What follows is part 4 of a 6 part series describing my experience driving 5 exotic cars on real roads in real life. This opportunity came through local luxury automotive storage club Auto Vault’s Fantasy Drives service. This particular Fantasy Drive package was a 6 hour event, involving nearly an hour of drive time in each of the 5 cars, garnished with complimentary bakery treats and a gourmet dinner. The 5 cars for the event were an Audi RS7, Bentley Continental GT Concours Edition, Lamborghini Huracán Spyder, McLaren 650S Spyder, and Audi R8 V10. This part will go into detail on my experience in my third car of the day – the Lamborghini Huracán Spyder.
After driving the Bentley Continental GT for about 45 minutes, we found our convoy off the major roads, pulled over in the empty cul-de-sac of a future housing development. The past couple cars had blown me away, but I knew what was coming next was going to set a new standard of performance.
The group had gathered for a brief chat about their cars before the key trading process began, but my next car was the Lamborghini Huracán and I wanted to cut to the chase. Without hesitation, I climbed out of the Bentley and marched right over to the driver of the Lamborghini to swap keys.
Lamborghini, for so many, is the culmination of an entire childhood’s worth of yearning. The characteristic chiseled, striking wedge design donned by the Huracán dates back to the Lamborghini Countach in 1974. This means that Lamborghini has dominated the bedroom wall posters of young enthusiasts for over 40 years. That’s quite the legacy.
I would be included in that group as well. So, as I walked up to the Huracán, the weight of that lifelong craving came crashing down upon me. I’ve heard lots of people say that you should never meet your heroes. Was this going to be one of those times? What if I hated it? I had always imagined what it would be like to drive a Lambo, but I had legitimate concern that my imagination wasn’t founded in reality.
Fearing that I was about to have an existential conniption, Katie tried to distract me by making me take some pictures. This was effective, because once I took a good look at the Huracán I couldn’t focus on anything else. Snapping some pictures helped me realize that the Huracán is genuinely beautiful. I know that may seem somewhat obvious considering it’s a supercar, but the Huracán is especially so.
Lamborghinis have always been striking. But striking and beautiful are not mutually inclusive. Take the aforementioned Countach, for example. When the Countach first debuted, it looked like an alien spaceship compared to other cars of the era. However, the way everything on the Countach came together lacks a certain elegance that would allow it to be described as beautiful. The panels and elements of the body appear to be thrown together in a way that, only in retrospect, feels contrived towards the chiseled look.
Over time, improvements in manufacturing processes have allowed the slapped together look to evolve to a cleaner approach to chiseled aggression. The Murciélago/Gallardo generation would be the first example of that progression. However, with this latest generation of the Aventador/Huracán, Lamborghini has upped their game even further.
Gone entirely are the days of slapping panels and trim pieces together for a complete product. Now, the Huracán appears to have been sculpted out of a car-sized chunk of clay. The panels fit so snugly that you hardly notice the gaps are there at all. The air intakes and front air dam are more than just holes cut through the body – they’re styling elements that flow naturally into the shape of the car. The Huracán is both striking and beautiful because it near perfectly blends form and function.
But honestly, how much could I really care about the styling while holding the keys and about to drive off in it? Eager to get going, I crashed into the driver’s seat (it’s difficult to get in any more elegantly). The interior was small and snug, but generally pretty comfortable. Obviously, it was in stark contrast to the Bentley Continental GT, but it wasn’t as miserable as some might have you believe. The seats were firm but very supportive, and I would be plenty comfortable sitting in them for a long trip.
The center console isn’t exactly elegant, but it’s clear that Lamborghini took the fighter jet cockpit theme as inspiration. There are numerous toggle switches lining the top of the center stack, and the start/stop button has a red cover over it that has to be flipped up in order to engage the button – like launching a missle.
And when you do fire it up, the dashboard comes to life as one full digital display. The digital tachometer takes up nearly half of it, with the redline indicated as 6000 RPM only until the car warms up and it shifts out to the full 8500 RPM redline. That’s right, an 8500 RPM redline from a Lamborghini V10. It’s something you absolutely must hear in person to fully appreciate.
As I pulled away, I flicked the paddle shifter to engage manual mode because I can shift for myself, thank you very much (get off my lawn). Instantly after, it was clear to me that the Lamborghini Doppa Frizione gearbox in the Huracán put all the other transmissions I had used previously that day to shame. The responsiveness is absolutely unbelievable. The very moment you click the paddle – WHAM – it throws over to the next gear. And the best part of all is that despite being a dual clutch, it doesn’t come with the low speed jerkiness that some DCT drivers complain about.
While driving, I found myself shifting a whole lot more than I normally do – and that’s not because of the snappy transmission. With each shift, the exhaust lets out a symphony of pops and crackles. Really, it’s kind of an abnormally large amount of it, but it’s absolutely delightful and I wouldn’t want it any other way. Since we were driving with the top down, the exhaust was particularly loud and made the experience all the better. There’s something about the scream of Lamborghini’s 601 HP V10 that is totally irresistible.
Our convoy began ripping through the local back roads, which is nothing short of fantastic with the top down on a beautiful October day in a Huracán. Nonetheless, I was still glad I got to ease into it by driving two of the more “tame” (if you could really call them that) cars of the fleet first – the Audi RS7 and Bentley Continental GT – because the intensity of the Huracán is a notch above. Combining instantaneous shifts with lightning quick throttle response and over 600 HP, the Huracán would be a handful and a half if driven without discretion.
Admittedly, I was probably more generous with the throttle than I needed to be, but the super sticky specially designed Pirelli PZeros and electronically controlled AWD system always kept the car in check. The power goes to the ground smoothly, with a continuous surge of power from the naturally aspirated V10 that seemingly never falters at any RPM in any gear.
At one point some of us got separated from the group on a divided highway, and needed to flip a U-turn to get back to our turnoff. Following the U-turn standard procedure, I waited for a sufficiently sized hole in traffic, made my turn and punched the accelerator with a sense of urgency – all the while watching my mirrors to make sure I wasn’t causing trouble. By the time I looked down at the speedometer after the maneuver (a matter of seconds later), I was going way faster than I ever intended. Onto the brakes I went.
The neck-snapping acceleration isn’t all there is to say for the way the car drives, though. At another point, we came to an overpass with a double roundabout (one on each side of the highway). Jackpot. I was generally impressed with the handling capabilities of the Huracán, though the amount of understeer I found in the constant radius turn was disappointing. No doubt that the car will still perform admirably on the track, but the AWD system definitely gave it a heavier, more planted feel than I was hoping for.
The steering was also a little bit of a letdown as well. In normal and spirited driving on smooth roads, the steering was light and direct – awesome. However, on one of the bumpier roads I found the light steering set by the electromechanical power steering to be detrimental, as there was an uncomfortable amount of play and jiggliness at higher speeds that made the steering feel numb – not awesome.
But I think the steering plays into Lamborghini’s overall plan with the Huracán. Everything about the Huracán driving experience is far less painful than I was anticipating. I’ve always heard people talk about how brutal supercars can be; the ride will beat you up, the seating position is uncomfortable, the steering is too heavy, etc. In the Huracán, I found the ride to be compliant and comfortable in the Sport setting, with no jarring rebound over bumps. Also, despite driving the roofless variant, I didn’t notice any cowl shake or torsional rigidity issues. The seats weren’t too snug and I was easily able to find a comfortable position, too. The Huracán was simply easy to drive and, I would imagine, easy to live with as a daily driver.
Wait, I drove a childhood dream car and came back talking about how easy it is to live with? That’s certainly not a foregone conclusion. Usually there’s a strong correlation between bedroom wall poster cars and thoroughly compromised practicality, but I guess that’s a sign of the changing times. Volkswagen Group’s ownership of Lamborghini evidently hasn’t eroded the spirit of Lamborghini; it’s only made it more easily reachable.
So, to wrap this up: I met my hero and it was great. I just don’t get what everyone’s on about.