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Our Verdict

Lamborghini Huracán

Junior supercar shows what it can do with a conventional (better) steering set-up

Matt Prior
15 August 2014

What is it?

There’s a lot that’s promising about the Lamborghini Huracán, as you know from our first drive of the supercar on continental roads.

It retains a 5.2-litre V10, like the Gallardo before it and, crucially, natural aspiration. The engine’s top end, particularly, has been heavily revised, putting the power output up to 601bhp, achieved at 8250rpm.

Maximum torque, 413lb ft of it, isn’t made until 6500rpm, which means the Huracán will want revving, likely to be facilitated by the fact that it comes with a dual-clutch transmission instead of a clunky monoclutch robotised manual. There’s no conventional manual this time because, of the 14,000 Gallardos that were sold, only around 300 were ever ordered with a clutch pedal. Pity. I drove one. It was good.

Anyway, it’s the same twin-clutch unit that the Audi R8 uses, which is appropriate because from next year the R8 will share the Lamborghini’s part-aluminium, part-carbonfibre architecture. Like the Audi, the Lamborghini comes with adaptive magnetorheological dampers, albeit they’re optional here. Also on the options list is variable ratio electrically assisted steering, which is quicker at lower speeds than higher. Our test car came with both options.

What's it like?

Standard, seemingly, is a cabin decorated with Lamborghini’s (relatively recently adopted) flamboyance; as is a generally splendid cabin finish, albeit with a few iffy plastics.

There’s a near-square steering wheel, overburdened with buttons, although this does, I suppose, free space behind it for large, fixed paddles. The paddles, powder-coated aluminium or some such, are good, while the indicator and wiper buttons are more intuitive than those on a Ferrari.

Lamborghini’s ‘anima’ switch, the equivalent of Ferrari’s steering wheel ‘manettino’ (which adjusts throttle response, steering weight and dampers from road through sport to race modes), is too easy to knock into a different setting while you’re turning the wheel.

It might not be, however, if the wheel were just round so you knew where the rim would be. Ditto, of course, if the button were simply elsewhere. Then, too, it might not seem as though Ferrari has been benchmarked in a slightly un-Lamborghini way.

Also Ferrari-esque is the electrically assisted steering’s lightness at low speeds, and its two-turns-between-locks quickness. I’m not sure if that’s a result of benchmarking (if so, a McLaren 650S would have been a better reference), but it makes the four-wheel-drive Lamborghini agile at first, if a touch disconnected. It’s joined by a ride that is firm but not brittle – at least in the damper’s soft mode.

Up the speed, and the steering assumes a little more weight, a little less keenness, but decent accuracy and good eye for the straight-ahead.

There’s a fair degree of road noise, and a lot of mechanical engine clatter – although neither is unwelcome in a hard-edged supercar – but thanks to a powerful stereo and an 80-litre fuel tank, the Huracán makes a surprisingly accomplished daily driver. Not as much as a McLaren 650S, but still, Lamborghini admits it’s attempting to broaden the Huracán’s remit over the Gallardo. It has.

The question is, of course, whether pandering to a large market gets in the way of the purity for the enthusiast. The most recent Gallardos I drove have all been Superleggeras, and next to those, the Huracán feels less purposeful. That’s not because it lacks drama. Far from it.

Put your toe in, and induction and exhaust noises overwhelm chain and cam ones, and the engine fairly comes alive. The gearshift is superb, too, and there’s pop and crackle on the overrun. This is a world-class powertrain.

The shell feels stiff, too, and in any chassis setting the Huracán corners with extraordinary flatness and huge ability. It doesn’t pummel the road like a Nissan GT-R, but I’d be surprised if it covered ground any less quickly.

Grip levels and traction are of the highest order. Approach their limit and, while not feeding a great deal back through the rim, the Huracán will nudge towards a touch of understeer on a very well-sighted low-speed bend.

On the road, that’s your lot, which is just as well, because you wouldn’t want any more drama than that, given the speed you’d have to be going.

On track, then? I’m still not sure. A few runs didn’t reveal a great deal of adjustability, even in the wet. But maybe that’s no surprise. There’s 42 per cent weight over the front, limited body movement under braking, so very little weight balance transfer, while the front tyres are 245 section to the rears’ 305, and the front track is marginally wider than the rear.

Given, even in normal conditions, some 30 per cent of power heads to the front, you have to apply a lot of poke, very quickly, to overwhelm the rear’s traction.

If you can, the Huracán adopts a neutral stance on corner exit. If you can’t, it only troubles the front end. And in neither case is the steering particularly satisfying.

I’m told Lamborghini’s own test drivers prefer the passive steering rack, which is geared somewhere between the two extremes of this, so perhaps it’s a box best left unticked.

And, perhaps, on a wider, drier circuit, at higher speeds, there’d be scope to transfer the body weight forwards, settle the Huracán’s front and exploit the power – a throttle-adjustable exuberance which, ironically, the current Audi R8 is more than happy to indulge.

Should I buy one?

The Huracán is consistently easy to rub along with, yet exciting and engaging on many levels: particularly thanks to its engine and gearbox (and, to my eyes, its compact, clean and poised aesthetic). Take it as read that it’s hugely enjoyable and always dramatic.

But the thing is that when the competition is as complete as the McLaren 650S and a Ferrari 458 Italia, it feels like you can afford to be picky.

“The Huracán is consistently effortless to drive, stable and free of unpleasant surprises,” says Lamborghini. No question. But not all surprises have to be unpleasant, and the differences between a good driver’s car and a great one are small. To me, this hasn’t quite made the leap.

Lamborghini Huracán LP610-4

Price £180,720; 0-62mph 3.2sec; Top speed 202mph; Economy 22.6mpg (combined); CO2 290g/km; Dry weight 1422kg; Engine type V10, 5204cc, petrol; Power 601bhp at 8250rpm; Torque 413lb ft at 6500rpm; Gearbox seven-speed dual-clutch automatic

Join the debate

Comments
15

15 August 2014
The fact that the Aventador didn't make a huge leap over (in power: 60 bhp) the Murcielago has had a knock on effect on the Huracan. The F12 leaped up 120 bhp when compared to the F599. The Huracan has only 50 metric horsepower more than the 560-4 Gallardo, while the 458 Italia has 80 horsepower more than the F430. The performance figures produced here are not notably superior to the Gallardo. This needed about 640 bhp to maintain its status, but that would have pushed it too close tot he Aventador. The Gallardo initially had 100 bhp more than the 360 Modena, now just 40 bhp over the 458 Italia. The Murcielago had huge advantages over the 550 Maranello (88bhp) and the 575M Maranello (65 bhp). The Aventador is now 40 bhp down on the F12. Ferrari have really done a good job with pressing on, while Lambo appear to be merely doing "enough".

15 August 2014
The Special One wrote:

The fact that the Aventador didn't make a huge leap over (in power: 60 bhp) the Murcielago has had a knock on effect on the Huracan. The F12 leaped up 120 bhp when compared to the F599. The Huracan has only 50 metric horsepower more than the 560-4 Gallardo, while the 458 Italia has 80 horsepower more than the F430. The performance figures produced here are not notably superior to the Gallardo. This needed about 640 bhp to maintain its status, but that would have pushed it too close tot he Aventador. The Gallardo initially had 100 bhp more than the 360 Modena, now just 40 bhp over the 458 Italia. The Murcielago had huge advantages over the 550 Maranello (88bhp) and the 575M Maranello (65 bhp). The Aventador is now 40 bhp down on the F12. Ferrari have really done a good job with pressing on, while Lambo appear to be merely doing "enough".

This is only the start. Over the next decade there are likely to be numerous different versions with varying amounts of extra power.

 

I'm a disillusioned former Citroëniste.

15 August 2014
Got slagged off on Top Gear for looking boring but think it looks great without being naff.Makes you wonder how long this HP battle can go on for though.Starting to get a bit silly now.

15 August 2014
to tear out of VAG's straight-jacket. Then we may have something to drool over and admire. This is just a jumped up Audi.

15 August 2014
This here then indeed is a Lamborghini made (or marred) by Audi to be sold to the hordes of new rich mostly in China. I do still like the rear though. If this is a sign of the things to come then one can safely say not long left before Volkswagen would methodically castrate this Italian bull and homogenise it into the rest of the ever-sprawling and increasingly featureless VW empire.

16 August 2014
fadyady wrote:

This here then indeed is a Lamborghini made (or marred) by Audi to be sold to the hordes of new rich mostly in China. I do still like the rear though. If this is a sign of the things to come then one can safely say not long left before Volkswagen would methodically castrate this Italian bull and homogenise it into the rest of the ever-sprawling and increasingly featureless VW empire.

Yep, anyone for a Lamborghini edition Golf? They have basically anaesthetised every brand the VAG hand has touched. SEAT are no longer pretty, Skoda are now expensive, the ext Passat will look an A4 which in turn looks exactly the same as the previous 4 versions. It is all starting to look a bit BL with their badge swapping on the same old metal. Still the R8 will be a show-stopper.

16 August 2014
The power increase over the previous model may not be as great as some, but the Huracan Car and Driver just tested did 0-60 in 2.5 and 0-100 in 5.7 i.e. quicker than the Aventador they tested. I realise there's more to life in a super car than acceleration, but those numbers are pretty damn strong.

16 August 2014
This doesn't look good. And that's a worry from the most controversial manufacturer of sports cars.

16 August 2014
Herr Piech must have suffered a trauma as a child whilst playing Top Trumps. As everything VW do with their high-end brands is a numbers game. Starting with the ludicrous insistence that they must all have 4wd and do at least 200mph.

17 August 2014
I think its style is less remarkable than the pure style of the Gallardo (pre facelift).

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