Who doesn’t love the Lamborghini Huracán? The smaller sportscar from the raging bull brand came at the right time. After all, there was always this ongoing comparison between the Ferrari 458 and the Gallardo and the Huracán managed to use the generational change to set the standards for a go to interior as well as the new DCT gearbox. Yes, the 488 did come along after that and keep the battle alive, but then what’s a good pairing of competitors to do?
The Huracán also enjoys the strengths of a shared engineering approach on the very structure of the car – this is of course connected with the Audi R8. Both cars have the very same combination of aluminium spaceframe construction meshed in with the use of a monolithic carbon-fibre structural piece that straddles the rear firewall and the rear end of the passenger tub.
Lightweight is Key
Almost everywhere else, aluminium is the key material, useful to keep weight low without having to suffer the usual problems associated with sharp edges and the like, again because Lamborghini has incorporated new alloys and manufacturing processes. You can crease the aluminium and not expect it to crack.
On top of that the Huracán gets its typical 5.2-litre naturally aspirated V10 engine with 610bhp of output and performance figures of 3.2 seconds for the standing 100 km/h. As previously mentioned – that is paired with the 7-speed DCT and carbon ceramic brakes as standard. And a kerb weight of only 1,422 kgs with a weight distribution of 42% to 58% front-rear.
So how can the 2017 Lamborghini Huracán Performante literally up the anté? It has been turning heads and bringing the battle back to the good old Ferrari 458 Speciale, with recent reports of track records adding up in its black book.
Difference with the regular Huracán
There are some visible differences and some not so visible ones that set the Huracán Performante apart. The most obvious one is the speckled black of the new forged carbon composite structures that are used to lower the weight even further. Unlike the Gallardo, the Huracán uses the hexagonal molecular structure more effectively by creating rigid structures that can not only take tensile forces, they handle deformation better. This new technology has come about with the various collaborations Lamborghini has chased through the past few years – now the manufacturing process has shifted from the layered CF and structural composite approach.
You can see the many surfaces where this material is used, from the front and rear airfoil elements, to the dashboard, steering column, centre console and even parts of the engine tub.
The second major change the Performante brings to the Huracán is the use of some rather radical airflow arrangements. Tagged under the ALA badge, the technology uses some fixed elements like the front and rear lower wings, some dynamic airflow and a whole lot of underbody optimisation.
The bulk of this magic is handled by the immense rear wing and its obscurely tucked away scoops at the rear of the engine bay. Air flows up through those orifices, through the vertical stanchions and is then selectively let out over the under surface of the rear wing. This effect adds in or detracts from the laminar flow of the air blowing over the car, varying the downforce available on the rear wheels. And this variation itself can be doled out selectively to each side, allowing the Huracán Performante to add extra downforce on the wheel bay that needs it more – like in a hard turn. And you thought Torque-Vectoring was special?
The car also gets some visual touches that set it apart from the regular Huracán. These include the obvious badging on the seats, the call out badges on the sides and the unique laser-cut hexagonal grid on the seats and the door trims.
In terms of the operational hardware, the changes that aren’t so visible, the car gets a new agenda. The engine has been tuned to bump up power delivery to 640hp at a sweet 8,000rpm and the torque tops out at 600Nm, again at a rather neat 6,500rpm. That in itself is just mouth-watering. But then you get the kerb weight down to 1,382kgs – a full 40kgs off! and a slight change in the weight distribution to 43-57. It’s not like you will notice that because regardless of how hard you push the car to check it out, it’s the effects of the ALA that come through. The standing 100 km/h is achieved in 2.9 seconds.
The Performante gets a unique bronze 20″ wheel although you can specify the car with other gear. Just like you can opt up and get the MagneRide (pretty much standard in the region) or indeed the Lamborghini Dynamic Steering with its variable force.
The car’s ANIMA system that controls stability, handling, suspension response, and even throttle response has been turned to the new realities of having that extra game changer of ALA connected to a lower weight. The extra dose of downforce is handled by a system that measures handling in realtime and has a reaction time of less than 500 milliseconds.
Let’s just say this. We have loved the Huracán in every single guise it came in – regular, rear-wheel only and now the Performante. The engine note from that newly laid out exhaust is worth every Rial you blow on the fuel. The exhaust ports have been lifted to shorten the path. Just put the car in Corsa mode and the crackling note already presents itself – blip and you get the snarl.
Take off is a dream. We aren’t even going to discuss launch control here. You really don’t need it. The Huracán seems to anticipate your foot on the accelerator as you floor the pedal and throws in the revs. Torque delivery isn’t very flat but it is noticeable, especially on your neck. And the engine revs – how it revs! You could try to outsmart the automatic gearshifting by going full manual, but then it takes a few break in runs as the car begins to understand the sort of mettle you are made of – yeah, we know it’s the other way around.
The flowing road up from Hamriyah to Yiti and the new Amerat road are good places to check out the ALA. You can feel it come in form even in regular speed limits though we would suggest getting some dedicated track time to really feel the hardening up – at points its feels like there are two different suspension types under the car, with its ability to offer go-kart handling.
Braking is way up there where you would expect the Carbon Composite to perform. To get any feel of fad you would have to be at the fag end of a track outing.
We love it. It’s so much more than the old light weight Gallardo Superleggera variant that was the go to track car. This one is completely designed to be a stellar performer and for the price you really couldn’t ask for more of a performance car that still remains so very usable as an everyday drive.