When I drove the LP610-4 Huracan at Circuit Of The Americas last year, I thought it was pretty close to being the perfect supercar. Maybe too close. The (not-so-) little Lamborghini combines spellbinding power, jaw-dropping styling, and remarkable usability in one wedge-shaped show-stopper of a package. But what would happen if you made it a little less perfect? What if you removed that trick all-wheel-drive system, de-tuned the engine a touch, and cut the price a bit? Would you regret losing the all-weather-capability and superb exit traction, or would this be one of those cases where less truly is more?
In a perfect world, I'd have returned to COTA to get a very precise answer to this question, along with comparative laptimes and data. But I was already booked to race an SCCA regional at Mid-Ohio during the week that Lamborghini had the car available. So I decided instead to use my Mantis Green LP580-2 loaner for my other job, the one besides "automotive journalist," which is "lunchtime musician" at my local Potbelly Sandwich shop. What's the worst that could happen? And I also scheduled an afternoon at the old PCOTY test loop in the Hocking Hills of Southwestern Ohio. If the Lambo could make it there, it can make it anywhere.
A few times a week, I take one of my RainSong carbon-fiber guitars to the Potbelly in Grandview, Ohio. I play a ninety-minute set that mostly consists of songs from the Seventies, with a random sprinkling of Glen Hansard, the Fleet Foxes, and Father John Misty. This is a pretty good gig. Not only do I get a very tasty lunch for free, I'm also permitted to set out a tip jar. I've made as much as sixty-five bucks in a day there, but the average take is between five and twenty dollars.
Normally, I ride a motorcycle to the Potbelly with my guitar on my back. Driving the Huracan was far less stressful. Part of Lamborghini's technical inheritance from the VW Group includes some very effective HVAC capability and a reasonably good stereo. This isn't a car for audiophiles; the engine noise is intrusive in "Strada," the most restrained of the three drive modes, and it's positively obnoxious in "Sport" or "Corsa." If you value tunes above all else, get an Audi R8 V10 Plus, which has the same drivetrain but a much better sound system. The Huracan has some bass boom, and some clear treble, but you're always fighting the mechanical noise of the beast within.
That snarling exhaust had every eye in the Potbelly turned my way when I pulled up and parked in front of the restaurant. What they saw: a lime-green Lambo on gloss-black wheels that accounted for about $12,000 of the $62,000 worth of options fitted to my $261,000 loaner. Some of the options are ridiculous: are you willing to pay for LED lights in the engine bay? Some of the options are outrageously priced: $1,000 for Bluetooth capability that comes free in a base Audi A4? And at least one of the options is absolutely necessary: $3,500 for the hydraulic nose lift. Without that, as another great acoustic lunchtime musician once sang, you ain't goin' nowhere, particularly not up into my driveway.
It was a mistake to let the crowd see their starving musician getting out of a Lamborghini.
It was probably a mistake to let the lunchtime crowd see their starving musician getting out of a Lamborghini. Not only did the car itself distract hugely from my musical performance-people kept going outside to take selfies with it, thus depriving them of a chance to hear me play "Takin' It to The Streets"-there's no way in hell that anybody is going to tip a musician who already has a Lamborghini. In ninety minutes, I made one dollar in tips. One buck. From a guy who didn't see me come into the restaurant.
That one dollar didn't even cover my costs of getting to the restaurant. The Huracan has a 21.1 gallon fuel tank. I ran it as far down as 20.6 gallons used without any trouble. But those gallons go relatively quickly. The good news is that on the freeway, in "Strada" mode, the engine will go into cylinder-deactivation mode, which lets you get maybe 20mpg in the real world if you are extremely light on the throttle.
But who's going to be light on the throttle in a car like this? Compared to the LP610-4, the LP580-2 feels lighter on its feet from a dead stop. But the slingshot rush of the all-wheel-drive car is replaced by a complicated dance of the rear end from side to side as the traction control struggles mightily to keep the Huracan in a straight line. Not until the middle of third gear is the engine permitted to rev free without the clicking and clipping of the rear brakes to spoil the fun. You can turn off traction control, at which point you will vaporize the tires and fight to keep the nose in front of the tail. Not recommended unless the air temperature is above sixty degrees and the tires are warm-but-not-too-warm.
You know what? I don't care. The LP580-2 has a certain purity of response that its AWD cousin cannot claim. It's lighter, and it feels lighter. The steering is heavy and dull but it's accurate and trustworthy. And the little bit of booty-shake from the back under full power just adds to the excitement of the proceedings. If you live in Seattle or somewhere else that is known for heavy, continual rain, maybe you should get the LP610-4 just to ensure you feel comfortable in the car in bad weather. Everybody else can get this one.
After my unsuccessful lunch gig, I gave rides in the Huracan to my son, who pronounced it "epic," and to a bunch of my friends. Everybody is your friend when you have a car like this. The same neighbors who have been trying to get me arrested for letting my kid ride his dirtbikes on the street all stopped by to ask if they could have their pictures taken sitting in the car. I had young women approach me on the street and ask what I did for a living. I told them that I was Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters. They didn't know who that was. So I told them I was Father John Misty. Some of them knew who that was, and they knew that I wasn't him.
My next stop was the SCCA Autumn Classic at Mid-Ohio. As you'd expect, the Huracan was the subject of a remarkable amount of attention from the car guys. A few people recognized it as the two-wheel-drive version; how, I cannot guess. One particularly handsome couple in their fifties regaled me with a story about how they had ordered their LP580-2 with multiple different colors of interior Alacantara-but all the colors were grey, black, or something in-between. I really wanted to say to the wife, "You ordered a Fifty Shades Of Grey Huracan?" but I kept my mouth shut because I didn't want the husband to put me in a wall when the race happened.
There's a particularly bumpy, winding country road on the way to Mid-Ohio that I use to expose the weakness in a car's suspension tuning. The Huracan is surprisingly good on this road, and the traction control allows you to get a lot from the 8500-rpm V10 even on sections that have been dusted with gravel. I think that the front end in this car just rides and tracks better than the nose of the LP610-4 does, but I'm also not naive enough not to consider that I might be suffering from a bit of confirmation bias here.
The morning of Saturday's race was cold-maybe forty-eight degrees. I returned from qualifying to find my wife asleep in the Huracan, with the engine running and the heater on. This is a stunt that she pulls all the time in my Accord, but who would have thought thirty or even twenty years ago that you could let a 580-horsepower Lamborghini idle in a parking lot for forty minutes without a single drop of oil or coolant reaching the ground, and without a single indicator needle out of place?
At $199,800, this Huracan is a screaming deal. I don't know if it is quite the driver's car that the McLaren 570S is, but it makes up for that with peerless everyday usability and the kind of quality control that used to be the exclusive territory of Toyota or Mercedes-Benz. I'd spec mine in this same color, which is $4,500, and I'd forget all the other options except Bluetooth and the nose lift. I don't think you could ever get tired of this car's locomotive torque, its tropospheric rev ceiling, and the absolutely confident way it goes about its business.
After picking up a podium in Sunday's race, I headed two hours south to the Hocking Hills to let the Lamborghini stretch its legs a bit. I've seen the pavement waves and dips up the hill on Route 374 put cars right into the rock wall to the left or nearly over the long drops to the right, but the Huracan soaks them up in stride and rarely even cuts power too much as a consequence. The steel brakes on this particular car have a wave profile like what's seen on the latest sportbikes, and they are adequate to the task even if the pedal does go a bit soft after multiple corner entries that feel more like retro-rocket deployments than anything you'd normally encounter on a public road.
The 245-width front tires are the first to call time on the party, of course. That's the way you want it; only a fool thinks a car with a V10 behind the driver's back should have neutral handling on the street. If you want to tighten the line in a corner, you can do it with a gentle lift. Any more than that, and you're going to wake the ESC. Not that you really need to push the limit on corner speed in this very powerful, very quick-shifting supercar. Nothing's going to touch you on a road like this. I recall briefly seeing a young man in a tuned-up STI who had perhaps read too many car magazines and thought his rally-rep could hang with the Huracan. He was, of course, absolutely mistaken.
On the road home, I ran into some bikers who wanted to see if the Lamborghini could give them a run. I'm a fairly cautious road driver now that I'm in my mid-forties, and I certainly didn't want to do anything reckless. So the most I can tell you is that the LP580-2 will easily pull a supersports 600 but doesn't have much to say to a late-model Kawasaki ZX-10. Then again, what does?
As a commuter car for a starving musician, the Huracan LP580-2 is a complete failure. In every other respect, including long-distance comfort and speed of front-window defrost, it's a stellar success. No Countach or Diablo ever had this kind of visibility, usability, or reliability. If you can afford it, you won't be disappointed. The rest of us will just have to hope for a lottery win, a job with a tech company right before the IPO, or perhaps some exceedingly generous tips during our lunchtime gigs. If you want to contribute to my Huracan fund, you know where to find me this Friday. I promise to choose my options carefully and to keep it out of "Corsa" mode whenever I'm in your local parking garage.
Born in Brooklyn but banished to Ohio, Jack Baruth has won races on four different kinds of bicycles and in seven different kinds of cars. Everything he writes should probably come with a trigger warning. His column, Avoidable Contact, runs twice a week.
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