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Lamborghini Huracan Performante Spyder: Driven

The perfect Performante? Or a Huracan too far?

By Matt Bird / Sunday, May 20, 2018

Maybe it's the sunshine. Maybe it's the espresso thicker than treacle that Lamborghini insists on. Maybe it's a relatively clear A413. Maybe it's Maybelline. Whatever the cause, there's the distinct possibility that the Performante Spyder could be the best car Lambo makes.

Yep, the one that's only 35kg lighter than a slightly lardy standard drop-top, has no more power than a Performante coupe and which must compromise the ALA active aero somewhere. Because it doesn't have a roof. Bear with...

A quick refresh of the facts, as it seems like the open air Performante was rather lost in PH's Geneva coverage (see two comments for the Lamborghini, against 30 for the diesel Alpina SUV). Power and torque are identical to the coupe at 640hp and 442lb ft respectively, with weight climbing by 125kg to 1,507kg dry. The vital roadster statistic - roof goes up or down in 17 seconds, at up to 30mph - is unchanged here. For reference a Ferrari 488 Spider is 670hp, 560lb ft and 1,420kg dry with lightweight optional bits, and an R8 V10 Plus Spyder wades in with 610hp, 413lb ft and 1,587kg dry.

As you're mulling over the vital stats in your head - funnily enough there isn't a Nordschleife time just yet - there sits the Huracan in all its Giallo Inti glory, on bronze wheels, with a tricolore stripe. And for all the world it wouldn't matter if it cost twice as much as its rivals and boasted half the power, because it just looks so damn good. All pent up aggression, trademark supercar silhouette and Lambo flamboyance.

Funnily enough the Performante does a very good job at distracting the driver from any kind of objective assessment when driving, too. You'll be so caught up in a powertrain of divine brilliance, driving a yellow Lambo in the sunshine and THIS BLOODY NOISE that the chassis could have all the stiffness of a week-old cabbage. And it wouldn't matter one bit.

Thing is, it doesn't. Extinguish the blaze in your boxers and you can begin to appreciate some real dynamic subtlety and sophistication in the Spyder. Those ceramic brakes that have been mashed into the carpet can also be modulated with delicate, measured inputs for corner confidence - not always a given in Sant'Agata supercars. The steering wheel that's being clung onto down the straights actually delivers a precise, tenacious, direct front end on a Lamborghini. And the traction really is supreme.

Conveniently, there's a regular Huracan Spyder also available for comparison, which makes the Performante's genius all the more stark. The standard Spyder isn't a spudder, yet it seems numb and detached after the Performante; less agile, more reluctant and decidedly heavier than the 35kg penalty would suggest. Imagine the difference between swimming in surf shorts and then in Speedos - it doesn't seem like much should change, yet you're way more connected to the experience, better rewarded by it and more mobile, too. Everybody is looking a lot more, too, but who cares? That's the difference between Huracan Spyder and Performante.

With this newfound dynamism, the confidence to extend the Performante properly isn't hard won and you really grow to enjoy what's coming together beneath you. So no longer are you simply wazzing around in a bright yellow flippin Lambo, you're immersed in a full on, exhilarating, sensational sports car experience.

Away from Corsa mode, the Huracan is more pliant and a fair bit more deft than you might expect of a c. 1,600kg Lambo, offering both suppleness and decent poise over a British country road. Despite that it feels more together than a Ferrari 488, less prone to the shakes - thank the aluminium/carbon construction for that - while still not as impervious to a wobble as a carbon-tubbed McLaren. As a consequence you're not afraid to push, because the ride isn't punishing and the car feels more than capable of absorbing and controlling the workout.

Now having noticed those dynamic elements individually, the cumulative result is fairly spectacular. That engine remains stellar, blessed with impeccable response, stupendous reach and the most outrageous soundtrack - it wants for nothing. Combined with a flawless gearbox, ratios can be swapped at the very last second, be that into or out of a corner. Of course that was largely the case before, yet it's allied to a Huracan that's demonstrably more eager, aggressive, willing and just plain better than before. In every regard. It seems that no braking point is too late, no entry speed too high and no throttle application too heavy, because this extraordinary car is capable of dealing with it. Yet also, by dint of increased exposure to the airflow, it keeps the driver involved too.

That said, let's not get too carried away here. The Huracan has problems. How an Aventador S gets an individual driver mode but the flagship Huracan doesn't is a mystery - Strada can feel subdued, Corsa OTT even for a Lamborghini, and Sport good yet not ideal. If the parameters can be adjusted by the car, the drive should be thusly enabled, too. A McLaren still has far nicer steering with no modes than a Lamborghini with three. And it would be a complete fib to suggest ALA could be felt doing its thing at 70mph and below. Which maybe defeats the point a bit. And good luck sitting in that seat for long distances...

Yet the Performante could still be the best Lamborghini on sale. Honest. Because let's be honest now; if you're opting for a convertible, that means as a buyer you're willing to sacrifice just a little dynamic finesse for the open air thrills. And actually, despite the huge gains made by the Performante overhaul and the mind-boggling numbers it produces, that V10 Lamborghini isn't the most rewarding drive in the segment; either the McLaren or the Ferrari coupes - both rear-wheel drive, notably - would take that accolade.

However, the Performante is a damn fine supercar. And the Huracan Spyder is a great convertible supercar. It's probably a more successful transition from coupe to roadster than the Ferrari is, in fact. Bring the two together and the result combines traditional, quite silly Lamborghini - thanks to the noise, the aesthetic and the missing roof - with modern, advanced Lamborghini to conjure a pretty compelling whole. Unencumbered by the coupe's requirement to best everything around a racetrack at all costs yet markedly better to drive than a standard Spyder, this Performante sits very comfortably in a hugely desirable niche. Best Lambo out there? Must be...

5,204cc V10
Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch auto (Lamborghini Doppia Frizione), four-wheel drive
Power (hp): 640@8,000rpm
Torque (lb ft): 442@6,500rpm
0-62mph: 3.1sec
Top speed: 202mph
Weight: 1,507kg (dry)
MPG: 20.2mpg (NEDC combined)
CO2: 320g/km
Price: £195,078 (as standard, excluding VAT; as tested £222,418, still excluding VAT, comprising £3,100 for Giallo Inti main paint, £480 for Anti-theft system, £530 (!) for DAB, £2,500 for Sensonum Lamborghini Sound System, £440 for optional stitching, £1,750 for Dark Chrome package (for Forged Composites Interior), £4,290 for lifting system with magnetorheologial suspension, £4,900 for Narvi 20-inch lightweight forged bronze wheels, £310 (!) for Bluetooth, £2,450 for rear view camera and sensors, £2,600 for sat-nav with CarPlay, £2,190 or Sportivo interior (bicolour Alcantara), £610 for branding package, £400 for smoker's package, £790 for black calipers)

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