Life can be hard for the 21st century supercar. It’s not enough to go three times the speed limit, look like an interstellar fantasy and generate enough g’s to peel off a driver’s face. No, today’s exotics must also be reassuringly safe, reliable, and accommodating, even as they trim fuel consumption and carbon emissions. The new Lamborghini Huracán LP 610-4 advances that cause with scenery-blurring fury, as we found at Spain’s Ascari race circuit, followed by a swift run through Andalusia to the Costa del Sol.
The Italian side of the massive VW Group shares the latest Audi technology, and vice-versa: The US $240 245 Huracán actually beats the redesigned Audi TT to market with the “virtual cockpit,” an Nvidia-powered, 31-centimeter thin-film transistor instrument cluster that drivers can reconfigure, for instance to spread a navigation system right across the full display:
Compared to its Gallardo predecessor, the Lambo’s chassis—a hybrid of aluminum with glued-and-riveted sections of carbon fiber—boosts torsional rigidity by 50 percent, yet weighs 10 percent less. That chassis, illustrated below, will underpin the next-generation Audi R8 supercar.
Magnetic shock absorbers, pioneered in the Corvette and lately adopted by Audi and Ferrari, let drivers tailor their ride and handling for a comfy street cruise or to attack curves. Those shocks are integrated with myriad systems, from Audi’s all-weather, all-wheel drive to Lambo’s aeronautics-style “inertial platform:” Three gyroscopes—one for each dimension—and accelerometers nestle near the car’s center of gravity, allow near-instantaneous control of the car’s body motions. (The image at the top of this post is a schematic of this platform.)
The Huracán’s systems are linked by the “Anima,” which means “soul” in Italian. The car’s nerve center, this three-mode toggle switch on the steering wheel moves from the mellowest Strada setting to a hardcore Corsa mode, controlling parameters for the engine, suspension, AWD, stability systems, and transmission. Speaking of which:
That Audi-based, seven-speed dual-clutch automated gearbox instantly soothes Lamborghini’s biggest Achilles’ Heel: The single-clutch “e-gear” unit that made the Gallardo an unpleasantly lurching, neck-snapping brute in around-town operation. Cruising the oceanside boulevards of Marbella, the Huracán—distinctively a Lamborghini, yet newly clean, modern and alluring—produced the usual awestruck reactions as its raging-bull emblem moved smoothly through a gnat-like cloud of Fiats and VWs.
Lest you think Lamborghini has gone soft, its new 5.2-liter V-10 engine revs to an ear-ripping 8500 rpm and cranks up 455 kilowatts (610 horsepower), 37 more than in the Gallardo LP 560-4. But with an unusual combination of direct- and port-injection, this mid-mounted powerplant trims carbon-dioxide emissions and fuel consumption by 11 percent. Feast your eyes:
The result is a supercar that blazes to 100 kilometers per hour (62 mph) in 3.2 seconds, to 200 kph in 9.9 seconds, and on to a 325-kph peak. And where Lamborghinis have rarely been all that hot on track—preferring to make statements on the street—the Huracán proves a zesty partner over 25 memorable laps of Ascari’s diabolical 26-turn circuit. More proof came at Italy’s Nardo racetrack, where Lamborghini’s Huracán test drivers have shaved two full seconds off the time of history’s fastest Gallardo, the rare Squadra Corse.
Yes, it’s still an Italian exotic. Luggage space is an afterthought, and you can barely see a thing out the back. Thank goodness for the rear back-up camera, along with a nifty button that hydraulically boosts the front end to avoid scraping the low-slung snout on driveways.
But advances large and small have wrought a Lamborghini that, more than any in its 51-year-history, could happily serve as a daily driver. That is, for the extroverted sort who doesn’t mind hitting drugstores and Dairy Queens in a Lamborghini.
Lawrence Ulrich is an award-winning auto writer and former chief auto critic at The New York Times and The Detroit Free Press.