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Lap Record! The Lamborghini Urus Is the Fastest Production SUV at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca

There's a new SUV king of the track


Last year, we made a decision. SUVs are all the rage, and performance SUVs are a thing. To ignore them would be a disservice to our audience. For the first time in Best Driver's Car history, we invited an SUV. Being the first such vehicle to lap WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio by default became the production SUV lap record holder. Now that inviting SUVs to BDC is official policy, it was only a matter of time until that record was challenged, and the Lamborghini Urus brought the big guns.


You never know how a race is going to shake out until you run it, but the numbers were certainly in the Lamborghini's favor. Right up front, you have a twin-turbo V-8 making 641 hp and 627 lb-ft to the Stelvio's 505 hp and 442 lb-ft out of a twin-turbo V-6. Ah, but wait, you say, the Urus is a lot bigger than the Stelvio. And you're right. The Lambo is significantly longer and wider. Thing is, a lot of that extra material is carbon fiber. The Lamborghini only weighs 649 pounds more than the Alfa, 4,931 pounds to 4,282 pounds. Do the math, and the Stelvio has a power to weight ratio of 8.5 pounds per horsepower. The Urus: 7.7.


Of course, having less mass to move isn't the same thing as moving it well. All the power in the world won't help you on a racetrack if the vehicle won't turn. Here again, though, the numbers favor the big guy. The Lamborghini pulled 1.01 average lateral g on the skidpad to the Alfa's 0.93 g. Its figure-eight lap of 23.5 seconds was nearly a second and a half quicker than the Alfa's 24.9-second run.

The numbers may not always tell the whole story, but this time, they pretty much do. The time to beat was 1:43.50, the Stelvio as quick around the track as a 2014 Mercedes-Benz C 63 AMG Edition 507 Coupe. It wasn't even close. The mafia muscle that is the Lamborghini Urus beat up the track to the tune of 1:40.90, a few tenths slower than a 2019 BMW M2 Competition.

 
"It's a fantastic SUV," Randy Pobst said. "It is not a sports car. No, that's not right—it's not race car; it is kind of a sports car! It's kind of a tall, powerful sports car. That's what I would call it, but it's not a race car. It's like it has a lot of capability up to a point. The challenge is not to go over that point. And the car emphasizes something I've learned in my driving: The heavier the car is, the lighter your inputs need to be because it just doesn't respond. It did not like to be rushed, and the improvement I had between the first lap and the second lap was by slowing down, not trying to attack like I did. Early on I was getting a pretty nice drift on the way in, pre-entry. Kind of entry drift oversteer, then it fell into a midcorner understeer. And that got worse as we went. It seems to overload the front tire in the middle of the corner and start pushing. Traction off the corner is fantastic, though."

Say what you want about performance SUVs, but they get the job done. An M5, once the pinnacle of sport sedans, is only 1.1 seconds quicker than an SUV around a world-class racetrack, and the new M5 is damn good. It's a new world, and the Lamborghini Urus is the fastest SUV in it.

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Automotive Magazine: Lap Record! The Lamborghini Urus Is the Fastest Production SUV at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca
Lap Record! The Lamborghini Urus Is the Fastest Production SUV at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca
There's a new SUV king of the track
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