somehow managed to elevate its persona by several notches. The Performante then takes that entire package and raises the bar even higher. This comes by way of proper mechanical and electronic revisions and sticker prices that also climbs higher north than ever before. This rodeo is by far the wildest ride yet.
The changes largely look at four areas, performance through enhancements to the powertrain, better dynamics through enhancements to the suspension and aero, weight reduction as is expected from every performance-enhanced variant from Lambo, and grip, grip and more grip from the specially developed Pirellis.
The Urus Performante retains the 4.0-litre V8 that gets fed by the twin-turbo system, but power is bumped up by 16hp to 657hp with torque peaking at a mahoosive 850Nm. That power bump comes along with a revision to the throttle mapping for all drive modes and a sportier exhaust courtesy of a titanium Akrapovic unit. Yet, from what I've read so far across the world wide web, the Urus Performante isn't any quicker than the bog standard Urus. Why? You either get met with silence or a convenient change in subject. I doubt we'd ever get to corroborate those facts cause hardly anyone gets a Lamborghini on test in India, chances of the Perfromante coming on test are lesser than seeing a unicorn. Adding insult to that injury is the fact that the Urus Performante is some 48 kilos lighter with more extensive use of carbon fibre in the body panels, lighter wheel and titanium exhaust. Just don't be the dork that goes and adds on all the luxury fittings that increase weight, which kind of defeats the whole purpose of the Performante's existence.
Nonetheless powering through the Performante's repertoire, it's just as visceral as expected though the 8-speed transmission is much smoother, though not as sharp as some of Lamborghini's sports cars. This is still a brutally quick SUV, and there is much to be enjoyed in that level of performance.
Lamborghini has now added a Rally mode to the multiple driving modes, and this simply elevates you to drift god status, especially on slippery dirt or off-road surfaces. It works quite simply too. Just floor the throttle, and the Urus Performante allows you to slide all the way into tomorrow quite unlike anything you've ever experienced. It's quite an awesome sensation, the steering precision is inch-perfect, the tail steps out gloriously, and the power stays on the boil until you back of the throttle. This instantly alters the mapping, and activates the traction control, cutting off power delivery. So for an instant, you feel like all the juice has drained out of the Performante, floor the pedal again and it all comes back in a jiffy.
On the dynamic side of things, the Urus Performante now uses a Torsen central differential that distributes torque between the front and rear axles, with an active rear differential further directing it between the left and right wheels. Lamborghini has dumped the air springs you get on the Urus for a coil spring setup. The positive is better handling, the negative is a stiffer ride quality though on the smooth tarmac sections we drove around the Nandi hills, this wasn't easy to assess. Also absent on the Performante is the adjustable ride height, though the Performante now sits almost an inch closer to the ground than the standard Urus. A spoiler at the rear also enhances downforce by almost 37 percent. There is no doubting the steely grip the Performante has when on the tarmac. It has superior grace and agility, and a precision that defies its massive girth and footprint. Carving through the corners up to the temple at Nandi hills, you don't get the sense that you're piloting a massive 2.5-ton SUV. The Performante felt just as nimble and lithe as the Huracan Evo leading our convoy. Our SUVs though didn't have the specially developed Trofeo R tyres and made do with the P Zero's that you'd get on the standard Urus. Great tyres, but if you want to truly explore the limits of adhesion then opt for the Trofeo R series tyres.
Overall though the Urus Performante at nearly Rs 4.5 crores is a fairly steep asking price, and the performance gains aren't really worth the nearly 1.2 crore differential. Yes, you do get a Urus that feels much nicer on dirt thanks to that new Rally mode but how many in India will actually take it off-road? Many owners also get the exhaust system upgraded on the Urus, opting for nicer sounding and performance-enhancing after-market Akrapovic systems. The updated suspension system trades everyday drivability for that off-road dynamic performance, and that too kind of diminishes the overall value. Without a doubt, the Urus Performante is the very pinnacle of everything Lamborghini has to offer in their SUV lineup, but it is great if like us you're behind the wheel of someone else's Lambo, winging it on a dirt track without a care in the world, not you're own!
Starts Rs 3 Crore
Starts Rs 2.07 Crore