ROCK YOU LIKE A HURACÁN: 2016 Lamborghini Huracán LP 610-4 Spyder
By Mike Daly
In the manufacture of pricey and admittedly unnecessary road-legal speed machines, there are generally two diametric standards that bookend the spectrum of design. On one end you have racing cars engineered for pure track performance, like Porsche’s GT3 and Ferrari’s Challenge/Stradale series. The other end is inhabited by luxury cars with ridiculously powerful drivetrains, ranging from the average Mercedes SL and Maserati coupe all the way up to the Bugatti Veyron. As these examples prove, each approach can effectively deliver the goods for the right owner, but a consistent adherence to a given point on the spectrum tends to produce the best results.
For example, a burning track car that’s true to its purpose shouldn’t be saddled with the extra weight of power amenities and creature comforts, while a touring sports car needn’t pack a dual-clutch transmission or lap timer. Most volume manufacturers honor this formula, but occasionally a model comes along that throws traditional wisdom to the wind, like the Lamborghini Huracán LP 610-4 Spyder.
Undeniably mesmerizing, and futuristic to the point of an early 20th century Italian painting, the Huracán effects movement even in stasis, carelessly amassing onlookers. The successor to the popular Gallardo is covered in angular forms, with hexagons marking everything from the stitching and start-button cover to the air vents and steering wheel hub. Aircraft-style switchgear lines the dash console in an homage to yesteryear’s sports cars, contributing to an overall exoticism that handily outshines rivals from Ferrari or Porsche.
The Huracán also has power to match, with a 5,204 cc V-10 developing an outrageous 610 horsepower, far more than the car’s modest 3,399-pound dry weight could ever require. That power figure, in combination with the four-wheel drive that keeps it in check, constitutes the model’s numeric nomenclature (the longstanding LP denomination stands for longitudinale posteriore, indicating the engine is placed behind the driver in standard longitudinal configuration.) A motor so highly developed by such a boutique company could be engineered to perform in any variety of manners, and with the cylinder deactivation and start/stop functions found in most new cars, the Huracán vaguely feigns concern with fuel efficiency and environmental footprint.
But the calamitous manner in which the engine’s 413 pound-feet of torque come on like a wrecking ball at 6,500 rpm, most of the way to the 8,700-rpm redline, truly makes an impression. Linear, schminear, the engineers at the VW Group’s brain-trust must have reasoned, because this torque curve competently works its way up the tachometer until about 5,000 rpm, when it shoots through the roof and the car suddenly feels like it might rip right off the road.
This requires a bit of care when attacking the curves of Mulholland Drive as I did for four days, as one doesn’t want to flirt with such power during the apex of a tight turn while staring down a fully loaded Hollywood tour bus. Given Lamborghini’s recent affinity for “emotional” engineering (as it was once described to me by a media rep), the Huracán’s high-rpm, turbo-like bull rush is assuredly calculated, providing a visceral thrill for drivers who dare to explore the upper limits of the tachometer.
This type of whimsy seems to characterize the Huracán across the board, suggesting it’s not so much a proficient track car as an incredibly powerful toy, intended to epitomize the emotional aspect of fast driving. Analyzing the metrics, the 610-4 would seem to have all the qualifications of a track car, with a new seven-speed dual-clutch transaxle accommodating standing blast-offs to 60 mph in just over three seconds, and an impressive top speed of 201 mph.
But numbers can be deceiving, as there are several head-scratching features that would confound any competition purist. For starters, the faultlessly quick paddle shifters are mounted on the steering column rather than the wheel, itself, belying the racing driver’s practice of always leaving his hands affixed to the wheel. Despite this, the wheel hub houses controls for most every other driving feature, including small thumb-operated left/right toggles for the turn signals and windshield wipers.
The Huracán is also full of niceties that would never be found in the stripped-down racing shells from Stuttgart and Maranello. Hexagonally quilted stitching, heated and electronically retractable mirrors, an electro-hydraulic soft top, cruise control, and satellite radio all reflect a car that’s intended to be as comfortable as it is fast, and for those under six feet tall it certainly can be.
To boot, the Huracán is the first new car I’ve driven in many years in which the driver can comfortably rest his arm on the window sill, in the old-school cruising paradigm. Many of today’s high-waisted, low-seated supercars make that impossible, but the Huracán actually invites it. And yet the car is slung so close to the road that aggressive driving on uneven surfaces too easily results in underbelly road rash (though an optional $6,900 lifting system helps clear speed bumps and otherwise routine obstacles at low speeds).
Despite its raw delivery, the 610-4 claims all the usual technical gizmos one would expect of a model at this price point, including carbon-ceramic brakes with 15-inch front rotors. The automatic shift algorithms are connected and aggressive, while manual shifting can be conducted via the aforementioned paddles. A switch at six o’clock on the flat-bottomed steering wheel offers a choice of three drive modes: the default Strada, a more aggressive Sport, and the track-oriented Corsa. Quad exhaust pipes cough increasingly in the latter two modes, which noticeably ratchets up the precision of the steering, suspension, and engine response. And with a short 2,620 mm wheelbase, the Huracán is deceivingly tractable, far smaller in person than it appears in photos.
It’s ultimately impossible to fault a car as fun and jewel-like as the Huracán LP 610-4 Spyder, even if it is a bit of an enigma according to the traditional sports car design spectrum. The model’s target buyer is clearly the guy who really doesn’t care about any of that and just loves a car that’s both outrageously fast and unique looking. It’s probably no coincidence that Ferruccio Lamborghini founded his company some 60 years ago on that exact premise.
MSRP: Base, $262,350; at tested, $287,225
This is an excerpt from the November/December 2016 issue of Guitar Aficionado magazine. For this story, plus features on actor Kiefer Sutherland and his debut country-rock album, Jerry Garcia’s famed Doug Irwin Tiger and its encore appearance with Warren Haynes and the Jerry Garcia Symphonic Celebration, Scott Tennant’s project that brings together Andrés Segovia’s guitar and the master’s unheard works, electric guitar pioneer Charlie Christian and his impact on the instrument’s importance, the annual Guitar Aficionado Holiday Gift Guide and much more, purchase this issue of Guitar Aficionado online by clicking anywhere in this text.