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I’d had the first Lamborghini Huracan LP610-4 to be driven in Australia at my disposal for the past four hours and was about 500 metres from returning it to its Barbagallo Lamborghini Perth home when I faced every motoring journo’s biggest fear when in an uber-expensive car: an unmarked police car in my rear vision mirror chirping its siren and flashing its headlights.
Quickly, I went through a panicked checklist in my mind. Had I taken that last corner a little too wildly for their liking? A dangerous driving charge in a $428,000 sports car wouldn’t look good on the CV.
Had my speed inadvertently crept up to, say, 40km/h over the speed limit? Considering the car I was in, it was a possibility.
Turns out a lack of number plate was the problem (not attached due to aesthetic reasons) and I was free to go. But even if the boy and girl in blue had pinged me with a ticket it wouldn’t have put a dampener on my afternoon; the Huracan was too much fun.
It had want to be, mind you: its Gallardo predecessor makes up nearly half of the 30,000 Lamborghini models sold in the company’s history. But the Huracan is faster and cheaper than the Gallardo (and many of its supercar rivals) meaning around 2500 Huracans have already been ordered around the world, including 50 in Australia, even with customers already facing a 12- to 18-month wait.
It can be frustrating being in a car like this on public roads as opposed to a racetrack. But despite being so dedicated to balls-out performance, my first impressions were how trouble-free the Huracan was.
Despite the low, low ride height, ostentatious red exterior and sex-on-wheels look-at-me styling, it was remarkably easy to get around town in. There are a few supercar quirks, such as the steering wheel-mounted indicators and windscreen wiper controls, the need to pull on the paddleshifter to engage Drive, and all other functions are arranged in a long row on the centre console – but it was nowhere near as intimidating as something like the Huracan’s bigger Aventador brother.
That said, as in the Aventador, the seats don’t lower. Headroom isn’t bad, but at around 185cm I was left with a rather letterbox-like view out of the windscreen. It was fine, but taller folk will have issues.
Rear visibility is relatively good though even with the louvered engine cover - a clear cover is available as an option - and was further aided by a reverse camera and parking sensors (a $5700 option, mind you). Everyday features like satellite navigation and media are easily accessed and navigated on a 12.3-inch TFT display on the dashboard, and you can raise the car’s nose to avoid scraping your front bumper to the delight of smirking on-lookers when faced with driveways or speed humps.
There’s even engine stop-start to keep fuel use and emissions down. How polite.
This civility continues in the first of the Huracan’s three drive modes. In Strada, the Huracan is every bit the model citizen – quickly flipping through the gears as the engine inoffensively thrums. Despite sitting on big 20-inch Mimas forged wheel (an $8700 option), the ride quality was a mile from harsh.
You could dead-set use this as a comfortable daily driver.
Of course, no one is thinking of dropping the best part of half a mill on a Lamborghini for its refinement when ducking down to the shops. Fear not: the Huracan’s other two personalities have your boy-racer needs covered.
Even at idle, flicking the switch into Sports mode changes the exhaust note from unassuming to a coiled menace. Give it a prod and Mr Hyde truly comes out.
The engine screams to life behind you, pinning you in your seat as surge forward in a smooth, linear fashion. Getting to 100km/h in 3.2 seconds is seriously fast, but it’s not just the speed sending your pulse soaring – the naturally aspirated V10’s note is exquisite and overloads your senses.
Backing off and changing down gears sees a ripple of satisfyingly loud snaps, crackles and pops from the exhaust, sounding like a round of applause for giving it stick.
Happily, the seven-speed dual-clutch auto is fantastic, holding onto and smoothly changing gears when driving hard at just the right times and happily downshifting and letting out exhaust burbles right when you want it to. Changes are almost instantaneous and were far less neck-snapping than in the Aventador I drove last month.
Should you opt to change the gears yourself, the paddleshifters are well placed and changes remain as smooth as when in auto mode. However, the paddles remain stationary when you turn the wheel; it wasn’t a problem in my time in the car but some may be left grasping at air at an inopportune time.
Impressively, you can feel exactly what the wheels are doing on the road yet it still never translates into a jarring ride; even on coarser surfaces over 100km/h road noise isn’t too obtrusive despite the large wheel and low-profile tyre combo.
The ventilated and perforated carbon-ceramic disc brakes also get sharpened and while they’ll stop you on a dime, they can sometimes be a tad inconsistent with their sensitivity. It’s definitely a marginal inconvenience, though, and could well be overcome after more time spent driving the car hard.
The electric all-wheel-drive system can send up to 50 per cent of power to the front wheels, while in Sports mode it forces more grunt to the rears. This means you can feel the back end get a tad more restless when pushed but, thanks also to the Pirelli P Zero tyres, you still never feel it’s going to get away from you as it hugs the tarmac.
Though it’s fun, there’s little need to wring the V10’s neck; there’s plenty of low down torque meaning you can power out of corners without needing to drop down the gears even if you went in a bit slow.
Our test car had the $3500 Dynamic Steering fitted and while we’re splitting hairs here, it felt a smidge less-responsive than it really should have. To be fair, the steering does sharpen even more in Corsa mode – as everything does.
As the Barbagallo sales executive nervously explained to me when handing the car over: “Strada’s for every day driving, Sport’s for fun and Corsa’s… ahh… yeah…”
Truth be told, not a lot of time was spent in the Corsa setting, namely to avoid having to sheepishly tell an angry car company rep their only Huracan was impounded/wrapped around a lamp post/at the bottom of someone’s swimming pool. The difference between Sport and Corsa isn’t as big as between Strada and Sport, but it’s still palpable: the back end gets even more willing to throw itself around and the brake and throttle become more sensitive than Heritier Lumumba (not an AFL fan? Google it).
It also becomes manual-only and while the changes are more severe, it allows you to venture further into the redline and make the V10 scream.
It’s exhilarating stuff, even if it made me nearly cry in longing for a track to go nuts on.
So while the Huracan was pushed nowhere near its limits, for what it is, it’s very difficult to fault in regards to driving (legally) on public roads. It does what a supercar should - gets attention, gives a burst of adrenaline, offers the upper reaches of performance - and even manages some things not normally attributed to mental racers, like refinement, ease of use and decent visibility.
Ultimately, if you’re buying a car like this your final decision will likely be based on which premium brand you’ve always wanted to have in your garage. The Huracan’s gorgeous looks means it could steal buyers from others, but if you grew up with a Lambo poster on your bedroom wall and are finally able to own your dream car, there’s little chance the Huracan will disappoint once it finally arrives.