The Gallardo was Lamborghini’s most popular car ever in the UK, so now we’ve finally had a chance to drive its replacement – the new Lamborghini Huracan – on British roads, can it continue the success?
Some have said that the styling isn’t nearly as outrageous as it should be, but every time you pass a group of people and check your mirrors, you’ll see each and every one of them turn their heads to watch the Huracan go down the road. It’s low, wide, compact and edgy – the rear three-quarter view is particularly gorgeous.
From the driver’s seat, you get a great view in the mirrors of the huge intakes, feeding air into the updated 5.2-litre V10. Elsewhere, there are plenty of unusual design features such as the fighter jet-style engine-start button, which hides behind a protective red flip-switch. Then there’s the reverse selector, which juts out of the centre panel, and the wild green upholstery fitted to our car – although more sombre colour combinations are available.
So it looks like a Lamborghini – inside and out – but does it drive like one? It’s got all the performance you’d expect, certainly. That 5.2-litre V10 now produces 602bhp, which is delivered via a new seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox to all four wheels. The result is 0-62mph in 3.2 seconds.
The roaring engine – which crackles and bangs on the overrun – adds to the dramatic punch of acceleration every time you floor the throttle. You get 75 per cent of the torque at only 1,100rpm, with the full amount kicking in at 6,500rpm, so it starts out brutally fast and only gets quicker as the revs rise.
In the Gallardo we’d become accustomed to jerky shifts from the automated manual gearbox, but the new dual-clutch is infinitely better. A full-throttle upshift is as smooth and quick as a gentle shift from fifth to sixth while driving around town at 30mph. The Huracan is now just as good on-track as it is in the city in this respect.
There’s still a bit of Lamborghini drama to everything, though; if you’re cruising along and decide to plant the throttle in Auto mode, you’ll get a pronounced thud and a jolt before the box selects a gear two or three ratios lower and launches you forwards. A switch mounted at the bottom of the steering wheel allows you to switch between Strada, Sport and Corsa modes, depending on how brutal you want your Huracan experience to be.
Left in standard Strada, the car is actually pretty docile and comfortable. Having so much torque available from so low in the revs means it’ll happily cruise around town in seventh, and leaving the dampers in their softest mode allows it to tackle bumps surprisingly well.
Sport makes the steering more responsive, firms up the dampers and loosens up the stability control. It’s good for a smooth B-road, just sharpening the Lambo’s responses slightly, but there’s little give in the suspension which means you’ll be thrown about the cabin a lot more. Corsa gives you even more free rein to unsettle the car, and sharpens up the throttle a bit as well.
Whatever the mode, the Huracan feels really quick to respond to your inputs thanks to the variable-ratio steering rack. It can tackle sweeping corners at speeds far higher than nearly everything else on the road, and can power out of them far sooner due to its excellent four-wheel-drive traction.
However, chucking it through tighter bends reveals a lot of understeer – and trying to provoke the rear to break traction often results in yet more. It’s not as ultimately rewarding or predictable as a Ferrari 458 or McLaren 650S. Also, as wild as that interior looks, it’s really not that usable. The indicators are controlled by a tiny switch on the wheel, which you must hold left or right otherwise you just get three indicator flashes.
The wiper control is similarly frustrating, and the window switches must be pushed up to make the glass go down. What’s more, there are some blanked-out switches on the steering wheel – not great on a £200,000 car. Many of the console buttons are clearly from Audi – as is the key – so you end up losing that bespoke feeling that you get from the Ferrari or the McLaren.
With both those cars being more fun to drive as well, the Huracan must settle for third place in our eyes – it’s good but just not good enough.