Lambo’s plug-in hybrid Urus SE is a 789bhp powerhouse | CAR Magazine

Lambo’s plug-in hybrid Urus SE is a 789bhp powerhouse

Published: 24 April 2024

► Lambo’s refreshed, 2024 Urus plugs in
► 789bhp from V8 PHEV powertrain
► Urus SE now the sole model on sale

Lamborghini’s mighty SUV plugs in for 2024 – this is the Urus SE. It introduces an electrified powertrain to the brand’s big-seller for the first time, and replaces both the regular V8-powered Urus S and the hardcore Urus Performante.

Not only that, but the Urus itself has had a bit of an update. The overall look has been tweaked, with new headlight clusters, bumper and grille designs at the front as well as a new spoiler and splitter at the rear. Those tweaks are designed to aid in aero, particularly at the rear end, with Lambo’s chief technical officer, Rouven Mohr, telling CAR that ‘you always have a little lift on the rear with this kind of car, kind of like a hot hatch,’ adding that the new rear diffuser and spoiler ‘reduces lift by 38 per cent.’ New wheel designs and colours launch, too.

The interior has had a refresh, too, introducing a larger central screen with new tech on it. As well as a generative AI voice assistant provided by ChatGPT, Lamborghini says there’s also now a dedicated telemetry system and fresh driver assistance graphics.

But, all of this is secondary to the main event. The focal point of the new Urus SE is its electrified powertrain, which couples a potent V8 with a 25.9kWh battery pack and electric motor. If that sounds familiar, it probably will – the Urus’ inherent DNA means it shares a lot of common bits with the likes of Porsche and its Cayenne E-Hybrid. But Mohr doesn’t see that as a problem: ‘in fact, it’s a big advantage,’ he says, ‘because it means we can focus on our differentiation – the mission for us is always to be typical Lambo in every segment.’

So, yes, the base architecture is the same, but that 789bhp and 701lb ft power output is all Lamborghini’s doing, allowing the Urus SE to sprint to 62mph in 3.4 seconds (0.1sec quicker than a Urus S) and onto a top speed of 194mph – figures Sant’Agata claims makes the Urus SE the fastest car in its segment.

Some of the Urus SE’s control weights, handling characteristics and behaviours as you get close to the limit are all their own work, too. ‘While could also play with the throttle response with our own cars before, the additional e-motor gives us extra opportunities to fine tune everything and make it more Lambo-like,’ says Mohr. ‘We also have a different shifting strategy for the gearbox where we have this additional inertia push,’ pointing to the fact the e-motor will fill in the torque gaps when changing gear.

Naturally, the Urus SE isn’t light, which Mohr says is ‘unavoidable’ given the extra electrified bits and pieces beneath the skin – ‘but it will be the lightest car in the hybrid segment.’ And, while Mohr adds that he’s ‘not a fan of downsizing’ if the idea of using a V6 PHEV powertrain was an option, details like using an electronic torque vectoring system to work with the rear limited-slip differential saves 20kg.

Even so, it’s ‘not always about the numbers,’ adds Mohr. ‘You can clock a fast lap but be bored, or you can have a super exciting one – and you can really drift with this car! – but probably not be the fastest. For us, the excitement is priority one.’

First deliveries of the new Urus SE will happen later in 2024.

By Jake Groves

CAR's deputy news editor, gamer, serial Lego-ist, lover of hot hatches