In motorsport, 17 seconds is an eternity. But that was the margin by which the new Lamborghini Urus Performante shattered the previous gas-powered production car record for a Pikes Peak climb—more than a full second per mile of the 12.42-mile route to the top.
The new record was a laurel that Stephan Winkleman, chairman and CEO of Automobili Lamborghini, was clearly thrilled to tout before he unveiled the Urus Performante to a multitude of fans at The Quail Motorsports Gathering during Monterey Car Week. After the crowd cleared a bit, we were able to nab an up-close look at the new SUV. While it’s not radically different from the standard Urus, there are some substantial changes both aesthetically and in performance.
Lamborghini has taken the same four-liter, twin-turbo V-8 from the regular old Urus and tuned it up a bit, giving the Performante 16 more horsepower for a total of 657 and 627 lb-ft of torque, which is unchanged, as is the eight-speed automatic transmission. Similarly, Lamborghini managed to shave off a scant 100 pounds of weight—most of that from eliminating the air suspension in favor of steel springs, which should sharpen handling.
Lambo claims the Urus Performante has the most carbon fiber parts of any other vehicle in its segment, including the hood and rear spoiler. This increases rear downforce of the Urus Performante by 38 percent—thanks to a new design that features carbon-fiber fins inspired by the Aventador SVJ. Changes to the shape of the hood and bumper make the large SUV a little more slippery through the air. The brand also lowered the Urus’s stance eight tenths of an inch and increased the overall length 0.98 inches.
As it has for several previous models, Lamborghini teamed up with Pirelli to create custom tires for the Urus Performante. The P Zero Trofeo R are semi-slick and designed specifically to perform across wet and dry conditions as well as high and low temperatures.
Updated front air intakes, which are now black, increase flow to the engine for added cooling. Plus, both carbon-ceramic brakes and a lightweight titanium Akrapovič sports exhaust now come as standard equipment. While we haven’t had a chance to drive the Performante yet, Lamborghini says a new steering setup gives the driver more direct feedback, while the rear-wheel steering kicks in faster for added turn-in agility.
The Urus Performante gets Lamborghini’s usual trio of driving modes. “Strada” softens the suspension and dulls the engine sound, making the Urus as comfortable as it can be for daily driving. “Sport” mode sharpens throttle response, adds a bit of oversteer, and amplifies feedback for more fun on the road. In Corsa,” active anti-roll bars and maximum damping keeps cornering flat at high speeds on the circuit. For this model, Lamborghini added a new ‘Rally’ selection for dirt tracks. The brand says pumped up oversteer coupled with anti-roll and dampening systems optimized for steel springs should crank up the vehicle’s capabilities for drivers keen on ripping up a rally course.
All in all, this litany of refinements should add up to a Urus that’s faster, louder, and more fun to drive. As soon as we get the chance to get behind the wheel, we’ll report back.