Italian company sheds a few pounds… in both senses of the term | By Andrew Frankel
My time with the new Lamborghini Huracán LP 580-2 (or Huracán RWD as the company refers to it on its own impenetrable configurator) coincided with that of a McLaren 570GT. Similar in price, power and on-paper performance, you might therefore think these two mid-engined supercars might make natural opponents for one another. In reality what time in each reveals most is the breadth of choice available these days, even to people shopping in this rarefied end of the market.
The McLaren has already had its time in this space back in August, so I won’t dwell save to say that to step from its smooth and sophisticated surroundings into the wild-riding arms of the Huracán is akin to how I would imagine deserting the cockpit of Concorde for that of Lockheed Starfighter might feel: not faster, certainly not better, just utterly different.
The purpose of this Huracán is two-fold: officially it is the ‘fun’ version of the extant LP610-4, offering a little less weight courtesy of the deletion of its front driveshafts and differential, and allegedly greater entertainment thanks to its now rear-wheel-drive configuration. But of course it also provides Lamborghini with the chance to cleave a chunk of money from its list price, moving the Huracán into a slightly more affordable part of the market place and away from all relevant rivals from down the road in Maranello. At £156,579, this Huracán is almost £30,000 less expensive than a Ferrari 488GTB, a significant sum even among cars like this.
It also costs £24,000 less than the standard Huracán, which is also some saving. So much in fact that Lamborghini has felt the need to make a gesture to those still considering the more expensive car, cutting the power of its normally aspirated 5.2-litre, V10 motor by 29bhp. The 0-62mph time has risen from 3.2 to 3.4sec, an apparently significant delay at this level. Top speed is a little less rather than a little more than 200mph, too.
In fact these are specious grounds for spending the extra money. The power loss is not great and offset at least in part by the 33kg weight saving. The change in acceleration rate is the result of the lack of all-wheel-drive traction rather than genuine performance differential, while anyone really troubled by the difference between 199mph and 202mph on the public road probably should not be driving there in the first place. I would say that in all senses
that actually matter the two are as quick as each other.
Key to the appeal of this fractionally more junior Huracán is that it offers precisely the same delightful two-fingered salute to Ferrari, McLaren and anyone else who insists cars like this must these days be turbocharged. There’s no question the Huracán lacks the mid-range torque even of a McLaren 570, let alone the titanic Ferrari 488, and they in turn lack its whip-crack throttle response. And if you choose to compare the sound of two flat-plane-crank turbo V8s to that of a normally aspirated V10 – well, I’d really advise you not to bother for there’s no comparison to make.
Inside the Huracán is all but unchanged, so there remains the same curious confection of a jet-fighter dashboard melded with last-generation Audi navigation and entertainment. The plus side is that if you’ve driven an old A4, you’ll pretty much know already how to make a Huracán take you where you want to go, but it does rather shatter the illusion of this being a standalone Italian supercar, and far more than the fact that it shares an engine, transmission and much of its structure with the considerably more affordable Audi R8.
But the fundamental formula of blending Italian design with German engineering remains sound, partly because a Huracán is probably no more likely to leave you at the side of the road than the aforementioned R8 or, indeed, A4. The car may look intimidating and impractical, but that’s not how it is to operate. It’s wide, but visibility is remarkably good, and making it go requires no more thought or effort than you might need in the most mainstream of sporting cars: thumb a button, pull a paddle, push a pedal and off you go.
Lamborghini says it has softened the front suspension of the Huracán to adjust for the weight loss in the nose, but the ride remains adequate rather than good. Both Ferrari and McLaren are better, but for a car that I suspect most owners will use more for occasional entertainment rather than everyday occupancy, this should not break the deal. Make sure you’re happy with the seats, however: I wanted a break after about an hour at the wheel and needed one after two.
Happily, however, this Huracán comes with a certain joie de vivre I do not recall experiencing in the LP610-4. You will read in other reviews, and indeed on Lamborghini’s own website, how this Huracán has been set up to offer more oversteer in certain modes and I’d love to know what proportion of Huracán owners ever find themselves drifting out of a corner with a half a turn of opposite lock applied, but I’m guessing near enough none. Of greater importance is this car’s more communicative steering, its additional sharpness on turn-in and, I will concede, greater resistance to understeer at the exit of slow corners. It’s better balanced than the LP610-4 and, unless you’re going to put into the ‘Corsa’ mode that bypasses all its electronic safety systems, I see no compromise in active safety levels either. In fact because it does what you ask more accurately and immediately, I’d be happier driving the rear-drive Huracán briskly cross-country than its all-wheel-drive stablemate.
And there’s a genuinely special driving experience to be had here. To find yourself at the wheel of a car this attractive, with the big V10 wailing behind you as you flash across some deserted landscape, is a pretty special experience. True, it lacks the telepathic responses of a McLaren and otherworldly thrust of the Ferrari, but it doesn’t struggle to make a case for itself.
The problem is what to do with it the rest of the time. It is a car that offers a genuinely rewarding driving experience in short bursts only. But it is too noisy and uncomfortable to work as well over the longer distances at which its McLaren and Ferrari rivals excel, and there is no question that this limits its appeal.
So there is much to admire here, none more than Lamborghini’s dogged determination to resist turbocharging, and enough for the Huracán to make a powerful case for itself as a recreational toy, the one to choose from a large collection on those days when road, traffic and weather conditions are absolutely right.
But the car is also somewhat flawed in its unwillingness to offer more consistent appeal across a wider range of disciplines. Some might think a supercar should be all about tight focus and not at all about a broad range of abilities, and I would concur right up to the point where that focus actually stops the owner picking up the keys. The Huracán LP580-2 is a car to inspire and infuriate, enjoy and annoy. In other words, and for all Audi’s involvement, it remains a true Lamborghini, with all the good and bad that entails.
Price – £156,579
Engine – 5.2 litres, 10 cylinders
Power – [email protected]
Torque – 398lb [email protected]
Transmission – seven-speed paddle shift, rear-wheel drive
Weight – 1389kg
Power to weight – 412bhp per tonne
0-62MPH – 3.4sec
Top speed – 199mph
Economy – 23.7mpg
CO2 – 279g/km