We’re no strangers to the Lamborghini Huracán here at Autocar India; in fact, we’ve spent a lot of quality time with it. There was our thorough (and exclusive) test of it when it was launched, we’ve hot-lapped it around the BIC, we crowned it our ‘Performance Car of the Year’ in 2015, we’ve taken it to a number of exotic locations, including Khardung La; heck, we even raced it against an IAF Sukhoi fighter jet. So why have I come all the way to a race track in Taiwan to drive it again?
The simple answer is – ‘well, wouldn’t you?’ But the real reason is that this Huracán is not like any of the others we’ve driven before. It’s the new LP580-2, and if you speak fluent Bolognese, you’ll know exactly what that means. It’s the inevitable, lower-spec variant with less power and a lower price tag. But for one crucial reason, it’s an even more tantalising proposition than the current top-dog Huracán, the LP610-4.
Rear. Wheel. Drive.
It would be ridiculous to describe any Lamborghini as ‘safe’ in the handling department, but it has to be said, the front driveshafts of the AWD LP610-4 are a sort of safety net, which gives you the confidence to push harder. This one doesn’t have them, and all of its 580hp and 540Nm go straight to the rear wheels, just as god intended. Or rather, just as Ferruccio intended, because as the guys from Lamborghini are quick to remind us, most of their greatest hits – the Miuras, the Countachs and the early Diablos – sent their power to only the back. The newer cars have AWD to help put their power down better and be more usable for more people, but for the few hardcore drivers out there who want the purity of a rear-drive supercar, this is the one. And, while its predecessor, the Gallardo LP550-2, was retro-actively converted from AWD to RWD towards the end of its life cycle, the Huracán LP580-2 was conceived and developed alongside the regular car from day one. This, says Lamborghini, means it is far better sorted dynamically than the old Gallardo LP550-2, and more fun from behind the wheel than the Huracán LP610-4, which is what we’re here to verify, using the scientific method of barging around a track at attack speeds.
Devil's in the Details
As with the Gallardos that went before it, the two- and four-wheel-drive Huracáns are distinguishable by some very subtle visual details. The front bumper is a little edgier and looks a bit more like the bigger Aventador’s, while at the rear, the tail has a much larger ‘grille’ area, and personally, I prefer this look to the standard car’s.
The other details come from the spec sheet. Petal-style steel brake discs replace the standard carbon-ceramic ones from the LP610, to improve feel at the pedals (and, I suspect, to bring the price down). It may have lost 30bhp but it’salso lost 33kg. And the great part is, despite the lower power and the traction disadvantage of rear-wheel drive, at 3.4 seconds, the LP580-2 is only 0.2 seconds slower in a 0-100kph drag than the LP610-4. With great caution, I broached the taboo subject of the manual gearbox and its absence on this back-to-basics driver-centric variant; Porsche just brought back the manual with its 911 R after all, right? Nope, a seven-speed dual-clutch auto is the only gearbox you’ll ever get in a Huracán and customers, it seems, are just fine with that.
Standard brake discs are now steel, not carbon ceramic.
There are smaller details too. The ‘Anima’ driving modes – Strada, Sport and Corsa – have been recalibrated for the LP580-2, as have the adaptive magnetic suspension, stability and traction control, steering and anti-roll bars. Pirelli developed a new tyre for this car, and the weight distribution, as you might imagine, has shifted more to the rear – now a 40:60 split.
Slayed in Taiwan
Textbook closed, it’s time to hop in and get to know this new Raging Calf on the Penbay International Circuit, located in a quiet fishing district outside Kaohsiung in Taiwan. There’s nothing quiet about what we’re doing here today though, and the lead car in our convoy has no intention of doing a ‘sighting’ lap – it’s foot flat to the floor, right out of the pit lane. I realise I have to multi-task and evaluate this car on the fly, but that’s hard to do when you’re chasing down apexes on a track you’ve never seen before. I try to quickly scan around for changes to the cabin (turns out there are none) but I daren’t take my eyes off the narrow, unknown tarmac.
Don’t be fooled by the LP580-2’s apparent composure in the photos; moments later, it was dancing all over the place.
You don’t need your eyes to feel the LP580-2’s magic though, and soon I’m doing just that – through my wrists, my backside, my eardrums and my recently re-arranged guts. One lap is enough to give me a vague idea of the place, and by Lap 2, I’m whacking the Lambo into corners mercilessly. This Huracán seems more eager to stick its nose into chicanes, and should you make contact with one, you can bet you’ll feel it as the steering wheel shimmies away in your hands. It just feels so much more alive. Exit a corner with requisite vigour and the whole car moves around more, and it fidgets about under braking too. Let me be clear, these are all good things when you’re on the limit; you want your rear-drive supercar to keep you on your toes.
Did you know, of the three Anima driving modes, it’s the middle one – Sport – that lets you get the most sideways in all Lambos? Apparently that’s because it’s the ‘fun’ mode, while ‘Corsa’, the final mode, is for serious lap times, and the Huracán’s electronics adjust the car’s behaviour accordingly. I discover this midway through the final corner getting onto the main straight, in what starts out as a reasonably civilised exercise. I’ve shed enough speed and so I click down into second gear – fine, until the exit, when the tail just breaks free like a captive lion being released back into the wild. The best part is, I trust the car, and the car delivers, bringing me back into line quite predictably and easily. So I do it again, and again, and again, until the guys from Lamborghini get rather insistent on the radio that I come back in.
The Pursuit of Tail Happiness
Again, don’t let the Huracán LP580-2’s wayward rear be mistaken for a bad thing. If you could see the moronic grin on my face, you’d know this car has done its job. How does it compare to an LP610-4? Is there anything missing from the equipment list? Carbon brakes, but nothing else. Can you feel the absence of the 30 missing horsepower? Not at all. Has the manic V10 howl been muted in the process? Absolutely not. Does it feel any less special? No; on the contrary, it feels even livelier and leaves you coming out of every corner muttering “Ohhh, hell yes” to yourself. And then you realise that it costs a full Rs 40 lakh less than the LP610-4. The lesser Lamborghini? I think not.