The new Lamborghini Urus S shows why it’s among the best in its elite class

Lamborghini Urus S

After time behind the wheel, it’s clear that the marque’s “entry-Level” model performs like anything but

By now, most know that Lamborghini’s top-selling Urus model has been granted a midlife facelift that offers more of everything. The all-action family hauler, with supercar performance, is now faster than ever and boasts even angrier looks.

The Urus gate-crashed the booming SUV market in 2017, after Porsche had already caused a stir with the Cayenne Turbo, which was arguably the first of the super SUVs. But a front-engined, practical Lamborghini capable of carrying an entire household? Well, that sounded too good to be true. The fact that it was named Robb Report’s Car of the Year in 2019 is evidence that it was indeed a reality.

The Urus S variant shares the same 4.0-litre V-8 as that original model, but with power upped to 657 bhp and a zero-to-100 km/hr time trimmed to 3.5 seconds (which represents an improvement of .1 second, but we dare you to notice).

Lamborghini Urus S
The Lamborghini Urus S

Alongside the Urus S is the new Performante version, an even faster offering that has already broken the record for an SUV on the fabled climb up Pikes Peak in Colorado. And as the name of the latter suggests, its performance has been enhanced. Utilizing the same engine as the S, the Urus Performante travels from zero-to-100 km/hr time in only 3.3 seconds, but it’s harsher on the road. Yet the Performante’s starting price is US$265,000, which is US$70,000 more than the S.

At its price point, the Urus S is effectively the new “entry-level” model for the marque, but nothing about it suggests that to be the case. That’s especially true in the city, where piloting this variant of the best-selling Lamborghini of all time requires epic self-restraint.

As for aesthetics, even a diehard enthusiast of the Raging Bull would be hard-pressed to spot the stylistic difference between the latest S and the original Urus. New streamline front and rear bumpers are among the most obvious changes. A matte-black skidplate is another giveaway, while many of the other visual updates cost extra, such as the 23-inch Taigete wheels—in bronze—with the diamond-polish treatment.

A retuned exhaust system improves the sound when starting up the engine, and offers a more distinctive note in each drive mode, of which there are now six. And then there’s the Anima Ego mode, allowing drivers to tailor the drivetrain and air suspension to their own individual preferences. Like the off-road drive modes, though, very few Urus owners will likely ever engage the Ego (at least this definition of it).

Lamborghini Urus S
Inside the cabin are several connected services, including navigation and security features, all of which can be managed from a smartphone app

On asphalt, the Urus S is a blast. Burbling around town, the merest blip of the throttle pedal unleashes beastly bravado. Hard cornering is flattened out by an active anti-roll system, while four-wheel steering sharpens up handling, as do the industry’s largest carbon-ceramic brakes.

Inside, the cabin is arguably better than that of the Aston Martin DBX, which still suffers from an old Mercedes infotainment system that doesn’t offer touchscreen functionality and desperately needs an update. The Urus S, on the other hand, has several connected services, including navigation and security features, all of which can be managed from a smartphone app.

Lamborghini Urus S
The Urus S offers six drive modes, including ones specifically for dirt, snow, and sand

Lamborghini is also offering revised colour and trim packages for this SUV, with a range of funky, dual-matching schemes called Sportivo, as well as ornate stitching patterns for the leather.

Need something more eco-friendly? There’s almost certainly going to be a hybrid iteration introduced to the lineup in the next few years. For now, though, the Lamborghini Urus S continues to impress us with the model line, one that takes a backseat to only the Ferrari Purosangue. And that’s a rivalry we can rally behind.

This article was first published on Robb Report US