Big Lambos need big, wide roads. Heck. Even small Lambos need big, wide roads. And that’s precisely why we’re on the section of National Highway 3 that connects Mumbai to Nashik and beyond. Wide, largely smooth and free from much traffic (if you time yourself well), it’s a road you’re also probably familiar with through the pages of this magazine. It’s where we went supersonic in the mental Lamborghini Aventador a few winters ago. With us today, however, is Lamborghini’s latest — the Huracán. As most of you will know, it’s the successor to the mighty Gallardo. For the others, here are just some of its otherworldly details and numbers to get you up to speed — 5.2-litre V10. 602bhp. 0 to 100kph in 3.2 seconds. 325kph top speed. Gulp. But I’m not going to put either performance figure to the test today. I’m solely here to play matchmaker between a great car and a great road.
The day starts early in Thane, north of Mumbai. It all begins with a compressed orientation programme by a staff member from Lamborghini Mumbai. Lambos, after all, aren’t typically cars you just sit in and blast off. In fact, getting into the low seat is an event in itself. I do listen intently to all I’m told, but unexpectedly, find myself at home in the space-age cabin quickly. Weren’t Lambos supposed to be all about painful ergonomics and temperamental switches? The only unusual touches here are the reverse gear that’s activated by a handle and the window switches that you push down to get the window up and vice versa. Even the steering-mounted buttons for the lights and indicators seem intuitive enough. Less things to worry about on the move, then.
With that out of the way, there’s just one thing to do. And that is to lift the red flap on the centre console, push the start button and wait for the V10 monster behind the seats to erupt to life. Its initial bark is loud enough to have the few stray dogs around the car run for cover. As the engine warms up, the noise level goes down but my heart rate keeps soaring. Must. Keep. Calm.
I have no option actually because the first few kilometres of the road aren’t all that nice. There’s the odd bump here, the unmarked rumbler strip there. Thankfully, all Huracáns for India get a lift feature that raises the front by a crucial four centimetres when needed. It’s something I make ample use of right up to the Bhiwandi bypass. Thereon, the road gets progressively better, which means I can go faster and break away from the safety of the ‘mothership’. Ahem, that’ll be the photography car I’ve been following all this while.
At the first empty stretch, I psyche myself and go for it. The next few seconds flash by with my body slammed to the seat and all sensory systems in utter disbelief. The sound, the violence of the acceleration, the immediacy of the response, it’s just unreal. This thing goes like a superbike. I repeat the exercise and hold on longer and longer with each attempt. No change in opinion though — it’s plain and simply mad. This red bull seriously gives you wings. All of the above, mind you, is in the relatively angelic ‘Strada’ mode. Things get amplified as I experiment with the Anima switch on the steering. It basically controls the engine maps, steering response and the seven-speed dual clutch gearbox’s shift points. In short, it lets you decide how wild you’d like proceedings to be.
Switching the Huracán from Strada to Sport and then on to Corsa has it go from dignified mad cap to certified lunatic. It becomes razor sharp in every way, just takes off like a heat seeking missile and upshifts mega quick only at the very peak of the rev band. I sneak a sight of ‘8200rpm’ on the digital tacho at one point, but know it went higher still. Naturally-aspirated bliss, this. As for the sound, it goes from screaming banshee in the mid-range to demonic howl right at the top of the rev band. When I do go off throttle, it pops and crackles rather disapprovingly. I make a mental note to check what exactly resides under that slatted engine cover.
Bowled over as I am by the car, the road also gets my thumbs up. It’s got plenty of long and traffic-free stretches to experience the best of this Lambo. And on a clear day as today, I can actually see a good kilometre or two ahead of me at places; helpful when in a car that’ll happily shrink the distance to the horizon should you prod it. Mild elevation changes and sweeping corners also keep the route interesting, but it’s the climb up Kasara Ghat that is the best bit. The road works its way up beautifully well, and throws in a lot of twists and turns along the way.
Expectedly, the four-wheel-drive Huracán is tremendously grippy here, but I’m still able to carry more speed through the bends than I thought I could. What I also take keenly to is the fact that for a supercar greenhorn as me, the Huracán doesn’t call for bull-fighter heroics to drive hard. It’s not as wild as I’d imagined a 600bhp Lambo to be – whether that’s a positive or a negative depends on where you stand on the bravery scale. As for me, I’m totally sucked into the drive and blast my way up the ghat. Sadly, the summit of the ghat at the Manas Resort in Igatpuri is also where the drive is to end. Unsurprisingly, I’ve reached before time. But let’s be realistic. Is there really any other way when you’re in a Lamborghini?
Also, if you do know any way of being discreet in a Lamborghini, do let me know. Especially in a Lambo that’s more scarlet than your average Ferrari. School kids, pilgrims, road workers and even the odd politician appear out of nowhere and mob the car at any stop longer than five seconds. It gets to a point where a highway patrol officer has to request us to cover the car for fear of causing a pile-up on the highway! The outlandish wedge shape certainly found a fan following in this neck of the woods.
But, in all, what a day! Driving a Lamborghini on a regular highway has got to be the most surreal of my drives so far. Thankfully, we are slowly getting more roads where you can truly enjoy a car as special as this. This section of NH3 is certainly one of them. As for the car? Wow. Just wow. The Huracán is fast, manic and dramatic as only a Lambo can be. Surprisingly, it coped quite well with the not-so-nice sections of the drive too. A Lambo for all occasions then? Mmm… maybe I need a bit more time in the car to tell you that. Perhaps I’ll give that a thought on my drive back to Thane. Adios!
The 100KM Route to Igatpuri from Thane is very straightforward. All you do is get on NH3 and stay on it. Most of the route is in good condition but you will need to keep an eye out for bumpy sections. Also note, traffic till Bhiwandi bypass can be haphazard, so keep an eye out for two-wheeler users trying to cut across the highway. To make the best of the road, leave early in the morning. That way, you can make the lovely return journey in the afternoon.
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