My, how time flies in the car business these days. Of course, Lamborghini had to finally come out with something that pumped new life into its entry-level offering. (That sounds so odd: an entry-level V10 super GT.) The Gallardo LP560-4 had lived a very long life of ten years and myriad versions and trims to extend that life span right up to the recent 570-4 Squadra Corse that closed out the chapter. On the other hand, we weren’t actually clamouring for a new car to replace it; something new that carries on with that engine in it was sufficient. For now anyway.
Prior to this day of hard testing in southern Spain, most of it on the very nice track at Ascari Race Resort inland from the Mediterranean, I had just tested the BMW i8 in southern California. What a back-to-back wide spectrum of super GT sensations these two can be. They do not at all compete as you look at them on paper, but as you stare at them with your eyes, they both tug at the darker teenage side of your heart and soul. For sheer driving action and bravura and moxie, however, the Huracán shouldered nearly all memory of the quieter and effete i8 out of my head. This is a super GT by the existing definition and it hauls me back to a reality that I really love.
50 More Horsepower Versus The Base Gallardo
As the name suggests, we have here 50 more horsepower versus the base Gallardo, to get us to that 610. All-important torque is up 20 Newton metres to 560 Nm total peaking in naturally aspirated fashion at 6.500 rpm. Couple this added juice from the dry-sump 5,2-litre V10 with roughly 100 kilogrammes less overall weight trim-for-trim versus Gallardo, and good things are bound to ensue, no?
I knew all of this going into this sunny Spanish day of testing, so I needed another new bit of surprise to make me pause and maybe raise an eyebrow. What did it was seeing all of the various colours of Huracán lined up before me in the pit lane. Several white Huracáns, a couple in black, then, red, yellow, grey, and the more traditional screaming green and stunning Arancio Borealis Pearl (orange). The exterior from Lamborghini Centro Stile under the leadership of Filippo Perini is extremely beautiful. The face and profile are particularly beautiful, too, with some seemingly impossible transitions in the aluminium sheet metal. The only part of the Huracán aesthetic sum that thrills me less is the full-on tail end taken more or less from the Sesto Elemento model of 2011. It is not a terribly exciting tail and has no active aerodynamics either to help spice things up. Various street and track wings will no doubt happen back there over the car’s life, but this stock rear fascia leaves me a bit flat.
Naturally, the engine comes to life via push-button Start located just right of the steering wheel on the upper centre dash. Sitting still and playing on the throttle to impress standers-by is easy to accomplish. The four-tip exhaust sounds terrific while strutting still, made better now, too, by a more instantaneous reaction to pedal input. And the off-throttle, according to research and development boss Maurizio Reggiani, needed to sound and pop like the classic Alfa-Romeo which he owns. It does and it is quite satisfying to the ear and soul.
Sitting in the multi-adjustable standard sport seats, which provide true comfort plus support for hotter lateral forces while on a track, the first spectacle to learn about is the all-new steering wheel. It gives the term multi-function new meaning as each of the three small spokes carries functional bits for your thumbs and fingers to deal with, while there is a further function appendage at the lower left of the airbag/horn centre hexagon. The toughest one to get accustomed to for my atrophied brain was the left thumb toggle for the indicators, but I gradually got with the programme.
The low-centre spoke holds the most important part of the entire instrument panel interface. It is referred to as Anima, which is Italian for soul. Here, you select easily between Strada (street), Sport, and Corsa (race), the word of your choosing then lighting up in red. These modes govern engine/throttle response, gearshift timings of the seven-speed dual-clutch, steering feel, the behaviour of the all-wheel-drive system, damper stiffness, or the feel in the optional magneto-rheological damper set if you add that. All test cars on this occasion had that. And you should get that.
Having flown through some twelve laps of the 5,4-km circuit in four-lap sets, I think I pretty much discovered the added benefits of the Huracán over the Gallardo, whether cruising in a slow group of cars or setting fire to the tarmac in a much more capable group. Given the proven precision and adaptability of the optional MagneRide dampers, I was not really surprised by the smoothness and suppleness of the ride even while in the most aggressive Corsa mode over slightly challenging track or road conditions. These units have thoroughly changed the game regarding sports car, supercar, or even hypercar driving with confidence and security.
The specially formulated (aren’t they always?) Pirelli P Zero treads – 245/30 ZR20 (90Y) front, 305/30 ZR20 (103Y) – really stood out all day for me. In general, in fact, in order for me to sense the real improvements on the Huracán, versus my long history with Gallardos, I really needed to push the car to its extremes and my own. It was exactly in this attack mode where the Pirellis were simply amazing. Helping certainly were the MagneRide dampers, the lower mass of the car, the Huracán’s 50 percent greater torsional stiffness over the Gallardo, and the newly engineered electronically activated centre differential speaking to the two axles more quickly and precisely than ever.
Default traction distribution fore:aft of the all-wheel-drive system (the “-4” in any Lamborghini name) is 30:70, but in an instant can transfer up to 50:50 forward and to the max 0:100 rearward. Other dynamic updates that work extremely well on the 3,135-pounder include the dynamic variable steering that requires so little input from the driver in Strada mode but also lowers the effort a lot in either Sport or Corsa. The overall feel of said electro-mechanical steering can at moments feel a touch numbed, but it’s pretty faultless really.
What’s new on the existing 5.2-litre V10 to help render it 11 percent more efficient with fuel and noticeably more responsive and powerful are new higher-flow air intakes, modified cylinder heads with both direct fuel injection and multi-point port injection, and simply less friction designed into all the moving parts. The result is a company-estimated acceleration to 100 km/h of just 3,2 seconds, or half a second better than the Gallardo. In a lap of any one of Lamborghini’s testing facilities (or Volkswagen Group’s myriad facilities to which it has access), the Huracán whips off times that are seconds quicker than anything a Gallardo was capable of.
There is a technology aboard now, too, called the Lamborghini Inertial Platform. This hard-to-conceptualise tech involves not only the somewhat usual three accelerometers in many high-end sports cars but also three onboard gyroscopes. What this all does is monitor directly all chassis dynamics, cutting out the usual indirect relay of impulses sent to a middle brain that then reacts to things. It’s subtle stuff, but you do feel some sort of immediate difference particularly at the hairiest limits; most formerly more abrupt transitions in a Gallardo are now relatively seamless due to the missing “middleman”. I was loving my hotter moments out there on the heated tarmac in some situations where I would have backed off in a Gallardo.
There is also a big helper in the new dual-clutch transmission from Graziano in Italy – i.e. it is not a transmission shared with the Audi S-tronic design which will carry on in the next R8 in a year’s time. Shifts never become jittery or seemingly moody now. Of course, especially in the Corsa mode (where I stayed most of the day), these shifts up and down the seven-step scale were just terrific.
While at speed, the Huracán is quieter than Gallardo ever was, no doubt on Audi company orders to obey the TÜV regulations so stringently enforced in the German-speaking world. This is another thing: Lamborghini officials need to stop cringing each time any of us brings up the obvious sharing at myriad points with Audi AG, Lamborghini’s benevolent direct owner. It is still building Italianate cars, yes, and it is still allowed some unique technical touches, but the Huracán is something near 80-plus percent Audi R8 beneath the skin. The same painted aluminium/composite skins which arrive ready for assembly…from Audi’s factory in Györ, Hungary. And there is zero shame in that
It starts arriving on major world markets by end of June and will carry on through the end of the year, starting price set at €169.500/£150,600 (US$237,650), plus any local taxes. In ten years of life, the Gallardo sold over 14.000 units. The Huracán has already pre-sold 1.500-plus, so I have the feeling that Lamborghini will shift 14.000 of these in much less time than it took the Gallardo.
Engine: 5,2L V8
Power: 610 PS / 560 Nm
Transmission: 7-speed auto DCT
0-100 km/h: 3,2 Seconds (est.)
Top Speed: 325 km/h
Drivetrain: All-Wheel Drive
Kerb Weight: 1.422 KGS (est. dry)
Cargo: 150 lts
Fuel use (lts/100km combined): 12,5
Base Price: €169.500 + all taxes