Hard, low, fast: Lamborghini's Huracan Evo just begs to be driven
Cape Town - There are few cars that attract attention as much as a Lamborghini. Be it an old one, a new one, a modified one or an SUV, the brand with the bull commands attention wherever it goes.
And while the cars that Lambo build certainly are for the types that like the attention, the good news is that the brand is in an era where it’s making some of the most fantastic driving cars too.
I recently spent a couple of days in the Western Cape with a pair of raging bulls from the manufacturer’s press fleet, flown to South Africa from Sant’Agata Bolognese. In this piece, I’ll focus on the Huracan Evo.
Shaped by the wind
It’s hard to digest the fact that the Huracan is six years old now. They’ve done an excellent job in keeping it fresh, exciting and updated enough to keep customers coming back for more. The Performante version that we drove last year, for example, was still on back order while the Evo version hit shelves due to demand.
So, what’s the Evo about then? It’s a fettled version of the Performante, with less agression in its chassis setup and more “luxury” (if you can call it that) in the cabin.
The ride’s still firm, firmer than the Audi R8 that shares its gizzards, but not to the point where it breaks your back over a twisty B-road.
Before we get onto the drive, let’s tackle some of the style and tech.
New decade, new look
For 2020, the Huracan gains a more aero-efficient front and rear end.
According to Lamborghini, the larger intakes, scallops and channels increase downforce seven times over the oginal Huracan. The subtle ducktail spoiler at the rear, the slightly more aggressive side skirts, that extra hint of pointedness at the front, all work in an exquisite way to bring the car up to date and in line with the latest Ferrari F8 in my opinion. In fact, to my eyes, the Huracan Evo looks better from every angle when compared to anything from Ferrari’s current stable.
On the inside, things look a little different too, as a new central transmission console now holds a touchscreen entertainment system. To be honest, the system looks engaging and different enough to an Audi system to make you feel like you’ve paid for something unique, but I really only used the system once to turn all audio off.
Under the skin, the Huracan Evo is a technological masterpiece, combining all-wheel drive with all-wheel steer, and an active rear differential, with active torque vectoring on top of all this. It also has a trick electronic stability control system that offers varying levels of assistance based on the driving mode you select via the toggle switch on the steering wheel.
Strada is the mode you’ll start in once you’ve flipped the cover and pressed engine start. It idles relatively quietly in this mode and it will try to shift up into the higher gears as quickly as possible in this setting to keep fuel consumption as low as possible.
Select the middle setting, Sport, and you’ll immediately hear the exhaust note heighten and feel the engine idle point rise. The car’s magnetorheological shocks also harden up a bit, to lessen body roll and give you a more direct thunk in the hips when making haste.
If you dial the car into its sharpest setting, Corsa, you’ll essentially be in a racing mode, with limited traction and stability intervention. In automatic mode on the gearbox, the car will hold onto cogs well into the redline here, and it will also bang into gear with a solid whack.
You can select gears manually in all three modes via the steering column shift paddles, and revert to auto mode at any point via a button on the central tunnel. The automatic settings really work well, and unless you are trying to achieve lap records, there’s nothing wrong with simply sticking it in auto and letting it sort itself out.
I accidentally discovered our car’s Drift mode on the test drive. I returned to the car after lunch, fired it up, pulled the right lever and off I went. It was 40 degrees Celsius on the day and a few minutes after leaving the lunch stop, I noticed the digital instrument cluster throwing swear words at me: ESC OFF, Stop/Start OFF, Four-wheel drive OFF, etc. etc...
I had not noticed my driving partner fiddling with the on-board systems, which Lamborghini later advised me was the cause of the car going into drift mode.
Nevertheless, driving the car in this mode in a twisty high speed section through the Western Cape mountains, I quickly realised how good the car was just as a mechanical sum of items. It steered with a quickness that’s not possible in most road cars, and it stuck to the road with intent even when climbing on the accelerator a litle too early out of the bends. There’s this built-in balance and smoothness amongst all the noise and drama that gives you a genuine confidence to push on and on and on.
It's a jet fighter
While the main thing about the Huracan Evo is the noise, drama, style and gasps that come out of people when they see it, the true beauty of the car lies in its driving aids. In most cars, we’d like to think that by switching the driving aids off, we gain greater control of the vehicle, which is true in most instances, but in this car, you actually want the systems.
In a nutshell, it has Lamborghini Dinamica Veicolo Integrata (LDVI), a Central Processing Unit that controls every aspect of the car’s dynamic behaviour, fully integrating all of the car’s systems and set-up to anticipate the next move and needs of the driver. It’s almost pre-cognitive, they say, and combined with Lamborghini Piattaforma Inerziale (LPI), a set of gyroscope sensors placed at the car’s center of gravity, it can instantaneously adapt the suspension damping for better handling.
The advanced traction control together with enhanced all-wheel drive and torque vectoring allows traction to be directed to a single wheel as required in some instances.
This unique combination of the car’s mechanical tidbits and the electronics make it one of the fastest things on four wheels and it’s an amazing example of how driving enjoyment can be improved with digital assitance.
Look, it’s not cheap, and once you start ticking away at the options boxes, you’ll find yourself close to the R7 million mark. But, for your money, you’re getting a 470kW 5.2-litre beast of a naturally asprirated car that will remain sought after for many years to come. I timed the car using Thrust Mode (launch control) and it sprinted from a standstill to 100km/h in 2.8 seconds on an unprepared surface. It will top out at around 325km/h, but all the while you feel as though there’s more in reserve.
When it comes to value for money, it’s always challenging to call these premium cars good value, but in this car, you truly have hypercar levels of accleration on the lower end, which will cost twice the price at other dealerships. For me, I’d have a Huracan Evo as part of my collection, but not as a daily, which they say it’s been designed for.
If you want a daily-drive V10 beast, look at the latest Audi R8, which should land in SA soon. If you want to turn heads and have one of the best driving cars ever made in the garage, definitely consider the 2020 Huracan Evo.
VISIT: www.drive360.co.za to buy a Lamborghini.