Lamborghini seems to have a bee in their bonnet about how seriously people do (or do not) take the Urus as a capable off-roader. Hey, knock it off, quit laughing! Lambo is serious about this. Darned if the Sant’Agata Bolognese company didn’t just do some serious off-roading with their SUV. So much so, Lamborghini set a personal best with its Urus, a vehicle they say combines the soul of a super sports car with the functionality of an SUV.
The Air Up There
There’s this stretch in India reputed to be the highest drivable road in the world as it crests the Umling La Pass in India’s Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir. And by crest, I mean it is 19,300 feet above sea level, which is, technically speaking, completely nuts. Look, I’ve driven to the top of Mauna Kea before, and that was “only” 13,796 feet up, and the rental car barely made it. At another mile above Mauna Kea, this Umling La Pass deal looks seriously nutzo.
Originally built by the Border Roads Organization, the Umling La Pass is an extraordinary feat of engineering that was carried out under ridiculous weather conditions: Minimum temperature ranges from -20 degrees to -10 degrees, extremely thin air density, and wind speeds varying from 40 to 80 km/h. And no, in case you’re interested, this isn’t a smooth paved road like you’d find out front of the mall. The Umling La Pass road combines gravel and rough concrete, so not only is it waaaay up there with atrocious weather, but the surface ain’t a cakewalk either.
“This is a proud moment for Lamborghini as the Urus unlocks the pinnacle of high-altitude driving across the Umling La Pass,” said Sharad Agarwal, Head of Lamborghini India. “I would like to congratulate the Border Roads Organization and its team on their remarkable achievement.”
Heading Up The Umling La Pass
To put an exclamation point on what it was able to achieve, Lamborghini took its Urus along this imposing road not once but twice (October 8th and 9th, 2021). The 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 of the Urus played a significant part in this. The engine cranks out 641 ponies and 625 lb-ft. of torque (at sea level), allowing the Urus to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.6 seconds (at sea level). It also allows the Urus to reach a top speed of 305 km/h (at sea level).
Lamborghini also points out that the expedition took place in partnership with Autocar India and the Border Roads Organization. So none of you screwballs out there just show up at the Umling La Pass with your Bentayga and try to give it a go. Okay?
“When we reached Umling La Pass, even standing for 30 minutes was extremely difficult, and how the team completed the road in such extreme weather conditions is unimaginable,” Agarwal recalled. “During the 87.5 km-long drive from Hanle to Umling La, Urus performed brilliantly under the Terra and Sport driving modes on a road that sits higher than the base camp of Mount Everest.”
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of The Indy 500, available in paperback or Kindle format. Follow his work on Twitter: @TonyBorroz.