New Lamborghini Huracan Sterrato 2023 review
Off-road tweaks give the capable 4WD supercar additional benefits on tarmac, too
The Sterrato shouldn’t really make sense. Yet in many ways this is the pick of the Huracán bunch: fantastic on-road ride quality and rugged off-road capability make it riotous fun on a tarmac track, and even more so off it on the dirt. It’s also capable of taking greater punishment off-road than its appearance suggests, and retains all the visual drama of a traditional supercar, along with that spellbinding V10 engine.
The Lamborghini Huracán Sterrato (meaning ‘dirt road’ in Italian) is limited to 1,499 cars globally, and marks the final evolution of the Huracán, the marque’s most successful supercar in terms of sales.
Although a final 60th anniversary car will follow, based on the regular, road-focused Huracán series, this gravel-ready special is one of the last derivatives on the car’s decade-old platform. It’s also the swansong for the Huracán’s fabulous V10 engine.
The Sterrato was born from off-road testing while developing the Urus SUV in 2017. The engineering and design team was inspired to create a prototype off-road version of the Huracán, partly for R&D and partly for fun. They had so much fun with it that hopes for a production version quickly gathered momentum. When CEO Stephan Winkelmann returned to the firm in 2020, he gave the green light to a limited run of customer cars.
Head of design Mitja Borkert and his team created the plastic cladding around the sills and wheelarches (covering wheels pushed out wider on both axles, and shod in special all-terrain tyres developed by Bridgestone).
There’s more suspension travel and the set-up is softer than the standard Huracán’s. It still has adaptive dampers with a Touring mode, and a firmer setting that sharpens the handling on a winding road or tarmac track. The rally-style spotlights on the nose are optional, as are the roof crossbars (which are worth speccing, given that the Sterrato has the same tiny boot and lack of interior storage as a regular Huracán). The snorkel air intake is standard, because testing revealed that the engine needed additional airflow while sliding sideways on gravel.
The Sterrato is priced at £232,820 in the UK, a jump of approximately £30,000 over a Huracán Tecnica. All Sterratos are now sold.
We’re testing the Sterrato on road and track in California. The USA is expected to take as much as 50 per cent of the Sterrato’s production run, with the UK, Germany and the Middle East also key markets.
Little separates the Sterrato inside from a regular Huracán other than optional heavy-duty floormats, and the fact that you can’t really see anything through the rear-view mirror, because of the snorkel air intake.
The ride quality on soft suspension and tall rubber is comfortable, and the chunky tyres make little noise on the move, so the Sterrato is quite a civilised car to travel in.
It’s also less stressful around town, with the ability to drive up ramps and speed bumps without needing to crawl as you would in the regular, low-slung car.
On a twisty road, it’s not as sharp and responsive in corners as a normal Huracán, as you’d expect, but it feels far from clumsy.
The V10, due to be retired when Huracán production ends in 2024, offers mighty acceleration and the noise is incredible; there’s nothing else, short of the engine-sharing Audi R8, that sounds like this.
It’s also mighty in some off-road situations. Our half-tarmac, half-loose test track was punishing, with deep ruts and harsh bumps, and a mix of tight, tricky hairpins and fast curves.
The Sterrato felt right at home. On the tarmac sections it squats and rolls a little bit more on its longer, softer suspension compared with a normal Huracán, but it’s still very controllable. Jumping onto the dirt, it feels very natural to control the car or even slide it around deliberately.
A Rally mode has been programmed for the Sterrato alongside the regular Strada and Sport settings. Rally is almost as rear-biased as Sport, encouraging tail-out antics but still prioritising traction, and it’s remarkable how fast the Sterrato can accelerate, even on loose surfaces.
Porsche’s 911 Dakar, coincidentally released within a few months, is the closest car in ethos to the Sterrato, but the 911 is a little less dramatic and a little more focused on hardier off-road use. The Sterrato is no Land Rover, but it’s fabulous fun both on and off the tarmac, and stretches the Huracán further than we could have imagined it being stretched when the car was launched a decade ago. It’s a fantastic send-off.
|Model:||Lamborghini Huracan Sterrato|
|Engine:||5.2-litre V10 petrol|
|Transmission:||Seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, four-wheel drive|
|On sale:||Sold out|