Lamborghini Huracan LP580-2 versus the clock

Epic tales of derring do in Lamborghinis are why I do this job. Rationally I'll tell you a Huracan wouldn't be top of the list, given the money. But a Countach QV story by Tiff Needell in the first car magazine I ever read marks a life-changing moment. Likewise heroic roadtrips from Car's glory days, recalling Chris Harris's (costly) adventures in supercar speculation with an early Gallardo in Autocar, that 'ring lap in the Aventador SV and many more stories from over the years. OK, there isn't the heritage or racing pedigree. But the rebellious spirit and the sheer drama of the cars makes up for that. 

One way to make Feltham look better
One way to make Feltham look better
Suffice it to say, there's only one answer when asked if I can return Lamborghini UK's Huracan LP580-2 press car to the factory before the Christmas shut-down. Times have changed from those when Mel Nichols and co could max out three Lamborghinis on the Autoroute and get little more than a Gallic shrug. But a chance to follow in their wheel tracks is too good to miss. 

Our Feltham roadtest base is a long way from Sant'Agata, both in mileage and glamour. But when the Huracan turns up it can't help livening things up. While waiting I've been weighing up the 500km diversion to score some Autobahn against racking up mindless peage across France for more time in the Alps. Lamborghini's belated realisation the Huracan will need to be on winter tyres for Italy means a compulsory diversion via Lamborghini Lyon and the latter. 

Christmas deadlines
The only deadline is the 1840h flight back to Heathrow on Friday so, to make the most of it, I leave Feltham on Wednesday night and score a late Eurotunnel crossing. Any time made up at a 'tactful' late night cruising pace is swiftly lost with a nav-based SNAFU at Reims and frustrating to-and-fro between toll booths before bed. The Audi-donated 'virtual cockpit' display is slick but some late calls prove costly, in time and additional euros. 

Pack light!
Pack light!
Still, the Huracan is up to this kind of mooching. It's just as well I'm on a strict hand baggage regime as there's not room for much more up front; if you're going to travel two-up expect your passenger to share footwell space with snacks, coats and other paraphernalia that won't squeeze behind the seats. Thankfully they're comfier than they look too, the minimal padding on the fixed back carbon sports seats (a 5,150 euros option) prompting an involuntary 'ooh-la-la' from a Frenchman inspecting the interior at a filling station. A lack of flesh on my bones seems to upset online commentators who've ruled me too puny to drive Lamborghinis but my physique seems to fit.  

It's definitely more Spartan and severe than the Audi R8 I was in not that long ago. And I'm sure that car had a bigger 'frunk' too. 

And an Audi key fob. I know, I know. It's shallow, given they're mechanically so similar. But come on. 

These detail differences matter. Like the fact the shifter paddles on the R8 are flimsy bits of plastic on the wheel. Whereas the Huracan has big, perforated aluminium blades fixed to the steering column. Their meaningful travel, purposeful click and the kick in the ribs in the sportier settings all add to the theatre, likewise the induction sniffs from the black crackle finish plenums that reflect off the glass rear deck. Contrived or not these little character features take me right back to being an impressionable, over-excited child hanging on to Needell's every word on the Countach.   

Quick detour via Lyon
Quick detour via Lyon
Gear in the rear
And there isn't a rear-wheel drive R8 in the range. I've driven a couple of Huracans thus far but this is my first go in the two-wheel drive version. Cheapest and least powerful car in the Lamborghini range or not, this LP580-2 offers something distinctly different from the Audi and a closer match in spirit (and price) to the McLaren Sports Series and fruitier 911s. As tested the price of 'my' car is 196,550 euros plus local taxes (or 150,000 euros before options), which muddies the waters a little but gives you sense of where it sits. 

Will I be wishing for four-wheel drive when I hit the Alps? We'll see but I'll happily trade a tad more NVH and a bit less luggage room for the glory of the badge. 

I'll spare you further musings on the dull schlep across France, the tyre-swap to Pirelli Sottozeros extended by an unnecessary off-site car washing and instead crack on to racing trains up Alpine valleys. Because that's a lot more interesting. As the road loops, twists and then ducks over and under the railway I really hope there's someone onboard appreciating the duel playing out beside them. 

A sheen of frost on the grass beside the road and failing light suggests caution may be advisory but I'm having too much fun. I've been behaving myself for nearly 20 hours now. And there's only so long that can last. 

And onto more interesting roads!
And onto more interesting roads!
Less = more
Certainly the loss of 30hp over the four-wheel drive LP610-4 isn't crippling, even if the weight saving is just 33kg. 580hp and 397lb ft is still adequate, the fact you need at least 6,000rpm to see either of those numbers revealing the feral side of the Huracan. This car doesn't have the dubious Dynamic Steering and on these wide open roads the low-geared passive set-up isn't a problem. There's more weight (if not a lot of feel) as you progress through Strada and Sport to Corsa but the rest of the package is bang on. And even Corsa is fine for fast road driving, the coded-in thumps of the sequential style shifts adding to the drama. If only it didn't block shift two or three downchanges when only one was requested. Grr. 

At low speeds the diff grabs and graunches in a way that suggests a properly angry set-up but up to speed the Huracan is (almost disappointingly) civilised. And easy. While being really, really, really fast. You don't have to work for it but, by heck, it's an exciting way to cover ground. The noise is incredible too. 

Vague front end still frustrates
Vague front end still frustrates
After an early morning trundle through the Mont Blanc Tunnel the hairpins of the Petit and Grand St Bernard passes await. And here the steering begins to frustrate. After slagging off the dynamic system it's a case of careful what you wish for with the standard one, the sluggish 16:1 rack inert compared with equivalent Ferraris and McLarens. The amount of arm-twirling required for low-speed hairpins is almost comical, the lack of feel and front end bite against those rivals rather less funny. Given the focus of the rest of the package and supposed 'hardcore' positioning of this RWD version it's a significant failing. What use is rear-driven poise if there's no front end to play it off? 

Admittedly the Sottozeros likely take an edge off the responses; the ESC cuts in a lot more quickly than on the standard tyres and bogs down where before it was happy to permit the odd little slither. But there's no escaping the steering remains the Huracan's biggest failing and a major obstacle to enjoying the supposed purist balance of this LP580-2. Then I realise I have bigger problems... 

Time attack
A path blocked with snow on the 'old' SS27 on the Grand Bernard gives me a moment to plot the route to Sant'Agata; turns out my ETA is about an hour before my flight closes. Oh heck. 

"Cheers guys, happy Christmas!"
"Cheers guys, happy Christmas!"
Back on the Autostrada the weather closes in, oppressive (if impressive) cloud in the Aosta valley opening out into monochrome flatlands beyond Milan. Working on the basis (call it hope) Italian police will be a little more accommodating I make progress, enjoying the 6,000rpm-plus lunacy as often as I can. Turbos are great and all that. But a big capacity naturally aspirated engine hammering away at 8,000rpm inches behind your head remains something very special. Even on a flat, straight motorway. 

And I like to think my arrival at the factory - basically summed up as 'here's your car, sorry it's a bit of a mess, can you call me a cab to the airport' - is at least faithful to the spirit of those hacks who've driven this path before me. Turning up at the Lamborghini HQ is cool. Doing so in a Huracan streaked with dirt, ticking with heat and (possibly) with its progress logged on a couple of speed cameras? I like to think that's in keeping with tradition. It's not quite the hardcore Huracan I was hoping for. But it's been a proper Lamborghini experience. Honour satisfied.

5,204cc V10
Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch auto (Lamborghini Doppia Frizione), rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 580@8,000rpm
Torque (lb ft): 397@6,500rpm
0-62mph: 3.4sec
Top speed: 199mph
Weight: 1,389kg (dry)
MPG: 23.7mpg (NEDC combined)
CO2: 278g/km
Price: 150,000 euros +VAT (196,550 euros +VAT as tested with options comprising Rosso Mars paint 1,800 euros; lifting system and magneto-rheologic suspension 4,900 euros; Unicolor Sportivo interior in Nero Ade 1,500 euros; Cruise control system 700 euros; Mimas forged 20-inch wheels in black 8,500 euros; Sport Bucket seat 5,150 euros; Ceramic Brake with Black calipers 10,900 euros; TEB with carbon forged engine bay 5,000 euros; 'Branding package' 700 euros; Bluetooth preparation 700 euros; floor mats with leather piping and double stitching 500 euros; DAB radio 600 euros; rear view camera with front and rear parking sensors 2,800 euros; contrast stitching in Rosso Alala 500 euros; navigation 2,300 euros - all options prices also +VAT)

Watch the video here.







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Comments (32) Join the discussion on the forum

  • Guvernator 04 Jan 2017

    Great write up. thumbup

    Despite the fact that modern Lambo's have been somewhat sanitised or should that be Audified, I still think they offer something a bit above and beyond an R8 or your common 911 and given the choice, I'd be taking the Lambo keys every time.

  • smilo996 04 Jan 2017

    Unfortunately there is just not enough drama anymore with Lambo shapes. The front is asleep and the rear has one eye open looking at a drama.

    Sad really because the combination of German quality and Italian flair could and should bring so much more.

  • Venturist 04 Jan 2017

    In red, with the lower half coated with dirt, squint your eyes and it's a better homage to past Ferraris than Ferrari produces - that pointy shape and a retro red-over-black two-tone scheme...

    Really like the look of the Huracan. And realistically, I'm probably not good enough of a driver to notice its shortcomings anyway.

    Edited by Venturist on Wednesday 4th January 16:10

  • simonrockman 04 Jan 2017

    Great piece. There is nothing better than a drive story. I too was brought up on CAR tales of driving exotica across the continent and it still has it's place.

  • VanquishRider 04 Jan 2017

    It's a damn good looking car. However, every single write up says it is lacking in driver involvement. That is a pity. But I doubt I would find much wrong with it though.

    Let's face it. Most of us don't get to try every supercar out for 2 days at a time to see the difference. Slightly jealous of you Dan...

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