Huracan is the new Gallardo, replacing the best-selling car in Lamborghini’s 51 years in the business. Can live up to big brother’s legacy - and topple the mighty Ferrari 458?
About time! That Gallardo has been around so long it probably had cross-plies and a manual choke when it was launched.
Yes, it was leggy, but it was also the most popular Lamborghini ever. The company has only sold 30,000 cars in its entire history, but 14,000 of them were Gallardos. Lambo is relying on the Huracan to repeat that success - a big ask when the supercar segment is more crowded and there are fewer buyers for those cars
So this is a case of more of the same?
Kind of, but we’re not talking about a facelift here - this chassis is brand new. It's an aluminium structure, but features a centre tunnel and rear bulkhead made from carbon fibre. Lamborghini says that it's 10% lighter and 50% torsionally stiffer than the Gallardos. It will also underpin the next Audi R8.
The engine is a naturally-aspirated 5.2 V10 as per Gallardo, but now it has both direct- and multi-point injection. It makes 602bhp at 8250rpm (610ps, hence the name, compared with 560ps in the last Gallardo), and 413lb ft at 6500rpm, which is where the real kick in the back lives. 0-62mph takes 3.2sec, a 0.5sec improvement on the old car, and around the little Nardo handling circuit Lamborghini uses for development work, the Huracan is 2.0sec faster than the racy Gallardo Squarda Corse special, never mind the regular car. In fact, Lambo’s engineers told us that it’s as quick as its Aventador big brother.
It almost matches it for visual drama too, if those pics are anything to go by
It’s not quite as dramatic as the beautiful limited run Sesto Elemento, but this is a handsome machine. It looks so compact, and the surfaces so taut. Looking good is as important as punching a hole in the horizon where Lamborghini is concerned, and this one doesn’t disappoint. A Miura-style black-slatted engine cover is standard, or you can pay extra for a display window.
Lambo has tried to make the new car’s interior less claustrophobic by keeping the scuttle and centre tunnel low, but the near-horizontal screen pillars mean it's not as town-friendly as a Ferrari 458.
Lambo copies Ferrari’s lead by placing lights and wiper switches on the wheel, but then contradicts itself by fixing the shift paddles to the wheel as well. That transmission is a seven-speed dual-clutch, Lambo’s first. There’s no manual 'box option, or a choice of brakes. All cars come with carbon discs, so it’s a good job that Lambo finally worked out how to do ceramic pedal feel.
You can have magnetorheological adaptive dampers as an option for the first time, which, together with the vastly better low-speed pedal feel and smooth transmission, massively broadens this car’s repertoire. The aim was to make a car that was easy to drive, a car that a driver of any ability could get in and enjoy.
The Anima selector, which translates as ‘soul’ and is Lambo’s answer to Ferrari’s manettino, gives a choice of Strada, Sport and Corsa settings. Corsa is the hardest, loudest, fastest way to lap a track, but Sport has a more pronounced rear torque bias and is actually more fun.
It’s a shame you can’t configure the settings and save them in an ‘individual’ setting. You can’t, for instance, have Corsa’s punchy gearshifts and throttle response, but with the road-friendly supple dampers, as you can in a Ferrari 458.
How similar does it feel to a 458?
Nothing like it. The Ferrari shrieks, the Lambo growls. The Ferrari’s ergonomics require spoon-bending levels of concentration to comprehend and the interior doesn’t feel as special as the Huracan’s. Obviously the fact that one is four-wheel drive, the other rear-wheel drive, makes a difference, but the real division is in the philosophy behind them.
For some reason only Ferrari sets its cars up to encourage you to explore the limits, and makes those limits accessible, even to drivers with modest talents.
You really have to be trying hard to find out what’s behind the Huracan’s fun, but efficiency-over-exhuberence, grip-and-go veneer.
In fact, get past the understeer (we’d upgrade the P Zeros to Corsas immediately) and what's there is a nicely balanced car, and easing back on the gas mid corner tightens your line perfectly, allowing you to get back on the throttle and exit in a lovely neutral stance. We can understand that your average Asian millionaire isn’t going to be an F1-star in waiting, but why is even an R8 (from understeer kings, Audi) more oversteery?
We knew the Gallardo was lagging behind its rivals in key areas, including the transmission, but driving the new machine really rams it home. This is a far more sophisticated car that's faster, more refined and much easier to drive fast or slow. The mellower but equally punchy engine would be far less tiresome than a 458's on a long trip, and the ergonomics are easier to fathom. The more relaxed steering is more instinctive, too.
We think they both look sensational, but there’s even a good chance that many people will prefer the Lambo’s styling. So why would we still put a 458 in the garage? Because it’s more playful, so much easier to really exploit and because it sounds like it should have a set of numbers on the doors.
The Huracan is great, and Lambo will sell loads. It makes a better daily driver but we’re not convinced it’s more exciting than the Ferrari. And excitement is the point of a supercar, right? Horses for courses, but ours is prancing, at least until the Superleggera arrives.