The styling of the Huracán has been described as subdued by some, but in the metal, it has a simple kind of elegance to it that is both refreshing and appropriately intimidating. It looks quite small on the road, too, even though it isn’t, and as a replacement for the 11-year-old Gallardo, it borrows more than one or two ideas from both the existing Audi R8 and its forthcoming successor, which will appear next year.
The Huracán’s chassis, for example, will be shared with the next Audi R8 and uses a hybrid combination of RTN carbonfibre and aluminium which, claims Lamborghini, provides almost as much strength and stiffness as a full carbonfibre tub, but with nowhere near the same expense. It’s also far easier and cheaper to repair in the event of an accident.
The engine is a development of the familiar 5.2-litre V10 that we’ve come to know and love in both the R8 and Gallardo, albeit with a raft of modifications to its top end and exhaust system. This time round it produces a thunderous 602bhp and 57.09kgm of torque, which is sufficient to fire the Huracán to 100kph in a mere 3.2sec and to a claimed top speed of 325kph. Stop-start also becomes a standard fitment to help reduce emissions and improve economy by over 10 percent.
The dual clutch seven-speed auto gearbox is also lifted straight from the R8 and replaces, at last, the clumsy e-gear six speeder from before. Which means that a traditional manual gearbox isn’t even available as an option in Lamborghini’s most popular car.
As on the Gallardo, there are double wishbones at each corner with electronic dampers and anti-roll bars at either end. But this time, these are joined by standard-issue carbon-ceramic brake discs and a new ANIMA button (which means soul in Italian), similar to Ferrari’s manettino dial. This sits on the steering wheel and alters the responses of the dampers, engine mapping, steering, gearbox, four-wheel drive and traction control.
The cabin is deeply Lamborghini in both look and feel, featuring a pair of ultra supportive bucket seats and a new 12.3-inch digital TFT screen that can be tailored to whatever kind of mood you might be in. The gearbox paddles are larger than before, the visibility out better in all directions, and there's a sophistication inside the car that the Gallardo never quite nailed.
The Huracan feels great, albeit in a new wave, old school kind of way. When you thumb the starter button and the V10 engine catches, for example, there is still the same sense of theatre in evidence as there was with the Gallardo.
Like it or not, there's an almighty burst of revs at start-up, and even once the V10 settles to its idle speed of just under 1000rpm there’s still an old fashioned supercar kind of racket to be heard from behind your head. And the Huracán wouldn’t be a Lamborghini were this not so.
On the move, the car instantly feels more refined but also more comfortable than the Gallardo. There's a sense of maturity to the ride, steering response (no kickback whatsoever detectable), throttle weighting and even the exhaust note that elevates it well beyond its predecessor. But beneath the sheen of extra smoothness and civility there is still the raging heart of a conventional V10 supercar, thumping away, itching to let loose.
This time, though, you get the distinct impression that the car's numerous electronic systems are very much there to help out, if and when things go wrong. The car feels so much less edgy and rounded in its resolve, you probably don't need the digital safety net to be anywhere near as great ironically.
But that's the way Lamborghini knows it needs to play things in 2014. Nowadays, the vast majority customers aren't in the slightest bit interested in scaring themselves every now and again.
Instead they want a car that looks beautiful (tick), sounds amazing (tick), that is easy enough to drive and that they could use it everyday if necessary (tick) and which won't bite their arms off if they make a mistake in it (tick).
The compromise is that the Huracán probably understeers a touch more than a die-hard purist would want it to, and the engine note does sound more Ingolstadt than Sant Agata on occasions; particularly on overrun in Corsa mode when you get a digitally perfected crackle that sounds neither natural nor spine-tingling.
But in just about all other respects, the Huracán represents a huge leap forwards for Lamborghini. And it looks close to drop-dead gorgeous, too. It's a more modern and capable car than the one it replaces but it's also a proper, hairy-chested Lambo at heart. And in this day and age that's really rather refreshing.