I quickly realized how much more confidence those few minutes throwing the Performante through such treacherous situations can impart when I was back on the street for another practice. It suddenly felt completely normal to slam on the brakes to induce some initial nosedive at turn entry, haul the steering wheel into apexes, and even ask the front wheels to pull through corners before letting all of the twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8’s power loose back out onto the straights.

SlashGear/Michael Teo Van Runkle The updated Performante package for 2023 gives the current Urus’ base model a total of sixteen more horsepower, though the ‘S’ model that will replace the base model also gets the same increase in power. Most significantly, the Performante replaces an adjustable air suspension system with steel springs at each corner, enabling a ride height that is 20 millimeters lower. Improved aerodynamics result in a 38% increase in rear downforce as well as improved cooling for the engine and brakes thanks to revised intake and venting systems. Active torque vectoring forgoes faux-differential braking action in favor of twin clutchpacks on the way to the wheels, while a reworked Torsen center differential (which, appropriately, sounds like Audi) may put extra power in the back when necessary. Although Lambo has added a new “Rally” driving mode, the Torsen center differential prevents rear-drive-only fun and drastically reduces traction control interference in the dirt.

SlashGear/Michael Teo Van Runkle The Performante improvements also lead to a weight reduction of 41 kg, or little under 2%. Although it is questionable whether even the most sensitive of Lambo’s factory drivers can feel the effects of such dieting, every driver at Vallelunga experienced the scorching pace that this lowered, stiffened five-seater delivers when switched into “Corsa” mode—all while enjoying a surprisingly large amount of trunk cargo space.

SlashGear Michael Teo Van Runkle Michael Teo Van Runkle Michael Michael Teo Van Runkle Michael Teo Van Runkle/SlashGear Michael Teo Van Runkle/SlashGear SlashGear/Teo Van Runkle Instead, the twin-turbo V8’s peak torque of 627 lb-ft down low at 2,250 RPM will cause heads to turn as it is accompanied by fast changes from ZF’s conventional eight-speed torque-converter automatic controlled by aluminum paddles. The Performante’s Nardo lap time was reportedly reduced by 1.5 seconds thanks to a partnership with Pirelli for a new Trofeo R, but that is before a hard stomp on the brake pedal clamps down the world-record-setting carbon-ceramic rotors, bringing the 4,700-pound SUV down from triple-digit speeds with ease and overwhelming the limits of tire grip. This is all the while.

SlashGear/Michael Teo Van Runkle Without Lamborghini’s knowledge, I also went off for a brief lap on the public roads around Vallelunga (claiming to need a good spot for some shady interior photos). Given the optional 23-inch wheels and low-profile Trofeo R tires, my main interest was in whether—or how much—the steel springs increased jouncing. As a result, I can say that the Performante obviously drives stiffer than a base model Urus equipped with air suspension, though not nearly to the point of discomfort, when the adaptive shocks are set to “Strada” mode. Additionally, the gearbox shifts smoothly under typical driving conditions, the aero components don’t make much wind noise, and the carbon-ceramic tires don’t even screech excessively.

My mind is still boggled by the fact that Lambo’s attorneys even permitted dirt to circulate—by journalists, no less. After example, a single tiny particle that gets lodged in a brake caliper may cost a carbon-ceramic rotor thousands of dollars. To be completely honest, I also have to mention that the two SUVs responsible for organizing the rally were outfitted with the standard 22-inch wheels and Pirelli P Zero tires.

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