Still not quite the dynamic match of its bitter rivals, despite dropping a driven axle – but spectacular to drive all the same

What is it?

The Lamborghini Huracán LP580-2 is the bottom-rung version of Sant’Agata’s bottom-rung, mid-engined supercar. And given that supercar owners are typically about as keen to plump for a cheaper and less powerful model as they are for a nice, conservative pair of sunglasses, entirely unflamboyant shoes or a subtle eau de cologne, it’ll probably be a lot less popular than it deserves to be.

Essentially a Huracán LP610-4 that’s missing the forward parts of its driveline, the LP580-2 is rear-wheel drive – and theoretically the purer sporting machine of the two as a result. It develops very marginally less grunt than its four-wheel-drive sibling: 572bhp instead of 602bhp, as well as 15lb ft less torque. It also weighs 33kg less.

Unlike the rear-drive Gallardos that preceded it, the LP580-2 is available exclusively with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox - so the ‘added dynamic purity’ line that Lamborghini uses to define the car doesn’t extend far enough to provide a three-pedal version.

But elsewhere, Lamborghini has taken the opportunity to tweak the car’s suspension, steering and electronic governance systems in order to dial some much-needed balance, playfulness and tactility into the Huracán’s handling mix. The car’s adaptive dampers have been retuned, its spring and anti-roll bar rates softened a bit up front to allow greater weight transfer, and its electronic traction and stability controls overhauled to allow more throttle-adjustable handling in Sport mode.

Read our review of the 2016 Lamborghini Huracán LP610-4 Spyder here

What's it like?

The LP580-2 is still a Lambo, bless ’em – and still a good deal firmer, noisier, angrier and more raucous than any of its direct rivals. Which is the way things ought to be. If Lamborghini’s entrant in any given niche of the performance car market wasn’t the most harem-scarem option, the company would be missing its USP.

But in any guise, the Huracán is a car you accept warts and all. It’s made by people who care much more that it’s the most outlandish-looking car you might be considering than whether your 6ft 4in northern European frame happens to fit inside it. People who value the sound and fury, the building delivery and the diamond-hard response of an atmospheric V10 more highly than the sheer torque and pace (and leaner emissions) endowed by a turbocharged engine. People who instinctively understand that what a car like this actually is, and how it appeals to the senses, plays at least as big a part in how excited it makes you feel as what it does.

The Huracán does not play lightly on the senses. On the move, the cabin is always alive with road roar, while the ride is plainly softer than that of the LP610-4 in Strada mode but still unforgiving over sharp ridges and catseyes and hard-edged at all times. It feels deliciously naughty, in other words – and you’ll love it for that.

The performance deficit that the car suffers relative to its range mate is so slight as to make almost no difference during road use. Opportunities to extend the car’s engine up to 6000rpm and beyond, using full throttle, are so few anyway. At any rate, when you do get to wind it up, the LP580-2 is still heroically fast and dramatic. I’ve read sniffy mention made elsewhere of the fact that the car’s V10 makes its peak power a bit earlier than that of the LP610-4. That's true - at 8000rpm. That’s not exactly early, though. And it still spins all the way to 8750rpm, by the way – in a sufficiently crazed fashionmake your hair stand on end, if only there were enough head room in the car.

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Lamborghini is to be applauded for taking criticism of the Huracán’s steering seriously and producing a rack of much-improved feedback here. Our test car (fitted with standard passive steering) still felt somewhat over-assisted in Strada mode but much more communicative in Sport and Corsa settings.

But what of that handling balance? Well, our first taste of the LP580-2 came on a very wide, very fast track late last year, where it seemed that Lamborghini’s works had paid a real dividend to the adjustability of the car. But on the road, the handling balance that we reported on last time around somehow fails to reinvent the Huracán’s driving experience, although it does improve it somewhat.

At normal speeds, the LP580-2’s handling still feels stability-biased; its outside front wheel fails to load up as instantly or turn the car’s nose as keenly as you find in a Ferrari 488 GTB or a McLaren 650S. The rear axle feels determinedly immobile under a trailing throttle, too. And as you feed power back in mid-way through a corner, there’s very little sense that you can involve the rear wheels in the handling conversation - not with any delicacy. But then many of the Huracán’s rivals rely either on an actively controlled e-diff to finely manipulate their driven axle on the way in and out of corners, or a proprietary torque vectoring system. There’s nothing so clever in play here.

Increasing your speed and effort levels on a track will ultimately enliven the car’s handling with some slip angle, as you’ll see from our photographs, but it doesn’t come easily, or tidily – or in a particularly forgiving fashion. Moreover, the incisiveness and controllability of a truly great supercar just isn’t quite there in the LP580-2, whatever you do at the wheel.

Should I buy one?

You'd buy one of these for no other reason than because you've just got to have a Huracán - and this is best one yet. Just don’t mistake it for the best one there will ever be.

The LP580-2 has all the heart, drama and wanton ferocity of any Huracán and a great deal more than most of its competitors. Added to that, it has greater dynamic poise and broader compatibility with uneven UK roads than an LP610-4, as well as finer communicative facets - all of which will promote its cause a long way for keen drivers.

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The car’s ride doesn’t have the voodoo dexterity of a McLaren’s; nor does it steer with the majesty of a 650S, or grip and corner with the awesome thrill and absorbing abandon of a Ferrari 488 GTB.

But it looks and sounds truly incredible, and driving it makes you feel likewise. Many would say that the job of a true supercar need be no more complicated than that.

Lamborghini Huracán LP580-2 

Location Middlesex; On sale Now; Price £156,575; Engine V10, 5204cc, petrol; Power 572bhp at 8000rpm; Torque 398lb ft at 6500rpm; Gearbox 7-spd dual-clutch automatic; Kerb weight 1389kg; Top speed 199mph; 0-62mph 3.4sec; Fuel economy 19.8mpg (combined); CO2/tax band 278g/km, 37%

Matt Saunders

Matt Saunders Autocar
Title: Road test editor

As Autocar’s chief car tester and reviewer, it’s Matt’s job to ensure the quality, objectivity, relevance and rigour of the entirety of Autocar’s reviews output, as well contributing a great many detailed road tests, group tests and drive reviews himself.

Matt has been an Autocar staffer since the autumn of 2003, and has been lucky enough to work alongside some of the magazine’s best-known writers and contributors over that time. He served as staff writer, features editor, assistant editor and digital editor, before joining the road test desk in 2011.

Since then he’s driven, measured, lap-timed, figured, and reported on cars as varied as the Bugatti Veyron, Rolls-Royce PhantomTesla RoadsterAriel Hipercar, Tata Nano, McLaren SennaRenault Twizy and Toyota Mirai. Among his wider personal highlights of the job have been covering Sebastien Loeb’s record-breaking run at Pikes Peak in 2013; doing 190mph on derestricted German autobahn in a Brabus Rocket; and driving McLaren’s legendary ‘XP5’ F1 prototype. His own car is a trusty Mazda CX-5.

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bowsersheepdog 23 July 2016

Huracan yes - this version no

It is a dramatic design, but by the standards of today's supercars and hypercars it remains a comparatively smooth and unfussy design, which can only be a good thing. If I could buy one it would be the four-wheel drive version, because I am willing to acknowledge that I am neither capable enough, brave enough nor stupid enough to reduce my margin of error in such a car on the road and I would be highly unlikely to take it on a track. It does suit the red paint on the one in the photos rather well, but as it's a Lambo I'd go for something a little wilder and a bit dayglo.
NoPasaran 23 July 2016

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Lamborghini, a PROPER one, worth it's name, is 12 cylinder. Young kids look at baby lambs, the real LAMBOS are admired by everyone.