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Lamborghini transforms the Urus SUV into a dual-purpose race car

Try to picture a Lamborghini race car and your brain might respond with an image of the Huracan GT3; ours did. The Italian firm wants to break stereotypes and tradition with a race-ready version of the Urus SUV. It unveiled a concept car to preview the model.

Called ST-X, the design study should silence the naysayers that claim the Urus isn’t worthy of wearing the Raging Bull emblem due to its size, its weight, and its body style. It’s visibly based on the Urus that Lamborghini introduced in late 2017, but it receives a new-look front end with bigger air intakes that improve cooling in the engine bay. Low and wide, the ST-X boasts a menacing stance not normally associated with an SUV.

Look closely and you’ll spot hexagonal exhaust tips under the rear doors. Designers also added a roof-mounted spoiler for additional downforce, a full roll cage, and 21-inch, center-locking alloy wheels wrapped by Pirelli tires. The result is a grocery-getter that can fend off purpose-built sports cars during a morning track session, and drift around a dirt course like a rally car in the afternoon. The ST-X will do both; Lamborghini designed it for on- and off-road racing.

The carbon fiber hood hints at the effort Lamborghini’s research and development department put into shedding as much weight as possible. Though it didn’t provide specific figures, the Italian company noted its engineers made the ST-X about 25 percent lighter than the regular-production Urus, which tips the scale at roughly 4,800 pounds. Lamborghini will reveal the changes it made to bring the ST-X’s weight down to approximately 3,600 pounds in the coming months.

It sounds like the ST-X keeps the Urus’ twin-turbocharged, 4.0-liter V8 engine. Chosen for its torque, the eight-cylinder makes 650 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of torque. It spins the four wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission.

So, what’s the point? The ST-X isn’t an exercise in rubbing purists the wrong way. It will participate in a new race series that Lamborghini will launch in 2020. The yet-unnamed series promises to take participants on- and off-road on FIA-approved tracks located in Europe and in the Middle East. Lamborghini hasn’t published the calendar yet, but it promises an “arrive and drive” experience that lets buyers fly in, strap in, and hit the track without worrying about shipping the car or keeping it in tip-top condition; the automaker’s race support team will take of logistics.

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