Back in January, Dan P flew to Bahrain to sample the new Lamborghini Huracan EVO at its circuit-based launch event. There he found it to be a vastly improved track machine, one which both in performance and price now rivalled the likes of Ferrari's 488 and McLaren's 720S. "What I cannot tell you," he said, "is how well the suspension does or doesn't deal with bumps in the road surface, or whether the steering has been improved when driving on the public highway over the woeful variable-ratio setup in the original Huracan, or how likely the seats are to give you lasting back problems if you spend any more than 30 minutes in their embrace."
Well, I'm sure you've all been on tenterhooks in the meantime. 'Pretty well', 'absolutely' and 'more likely than you'd hope' are the short answers - although, as ever, there's a little more to it than that.
For those of you who haven't been paying attention at the back, the EVO is Lamborghini's go at refreshing the now five-year old Huracan in the face of a swathe of new rivals from the likes of Ferrari, McLaren and Porsche. To do so it's borrowed heavily from the rest of its range, calling on the 640hp 5.2-litre V10 engine from the Huracan Performante, the four-wheel steering and chassis tech from the Aventador SV and the aerodynamically enhanced styling of the SVJ, resulting in 7x the downforce of the standard car.
All of these instruments are conducted harmoniously by the new LDVI (Lamborghini Dynamic Vehicle Integration) system. This monitors the dynamic and rear-wheel steering, all-wheel drive, torque-vectoring, magnetorheological damping, stability control and powertrain every 20 milliseconds, priming them to respond to the driver's next input. The outcome being a car which is not only 3.7 seconds quicker than a standard Huracan around a 3.5-mile lap of the Nardo handling circuit, but faster than a Performante there, too.
Our UK test begins not on any public right of way, but rather staring down the first straight of the Goodwood hillclimb. And it only takes till the end of that straight for the first revelation to be delivered: blimey, does it handle. Turn in is sharp as a knife, the LDVI's subsystems combining to deliver a car which is lithe and responsive, agile and dynamic in a way the previous iteration never quite lived up to.
This has an immediate impact once you do find yourself on an A- or B-road. The engine was so obviously the standout feature of the original Huracan that the vast majority of the car's enjoyment was derived from coaxing out its sonorous V10 wail; only you didn't want to all that often, because the steering was so vague that going quickly wasn't, in fact, particularly pleasant. The EVO may not boast the Performante's trick active aero tech, but its torque vectoring apparently works just as effectively, making faster progress decidedly more pleasurable. Not only that, but travelling at lesser speeds is as well, the new steering and chassis set-up resulting in the kind of direct and communicative experience that vastly increases the Huracan's bandwidth.
That naturally-aspirated V10 remains central to proceedings, though. If anything it sets the car apart now more than ever. Increases of 30hp and 30lb ft may not sound like much, but they're enough to launch the car from 0-62mph in just 2.9 seconds, a three-tenths improvement on the standard Huracan. With an 8,500rpm redline and no turbos to hinder it, the V10's irrepressible urgency and spine-tingling howl remain standout qualities in the segment - only now with the added advantage that it no longer has an atmospheric 458 or V12 Vantage to face in comparison.
From Goodwood one weekend to Silverstone the next, and the chance of a passenger lap in the company of Emanuele Pirro. I've been around the track here in everything from the Skoda Kodiaq VRS to a single seater, but I've never experienced a lap like this. Pirro throws the car into corners, outbrakes himself, lets the back end run out and pushes the Huracan further than I'd have ever thought possible. Yes, the EVO can carve out a lap time with the best of them, but it can also do the silly stuff too.
Back on the road the magnetorheological suspension doesn't ride quite as well over bumpy roads as McLaren's Proactive Chassis Control II, but it does offer acceptable levels of pliancy over all but the most uneven of country routes. Speaking of which - those seats. I by no means require a cushioned La-Z-Boy for comfort; I had no issue with the carbon buckets of the GT3 RS on the trip to the Nurburgring and back, nor those of the 720S or Aventador SVJ. There is something, however, about the seats in this EVO which would not let me get comfortable. Ever. Aside from that and the - frustratingly laggy but otherwise rather good - new infotainment system, the interior of the Huracan is a nicer place to be than it ever has been.
So extensive are the depth and breadth of the improvements - the rear styling included - that you do wonder why it didn't just tweak the front end too and designate this Huracan as an entirely new model. It may be an EVO by name, but what we have here qualifies almost as revolution, not evolution. In building such a rewardingly characterful, dynamically accomplished and significantly quicker car than before, Lamborghini has answered a great many critics. It has also, for the first time, posed one very big question: could the Huracan actually be better than a 488?
SPECIFICATION - LAMBORGHINI HURACAN EVO
Engine: 5,204cc petrol V10, naturally-aspirated
Transmission: 7-speed twin-clutch
Power: 640hp @ 8,000rpm
Torque: 443lb ft @ 6,500rpm
0-62mph: 2.9 seconds
Top speed: 202mph
Kerb weight: 1,422kg (dry)