First the GMC Typhoon, and now the Lamborghini Urus
“High-performance SUV” is an oxymoron. It shouldn’t exist. Excess expediency and great speed are meaningless. What self-absorbed person needs a ridiculously expensive car to haul sheets of plywood, a family of five, or 20 suitcases — and with a top speed of 190 mph? Performance car enthusiasts are not people. Practical and certainly not rational consumers.No one needs a huge SUV, but a lot of people want one.
Porsche’s Cayenne Turbo GT laps the Nürburgring as quickly as a 911 from a decade ago. GM put a 682-horsepower supercharged V-8 in the Escalade. Funnily enough, the best-selling Mercedes G-Wagen model in the United States is the AMG G63. Ferrari, Aston Martin and Lotus have held on but are now in the fast SUV business. And the fastest and most ostentatious of them all? Possibly this: the Lamborghini Urus Performante, a $330,000, 2.5-ton, 657-hp twin-turbo V8 crossover optimized for the racetrack.
To call the Urus Performanceante “peak” would be to tempt fate, because these things aren’t getting any slower, lighter or cheaper.
The Performante is full of torque, the eight-speed automatic paddles precisely, and the body holds together like a barnacle. There’s some Audi in it, as there is in every Urus, but from the carbon fiber bonnet to the titanium exhaust, this is the most Lambo Urus yet. He’s tough and barks, but still has room for two kids.
This is all GMC’s fault.
In 1991, Car and driver, Road pathBrother/rival, he put the then-new GMC Syclone pickup truck on the cover, lining it up against a Ferrari 348TS. The $26,120 ($58,000 in today’s money) 280-horsepower pickup had a single turbo on its 4.3-liter V-6 and all-wheel drive that allowed it to outpace a Ferrari in a short drag race. The Syclone was 0.4 seconds quicker to 30 mph and 0.7 seconds quicker to 60 mph but 13.7 seconds slower to 120 mph, close to its top speed of 126 mph. Woodward’s new king could have smoked on a mountain pass or a race track. But someone had to be the first to outdo a Ferrari with a truck, even if one had to zoom in very close to the sports game.
But then, GMC made a slight change for 1992 and created a bracket: It fit the Syclone powertrain, body kit and wheels to the nine-year-old S-15 Jimmy two-door model, giving it a cool, wind-based name. GMC Typhoon, and invented the fast SUV.
Evan Mayer is a Hurricane fan, he owns four of them. In high school, his first car was a lightly used (resprayed) flying yellow example; Then he owned a pair of lions (at the same time); Then he got the monochrome version of the Frost White class we drive today. He knows the nuances of the model year and didn’t end up doing this by accident.
“The paint was monochromatic for 1993 only,” Meyer explains. “All the 90s had gray reducers with red decals; This has the gold badge. They changed the seats for 1993 as well. These are more comfortable than the buckets that came with early buckets and Cyclones. But these are my dream cars, and they’re pretty cool for driving around Los Angeles. On occasion, I will use this car as a daily driver, and it’s really great. It’s the right size, still very fast, and holds my kids and stuff in the back. This was a one owner truck before me. It came from the owner of a GMC dealership in Florida.
I’m also, in theory, a hurricane guy. This truck is bursting with 90s cool. From the body kits to the graphics to the new powertrain – it ticks all my weird niche boxes. Hurricane Meyer is 34,000 miles long and looks as good as any hurricane I’ve seen. The paint is clean and new, the leather is crack-free, and the plastic is as good as new. Smells like a 90’s GM car. “I’ve removed the door badges on all four Typhoons I’ve owned. I just like the cleaned-up look on the side, and it’s almost like a tradition at this point.
The tornadoes were moving upward. Before 2020, it was unusual to see a product sell for more than $20,000. Today, only Juncker can fetch less. Low-mileage collector models regularly cost between $40,000 and $80,000, which is about what a mid-grade Ferrari 348 goes for. A 272-mile-long Hurricane sold for $175,000 on Bring a Trailer in February 2022.
The dynamics do not justify this figure. Despite being very slow, the Typhoon accelerates briskly to 60 and makes great turbo noises. But the fun ends there, or at the first corner, whichever comes first. The Typhoon is comfortable and roomy for four people, and has a good-sized cargo space in a compact (by today’s standards) package. But it’s not that fast, and it doesn’t handle that well. It has a four-speed automatic transmission with a crazy mind of its own.
But the stage has been set. After the Syclone, there soon came fast Jeeps, fast pickup trucks, and crossovers on big wheels with tires that barely had sidewalls. When Porsche entered the SUV business with the 2003 Cayenne and started making big money, the world changed.
The Performante is a lower-end Urus, designed to be faster on a theoretical racetrack you’ll likely never see. With its fixed-height suspension, Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R tires, and carbon hood, this thing has shed any pretense that it should be off-road or used in the winter. The ride is brutal, and the practicality is gone. It’s stupidly fast, but without a track, it’s barely faster than the standard Urus, which was already faster than it was for any reason. The regular one had a comfortable air suspension and tires that could safely handle cold rain. It’s the same raw compromise that GMC made with the Typhoon: performance at the expense of everything else.
But GMC Typhoons were not rational purchases for Ivan Meyer, and a Lamborghini Urus Performante is not a rational purchase for anyone. However, the company says that more than 50 percent of new Uruses will be in this model. Lamborghini owners have always willingly sacrificed comfort and feel for speed and style. The practical Lambo has a lot of appeal.
Editor at large
A lifelong car lover, Matt Farah began his automotive career at dealerships, rental agencies and detail shops before discovering the power of YouTube in 2006 with his channel The Smoking Tire. Farah holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Pennsylvania, with a concentration in photography, and not only helped create content for YouTube, but also helped source his own photography for his position as editor-at-large at Road & Track.
He has hosted and produced television series on NBC Sports, G4 Network, SPEED, and Esquire. The Smoking Tire Podcast ranks #1 in this category every week of the year. Now, with over 800 episodes, The Smoking Tire podcast is the ultimate guest stop for people in the auto industry. Farah’s Westside Collector Car Warehouse is a game changer for the luxury car park and concierge that has expanded to a second location in 2023.