Blown away by the Huracan

The Huracan is a supercar with top-flight design and materials.
The Huracan is a supercar with top-flight design and materials.PHOTOS: LAMBORGHINI
The Huracan is a supercar with top-flight design and materials.
The Huracan is a supercar with top-flight design and materials.PHOTOS: LAMBORGHINI

Successor to Lamborghini's 10-year-old Gallardo is a true supercar in appearance, performance and forcefulness

Five years ago, Lamborghini started work on the Gallardo's replacement model, Huracan, named after a famous fighting bull from Spain. It is an entirely new model, not an extensive update of the old entry- level Lambo.

I had expected the Huracan to be a full carbon fibre coupe, like the Aventador flagship. But instead, its outer skin comprises aluminium and composites, while its chassis uses a "hybrid" of aluminium and carbon fibre, with the rear bulkhead and transmission tunnel made from forged carbon.

These key parts are bonded and riveted to the Huracan's aluminium space frame. The result is a car that is 200kg lighter than the Gallardo and 50 per cent stiffer.

Because Lamborghini has stuck to natural aspiration for its 5.2-litre V10 engine (instead of adopting turbocharging), it was a challenge to reduce the motor's fuel consumption and CO2 emission, in addition to addressing all the performance requirements of a modern supercar.

But the lower kerb weight mentioned earlier, and the numerous technical improvements made to the engine, help the Huracan to average 12.5 litres per 100km and produce an acceptable (by supercar standards) CO2 figure of 290g per kilometre. Saving fuel, too, are the electro-mechanical power steering and the (annoying) start-stop system.

In the drivetrain department, the Gallardo's six-speed, single-clutch automated manual transmission has been replaced by a seven-speed, dual- clutch automatic gearbox called LDF (Lamborghini Doppia Frizione).

The gearbox is the most important feature that enables the Huracan to meet the needs of both hard-core racing and soft-core driving. The LDF delivers lightning-fast gear changes on a racing circuit (Ascari in this case), which become even faster in Sport mode and downright ferocious in the crazy Corsa mode, yet the LDF in its everyday Strada mode also provides limo-smooth gear changes in town traffic.

Another important feature in the Huracan is MagneRide, an electro-magnetic active damping system that includes a nose-lift mechanism (to negotiate big road humps and awkward carpark ramps). The system, which is a factory option, is likely to be standard for all Singapore-bound Huracans.

MagneRide, available in Audis years ago, adjusts the dampers according to the driving situation - immediately and effectively. It gives sufficient ride comfort on most roads, and firms up the suspension instantaneously when required. This dual capability makes the Huracan as user-friendly and dynamically versatile as Porsche's 911 Turbo.

The Lambo's four-wheel-drive handling is impressive, and not only because its parameters (on racetrack and switchback alike) are amazing. It allows any driver to push closer to the limit than in any other sports car of similar calibre, responding positively and predictably every time, with the whole vehicle maintaining a near neutral attitude around all corners, at all speeds that I can hit.

With over 600bhp at its disposal, the Huracan is very quick, cracking the 100kmh mark from a standstill in just 3.2 seconds. It can stop very quickly too, thanks to standard-fit carbon-ceramic brakes, which are also happy to tackle city driving (this type of exotic brakes used to be grabby in urban motoring conditions).

The two-seat cabin is pure Italian supercar through and through, with top-flight design and materials. But even the seasoned petrolhead familiar with Lamborghinis and Ferraris would have to spend a bit of time to master the cockpit.

One of the lessons he must learn is the virtual instrument cluster, which has three dramatically different configurations. Even the turn signal indicator has to be "learnt", being a left-right toggle instead of the usual stalk.

To me at least, the Lamborghini Huracan is currently the sexiest supercar, and it is also one of the sportiest on both road and track. Looks like the Italian marque has scored another bull's-eye.

stlife@sph.com.sg

The writer is a regular contributor to Torque, a motoring monthly published by SPH Magazines.

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