The old adage that one should never meet their heroes has far-reaching implications. It suggests that the image we build up in our minds is without flaw. But as we all well know, the world we live in is an imperfect place, which means your heroes are destined to disappoint you, as reality can never compete with fiction.
For many of us who obsess over everything on four wheels, the stereotype of the Countach poster on the wall of the childhood bedroom is a cliché we gladly took part in perpetuating. That car, with its wild wedge design penned by Marcello Gandini, represented more than a wild looking exotic coupe. It was truly aspirational, the embodiment of what’s possible when one is willing to push the limits of what’s considered feasible. It was a siren song to the superlative. In that space, the Lamborghini existed unburdened by the limitations and consequences of compromise, and simply served as a reminder of what is possible – not just in terms of automotive engineering, but of what we’re capable of accomplishing as human beings.
In the subsequent years, much has changed, both for Lamborghini as a company as well as the kid with the poster in that room. And so there we were, faced with the prospect of meeting a modern interpretation of one of those heroes, and as anticipation grew, that old adage kept creeping back into the subconscious. But we’re here to dispel that myth completely – the Lamborghini Huracán is, without a doubt, a hero you should make every possible effort to meet.
What’s the idea behind the Huracán LP 610-4?
The Gallardo was in production for nearly a decade, and over that course of time, Lamborghini built more than 14,000 examples of the car. It proved to be the most successful model in the brand’s history – and by a substantial margin. Affectionately nicknamed the “baby Lambo”, its wide proliferation meant that the Gallardo in many respects was the Lamborghini for many onlookers, as the Murciélago was a rarer sight, becoming the exception rather than the rule when spotting a raging bull. As the successor to the Gallardo, the Huracán also carries that burden as the face of the brand to some degree as well, as Lamborghini expects it will follow suit to become the highest volume seller in the company’s portfolio.
Some of the DNA of its predecessor can be found in the Huracán, as the new model leans toward evolution rather than revolution, but it doesn’t take long to realize the Huracán is intended as a big step forward. As the LP 610-4 in its name suggests, the Huracán’s 5.2 liter, naturally aspirated V10 now generates a healthy 610 horsepower, which is distributed to all four corners by way of a new seven speed dual clutch gearbox. And while the Gallardo shared some of its core engineering with the first generation R8, the Huracán does so with the second generation of Audi’s supercar, which is as-yet unavailable to us Yanks.
Lamborghini tends to shy away from discussions of that last fact, as they’re understandably guarded about the integrity of the brand and the unique character of their vehicles. But truth be told, there’s little for them to be concerned about – the convergence of Italian design, style and temperament with the engineering prowess of Germany’s finest is a fantastic pairing, one that helped the Gallardo – and now the Huracán – to become supercars that can legitimately be driven on a daily basis without any masochistic intent necessary.
How does the drivetrain perform?
While the 610 horsepower V10 gleaming under the optional clear engine cover is undoubtedly a gem, the big news here is that Lamborghini has tossed the Gallardo’s six-speed automated manual transmission in favor of a new seven speed dual clutch unit, and the results are nothing short of transformative. Where the Gallardo had a reputation for its somewhat abusive nature, the seven speed unit is capable of being completely docile around town but ruthlessly aggressive when called upon to change hats.
Dictating much of that split personality in the Huracán is the ANIMA driving mode system, controlled by a toggle switch on the steering wheel. In Strada, or standard mode, the new Lambo is nearly as easy to drive as a typical commuter, with a subdued character, a gearbox eager to upshift and, if optioned, magnetic dampers that err toward compliance.
However, flip that switch to Sport and the game changes fairly dramatically. Exhaust valves open to let the V10 sing, the gearbox’s shift schedule holds each gear with more urgency, and those dampers stiffen up to bolster the car’s road holding capability. Corsa, or what we’d normally consider “race” mode, gives the driver manual control over the gearbox by default (though it can be set to automatic or manual in the other two modes) and sharpens things up to their full extent, providing the brash, unyielding and loud version of the car that one might envision when thinking of a Lamborghini. And therein lies the brilliance of the Huracán – it’s flexible enough to be what you want when you want it, and making that change is as simple as a click or two on a toggle switch.
And when you want it, the Huracán is happy to deliver. In an era where more and more cars of its ilk are transitioning to forced induction power plants with reduced displacement, the Lambo’s V10 is a refreshing reminder of why natural aspiration is desirable to begin with. With 413 pound-feet of torque to accompany the 610 horsepower in their task of motivating the Huracán’s 3100 pounds, throttle response is near instantaneous, and acceleration is linear and utterly intoxicating in its brutality. Lamborghini says the Huracán can get from 0-62 mph in 3.2 seconds, and after our stint behind the wheel we’d say that’s a pretty conservative estimate.
Shifts from the new dual clutch box are accomplished with similar aplomb. While the transmission is happy fire off incredibly quick gear changes when you’ve got the car on boil, it’s also capable of getting you around town without tossing you around the cabin when the situation calls for civility.
If we had one complaint here, it would be the somewhat odd combination of switch gear and paddle procedures required when operating the car – putting the vehicle in reverse, for instance, takes some getting used to, as it has its own dedicated lever on the center console rather than the buttons offered for other transmission-related tasks. It’s not an incredibly intuitive system to use upon first glance, but we became acclimated to it fairly quickly.
How does the Huracán LP 610-4 handle?
The Huracán is offered with magnetic adaptive dampers, and although our test vehicle was not fitted with this option, we didn’t find ourselves lamenting their absence out on the road, be it through urban environments or out on our favorite twisty stretches of tarmac. Truth be told, we found the static offering on the Huracán to be a great balance between compliance and road holding performance.
We expected a fairly punishing ride through the pock marked streets of Northeast Los Angeles, but the Huracán soaked up the imperfections with surprisingly competency. That said, one will still likely find themselves instinctually avoiding potholes while piloting a Huracán – not necessarily because of the ride harshness, but because of the fact that the car is exceptionally low to the ground, particularly at the front end. An optional, swtich-operated hydraulic lift can bring the front of the car up by a few inches to clear driveways and other sharp dips and inclines, and for the sake of one’s sanity, we’d consider it essential.
The Huracán’s all-wheel drive system changes power bias between front and rear depending on which mode the ANIMA switch is set to, though out on the challenging swaths of tarmac that comprise Angeles Crest Highway, the new Lamborghini inspired total confidence between the wheel regardless of which mode was selected, due not only to its composure and tenacious grip, but because of the incredible stopping power provided by the standard carbon ceramic brakes, which employs six piston calipers up front and four-pot units in the rear. It also doesn’t hurt that the Huracán’s aluminum and carbon fiber chassis is 50% stiffer than the Gallardo’s, giving the car a sense of solidity to go along with the flat cornering and excellent road holding capability. Even the Huracán’s electronically assisted steering offered a surprising amount of feedback as well as a nice weighty feel in the Sport and Corsa driving modes.
As is often the case with all-wheel drive cars, understeer is the name of the game if you overcook a turn, but the limit is so far beyond the boundaries that public roads typically allow that you’ll be hard pressed to find it. Some level of oversteer rotation can also be had if so desired, though the all-wheel drive system is quick to corral those shenanigans in the name of stability and grip. When did the Italians become so damn sensible? It’s of little concern behind the wheel though, because if you can drive this car hard without a smile on your face, you’d be wise to check your pulse.
How are the design, fit and finish when you see the car in person?
As we mentioned earlier, the design of the Huracán is more aptly considered evolutionary than revolutionary, but that’s not to say it lacks merit. Even in the supercar space, most entries have their “angles” but tend to have less flattering vantage points as well. This is not the case with the Huracán – externally, it is truly stunning from every angle.
Even in this understated Grigio Lynx paint hue, the Huracán drew attention like no other car we’ve tested. And perhaps even more importantly, even if people didn’t know what it was exactly, they did immediately knew that it was a Lamborghini. It might not be as outlandish as the poster cars of yore, but it still oozes a compelling menace and presents itself as a complete thought.
And that last part isn’t by accident – the Huracán’s designers purposely crafted the car with enough downforce to avoid the need to incorporate active aero bits or a fixed wing, and the result is a design that doesn’t feel overly busy or convoluted.
Inside, the Huracán cribs some notes from the Aventador with its massive, 12.3-inch configurable instrument panel display, and nods to stealth bomber-inspired styling can be found throughout the cabin.
In terms of visibility, that large configurable display will come in handy particularly when backing up, as rear visibility in the Huracán is compromised not only by the non-existent view out the rear three-quarter, but also by the requisitely small rear window which provided a fairly narrow view of what’s going on behind the car. Fortunately the Huracán’s wide angle backup camera, coupled with the large IP display, are enough to make the task fairly hassle free, though the car could definitely benefit from the addition of blind spot monitors.
Our tester came equipped with the standard buckets which provided adequate bolstering for the task of spiritedly navigating the roads around the Angeles National Forest but remained comfortable throughout the day, even when we encountered stop and go evening traffic on the way back into the city.
Creating a supercar without flaw is an impossible task. The car in the poster can exist in a bubble reality where its shortcomings are non-existent, but here in the flesh, as the Huracán is, everything is laid bare.
Quite frankly it’s better than we could have anticipated, and not because it’s everything we wanted as child, but rather because its concessions to pragmatism have made the Huracán a car that can exist in the real world, to be driven and enjoyed on a daily basis. To us, that’s worth a hell of a lot more than poster bragging rights.
But then again, if you can have both, why wouldn’t you? Perhaps the Huracán’s strongest asset its ability to strike a balance between outstanding design, stunning performance, and the required concessions inherent to everyday life. It’s a hero without delusion. Imagine that.