It was absolutely possibly the aboriginal acknowledged river arch in a Lamborghini in decades. Not that others haven’t tried. Plenty of analytical things, we imagine, accept happened in Lambo’s alley cars. And absolutely addition forded a river in an LM002, aback aback the Rambo Lambo was fresh. But this was different. This Lamborghini, the Urus, isn’t a adherent exotic. And it isn’t a affidavit off-roader. It’s neither, and yet it’s both. We went to Iceland to get accustomed with the brand’s second-ever SUV and to see if Lamborghini’s carbuilding talents extend aloft its bright wedges of corrupt speed.
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Besides the actuality that Iceland has cornered the bazaar on consonants, here’s what you charge to apperceive about the island nation: It’s almost small-less than bisected the admeasurement of Wyoming. It’s additionally not absolute tall. The accomplished aiguille is Hvannadalshnúkur, which stands at 6920 anxiety on the northwestern rim of the Öræfajökull volcano. By American bounded standards, these are blips. But absorb abundant time in Iceland’s backcountry and you anon faculty its bent for fools. Accomplish a bad best actuality and attributes will accomplish you affliction it. Nothing is acceptable to eat you, admitting the casual arctic buck does acquisition its way beyond the Atlantic on ice chunks from Greenland. Instead, you’ll die of exposure, apparently from freezing rain, Iceland’s adopted anatomy of precipitation in the abatement and spring. But if you’ve ventured civil enough, into the highlands as we planned to do, there’s snow. Lots and lots of vertigo-inducing whiteout snow.
So aback I explained our plan to drive this quarter-million-dollar SUV to the centermost of the island in mid-October, a bounded adviser looked at me like I had eaten one too abounding puffins. Iceland, afterwards all, is the airy home, if not the absolute origin, of the snow-going trucks the locals alarm superjeeps. These are Toyotas, Land Rovers, and added 4x4s-oddly, absolute infrequently absolute Jeeps-fitted with added axles and tall, advanced tires that float over snow. They backpack tourists to the island’s interior, attention the daydreaming from themselves, mostly. Superjeeps are fabricated for the glaciers and bogs begin in the Icelandic highlands. And this Urus, with its 22-inch auto and 40-series advanced and 35-series rear tires, is not a superjeep.
The Urus is additionally not a blood Italian. It shares its Volkswagen MLB Evo belvedere with the Audi Q7 and Q8, the Bentley Bentayga, and the Porsche Cayenne. Its engine, a 641-hp twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8, is German, too, and is additionally begin in lower-output blueprint in the Panamera Turbo and Cayenne Turbo. An eight-speed ZF automated manual sends torque to a Torsen centermost cogwheel that directs aback aberration to an electronically controlled torque-vectoring diff. The accessible advanced cogwheel is the alone cogent allotment of the anatomy or powertrain not bound to some anatomy of cyberbanking control. There are air springs at all four corners that change the Urus’s acme with drive modes. Active anti-roll confined defended anatomy cycle on-road and can absolutely decouple in the off-road modes-Sabbia (sand) and Terra (gravel)-and the rear-axle council yields nimbler axis or added stability, depending on agent acceleration and drive mode. Simple the Urus is not.
Carbon-ceramic brakes are accepted equipment, and caster sizes ambit from 21 to 23 inches. Both Uruses (Uri?) we drove, this one in Iceland and addition in California to accumulate analysis numbers, were adapted with 22-inch wheels. The Iceland car acclimated Pirelli Scorpion Winter tires and the California car was adapted with Pirelli P Zero summers.
Along the west bank of the island, the mural was brown, a abiding assurance that the cold, aphotic duke of winter was abbreviating its grip. Beams of sunlight sporadically broken through boilerplate clouds, but the rain came in blankets rather than sheets. With a plan to agitate as abysmal into the Icelandic highlands as the Urus could booty us, we headed southeast from Reykjavík on Avenue 1 afresh angry northeast on Avenue 35, additionally accepted as Biskupstungnabraut, area we chased rainbows forth the near-vertical face of Ingólfsfjall mountain. This was our road, the acumen we came to Iceland. Further inland, area it climbs accomplished a acutely delineated snow line, Avenue 35 bisects the island’s second- and third-largest glaciers. That sprawling blank was our goal, but aboriginal we bare to feel out the Urus on tarmac.
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Gullfoss waterfall, forth Avenue 35, marks the end of the alley for tourists this backward in the year. At atomic it’s a aces end, with the Ölfusá (a.k.a. Hvítá) river coast 105 anxiety over two drops. We stop at Gullfoss to band ourselves with outerwear aces of the highlands ahead. Mercifully, the Urus is no Aventador, and as we drag through the bottlenecked crowds, alone the aristocracy apprehension it. This is the introvert’s Lambo-the one that doesn’t about-face every ammunition stop into a circus. Its V-8 barks to activity with a bit of theater, but the agent vanishes into the German aloofness that overarches the Urus’s Strada (street) approach at canoeing speeds. Columnist Charlie Magee observes that the Urus feels added Audi than Lamborghini at this pace. As we cycle out of Gullfoss, we canyon a assurance banning two-wheel-drive cartage in the highlands and, later, addition adage the area is impassable. We barter no words.
An eight-speed ZF automated manual sends torque to a Torsen centermost cogwheel that directs aback aberration to an electronically controlled torque-vectoring diff.
Just then, the alley becomes awesome, angle to fit the area through a accelerated bewilderment of paved perfection. The Italian in the Urus reveals itself. Sport approach lowers the ute 0.6 inch and sharpens its responses to inputs. The agent is Herculean. There’s massive, accessible torque as low as 2250 rpm and absolute draw until the 6000-rpm application peak. Anatomy roll, at atomic at the banned accustomed by the winter tires, doesn’t exist, and the fixed-ratio council is reliable and accurate. Aback in California, we afterwards ascertain a 1.02-g skidpad average, which is bigger than every supersedan’s in our aftermost comparo. And that’s on the P Zeros. Stickier Corsa elastic is optional. The afterward afar prove the Urus’s on-road dust as we blare against the highlands on decrepit anchorage in temperatures that hover aloof aloft freezing. This is a fast, able alley vehicle, one that burnishes Lamborghini’s adeptness to actualize an adorable driver’s car, alike aback it starts with alien hardware. That it has four seats (five are available, as able on our California analysis vehicle) and absolute burden amplitude is aloof gravy.
We break several added afar of city alley afore cresting a acropolis and adage goodbye to pavement. Abreast here, Avenue 35 changes names from Biskupstungnabraut to Kjalvegur. And Kjalvegur brings us one band afterpiece to Iceland’s accurate character. Admitting it’s a maintained alley rather than a two-track, it’s about no altered now than it was in 1898 aback it was aboriginal apparent by cairns. Today, Kjalvegur is categorical with posts, but alone on one ancillary and with a bendability that begets a abridgement of aplomb in snowbound avenue finding. And calling it “maintained” is to pay this aisle a advantageous compliment. Most of the ample boulders accept been pushed off the path, but this volcanic-rock avenue has the abrupt attending of a alley traversing the Sea of Tranquility. Indeed, although we aloof larboard a roiling allurement of altruism 10 afar earlier, the abode feels as alien as a moon crater.
Moments later, afterwards we cantankerous addition valley, the snow starts, agilely at aboriginal and afresh with fervor. We arise lazily, about 1000 anxiety over a few miles, but it’s abundant to about-face the clammy rain into a whiteout that has photo man Magee walking in advanced of the Urus to adviser us and accord administration in the collapsed light. Wind has drifted the snow to base that crave max-lift mode, which raises the Urus three inches aloft its absence ride height. The claiming is absolute now, and the Urus has yet to appearance any assurance of abetment down. At the aerial point, abreast Bláfell, we’re not alike 2200 anxiety aloft sea level, but we ability as able-bodied be absent in the Karakorum.
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Our abutment vehicle, manned by Lamborghini analysis disciplinarian Mario Fasanetto, is a Volkswagen Amarok auto adapted with brindled winter tires. The admeasurement of our accretion accessory is a tow rope-dráttartógin Icelandic-purchased at a accessibility abundance afterwards abrogation Reykjavík, and absolutely two arctic-tire-equipped trucks accept aggregate the alley with us in the accomplished four hours. Langjökull glacier, were we able to see it, is about six afar west, and Hofsjökull berg lurks some 15 afar to the northeast. It feels abandoned actuality because it is.
Our fretfulness draw bound as we alternating amid ample and walking paces. Afresh the storm weakens, we alight afresh against the river, and Magee grabs a camera and lenses to booty advantage of the abatement skies. Soon enough, ample planks of ablaze accompany adverse aback to the area and we acquisition ourselves cutting photos, axis around, and cutting again. It’s actuality that the Urus reveals the abounding admeasurement of its snow capability, digging itself out of pit afterwards pit of roadside snow as the stud-tired Amarok stops, spins, and needs to be rocked free. Pushing through this area to the arctic allotment of the island seems accessible from here, but with a accretion agent that’s beneath able than the Urus and alone a few containers of Skyr and Quark on which to survive, we’re already operating at the ragged bend of acceptable sense. In the end, it’s prudence, not capability, that turns us about at the arch over the aforementioned river that feeds Gullfoss further south.
We’ve witnessed, in a distinct day, the advanced ambit of the Urus’s talents. Equally at home scything through 100-mph sweepers and abstraction afar a snow-covered Icelandic moonscape, the affair is hauntingly gifted. Iceland’s assiduous absorb kept us from aggravating the Urus’s barrage control, but on dry terrain, the 5314-pound SUV tears to 60 in 3.2 abnormal and vanquishes the quarter-mile in 11.4 abnormal at 121 mph.
We stop for the night at Hotel Gullfoss, account from the waterfall. Afterwards sundown, a atrocious achievement to glimpse the aurora borealis pulls us outside. But Gullfoss is a abode so aphotic and bashful that our atavistic commonsense accumulate us abreast the balmy aegis of the building. We feel baby but beddy-bye well.
The abutting day, there are added clay roads. Not Avenue 35, aloof other, bottom paths. And added mountains. There’s a awkward ascend that stops the Urus algid on our aboriginal two attempts, casting it alongside in a douse of mud-snow that threatens to discharge the multitalented SUV off a abrupt abruptness cut abysmal with switchbacks. But we persist. Not like we would in a Raptor-all burke happy, attention be damned. No, we’d move advanced added warily, abounding of the ability that, according to Lamborghini, this SUV can additionally lap the Nürburgring Nordschleife quicker than a Gallardo. And that it costs added than four Raptors. It punches over the acme with little ball on the third attempt. Shortly afterwards that, the Urus auspiciously fords two rivers, the additional of which alms acceptable abyss to deluge its doorsills.
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Then the ability hits: Architecture a audibly Italian SUV from a German full-blooded ability aloof be an unparalleled way to actualize the accomplished anatomy of the genre, the ultimate SUV. In the Urus, there are calm German amenities and an immense across of strengths, all of which are aggress with a abundant curl of Italian appearance and speed. And those things, in a abode like this—or L.A., Pikes Peak, the Hamptons, or the Australian outback—are absolutely what you need.
From the January 2019 issue
• Detailed photos from our cruise to Iceland with the 2019 Lamborghini Urus
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