- Available for £120,000
- 5.2 litre petrol V10, 4 or 2WD
- Epic engine and a proper DCT transmission
- Italian theatre, Germanic engineering
- Audi R8 V10 is a lot cheaper…
- …but it’s not a Lamborghini
When Audi bought Lamborghini in 1998, it was almost by accident. According to folklore, Lamborghini approached VW/Audi for a deal on the German company’s 4.2 V8 drivetrain to help them build a ‘baby Diablo’ that, they hoped, would dig them out of the hole they had fallen into after a few messy years with Chrysler and some other non-corporate investors.
However, instead of supplying Lamborghini with engines, VW/Audi bought the whole company for a little over $100 million. Viewed against the $2 billion VW paid for Bentley, and given Lamborghini’s renaissance since then, that seems like a steal, but the Italian firm’s blossoming from five cars a week in 1999 to nearly thirty times that number in 2019, allied to a critical jump in quality, owes a lot to the work and credibility Audi injected into the brand.
The first engine to be developed by Lamborghini after the Audi acquisition was the 5.0-litre V10 powering 2003’s all-wheel drive, Luc Donckerwolke-designed Gallardo. In launch form the Gallardo produced 493hp at 7,800rpm, rising to 513hp in the 2005 SE, to 552hp in the bored-out 5.2-litre direct fuel injection LP560-4 of 2008 (‘LP’ standing for Longitudinale Posteriore, referring to the engine’s inline crank/driveshaft format and its position in the car), and finally to 562hp in various runout LP570-4 Gallardos.
In 2014 the Gallardo was replaced by the car we’re looking at in today’s buying guide, the Huracan. Or, to be pedantic, the Huracán, which is the Spanish word for hurricane. In English this is usually pronounced with the emphasis on the ‘hura’ bit. A Spanish person would drop the ‘h’ and emphasise the ‘can’. However you say it, every Huracan was part-built by Audi in Neckarsulm before transportation to Sant'Agata Bolognese for final assembly by Lamborghini. Not surprising really as just about everything you can't see on the Huracan is more or less pure R8 V10 Plus.
The normally aspirated 5.2 V10 continued as the power source. In the LP610-4 launch model it was uprated to 602hp at a piercing 8,250rpm (nearly 110hp more than the first 2003 Gallardo, which was also slightly heavier), the Huracan LP610-4 shot through the 0-62mph run in 3.2sec, around a full second quicker than the first Gallardo. Its top speed was 10mph higher at 202mph. The by then well proven electronically controlled all-wheel drive system took the fear out of the performance, as did standard carbon ceramic brakes. The option of MagneRide dampers was an additional reassurance.
The Huracan tub was the familiar Lamborghini mix of aluminium and carbonfibre. The body was designed by Filippo Perini, one-time head of design at Italdesign and the man responsible for penning the Aventador. As an aside, last year Perini joined Genesis, the luxury brand of the Hyundai Motor Group where, perhaps not so coincidentally, Gallardo designer Luc Donckerwolke now heads up design.
Two years into Huracan production, breaking tradition not just in the field of supercars but in pretty much any car field, Lamborghini launched a new model that was less powerful than the one that went before. The LP580-2 of 2016 generated 30hp less than the 610-4, and at a lower engine speed (8,000rpm). Torque was down by 15lb ft, the 0-62 time was a couple of tenths slower and the top speed was cut to a snail-like 198mph. The dry weight was cut too, by 33kg, allowing for a recalibration of the springs, dampers and roll bars to create a slightly softer and more progressive feel.
The main difference between the 610-4 and the 580-2 however was the removal of all-wheel drive. Early 610-4 press cars had been picked up for having a little too much understeer. Scandi-flicking, four-wheel-drifting road testers learnt that there was a way to make the AWD Huracans dance to their tune, but the 580-2 offered an easier route in to driving fun. And, if price mattered to buyers in this segment, the 580-2 was £25,000 cheaper than the AWD 610-4 and, teasingly, £23,000 cheaper than the Ferrari 488 GTB.
When the 580 came out in 2016, opinions were expressed about the prospect of a ‘maximum excitement’ Huracan along the lines of the exquisite 458 Speciale, something that would combine gossamer handling with big-stick power. One year later, at the 2017 Geneva Show, the dream arrived in the shape of the LP 640-4 Performante, a lightweight (1,382kg) 631hp track-oriented variant with a claimed 0-62 time of 2.9sec and a 202mph top end. The chassis was substantially altered with 10 per cent stiffer suspension, recalibrated magnetic dampers and Dynamic Steering, and a new active aero system that supposedly multiplied the standard Huracan’s downforce by a factor of seven. This ALA system was said to make a major contribution to the Performante’s October 2016 ‘Ring time of 6m 52sec, which was seven seconds under the time recorded by the 740hp LP 750-4 Aventador. Performante pricing started at £215,000. A 125kg heavier Spyder version was released at the end of 2018.
In 2019 the gen-two facelift Evo was launched. This is the current model Huracan. It was more or less an updated Performante with the same 631hp power output but some useful chassis revisions including rear-wheel steer. There’s a two-wheel drive version of that too, the £34,000 cheaper Evo RWD.
Nobody who has been fortunate enough to experience any Huracan’s manic combo of grip, traction and bloodcurdling mechanical bedlam would ever look down on them as some sort of diluted ‘proper’ Lamborghini. More than one respected press wheelman has giggled uncontrollably behind the wheel of a Huracan, and many of them rate it above the 488 on aural drama.
Punters liked it too, buying a veritable barrowload of them. Opinions vary on how many Huracans are on the world’s roads. Some sources say that 12,100 pre-Evo cars were built; others reckon that the figure is nearer to 14,000. If you accept the second figure and include the Evo cars that are still being made, then the Huracan has not only passed the Gallardo in terms of popularity, it’s the most-bought Lamborghini ever. The Urus may very well overtake it at some point, but that won’t be happening for a while yet.
So, what’s the Huracan like to own? What should you be looking out for? Let’s take a glamorous dip into Lamborghini life…
SPECIFICATION | LAMBORGHINI HURACAN LP 610-4
Engine: 5,204cc, V10, 40v
Transmission: 7-speed automatic, all-wheel drive
Power (hp): 602@8,250rpm
Torque (lb ft): 413@6,500rpm
0-62mph: 3.2 secs
Top speed: 202mph
MPG (official combined): 22.6
Wheels: 8.5x20 (f), 11x20 (r)
Tyres: 245/30 (f), 305/30 (r)
On sale: 2014 - 2019
Price new: £185,000 (£160,000 for LP 580-2, £215,000 for LP 640-4 Performante)
Price now: from £120,000
Note for reference: car weight and power data is hard to pin down with absolute certainty. For consistency, we use the same source for all our guides. We hope the data we use is right more often than it’s wrong. Our advice is to treat it as relative rather than definitive.
ENGINE & GEARBOX
If you believe in big revs and wish we still lived in an F1 era of V10 engines, the Huracan’s dry sump power unit should be right up your alley. Its reliance on natural aspiration may be gloriously unfashionable in these times of easy assistance by turbo or electricity, but the full-bore scream of a big capacity ten will surely never go out of fashion. Nor will its hair-trigger response to the throttle. It’s a fabulous engine that sounds amazing and the re-exhausted Performante sounds even better.
Some owners have had their Huracans randomly go into limp mode. Simply restarting the car will usually rectify it and Lamborghini dealers have told owners it’s a misfire fault and not to worry about it. Be aware that if you raise this with the dealer and your car has an aftermarket exhaust you may receive short shrift from the factory, even if your misfire issue predated the fitment of the non-stock exhaust, and even if the exhaust is a cat-back item. Lamborghini would not be alone among manufacturers – and not just supercar manufacturers either – in getting heavy about this sort of thing.
The Aventador that we mentioned earlier had a difficult start in life thanks in large part to the clunkiness of its ISR automated manual gearbox. The Huracan has no such problems. The Huracan’s dual clutcher is the DCT unit used by Audi in the R8. It delivers lightning-fast changes and can happily be used in any mode. If you see yourself using your Huracan in automatic most of the time you’ll be more than happy. You can ignore any scare stories relating to the old LP-series Gallardo’s E-Gear system and its clutch-wearing first gear frailty.
Launch control puts plenty of stress onto the most thoroughly engineered cars. Although Porsche’s PDK system is famously robust, Nissan voided GTR warranties if the owners performed trannie-destroying launches, and Ford lived to regret its laissez-faire approach to owners using this function on the Focus RS. Diagnostic checks on one famous YT Huracan that had been throwing a ‘check engine’ light allegedly uncovered a factory-set limit of 250 selections of launch control mode. Once that point was reached the car would thereafter refuse to go into launch mode. This turned out to be an internet myth, with Lamborghini denying the existence of any limit, although some might consider that to be an eminently sensible precaution that would ease the concerns of a potential buyer of a used Huracan. The same Huracan referred to above had fault codes with its fuel tank and camshaft position sensors which (its tuner thought) could have been the reason for the car refusing to engage launch control.
In normal use, Strada is the quiet mode, with softer gearchanges and relatively more understeer. It’s not the most popular mode. Sport tightens things up, although some testers have found that the extra body roll this mode allows gives the back end a kind of toppling effect. The gearbox will still change up automatically in this mode unless you press the manual button. If you put the car into Corsa mode first (which doesn’t have an automatic operation) and then back into Sport that short-cuts the need to select manual. Corsa mode has been especially praised in the 2WD car, not only on the track because it makes it easier to control any slides there, but also because it feels like the car’s most natural and fun to drive mode.
The bill for routine Huracan servicing at an official Lamborghini dealer like H R Owen will never come in at under four figures. An annual (minor) service with oil, filter, brake fluid and wheel alignment check starts at £1,339 while the major one (including spark plug replacement) adds another £1,000 to that. Still, with a £2,355 start price that major Huracan service is the cheapest in the Lamborghini sports car range. The same work on a Gallardo, Aventador or Murcielago would cost you £2,800, £4,000 and £4,300 respectively. Some of the difference is down to the Huracan’s low maintenance Audi DCT transmission. H R Owen’s website has a specific section for fixed price clutch replacements on Gallardos and Murcielagos. Read into that what you will.
The Huracan platform was effectively the same as the R8’s but the distribution of torque between the wheels was different. Those who have driven both say that the Huracan’s set up is superior to the Audi’s. It’s thought that Lamborghini brought in some chassis changes on the 2016MY cars to add more neutrality.
The Performante’s active aero setup has low-drag and high-downforce settings, the correct one being automatically chosen to suit your situation. It’s like DRS on an F1 car. Flaps behind the front spoiler open to allow air through or close to deflect it underneath the car, increasing or reducing downforce respectively. Equivalent flaps at the back route air over the wing or through it.
The rear-wheel drive LP580-2 had a mechanical limited slip diff with 45 percent locking action. As with the 610, magnetic dampers were on the 580 options list, but so were the ceramic brakes that were standard on the 610.
Some owners have thought about putting aftermarket 21in wheels on the back of their Huracans but you need to be very careful there as correct tyre circumference is critical on any AWD car and especially so on a Huracan where fitting them will almost certainly invalidate the warranty. There’s a real risk of blowing the diff to boot.
A new standard size back tyre will cost you in the region of £500, while a new set of carbon ceramic brakes will cost over £30k. Generically though ceramics should last for ages. What won’t last for ages if you rag the car to any serious extent in hot weather is the brake fluid, which can boil.
Like the tub, the bodywork is a mix of aluminium and composite materials. You can tell a 580 from a 610 by its different front and rear ends. Some say the 580 front is more aggressive, others that the 610 is cleaner and prettier.
Over the shoulder vision is fairly terrible in early models, and blind spot monitoring wasn’t an option, but modifications to the Performante have made it slightly easier to see out of.
The hydraulic front lift option is definitely worth having if your journeys involve traversing sleeping policemen or not-so-dropped kerbs. Fortunately, just about every new Huracan buyer ticked that box on strong dealer recommendation, so effectively it’s part of the standard spec as far as used cars go. Selling one without that feature would be quite difficult. Although you can deploy the lift at speeds up to 43mph, it’s not a superfast Ford GT-type mechanism: it can take up to 15 seconds to work while the car is moving.
There have been instances of a lifted Huracan dropping back down within ten seconds when two passengers are in the car. This fault can normally be cleared by the dealer. Another one is the lift stopping mid-drop and then raising if the door is opened in the middle of the operation. In fairness, problems in this area are not Lamborghini-exclusive.
Windscreen washer pipes have been known to crack. If you see a crack in your Huracan windscreen take a deep breath because they’re around six grand a pop.
For the average bod in the street the Huracan is an impossibly exotic creature, but (Urus aside) it’s the marque’s entry-level sports offering. With that in mind, there were negative comments on the quality of the cabin materials in the gen-one cars, to the effect that the plastics and the leathers were no better than the ones you’d get in an upmarket Ford. The ignition key was the same as the one you got with an Audi A4. Some serial Lambo-istes felt they were being milked for their brand loyalty, pointing to the Audi R8 Plus which was identical to the Huracan in so many ways, and which had (in their view) a considerably more premium interior than the Lamborghini, all for a considerably lower price.
The Performante put most of these complaints to bed with dollops of Alcantara and Lamborghini’s ‘forged composite’ carbon fibre replacing much of the plastic. Standard seats can feel a little high in either straight or Performante variants but the optional fixed-back seats hunker you down sufficiently to allow a regular-sized driver to squeeze on a crash helmet.
The default presets for the 12.3in TFT dash display present the sort of info an enthusiastic driver might see as a distraction. If you want to bring the speedo or tachometer up front and centre you have to cycle through a series of press and hold operations, and as far as we’re aware there’s no way to save personal preferences.
The quality of the picture provided by the reversing camera wouldn’t win any awards, and there have been instances of ‘camera unavailable’ warnings on the screen, at least one of them occurring on the first restart after a bad weather drive. Another IT Crowd-style ‘switch it off and on again’ dealer reset effects some kind of repair.
One YT Huracan owner reported that when the window on the driver’s side of his Performante had been dropped and he went to lift it back up, the glass would go up in the approved manner but then drop back down to the halfway point. It would do that two or three times more before eventually going fully up. That sort of thing can make you look like a bit of a wally when people are watching, which they always are when you roll up in a Huracan. This window fault will be familiar to owners of more mundane VW/Audi products, but in this case a simple reset of the window mech hadn’t worked for our Huracan-owning YTer. Lamborghini fiddled with the window seal on his car, and as of a couple of months ago the problem hadn't resurfaced.
The Huracan is very much central to the ‘new Lamborghini’ way. Old school fans of the marque may wonder whether the balance between German efficiency and Italian artistry has moved a little too far north, and whether too much of the rawness has been syphoned out of the Lamborghini experience.
That’s all for a dinner table conversation, but as long as there’s a normally aspirated V10 to play with you can’t imagine there being too many objections. The ultimate answer to that argument lies in the sales figures. People who would previously have never entertained an Italian supercar can now stride into a Lamborghini dealership and drive out in a Huracan with reasonable confidence that they won’t end up marooned at the side of a road at some point. No car is perfect, and the Huracan is no exception as our guide to some of its foibles has shown, but none of the glitches it has exhibited thus far have been dealbreakingly serious.
The Huracan’s use of the Audi R8 V10 Plus drivetrain has surely been a key enabler for many of these new customers. In a drag race there is the merest fag paper’s difference between the Huracan and the Audi. Either car could win that race on any given day. The Audi has a slightly higher top speed, more interior space and a considerably lower used purchase price. It doesn’t have the Performante’s active aero though, and of course most important of all an Audi is not a Lamborghini. Nor is a McLaren 720S, although it is 170kg lighter (and more powerful) than even a Performante.
So, which Huracan to go for? The AWD 610-4 had a two-year head start on the RWD 580-2, but even when 580 production was in full swing it was very much a minority choice against the 610 or the 640. Although we don’t have the actual production numbers, any snapshot of Huracans for sale tells you that the 580 is vastly outnumbered by the other two. There’s very little obvious performance difference in the real world between it and the more powerful variants, but you suspect that no matter how much fun the 580 was to drive, most buyers in this highly visible segment didn’t want to be seen scrimping on the purchase of a Lamborghini or losing out on the big power bragging rights.
The wise folk who didn’t feel threatened by a horsepower number beginning with a 5 are clearly hanging on to their 580s because they’re not often seen on the UK used market. We found just ten on offer out of a total number of well over a hundred Huracans for sale. These ranged from a red coupe at £119,995 to this 2018 Spyder in grey with 2,200 miles (and three owners!) at just under £165,000.
The most affordable Huracan in PH Classifieds right now is this white 25,000-mile 610-4 at a few pounds short of £120,000. There are actually quite a few Huracans at this price point. Overall there are nearly as many Spyders as coupes.
640 Performantes have only been around for the last couple of years but there’s no shortage of used specimens, with coupes starting at around £170k and convertibles at £190k. The most expensive Huracan in PH Classifieds at the time of writing was this 688-mile Performante Spyder in matte blue at £205,000. Or you could save £10,000 by going for this coupe.
Not counting the Huracans used by the Italian police after their Gallardos were written off, the rarest special edition must be the Pope Francis, a white and gold 580-2 that was auctioned for charity after the Pontiff had adorned it with a Sharpie signature. We’re not sure he drove it, however, and we have no idea who owns it now. You’d like to think it has a nice quiet exhaust on it, with a special valve that emits a puff of Vatican smoke whenever a new Pope is unveiled.
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