Lambo upped the Performante’s power and sharpened its handling to produce the most hardcore SUV on the planet.
though the concept of driving an SUV on a track might have seemed outlandish only a decade ago, Lamborghini’s latest Performante doubles down on the already potent Urus platform with a more aggressive and wider body, more power, and a pivot to steel springs in place of the original super SUV’s smooth air suspension system. the combination prompted Lambo to introduce the Urus Performante to the world on track at Vallelunga, in Italy, with a bit of circuit driving and a stint doing some rally drifting in the dirt.
For a big SUV that can sticker well north of $300,000 (and more), the Urus shined at the edge of grip (and sanity). Now, Lamborghini shipped me a brand-new Urus Performante in Los Angeles to test how the honed package handles daily life.
Living With the World’s Most Hardcore Super SUV
this sharper version of what was already the sharpest SUV on the market certainly looks the part, with a 20-millimeter lower and wider stance that only adds to the rakish profile of the angular, coupe-style roofline. Under the hood, the twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 that powered the original Urus now receives a slight bump up to 675 horsepower and 627 lb-ft of torque in both the new Performante and ‘S’ trim that replaces the outgoing base version.
2023 Lamborghini Urus Performante
9.00 / 10KEY FEAtURES
- Lowered on steel springs
- WideƄody design enhanceмents
- More power froм the twin-turƄo V8
- trim: Perforмante
- Model: Urus
- Engine/Motor: Twin-turƄo 4.0-liter V8
- Horsepower: 657 hp
- torque: 627 lƄ-ft
- Drivetrain: AWD
- transmission: ZF 8-speed autoмatic
- MSRP: $261,000
- Sharpens the already potent Urus platforм
- UnƄelieʋaƄle perforмance froм a 4,700-pound SUV
- Mild interior facelift мakes a Ƅig different
- Equally happy on the track or daily driʋing
- Oʋer $300,000 with options
- Less coмfortable than a Ƅase or ‘S’ Urus
- An Audi RS Q8 costs half as мuch
that V8 still delivers the power with the same ungodly rush of boost, as the turbos spool up and deliver peak torque at only 2,300 RPM. the same ZF eight-speed automatic routes power to all four wheels, controlled via a set of angular steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters.
And really, everything on the Performante gets an angular enhancement—from hood heat extractors to a new rear spoiler, and even a mild interior update complemented by the “Big Interior Carbon” package (no joke on the nomenclature) that adds $5,702 to my loaner car’s sticker.
the Performante Gets 23-inch Wheels And Carbon-Ceramic Brakes2 Images
Of course, putting down that power requires some serious tires, so the Performante gets a set of 23-inch P Zeros from Pirelli measuring 285 millimeters wide at the front and 325 millimeters out back. On the track, at set of trofeo R tires managed to keep the Performante absolutely planted but my loaner did not arrive wearing those shoes—and Lambo did swap over to 22s with P Zeros for the rally-road section of that drive event.
In town, however, the combination of firmer steel springs versus adjustable ride-height air suspension, plus low-profile 23-inch wheels and tires made me a bit nervous that choppy, rough roads might produce an uncomfortable, compromised ride. Guess again—select “Strada” on the Performante’s fighter-jet center console and the shocks soften up just enough to smooth out the worst roads (I even felt bold enough to take on the 405 freeway near Westwood, quite possibly the best test of suspension tuning known to man).
An Interior Straight From top Gun2 Images
Just firing up a Urus (or any late-model Lamborghini, actually) starts up that top Gun theme song in my head every single time. Lift up the red start-stop button cover and with a little extra pressure on the brake pedal, push hard to start the exhaust note singing. Strada mode keeps the engine at lower revs and closes off exhaust valves, but I still managed to set off a neighbor’s car alarm one morning with a cold start.
But then, flipping into Sport, Corsa, or Rally mode unleashes a new cacophony of sounds and snarls more in line with the Performante’s aggressive styling inside and out. the interior update actually helps to tone down the Urus aesthetic (or maybe I’m just getting acclimated to all the over-the-top details by now).
Enhanced Aerodynamics On A 4,700-Pound SUVvia Michael Van Runkle / HotCars
the fact that aerodynamic considerations come into play on a 4,700-pound SUV boggles the mind. At top speed on the road circuit of Vallelunga, the Performante’s new carbon rear wing and spoiler might provide a bit of downforce (Lambo claims a max improvement of 38%, actually) but in Los Angeles or even pushing hard in the hills of Malibu, the piece definitely provides more of an image upgrade than any potential performance enhancement.
All of the Performante’s carbon—from the hood to the wing, spoiler, and interior trim—help to shave 41 kilograms (90 pounds) off the curb weight. I defy any driver to say they can actually feel that 1.9% reduction but hey, lap times don’t lie and every little bit helps.
Preset Drive Modes And Customizable Settingsvia Michael Van Runkle / HotCars
Playing with the Strada, Sport, Corsa, and Rally drive modes not only helps to keep the neighbors happy, but reveals the Performante’s multiple personalities. And the similarly notchy “Ego” selector and individual buttons for drivetrain, steering, and suspension settings to the right of the red stop-start cover allow drivers more focused on personalizing their experience to whichever of their personalities wants to be unleashed behind the wheel of the Urus.
And selecting just about anything other than Strada quickly becomes the name of the game, since the Performante sports just about the most aggressive and intrusive driver assistance programming I’ve ever used, which left me swerving into the path of oncoming motorcyclists, slamming those 23-inch wheels into potholes, and nearly smashing a tight wall on the edge of the 101 freeway after a fun morning of driving. Even popping into Sport turns off the problematic system, which to be fair might help some Performante owners save their $319,000 super SUV from damage while texting or telling the kids in the backseat to quiet down until we get home.
And therein lies the true miracle that Lambo managed when building the base Urus and now the Performante or S trims: taking a commuter SUV chassis shared with Volkswagen, Audi, and Porsche then cramming in a stunning twin-turbo V8 and somehow retaining the engaging spirit of Sant’Agata Bolognese whether daily driving, canyon carving, track testing, or even rally racing in the dirt. You want to hate the Urus—I wanted to hate the Urus—but after a quick stint behind the wheel, nobody can help but fall in love with such a stunning feat of engineering and emotionality.
Sources: lamborghini.com, youtube.com, motorsport.vallelunga.it, and pirelli.com.
We hope you like the items we recommend and discuss! HotCars has affiliate and sponsored partnerships, so we receive a share of the revenue from some of your purchases. this won’t affect the price you pay and helps us offer the best product recommendations.