Ever since the mid-1970s and the arrival of the Countach, Lamborghinis have looked outrageous—with scoops, wings, scissor doors, and wedge-shaped silhouettes—and been viewed as challenging to drive. Controlling the Countach, Diablo, and Murciélago required the equivalent of a full-body workout in a sweatbox, and those cars were unforgiving of driver errors. Although the Gallardo was the best-selling Lamborghini ever, with 14,022 produced from 2003 through 2013, it did not alter the way the brand’s vehicles were perceived; and eventually, in comparison to other cars in its super-sports-car class, it was wanting in amenities.
The Gallardo’s replacement is the Huracán LP 610-4, and it is as eye-catching as any previous Lamborghini. It was introduced in March at the Geneva Motor Show and will arrive in showrooms this summer with a starting price of about $240,000. In keeping with Lamborghini tradition, it is named after a renowned Spanish fighting bull (not the storm or the Mayan god of wind, storm, and fire). According to the company, the dewlapped Huracán decimated toreadors in Alicante throughout August of 1879. Its namesake car promises to be kinder to drivers.
Ducking under the Huracán’s 45.9-inch roofline and sliding over the doorsill requires as much effort, dexterity, and flexibility as entering the Gallardo did, but once you locate the starter button—under the red flap in the center console—and press it, the Huracán bears little resemblance to its predecessor or any previous Lamborghini.
The Gallardo’s mid-mounted 5.2-liter V-10 has been revised so that it produces 610 hp at 8,250 rpm and 413 ft lbs of torque at 6,500 rpm. A dual fuel-injection system plays a large role in the sensational power output, which enables the Huracán to achieve a zero-to-62-mph time of 3.2 seconds, a zero-to-124-mph time of 9.9 seconds, and a top speed of 202 mph.
The excellent 7-speed dual-clutch sequential manual transmission tames the engine’s power. It shifts gears far more smoothly than did the Gallardo’s 6-speed single-clutch sequential manual and contributes to the Huracán’s overall user-friendliness. Indeed, during a test-drive in Spain this spring, the car always seemed to be asking what it could do to assist the driver, whether it was hurtling along the track at the Ascari Race Resort in the highlands above the Costa del Sol or circling a roundabout in the beach city of Marbella.
In addition to a revamped engine and a new transmission, the Huracán’s drivetrain includes an updated all-wheel-drive system. It uses electronic controls and electrohydraulic actuation to split the engine’s torque. It usually directs 70 percent of the torque to the rear wheels, but it is capable of nearly instantaneous redistribution of the engine’s power as conditions warrant. The Huracán also features three driving modes, which the driver selects by pressing a button on the vertical spoke of the flat-bottomed steering wheel. Lamborghini calls the button the Anima, which in Italian means “soul.” The modes are Strada, for driving around town and the highway; Sport, for the canyons; and Corsa, for the racetrack. With those choices plus the optional magnetically controlled dampers and variable-ratio steering, the Huracán’s dynamic performance can become nearly anything the driver desires.
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The Huracán’s shape is the work of Lamborghini’s design chief, Filippo Perini, who spoke during the media event in Spain about the challenges of creating a follow-up to a model that was as successful as the Gallardo. “It’s always dangerous to do a sequel,” he said. Perini, a loquacious 49-year-old who has been obsessed with Lamborghinis and the work of Marcello Gandini (the designer of the Miura and the Countach) since childhood, said that the Huracán’s silhouette originated with the Countach. He described it as more extreme than that of the Gallardo but also cleaner and more sensual. He noted how the air intakes behind the Huracán’s passenger compartment do not bulge from the car; instead, they are formed by overlapping surfaces. The matte-black engine cover is finned, paying homage to the Miura, and the ducktail rear derives from the Sesto Elemento concept car of 2011.
The aluminum chassis is girded with a carbon-fiber rear firewall and transmission tunnel (the Aventador is built around a carbon-fiber monocoque, whereas the Gallardo’s chassis is all aluminum). Lamborghini claims that the Huracán’s chassis is 50 percent stiffer than the Gallardo’s and that the new car also benefits from greater downforce and better aerodynamic balance. These improvements were apparent during the drive at the Ascari track, where the Huracán stormed down the straightaways, braked indefatigably, and handled the corners with the predictability and precision of an atomic clock. The intelligent dynamic systems neutralized the potential misadventures that the driver initiated and returned the car to the racing line.
Impressively as it performed on the racetrack, the Huracán provided a surprisingly comfortable ride during the trip back to the coast. Perini said the design brief for the interior prescribed simplicity and roominess. The seats have sporty contours and are covered in leather. The design of the dashboard, including the shape of the central air vents, incorporates the same hexagonal motif as the car’s front air intakes. Set atop the dash is a leather-wrapped pod containing a 12.3-inch instrumentation display. Paddle shifters flank the steering wheel, but there are no stalks cluttering the steering column: Switches for the turn signals, headlamps, and windshield wipers are embedded in the steering wheel’s horizontal spokes. The controls for the windows, heating and air-conditioning, and audio system are situated high on the center console, which rises to meet the dash. The driving position is comfortable, and the cabin’s atmosphere is airy, in part because the car’s design features more glass and less canopy than that of the Gallardo.
Stephan Winkelmann, president and CEO of Lamborghini, spoke of the Huracán as the herald for a “new era.” He was referring to a new era of design, technology, and performance. He also expects the car to sell even better than the Gallardo did. The factory is prepared to produce 13 cars per day and about 2,600 annually, which would be approximately twice the average number of Gallardos that were built annually during the 11-year production run. Achieving such volume may seem like an ambitious goal for Lamborghini, but the Huracán—with its blazing performance, advanced technology, sexy Italian design, and meticulous artisanship—could make it possible.