By on December 5, 2017

2019 Lamborghini Urus

Back in the spring of 2012, I penned a sort of existential whine about the absolutely unnecessary idea of a Lamborghini SUV. In the five-and-a-half years since then, it’s often looked like the “Urus” would be canceled or at least shelved indefinitely — and why not? Under the protective umbrella of VW Group, Lamborghini had absolutely no need to balance the books with a Me-Too Iguana Mommytruck.

Even more importantly, the company’s core product has become absolutely first-rate. If you haven’t driven a Huracan, you owe it to yourself to at least try three rental laps in Las Vegas or elsewhere. The Huracan Performante is, quite possibly, the most exciting and emotionally involving exotic car since the demise of the Ferrari 458 Speciale, while the Aventador S neatly balances the demands of outrageousness and everyday usability.

If you’d put a Urus in showrooms next to the tired-looking-from-Day-2 Gallardo and just-a-bit-plain Murcielago, there might have been a bit of sad synergy across the product lines. Maybe. Half a decade ago, Lamborghini wasn’t second fiddle to Ferrari so much as it was the weekday shift janitor at the symphony. But now it’s Ferrari that struggles with issues of public perception and dealer gouging and unfocused product offerings while the German-Italians from Sant’Agata keep raising the bar to stratospheric levels.

The Urus will be an exception to this new tradition of excellence. It’s a deeply compromised product, a sort of mish-mash between the Audi S8 and VW Tiguan and God knows what else. Its primary competition in the marketplace will surely be the related-under-the-skin Bentley Bentayga and Porsche Cayenne, two vehicles that I suspect are made deliberately gormless for the same reason the so-called “419 scams” are so obviously fraudulent — to weed out the cognoscenti and ensure that only the least discerning customers make it through the purchase experience. It’s not good news for anybody except my colleagues at the buff books, who will have a chance to escape the winter blahs with a trip to Italy. As a genuine fan of the Lamborghini brand and lineup, however, I can’t say that I am anything other than disappointed at Lamborghini’s decision to develop and sell this product.

Which raises, for me at least, a question: How can I continue to respect Lamborghini in a world where the Urus is providing the bulk of the sales volume? The answer is simple.

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By on April 20, 2012

Let me tell you this story about a killer I used to know.

I met him when I was fourteen years old. He worked with my father. I didn’t know anything about him. He was perhaps five foot eight at most. Quiet. Shy. He played folk guitar at a local cafe. At a company picnic, he expressed concern that the pond at the corporate retreat had too many fish. “There isn’t enough food for all of them to grow correctly,” he said, and he seemed sad about it.

A few years later, I was talking to my father about the book “Rogue Warrior” by former Navy SEAL Richard “Demo Dick” Marcinko. Enthusing about it, actually. “If you really want to know what the SEALs did,” the old man said by way of interrupting my babbling, “you can talk to…” and he gave me the name of the shy, fish-sympathetic guitar player.

“Why?” I asked.

“Well, he did multiple tours. Saw all sorts of action. He was the real deal.” My father was a veteran himself, and he didn’t hand out praise glibly, but… That couldn’t be. SEALs weren’t thin, quiet men who played the acoustic guitar and ended up doing paperwork in a brokerage business for the rest of their lives. Or were they?

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