Ever since the Diablo days, Lamborghini has embraced four-wheel drive as one of its dynamic pillars – and the result has all too often been cars slightly lacking in adjustability and with more of an understeer balance than appropriate for any mid-engine supercar.
Rear-driven specials such as the Gallardo Balboni have been few and far between, and even those have often lacked the finesse of main-line alternatives from Ferrari.
But then, with the recent arrival of the Lamborghini Huracán Evo RWD, matters conspicuously improved, and those improvements were cemented with the playful and superbly progressive Lamborghini Huracán STO. So what exactly has changed at Lamborghini? Why is it bucking an industry trend and developing more RWD cars as most go the other way?
It was all part of the plan, according to chief technical officer Rouven Mohr., who was on hand to show us around the new car at the factory a Sant'Agata. That along with the fact that customer tastes are now moving away from spec-sheet superiority and towards driveability and fun.
“We started as a manufacturer with a very high power output for a mid-engined car,” Mohr says. “At the beginning, when the control systems weren't on the same level [as the power], you had to ensure that the car was stable and safe. For a mid-engined car, this is a much bigger challenge than [for anything] front-engined and with rear-wheel drive. Therefore the first focus was to have a car that the customer can handle.”
So that explains why every model since the Murciélago has launched with AWD, but why change now?
“Well, in the meantime,” answers Mohr, “the steps in electronic integration, set-up knowledge and so on has been increased dramatically, and now it’s possible to have a car [like the just-announced Lamborghini Huracan Tecnica] with 631bhp and rear drive that’s so easy to control that every customer can have fun.
“Also, if you look at the super-sports-car field, there’s a little bit of change, for sure. In the past, everything was oriented towards lap-time performance. But the cars are [now] so incredibly fast that you can’t drive them to the limit on the road. Therefore we decided to offer another aspect of the Lamborghini brand – one related to driver involvement and controllability [in the context of having fun].”