FIRST DRIVE | Lamborghini Huracán Evo gets a playful mean streak
The Huracán Evo is the mid life facelift of Lamborghini’s junior supercar, five years after its debut.
My first question was: why remove the fancy aerodynamic paraphernalia that made the car such a laptime hero at the Nurburgring?
When the Lamborghini Huracán Performante became the fastest production car at the time around the Green Hell, there were eyebrows of doubt lifted over its performance because it wasn’t as powerful some of the cars it beat.
Much of the secret to its success lay in the ALA active aerodynamic system, which shifted the downforce from left to right to be able to press the inside wheels into the tar during a turn, thus improving cornering traction.
That fancy ALA rear wing is now gone in the Performante’s successor, the Huracán Evo. I don’t know how its Nurburgring laptime would compare, but in the mountain passes of the Western Cape, Lamborghini’s V10 coupe felt like everything a mid-engined Italian supercar should be.
Sharp, poised, loud, lewd, and oh so fast.
“It takes the extraordinary abilities of the Huracán Performante and combines state-of-the-art vehicle dynamic control to amplify the everyday Huracán driving experience,” says Stefano Domenicali, Chairman and CEO of Automobili Lamborghini.
The normally aspirated 5.2l V10 engine has been transplanted from the Huracán Performante, firing 470kW and 600Nm to the road via all-wheel drive (wearing a 640 badge which denotes the output in horsepower), or the rear wheel driver version which makes a slightly lower 449kW and 560Nm (badged 610) — both with seven speed dual-clutch autos.
There are coupe and open-top spider derivatives.
The ALA may be absent, but Lamborghini’s applied some reworked airflow wizardry to give the Huracan Evo more than five times more downforce and aero efficiency than the original Huracán (Lamborghini doesn’t say how it compares with the Performante though).
There is some new computer-controlled wizardry too, in the form of all-wheel steering and brake-based torque vectoring, all in the name of keeping this all-wheel drive Lamborghini on the black stuff and pointed in the right direction. And more playful to drive.
The magneto rheological suspension, upgraded to version 2.0, instantaneously adapts the damping to suit driving conditions. A new advanced traction control system together with enhanced all-wheel drive and torque vectoring, allows traction to be directed to a single wheel if required.
An integrated LDVI (Lamborghini Dinamica Veicolo Integra) system is the brain that controls all of the dynamic systems, constantly monitoring data from gyroscopes and sensors to anticipate the driver’s next move and adapt to it.
It all gels to give the Huracán Evo some the sweetest corner-hugging ability outside of a Scalextric car. At the core of its driver-titillating repertoire is its mid-engined crispness and all-wheel steering, how instantly steering efforts are translated into a car that thrusts and parries through turns like something wielded by a musketeer.
It’s alert and edgy, with hair-trigger responses, but still composed. You push it harder and it just hunkers down, keeping its line through the curve.
A nod to the Pirelli P Zeros, because their grip is remarkable. Even when you think you’re approaching the limits of traction it still has more to give, allowing you to tighten the car’s line into the inside of a corner. It’s a thing of sporting finesse, rewarding with a neutral balance on the traction limits, a perfect trapeze act between under- and oversteer.
There are three driving modes: Strada for street, Sport for playing, and Corsa which is essentially for the track. Sport was the preferred default during most of my drive, except on bumpier roads where the firmed-up suspension made things too jittery. The damping in Strada mode is more forgiving and bump-friendly, and not as stiff as I remember from the old Performante.
You can also switch off the traction control to conjure some drifting fun on a racetrack. I didn’t attempt that on a public road for obvious reasons, but you don’t need to smoke the tyres to elicit a grin; the car’s incredible grip and playful flickability do that.
As does the pace and fury of that V10 right behind your back. The car is all raw emotion from the moment you flip up the Top Gun style toggle covering the start button and thumb it into life.
Hearing that high-revving V10 on song at its 8,500rpm red line is a rare aural treat, and it hollers even more aggressively when you flick the steering-mounted “Anima” toggle switch to either the Sport and Corsa modes.
The firepower feels satisfyingle ballistic, as much as it lacks the turbocharged prowess of today’s most powerful road demons. A 325km/h top speed and a sea-level 2.9 second 0-100km/h sprint for the AWD version (3.3 seconds for the RWD) is enough to satisfy power hounds, and the 9 second 0-200km/h blast tells an even more insightful story.
A new 8.4-inch HMI capacitive touchscreen dominates the centre console of the upgraded Huracán, bundling the control of the seats, climate control and infotainment. The capacitive touchscreen doesn’t quiet hit the mark; I find it user-unfriendly in that it calls for a hard-press on an icon but without giving the feedback of a physical button.
What I did like the feel of was the perforated leather on the steering wheel; it gelled with the car’s livid, lively character. The inner sanctum is a flamboyance of fighter aircraft style toggle switches, Alcantara bucket seats and carbon fibre, including a patented "carbon skin" soft material.
An optional dual-camera telemetry system is also offered via the touchscreen, allowing advanced telemetry recording and analysis while you chase lap times.
Huracán Evo LP610-2: R4,500,000
Huracán Evo LP610-2 Spider: R4,950,000
Huracán Evo LP640-4: R5,500,000
Huracán Evo LP640-4 Spider: R5,950,000