Lamborghini believes that around a third of Huracan STO buyers will use their cars regularly on track. Which means that the other 67 per cent or so will drive on circuit sparingly, or exclusively on the road - or perhaps nowhere at all. You only need glance at the classifieds to find plenty of stripped out supercars offered from collections. Whatever the case, the ultimate Huracan is not the kind of track car that'll be towed behind a 335d to Donington, not least because it'll trip every noise meter from the paddock. The track days it'll attend will most likely be private and very far away; even those that use their car as intended will surely be driving an STO on the road at some point. So what's it actually like?
Well, don't plan on getting anywhere in a hurry, despite 640hp. Nothing attracts attention like an Italian-plated Lamborghini, except an Italian-plated Lamborghini with a roof scoop like an old Impreza rally car, a spoiler the size of a surfboard and what looks like leftover Golf TCR graphics daubed on the side. I mean that in a nice way: it really is spectacular from every single angle. People point and stare when it's stationary, when crawling through traffic and when trying to merge into your lane, which is more than a little stressful with an as-tested price of £294,000. The Huracan has always been an eye-catching and very beautiful shape; now, with its shark fin mohawk, its slashed rear haunches puffed out like hamsters' cheeks and the incredible carbon clams, the attention is unavoidable. It would be daft to expect anything less, of course, but even against cars like the 911 GT3 RS and 488 Pista, the Huracan commands next-level awe from passers-by. Thankfully nobody is buying a Super Trofeo Omologato Lamborghini to go unnoticed...
Moreover, though there will inevitably be derisory comments about it being "just a Huracan with a wing", the STO really is a concerted effort by Lamborghini to make a proper road racer of its seven-year-old supercar. The powertrain is familiar (arguably it's beyond much meaningful improvement), but the car has been totally overhauled elsewhere. Those wild aero add-ons contribute to 420kg of downforce at 174mph, which is 50 per cent more even than a Performante; not much use on the A3, but proof this is about more than mere peacocking. The wheels are magnesium (because unsprung mass is the enemy), the brakes are Brembo's CCM-R ceramics (as also found in the McLaren Senna), the glass is lighter, the suspension firmer, the interior sparser, even the throttle software sharper. Everything has been tailored to strip the Huracan of anything like excess, and deliver an experience worthy of the homologation name.
People will tell you that Lamborghinis aren't as scary as they used to be; that might well be true, but with the skies as dark as the Titans Grey paint, the ambient temperature low and the tarmac greasy, the STO still feels more than a bit intimidating. That newly slatted carbon bonnet means visibility is even worse (ditto that XXL spoiler), the view out front still feels quite narrow and the Bridgestone Potenza Sport tyres would much rather have migrated south for a warmer winter. And the steering remains quite light. The Huracan will look out for you - the automatic is flawless and the nose lift invaluable - but you never quite rest easy. Those who flounce around the capital in supercars might be braver than we thought.
Even out of town it's hard to fully relax in the STO. Partly that's because the seat remains lovely to look at and horrible to sit in (seemingly a Huracan trademark), but also because it's always unnerving to drive a car so far from its comfort zone. It is to the Lambo's considerable credit, therefore, that the experience on road is little short of mesmerising. Some may just be getting an STO to ogle - and there really is plenty to take in - but it would be doing both your investment and the car a disservice not to drive it a bit. Wherever and whenever possible, really.
Any criticisms that may have been levelled at the Huracan in the past, of it being a tad aloof and inert for a mid-engined supercar, are completely eradicated here. Truth be told they've been chipped away at considerably over the years anyway, but this operates at another level of exhilaration and immediacy to any previous version. Turn-in is now Ferrari instant yet utterly faithful with the wider tracks, straining for apexes like it weighs 343kg less than the Performante, not a mere 43kg; the brakes that are a bit of a pain with small inputs are glorious - feelsome and monstrously powerful - with extra pressure; the damping appears to be straight from the GT3 car, the combination of minimal wheel travel, unrelenting control and liveable comfort hard to compute. There's a Trofeo mode beyond standard that tenses things further, but you'll not need it - even at a fraction of its capabilities and in its 'everyday' setting, the Huracan is utterly absorbing.
Like so many of the best track-bias cars, the joy of the STO is in its rawness and pared back nature. Because so much more is going on, the driver is more immersed, ergo the experience is that much more three dimensional even at fairly sedate speed. In the same way that a 911 Carrera is probably faster and less taxing down the average autumnal road than a GT3 RS, so a four-wheel drive (or maybe even RWD) Huracan would be an easier steer than an STO - the tweaks to make the front end keener (quicker steering, stiffer bushes, new anti-roll bars) making it more susceptible to camber changes. But that's largely irrelevant because the driver is so much more engaged and entertained by the process, concentrating as they may not have before, and commensurately rewarded for the effort. It's not rawness for the sake of it, either, or to compensate for flaws: quality and finesse are clearly in evidence, it's simply that you feel more of it.
Plus, of course, there's nothing that oozes quality in the Huracan quite like its powertrain. As the curtain starts to fall on this 5.2-litre V10 (the next Huracan will have a turbocharged V8), so its irresistibleness increases exponentially. It's been epic in all of them, of course, yet feels extra special here as it buzzes through a stripped out interior and snorts even more eagerly with the merest prod of that recalibrated throttle. The V10 can seem almost docile in the R8; here it snarls and howls through its final few revs in a way that only the finest atmospheric engines can, with faster gearshifts only heightening the delirious thrill. Is it any faster than a regular Huracan Evo? Probably not. But that doesn't matter. The noise is even more wonderful, and nobody really needs to travel any faster than 640hp and 419lb ft can move 1400kg or so anyway. Unless your private track days are at Nardo.
Indeed, the STO is so outrageously excellent that it calls into question why anybody would consider anything more exotic. Which sounds silly, because this is a Lamborghini that costs a quarter of a million pounds. But a McLaren 765LT has even more power and torque, as does a Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series - a Ferrari F8 Tributo won't have any less than the standard 720hp, either. They all are, or will be, more expensive as well. And it's hard to imagine a world where they're any more gratifying, any more sensational than this Lamborghini. In combining some old school Sant'Agata excess with the best of modern motorsport technology, it has created something truly captivating. Perhaps a new 911 GT3 RS will deliver an equivalent combination of fearsome track prowess, street theatre and just-sufficient civility to the STO; quite frankly, however, nobody with one of these will care. More than a Huracan with a silly spoiler, it's one of the great modern supercars.
SPECIFICATION | LAMBORGHINI HURACAN STO
Engine: 5,204cc, V10
Transmission: Seven-speed dual clutch, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 640@8,000rpm
Torque (lb ft): 417@6,500rpm
0-62mph: 3.0 sec
Top speed: 193mph
Weight: 1339kg 'dry'
Price: £216,677 (price as standard plus VAT; price as tested £294,537 plus VAT (£353,444), comprised of Electrochromic exterior mirrors for £720, Anti-theft alarm for £490, Rear-view camera for £1,440, Lamborghini Telemetry for £3,600, Smartphone interface and connected services for £2,440, Cruise control for £640, Fire extinguisher for £540, Carbon Twill pack for £4,050, Lamborghini writing on dashboard for £640 (!), Carbonfibre foot plates for £3,150, Interior carbon pack for £9,000, Stitching in contrast colour for £640, STO tri - Sportivo Alcantara Bicolour for £2,250, Ad Personam interior request for £7,200, Sports seats for £4,950, Yellow CCM-R brake calipers for £910, Wheels with diamond finish for £2,250, Full Shiny Carbon Exterior Pack for £14,850, Full Sticker Exterior Pack for £4,140, Contrast colour lower scheme for £2,710 and Grigio Titans paint for £11,250.)
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