Inside the tech that makes the Lamborghini Huracan a raging bull

February 28, 2014


A V-10-powered replacement for Lamborghini’s company-saving Gallardo has been eagerly awaited since just before the global Great Recession changed all of our lives. At the upcoming Geneva motor show we’ll finally have the public undressing of the new Huracán LP 610-4, a car that's quicker and more powerful, while spewing 50 percent less CO2 into the atmosphere. Even bulls think about the environment now.

From the name “LP 610-4," we get that the engine is behind the occupants in a midship position – P is for posteriore – and that European horsepower is 610, translating to 602 U.S. horsepower. The ‘-4’ always means four-wheel-drive on Lambos.

The bonded and bolted body-in-white is of lightweight aluminum alloys and carbon fiber pieces, whereas the Gallardo was all-aluminum. The weight-saving and stiffness-adding carbon fiber is found in the long central tunnel through the middle of the passenger space and over the whole rear wall of the cabin. Lamborghini had us walk through the still fairly empty assembly area for the Huracán in Sant’Agata Bolognese where teams were ramping up in their training for full-bore Huracán assembly — 13 cars built per daily eight-hour shift.

The updated naturally aspirated 5.2-liter V10 engine in back gets its fuel delivered now through not only multi-point injection, but also via direct-injection during certain phases of the rev range. The V-10 gets cylinder deactivation like with the V-12 engine in the Aventador, but of a different strategy that can use a variety of five-cylinder combinations depending on which five produce the smoothest cycle. First Huracán deliveries for North America will be near November of this year, following intros in the rest of the world in June, due to the further EPA testing needed to evaluate efficiency numbers.

Lamborghini is introducing a new adaptive drive system called ANIMA (meaning “soul” in Italian), standing for adaptive network intelligent management. The switch for this is on the base of the center spoke on the stylized steering wheel, a button mimicking the heavily fighter-jet styled start button low and in the center of the middle console. The ANIMA settings of Strada, Sport, and Corsa affect engine sound and response, gear shifts, steering responses, and the reactions of the latest four-wheel-drive system. At its estimated quickest, the Huracán can get to 60 mph from a stop in just 3.0 seconds and has a top speed of 202 mph.

One more tech issue for the Huracán that needs slightly better explaining is the LPI system, or Lamborghini Piattaforma Inerziale. It sounds a bit like smoke and mirrors: Rather than use sensors at the extremities which measure the environment, send data to a processor, which then reacts with orders to various systems, the LPI uses three gyroscopes and two accelerometers that zap impulses directly to where they are needed, cutting out a few middle steps.

The 3,135-pound (dry weight) Huracán will lap any track a full two seconds faster than the Gallardo could, and most likely will start at $201,000 if we are to go by the price hikes over Gallardo in European markets already announced. Lamborghini test pilots assure us that this time the base car will even compare favorably with either a McLaren MP4-12C (or upcoming 650S) or the Ferrari 458 Italia.

So, we’re getting geared up for the inevitable comparisons between the usual suspects. What they’re saying about the reaction timings of the Huracán all-wheel-drive system (30:70 front:rear split default), as well as the standard carbon ceramic brakes and 20-inch specially formulated Pirelli P Zero tires, has us convinced that the new baby Lambo will be able to outrun any suggestion that Lamborghini could be losing a step in the exotic world.