Flash-forward to now. The Urus — derived from the aurochs, a large, wild predecessor of the domestic cattle — isn’t just an evolutionary step ahead from the time of the Militaria, it is completely revolutionary. Its design cues are unmistakably Lamborghini — right from the sharp, bat-like sinewy lines that make up its exterior to the 21-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels harnessed by what must be the biggest brakes in the business. And then there is that Lamborghini sound, which begins like a raspy cough and builds into a thundering, rumbling crescendo that echoes for miles around.
The Urus is imposing. At 6-feet-four-inches high and almost 16-feet-long, the first supercar SUV feels monstrous on the street. That feeling, however, disappears once you step inside the cockpit, where everything is wrapped in suede-like Alcantara leather and an amalgamation of honeycomb vents and digital touchscreens that enable feather-touch nimbleness.
If the Urus’s exteriors are edgy, the interiors seem designed with space-age tech inherited from an alien ship. It’s unlike anything on the planet. Even the aircon vents are tricked out with honey-comb plastic units that look as though they would be more at home on the “Starship Enterprise” of Star Trek than on terra firma.
An aerodynamic leather and wood dashboard dominated by futuristic digital controls allows you to change climate, sound and other functions. The start-stop button ignition is in the centre of the car where usually the handbrake is. To the left of it is a drive mode selector, labelled Anima, that lets you switch modes from six different options: strada (street), sport, corsa (race), sabbia (driving in sand), terra (driving in dirt) and neve (driving in snow). Anima in Latin means three things: brute, cattle and living thing. In this case, all three are accurate. The drive modes change the car’s suspension and other dynamics to adapt to different driving and climate conditions, making this one versatile SUV.
Though few may use the Lamborghini to ferry kids, the backseat is actually quite comfortable and comes in both two- and three-seater configurations. The massive, 616-litre trunk can accommodate golf sets, big suitcases as well as foldable bicycles, should you plan to go mountain-biking.
When I start the Urus and push it on to a street, I can’t really feel the Lamborghini. There is no zippy race car-like take-off. No rumbling thunder. No hugging the road like it was a flying carpet. Had the company missed a step while putting this car together? But as I ease the car on to the highway and switch to the sport mode, the Urus suddenly comes alive with a growl that builds up to a loud machine gun-like rumble. The suspension changes, the power opens and flows through the sinews of the beast and the ground beneath me seems to vanish as the Urus ploughs through the concrete highway like a hot knife through butter. Many sports cars are fast, but in a smooth, leathery, luxurious way. Not the Urus, which makes no pretence of what drives its core: raw power.
Punch the pedal and it’s like an industrial freight train is backing this SUV. The thrust snaps your neck back into the seat and you hold on to the steering wheel for dear life lest you lose control.
In what feels like less than a minute after I got on to the Bandra–Worli Sea Link, I’m at the exit point. As I slow the beast down to pay the toll, some teenagers in a car in the lane opposite me wave frantically, holding their phones up. One of them begs, “Please, can you rev the engine? We want to hear the sound.” I oblige, and the 650 horsepower engine under the hood reverberates, making the car that weighs more than two tonnes shake like a boat on sea. I spin the Urus around and in a matter of minutes am headed to the Mahalaxmi Racecourse, where I pull in for a few moments.
Later, as I am leaving, a bay thoroughbred crosses over from the race track after a morning canter. I brake to let him pass. He pulls away from his handler and slows down, cocking his head sideways to look at the Urus. It could be my imagination but for a fraction of a second I swear it seemed that he nodded, as though in appreciation. That, in a nutshell, is the effect that the Lamborghini Urus has on one and all.