Track Battle: 2019 Lamborghini Urus vs. 2019 Porsche Cayenne Turbo
Lamborghinis and Porsches parked in the paddock at Willow Springs International Raceways’ “Big” track isn’t unusual, especially when MotorTrend‘s around. The phrase “production car lap record” follows us around, too. What’s strange this particular track day is that the cars are SUVs, the 2019 Lamborghini Urus and 2019 Porsche Cayenne Turbo. They’re here to break the production SUV lap record.
Although this is unusual, it’s not unheard of. Five high-performance SUVs have set times around Big Willow in the past five years with our favorite racer, Randy Pobst, at the wheel. The 2015 BMW X6 M, an SUV as fast as it is funny looking, has held the record throughout that period with a time of 1:32.36, nearly 2 seconds ahead of a 2016 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S. Now, we’ll find out if the next generation of Cayenne has what it takes to dethrone the BMW, then we’ll see if Lamborghini can do it one better.
We start with the rematch. The old Cayenne Turbo S weighed about the same as the X6 M and made about the same horsepower but with significantly more torque, so losing by almost two seconds had to hurt. This new ’19 Cayenne Turbo weighs about 100 pounds less than either of those older cars, but it’s also down on power and torque. It does, however, have a litany of high-tech tricks up its wheelwells, including rear steering and active anti-roll bars, both of which should help in the corners.
“I made a concerted effort to finish my braking early and go to power early, which is against what I believe as a driver,” Pobst said. “The understeer is very strong if I’m still trying to slow the car all the way until I’m pointed at the apex, which is what I teach when I’m coaching. In this car, that’s not the way to go. It won’t turn if I’m still trail-braking or trailing throttle, until I go to power. I go to power, and I get an instant yaw that eliminates the understeer and even goes to a mild oversteer then stops right there like there’s a yaw limiter. Then it’s stable and secure.”
The Cayenne Turbo’s behavior may conflict with Randy’s racing instincts, but it sure is fast. Blasting around Big Willow in 1:31.59, it takes the better part of a second out of the BMW’s lap time. We’ve got ourselves a new Big Willow SUV lap record, and this isn’t even the bonkers Cayenne Turbo S (which is sure to come soon though isn’t officially announced).
Unfortunately for the Porsche, its glory lasted all of 15 minutes. The Urus weighs 160 pounds less than the new Porsche and has 100 more horsepower and 60 more lb-ft of torque. It’s also built on the same platform as the Cayenne, has the same rear steer and active anti-roll bar technology, and boasts an engine built by Porsche’s own motorsports department. But can it go around a corner? Oh, yes.
“It’s like the opposite of the Porsche,” Randy said. “It turns in great, but then I get a big push midcorner. I have to wait on it before I can go to power. Then it rockets out of the corner, but I feel like I’m losing time waiting for the front end to come back.”
Although Randy found room for improvement, it’s just a matter of making the best better at this point; the Urus jumped the Porsche’s brand-new lap record with a 1:30.87 lap. Less than a second quicker, the Urus will be looking over its angular shoulder when that Cayenne Turbo S inevitably hits the track, but until then, Lamborghini is the Big Willow production SUV lap record holder.
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