Karl Marx would have loathed my choice of wheels. There are few more ostentatious tributes to capitalism than a Kermit green Lamborghini, especially one with a giant rear wing. The Huracan Performante is spectacularly, self-indulgently OTT. It is £215,000 worth of Italian sculpture, with a 640hp, 5.2-litre V10 attached.
Much has been made of this car's 'ring time - a scarcely believable 6:52.01 - but it's what that signifies that's really important. The Performante is proof that Lamborghini is serious about making supercars that are good for more than just cruising Knightsbridge. For the first time in a while, the good people of Maranello and Woking are taking note of the old tractor maker.
Firing (order) squad
It's the noise they'll notice first. While the standard Huracan is surprisingly muted, the Performante announces its intent with an outrageous howl. It might not be as polar bear-friendly as Ferrari's twin-turbo V8 - or ultimately as potent - but for pure, visceral appeal, it's in a different stratosphere. Its timbre is race car like, pulling cleanly and consistently from just a couple of thousand revs. By the time peak power arrives at 8,000rpm, it's either gloriously symphonic, or plain obnoxious, depending on your point of view. I'm with the former.
It's not the safest road to drive, either. Whoever erected the guardrails was having a laugh. Time and again, you find yourself braking for downhill hairpins with drop-offs promising certain death. Rarely have the anti-fade properties of carbon-ceramic brakes been so welcome.
In this environment, the appeal of all-wheel drive shouldn't be underestimated either. It might not please the hair-shirted diehards, but out here the ability of the Performante to fling itself out of corners that would leave a McLaren 720S leaning on its electronics is remarkable. Against the watch the McLaren is quicker - 0-124mph in 7.8sec versus 8.9sec - but in the real world, the Lambo will be at least as rapid. No matter how good Pirelli P Zero Corsas are, it's still easier to deploy 160hp per tyre than 360.
Lamborghini will also no doubt point to the benefits of its pioneering active aerodynamics, 'Aerodinamica Lamborghini Attiva' or ALA for short. Put simply, flaps in the front spoiler work in conjunction with ducts in the engine cover to either channel air over the giant rear wing to generate downforce, or under the wing to minimise drag. The flaps can even open independently to achieve what Lamborghini calls aero vectoring - varying the downforce from side to side to help the car corner. On the race tracks of the world, this technology no doubt makes a significant difference. Whether it has any benefit on the Transfagarasan is highly debatable, but at the very least, it's good bar bore chat.
Today, any opportunity to deploy active aero is constrained by the plethora of tourists that litter the route. They're here not just to sample the road that Ceausescu had built, but to visit Poenari Castle, the lair of a man that made the communists look a bit wet. Vlad the Impaler ruled the area in the 15th century and is said to have inspired Bram Stoker's Dracula. Vlad's preferred method of execution was to impale his victims as a warning to others. These victims apparently included Catholic monks and a braying donkey. Shame we don't have time to climb the 1,480 steps to the castle today.
Spyder and coupe, two-wheel drive and all-wheel drive, Performante. Driving the ensemble back-to-back simply serves to highlight just how different the Performante is. The transformation is so much more significant than the raw statistics of adding 30hp and removing 40kg suggest. It's difficult to think of another example of a sports car in which a variant has so fundamentally transformed both its ability and demeanour. The leap is greater than, for example, Ferrari 458 to Speciale, or even 911 Carrera to GT3.
The standard Huracan feels like it's trying to wrap the ease and accessibility of a 911 in an Italian designer frock. The Performante, by contrast, is a genuine supercar full of urgency, verve and character. The steering is more responsive, the gearbox bolts from cog-to-cog, the ride is firmer but improves with speed and commitment. It's utterly thrilling and now feels in tune with the flamboyant cockpit, which is to subtlety what Jose Mourinho is to modesty. If you take the view that Lamborghini's should be on the more eccentric end of the supercar scale, then it is a much purer statement of the brand's true values.
Cruising back to the picturesque town of Sibiu offers scope for reflection. If you're in the market for a quarter of a million pound supercar, you've never had it so good. The McLaren 720S and Ferrari 488 are masterful and with the launch of the Performante, Lamborghini has moved from chorus girl to centre stage. Which would I buy? Right now, for its appearance, its spirit and above all, for the sound of its engine, I'd lean towards the Lambo. Didn't think I'd be saying that when I took off for Romania.
Watch the Lamborghini teaser here