Are the myths about the Lamborghini Huracan true?
The elites of our industry align on very few matters, but when it comes to Lamborghini, one particular viewpoint seems to echo clearly. While their cars look amazing, and sound ferocious, they flaunt the primary handling trait of understeer too proudly when driven hard. Suffice it to say then, heading into my first ever drive in a Lamborghini - a Huracan Spyder - this consensus was ringing in my ears, forming the barriers of my expectation.
The drive would take place on a circuit, away from the limiting environment of the nation’s highways. The first problem I would face however wouldn’t be one of understeering wildly into an immovable object, but more of my own bodily limitations.
I had initially rejoiced at the fact that the car I’d be driving was the Spyder variant. Having previously experienced an Audi R8 V10 Plus - and only just managing to fit my 6 feet and 5 inches of gangliness into it - I didn’t fancy my chances when faced with contorting myself into the Huracan, which is deprived of a further 3 inches of headroom. Concerns of headroom however were replaced with worries of legroom in the Huracan’s constricting cabin.
In order to accommodate the protective roof origami, Lamborghini were force to position the seats further forward than in the Coupe - reducing the amount of available space for those of a gigantic predisposition. A small crowd of officials gathered to witness my ungraceful attempt at entry. Despite the fact that they were all - I presume - telepathically gambling between themselves that I wouldn’t fit, I managed to slide in with ease. I set the seat just right, and pulled the steering wheel further forward to avoid bumping against my protruding knees.
Before setting off, I took the moment to have a thoughtful ogle at the interior and compare it to its supercar rivals. When you get into a Ferrari, you’re greeted with a miss-match of buttons that resemble the aftermath of a small explosion. In contrast, upon entering a McLaren, you’re met with pure minimalism, and a sense that everything is precisely where you’d expect it to be. The Lamborghini however is rather different.
Much like the exterior, everything inside seems to have been sculpted to capture the essence of excitement. It makes you drool, while also priming your responses into their thrill-mode. And yet, despite that clear bent on crafting something instantly synonymous with the brand’s image, things are easy to find and easy to operate. Add in seats that are comfy and supportive, and the interior is a triumph!
Pressing the start button awakens the 5.2L V10 and its animalistic normally aspirated growl. With the pull of an angular paddle, and with the removal of my foot from the brake, the car starts to move forward slowly, waiting patiently to pounce. I meander down the pit lane in a manner designed to revel in the anticipation before finally indulging in the main event. Approaching the point where the throttle could meet the floor, time ticked by with diminishing pace. And then, when the moment eventually arrived, time began to feel like it was being compressed.
From a standstill, the V10’s 602bhp can catapult the Huracan and its occupants from 0-60mph in just 2.6 seconds. Living in a world where such figures have become terrifyingly commonplace amongst the supercar glitterati, you’d be forgiven for viewing these statistics with apathy. But - and I cannot emphasise enough on this point - regardless of how many cars are capable of accelerating to 60mph in under 3 seconds, it will never normalise the merciless force that it delivers to your body. You watch as the world around you transforms into a hypersonic blur, melting into further distortion with each and every passing moment. It is speed that cannot ever be undermined.
If you have no preference for speed, you cannot possibly imagine what this level of acceleration feels like. Your head slams back hopelessly; your brain spins inside your skull. It fills your entire being with a sensation that will only be familiar to those who live on Class A substances. I was glad I wasn’t driving it on the road; the temptation to awaken the V10 would’ve been too powerful to subdue. Not to mention that the Huracan appears to have replaced its blindspots with a couple of places that aircraft carriers can hide. Without the intension to state the obvious, I imagine this would inspire a nervousness that would rather detract from the overall ecstasy on the road.
Accompanying the fury of the acceleration is a soundtrack that invokes a similar sense of violence. I’ve always placed the Huracan’s naturally aspirated V10 in the fondest place in my petrol-lined heart. But no matter how good it sounds in the smorgasbord of YouTube videos that come with a warning for headphone users, to hear those 10 pistons moving about at 8,500rpm just behind your head is something that each and every car enthusiast should have on their bucket list. It is a masterpiece of no equal in today’s turbocharged supercar market, and something which asserts the tragedy of the imminent death of the internal combustion engine with more power than almost anything on sale today.
Soon, in the forefront of my warped vision, I notice the first corner approaching. I progressively push on the anchors from a conservative distance, exploring the car’s stability and braking performance before pushing too hard. The composure of the Huracan upon rapid deceleration inspires a great amount of confidence to be more brutal in the braking application. The brakes themselves are excellent - but they aren’t quite so excellent that you end up spending the majority of the drive resisting the urge to spray the digital dials in your last meal. In, for example, a McLaren, braking causes you physical discomfort and nausea.
Into the first corner, and neither the front nor the rear felt keen to step out of line. With all 4 wheels putting the 602 raging horsepowers on the tarmac, you’re able to get on the power nice and early and start the acceleration and noise onslaught all over again.
As I continue round, I delve deeper into the car’s abilities. I brake later, I corner quicker, and I pound the throttle into the floor sooner. In a car with so much rear stability, it’s inevitable that understeer will show its face first. But the question should not be whether it understeers - rather how fast you have to be travelling in order to initiate understeer. When the point at which the car starts to push wide comes, you’re moving so quickly that the primary job of the steering wheel no longer concerns directing the car as much as it does providing you with something to cling onto for dear life. The vast majority of drivers would lose their confidence before the front tyres lost grip.
Just because it will understeer first however does not mean that it won’t oversteer. You get the overriding impression when you’re cornering hard that when the almighty rear-end bite reaches its limit, it will do so without warning, and in a manner beyond recovery. It’s this that lies heavily in the forefront of your consciousness, making you hold back a little, hypersensitive to any mild suggestion of oversteer. It’s reasonable to presume that the steering will be the thing that delivers the first signal to you that the car’s about to lose grip at the back. But in the Huracan, while the steering is nicely weighted, it doesn’t so much inform you of what the car is feeling as provide a garbled interpretation for you to demystify. From the perspective of somebody who enjoys the process of driving, the steering feel you’d find in a McLaren is far superior to the Huracan.
It’s the steering’s inability to communicate that leaves you having to dial your senses deeper into the Lambo’s other mediums of communication. If you listen attentively, you soon find yourself able to get into a mutual rhythm with the car - where it will thrill on the condition that you don’t disrespect or agitate it carelessly. While the threat of snap-oversteer may make you approach the car reservedly, it is, overall, quite an easy car to drive quickly. It’s not a backstreet brawl like you’d get while piloting Lambos of old; it’s not a frustration-festival where the car wont allow you to wander outside of its own pre-programmed confinements. Instead, it feels like driving a concerto, where every one of the car’s abilities has been designed to perfectly compliment all of the others, with nothing overshadowing the beauty of anything else. It may not glide gracefully like a Ferrari, or be as technically marvellous as a McLaren - but in some ways, it captures the essence of what a supercar should be better than either of them, and in the process, conveys a sense of emotion through its normally aspirated magnificence.
For the time I was driving it, there wasn’t a single moment where I felt the voices of the establishment shout as loudly as they had originally been perceived. Instead, I felt as though I’d been imbued with an overhauled definition for what a supercar truly was that transcended regular automotive parlance. While the perfect supercar may only feature the Huracan’s engine - combined with the chassis playfulness of a Ferrari, the tactility of a McLaren, and perhaps the 6-speed manual gearbox found in GT-department Porsches - the Huracan’s specific set of skills form a compelling attraction when set against the most appealing traits of its rivals. For that reason, I would take a Huracan over a 720S or F8 Tributo. And that’s something I never thought I’d hear myself saying prior to this experience.