LAMBORGHINI – FRANKL FAMILY GRAND TOUR
Each May the Frankl’s get excited. It’s the Monaco Grand Prix month and our annual My Yacht Monaco weekend welcomes dozens of passionate friends and guests aboard our trackside superyacht, plus summer is nearly here and, most importantly, it’s time to tweak the preparations for our annual trip to ‘motor valley’, better known as the Maranello and Sant’Agata factories.
This year our dear friends at Lamborghini HQ suggested getting better acquainted during the race week in the 2022 Urus, a vehicle that has transformed the company’s finances, repositioned the brand, and engaged with a whole new demographic of buyers from Dubai to Beverley Hills who simply ‘have to have it’. With seating for five plus ample luggage (the car is wider than a Porsche Cayenne) it’s perfect for piling in with friends and family, and cruising majestically up to His Serene Highness’ annual F1 drivers’ reception at the Princely Palace the night before the race.
Monaco, as you might have heard, isn’t a large country and like most small European towns has fairly tight roads and even tighter parking spaces, much to the constant chagrin of the locals I can assure you! Consequently, if your neighbour also has an SUV and has been slapdash in their parking, you’d better skip the dessert, or you may have trouble extricating yourself from the partially open driver’s side door when you get home! Very careful navigation of parking garages will also be rewarded with less damage to the beautiful 21-inch wheels, and your clenched teeth!
Urus come in many colors, and some accentuate the angular styling better than others. Our baby blue was a crowd pleaser and I’ve always enjoyed driving ‘extreme machines’ with happy, welcoming, and less aggressive hues, like the Avantador S in pearlesant white: it adds to the class and is more socially inviting.
Back at the famous start / finish line, which is a public road (Blvd Albert 1er), with three bus stops and a 24 hour Casino supermarket opposite, we position the Urus at Charles Leclerc’s pole position grid and attempt a brief launch control into the sharp right hander at St. Devote, named for the Christian Saint of Monaco, who is celebrated every February by residents and the Princely family with a burning boat ceremony, the same spot where the F1 drivers do donuts to return themselves to the track after out braking themselves into the second gear 60mph turn. With large spaghetti plate sized carbon ceramic discs all-round, there’s zero chance of not making our apex and we power up the hill with the twin turbo’s spooling up, reminiscent of the old 80’s F1 turbo days.
With the 15th My Yacht Monaco weekend successfully completed aboard a 180ft trackside super yacht and the many merry guests recovering from another epic race weekend, we point up towards the new Maybourne Hotel jutting out of the top of Roquebrune mountain above Monaco, like an enormous Blofeld villainous lair in a James Bond epic. Fully laden but with 665bhp it doesn’t take long to reach the Italian border, and friends in the accompanying Ferrari Portofino are struggling to match the 70-140 acceleration of this beast from Bologna.
Towards Alexandria there’s a particularly welcoming stretch of highway and, with light traffic, it affords more enthusiasm to explore the higher limits of this 2.5-ton bull. Super sports utilities ought not to be able to go and handle in the manner of the Urus and, quite frankly, one doesn’t need more of anything in a five door hatch back with room for kids, dogs, bikes and a week’s worth of groceries behind you. The only other thing behind me was the waning prancing horse whose accomplished driver greeted us at the espresso stop with a mild look of disbelief – how could that thing be SO fast?!
Inside the Urus you find a consistent design language in a highly comfortable modern carbon, leather, and Alcantara cabin. With a little time for familiarization the infotainment system is easily tweaked and mastered using mainly Audi-sourced components and software. The seats are relatively low (a good thing) that provides less of an armchair driving position: when will a manufacturer design a sports car seating position for a SUV?
An hour later we’re at the Maranello Palace Hotel, just a hop from the prancing horse factory gates and changing for the annual decadent Sassicaia dinner at the Tuscan hillside paradise Opera 02! With 2015, ‘16, and ‘17 vintages at $300 bottle it didn’t take much time before half a case was missing from owner Antonio’s cellar.
Wednesday morning and the Frankl’s divide to conquer. Father and automotive legend Andrew “Frankly Frankl” is off to collect the new 296 hybrid, and Annabelle and I head in the opposite direction for Lamborghini HQ and museum where we enjoy a private tour and refresher of all things Ferruccio. Magical, and highly recommend!
Upon first sight, the beautifully prepared STO (again in a light color scheme) looks like it’s about to enter Le Mans. There isn’t another car like it, or to compete with it, in terms of bold race styling: it might not be everyone’s taste, and I guess a matt black will absorb some of the scoops, fins, and wings, but why bother? It’s mad and glorious and totally politically incorrect and that’s even before you’ve woken up the V10 soul (and the neighbours).
The door is as light as I can recall from the DTM race cars and the feeling of special starts with that first small movement. Sinking into the low and comfortable race seat – a seat that is actually made for this authentic environment rather than a souped-up hot hatch, the feeling of special continues. You lift the familiar starter cover and gently press the red start button in the center consol. KAABOOM! This is a V10, but not as you’ve ever heard it. Already one of the best and last remaining normally aspirated super car power plants, the Italian engineers have changed all manner of innards and exhaust system to push horse power up to 640bhp at 8,000 revs. Dry weight is down to 1,339kg and with two wheel drive the front end is whippet fast, combining best in class steering feel and mid-engine balance (41/59%). Into the hills of Emilia Romagna and the family’s favorite Futa Pass test track. This evolution isn’t for those of a gentle, nervous, or fragile disposition!
If driving a Q car is your happiness, then don’t waste anyone’s time with this monster. This is a car that rewards passionate skilled drivers and passengers alike (although ear plugs for your companion on long journeys at high revs will be appreciated) and ultimately this isn’t a highway cruiser with short gearing and no eight speed / over drive. The STO is developed and created for mountains and racetracks, not runs to the supermarket. It won’t be anyone’s daily driver unless they live on, or next to, the aforementioned. The front boot is now a part of the full width front clamshell cover and provides toothbrush storage only. Speaking of dentistry, you won’t be needing a check up on the filling adhesive after a run over anything but billiard smooth asphalt (I’m thinking about the epic three lane mountain run up to the top of Ras Al-Khaimah). The STO suspension is so firm in race mode that I found myself clenching my teeth, a first outside of Olympic bobsledding! Better to use the sport mode and leave Corsa for, well, the actual racetrack! With the revs peaking at 8,000 revs your fingers pull the long thin wheel-mounted paddle and snap, you’re into illegal territory in 2nd gear and the trees are becoming a solid green deafening blur around you. Power oversteer is simply a matter of nerve, skill and road width, as this Lambo is always ready to play with some of the best steering engagement available: light but not like the horsey neighbors, direct, and highly communicative. What’s noticeable about the STO is that the chassis dynamic has been changed and without the weight of the front drivetrain ‘gubbins’ the understeer, which is always prominent, in these systems, has been substantially turned out. At high speeds the aero really comes into play and you begin to wonder just how fast you can take the 120mph sweepers and what the road limits are… and what happens when you cross them.
When walking past one’s collection of cars in your garage (unless you live in Monaco) and considering what to take out for Sunday’s favorite road, ‘blow the cobwebs’ blast, the STO is likely to win more often than not. It isn’t a ‘nip to store for supplies’ as there’s no place for anything but the Sunday papers and, unless you physically strap said papers into the passenger seat, they’re going to be heavily rearranged once back home. No, if you’re nipping out, you take the Urus or your other Huracan spider. The STO is a track car mildly retuned and homologated for road use and Lamborghini should be congratulated for developing it. The competition is fierce and features the best names in the business, namely the 488 Pista (V8 twin turbo, fast as hell but, personally, unrewarding), McLaren 600LT (same, same), 911 GT3 (the sensible lawyer / doctor with speedy devil deep inside choice). I haven’t driven the new GT3 or GT3 RS but I’ve heard it’s so tight it’s almost undrivable on public B roads. If I was in the market and, for sure, it’s a special place to be, I’d have to consider specifically how I use the cars. The price difference is always a consideration with STO at $330k V GT3 RS at $165k approx., so twice as good? Or half the value? Money no object I’d fulfill my passion and take the STO
• COMBINED CONSUMPTION *13.9 l/100km (WLTP)
• COMBINED CO2 EMISSIONS *331 g/km (WLTP)
• ENGINE V10, 90°, MPI (Multi Point Injection) +
DSI (Direct Stratified Injection)
• DISPLACEMENT 5,204 cm³ (317.57 cu in)
• BORE X STROKE 84.5 x 92.8 mm (3.33 x 3.65 in)
• COMPRESSION RATIO 12.7:1
• MAX. POWER 470/640 kW/CV at 8,000 rpm
• MAX. TORQUE 565 Nm
• WEIGHT TO POWER RATIO 2.09 kg/CV (5.61 lb/CV)
• LUBRICATION Dry sump
• EMISSION CLASS Euro 6 - LEV 3
• TRANSMISSION TYPE RWD
• GEARBOX Dual clutch gearbox LDF
(Lamborghini doppia frizione) with 7 speeds
• TOP SPEED 310 km/h
• ACCELERATION 0-100 KM/H (0-62 MPH)3.0 s
• ACCELERATION 0-200 KM/H (0-124 MPH)9.0 s
• BRAKING 100-0 KM/H (62-0 MPH)30 m
• BRAKING 200-0 KM/H (124-0 MPH)110 m
BODY AND CHASSIS
• CHASSIS Hybrid in aluminum and carbon fiber
• BODY Aluminum and synthetic material
• TOP ROOF
• MIRRORS Electrically operated, heated and foldable
• AERODYNAMICS Front splitter and rear wing in
carbon fiber with 3 manual regulation
• FRONT RIMS 8.5J x 20
• REAR RIMS 11J x 20
• FRONT TIRES Bridgestone Potenza Sport 245/30 R20
• REAR TIRES Bridgestone Potenza Sport 305/30 R20
STEERING AND SUSPENSION
• CONTROL SYSTEM Electronic Stability Control (integrating ABS and TCS)
• SUSPENSION TYPE Magneto-rheological suspension
• STEERING SYSTEM Electro-mechanical power steering (EPS)
• CARBON CERAMIC BRAKES (FRONT)
• CARBON CERAMIC BRAKES (REAR)Type: CCM-R
• LENGTH 4,547 mm (179.02 in)
• WIDTH (EXCLUDING MIRRORS)1,945 mm (76.57 in)
• WIDTH (INCLUDING MIRRORS)2,236 mm (88.03 in)
• HEIGHT 1,220 mm (48.03 in)
• WHEELBASE 2,620 mm (103.14 in)
• DRY WEIGHT 1,339 kg
• WEIGHT DISTRIBUTION% 41/59