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Review

Lamborghini Huracán hits the bull’s eye

  • Lamborghini Huracán LP 610-4
    (Automobili Lamborghini)
  • Lamborghini Huracán LP 610-4
    (Automobili Lamborghini)
  • Lamborghini Huracán LP 610-4
    (Automobili Lamborghini)
  • Lamborghini Huracán LP 610-4
    (Automobili Lamborghini)
  • Lamborghini Huracán LP 610-4
    (Automobili Lamborghini)
  • Lamborghini Huracán LP 610-4
    (Automobili Lamborghini)
  • Lamborghini Huracán LP 610-4
    (Automobili Lamborghini)
  • Lamborghini Huracán LP 610-4
    (Automobili Lamborghini)
  • Lamborghini Huracán LP 610-4
    (Automobili Lamborghini)
  • Lamborghini Huracán LP 610-4
    (Automobili Lamborghini)
  • Lamborghini Huracán LP 610-4
    (Automobili Lamborghini)
  • Lamborghini Huracán LP 610-4
    (Automobili Lamborghini)
  • Lamborghini Huracán LP 610-4
    (Automobili Lamborghini)
  • Lamborghini Huracán LP 610-4
    (Automobili Lamborghini)
  • Lamborghini Huracán LP 610-4
    (Automobili Lamborghini)
  • Lamborghini Huracán LP 610-4
    (Automobili Lamborghini)
  • Lamborghini Huracán LP 610-4
    (Automobili Lamborghini)
  • Lamborghini Huracán LP 610-4
    (Automobili Lamborghini)
  • Lamborghini Huracán LP 610-4
    (Automobili Lamborghini)
  • Lamborghini Huracán LP 610-4
    (Automobili Lamborghini)

HIDE CAPTION

Aficionados of Italian supercars know that Lamborghini’s rip-snorting machines are named after famed fighting bulls.

From Miura to Countach to Diablo, these glistening beasts are known for flamboyant style and power. But like steely matadors, drivers also have had to contend with their notoriously volatile natures.

And this is what makes the Huracán LP 610-4 worthy of a shower of roses. With 602 horsepower, a 3.2-second charge from a stop to 62mph and a 202mph top speed, this Lamborghini is designed to strut on roads and racetracks alike. But the Huracán never threatens its driver’s demise, even when its prodigious limits are being probed.

As Lamborghini’s technical partner within the Volkwagen Group’s global empire, Audi deserves credit for exerting a civilising influence, beginning with the Huracán’s predecessor, the mid-engine Gallardo. Sharing its chassis, Quattro-based all-wheel drive and multimedia system with the Audi R8 sports car, the Gallardo sold like a supercar Corolla, with 14,022 copies shipped over the past decade. Not impressed? Consider that Lamborghini has delivered a total of 30,000 cars in a history that began in 1963, or about 600 cars per year on average.

“The Gallardo for us was a game-changer,” said Stephan Winkelmann, Lamborghini’s impeccably tailored chief executive.

However vast their cultural differences, these German and mauItalian brands have managed to play nice together. Lamborghini shared the Gallardo’s gloriously macho V10 engine that lifted the Audi R8 5.2 into true supercar territory.

The Huracán (pronounced oo-ra-CAHN) stands atop the Gallardo’s broad shoulders in every imaginable way, starting with an all-new V10 yielding roughly 11% more power and equivalent reductions in fuel consumption and C02 emissions. The Huracán is also first from the gate with a chassis that Audi will directly adopt for its next-generation R8. That below-the-skin structure, an erector set of aluminium with ingeniously glued-and-riveted carbon fibre sections, sits on naked display in the pits of southern Spain’s Ascari circuit, where the Huracán was introduced to global media.

That structure is 10% lighter yet 50% more rigid than the Gallardo’s. Such integrity is one key to a car “designed to be fast on track, but easy on the road,” according to Maurizio Reggiani, a board member for Lamborghini R&D. The mathematical and aeronautic principles that influenced the design also created 50% more downforce than Gallardo, with a 3% reduction in drag.

The Huracán is also easy on the eyes, as befits a two-seater that starts just shy of a quarter-million dollars – $240,245 to be exact. Like Gallardo, the Huracán flaunts the classic Lamborghini wedge shape that dates to the Countach of the ‘70s. And it’s a beautifully pure take on that form. The Huracán looks appropriately vast and dramatic, with suggestive air cavities up front and aft of the rear doors. Yet the silhouette is clean and tasteful, with none of the Klingon-warship cues of recent ultra-low-production Lamborghinis such as the Veneno, Egoista and Sesto Elemento. Translation: the car is likely going to age well.

As for the rest, the Huracán advances its predecessor’s strategy of accessible performance, reasonable comfort and helpful technology, a philosophy that has informed everything from the Corvette Stingray to the McLaren 650S to every new Porsche. Even among rare Italian specialties, the days of anxious handling, bare-bones interiors and shaky reliability are effectively over.

The Huracán adopts driver-adjustable magnetic shock absorbers, including a smooth-riding “Strada” or “street” setting. A generous 12.3in screen functions as the central instrument cluster, and drivers can choose which elements should dominate the virtual display: a fat tachometer, perhaps, or a detailed navigation view over the full expanse. Like the Ferrari 458 Italia, there are no stalks for wipers and turn signals, with those switches moved, somewhat awkwardly, to the flat-bottomed steering wheel.

Optional sport seats feature lightweight carbon-fibre shells. And thanks to a low-set dashboard, scooped-out doors and a slimmer centre console, the Huracán feels airier and less constricting than the Gallardo. Cargo space, however, is stingy even by supercar standards, with a single computer bag virtually filling the space below the hood. If owner and companion are planning an overnight, they’d be advised to ship their luggage.

The handsome steering wheel also houses the new “Anima” toggle switch (Italian for “soul”, and similar to Ferrari’s Manettino) that adjusts a dizzying array of parameters: engine, steering, suspension, stability control, all-wheel drive and transmission. Crank it to “Corsa”, and the Huracán will circle Italy's Nardo test track two seconds quicker than history's fastest Gallardo, the Squadra Corse.

That pace is also abetted by the new “Inertial Platform”,  a trio of gyroscopes and accelerometers, hunkered at the car’s centre of gravity, that analyse physical forces and instantly adjust the car’s myriad systems for maximum control and performance.

For all this hyper-techno gadgetry, nothing distinguishes the Huracán quite like its Audi-based seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, the first in Lamborghini history. The smooth-acting Lamborghini Doppia Frizione, or LDP, replaces the lazy, lurching single-clutch automated manual that has marred cars from the Gallardo to the current Aventador flagship. (How do you say, “It’s about time” in Italian?).

Guiding the Huracán out of the pits at Ascari, a circuit that presents a driver with 13 left turns and 13 rights each diabolical lap, it becomes immediately clear that this Lamborghini thrives on a racetrack. Optional variable-ratio electric steering feels lighter and less connected than that of the Ferrari 458 Italia, but its dynamic ratio can automatically shift anywhere from an ultra-quick 9:1 (for ease of parking and low-speed dodges) to 17:1 to avoid twitchiness at triple-digit velocities. That lightness can be off-putting initially, but when the system applies subtle counter-steering corrections to quell understeer – that sensation of a car’s front tires washing off course – the payoff can be felt in faster speeds and in less time sawing at the wheel.

The throttle responds more eagerly to toe-taps than the Gallardo ever did, and the new transmission whips through gears with transparent delight. There’s 413 pound-feet of torque, and the new electronic all-wheel-drive system sends 70% of it to the rear wheels. But the AWD can boot up to 100% of torque to the rear rubber, or 50% to the front for added traction. With AWD, gyroscopes and magnetic shocks in play, you can feel the Lamborghini making subtle adjustments to the torque split, the throttle and the suspension – all in the name of keeping the beast scratching and clawing at maximum speed.

After roughly 25 glorious laps under the Andalusian sun, my driving partner and I depart Ascari and make a quick detour to Ronda, one of the most spectacular towns in all of Spain – improbably perched over the Guadalevin River that bisects the city. The halves are connected by the 18th Century Puente Nuevo bridge, which soars nearly 400 feet above the El Tajo canyon floor.

Parked, somewhat illegally, just off the bridge, the Huracán is immediately beset by tourists and locals. Faced with this unnatural beauty in their midst, they snap photos and ask questions, all but ignoring the staggering canyon just a few feet away. Si, Lamborghini’s penchant for monopolising eyeballs remains intact.

Departing again, the Huracán alternately cruises over and scorches mountain two-laners toward oceanside Marbella, along the Costa del Sol, loping past dawdlers in Fiats and Volkswagens. With our Iberian fantasy winding down, every second in this car is one to savour. And despite its exoticism, the car remains all-day comfortable and accommodating – which is precisely the point.

“We are stretching the definition [of Lamborghini] to be daily drivable, while still exceeding most drivers’ capabilities,” Winkelmann says.

That’s no bull.

An earlier version of this story misspelled two names. Lamborghini's chief executive is Stephan Winkelmann, not Stefan, and a Lamborghini board member is Maurizio Reggiani, not Mauricio.

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