2015 Lamborghini Huracán first drive review

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You slide into the low, bolstered seat, flip up the aircraft-style cover, press the start button, and hear the V-10 engine roar to life. Bump the steering wheel mode selector to Corsa, pull the right paddle, and off you go, down the pit lane at Ascari, ready to hit the track behind an Aventador. The Lamborghini Huracán is unleashed.

This is a very good way to spend a Thursday.

Or a Tuesday, a Sunday, or any other day for that matter. Not just because you’re at one of the finest private tracks in Europe, or because you’re well-heeled enough to be there, but because you’re behind the wheel of Lamborghini’s replacement for the Gallardo, the best car the company has ever built.

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That’s quite a statement to make with automotive icons like the Countach, Diablo, and Miura in the stable. But it’s true. The Huracán is the best Lamborghini ever.

It’s certainly a marked upgrade from the Aventador, though its sensuous exterior is somewhat more reserved; from ride comfort to shift quality to raw capability, the Huracán is, in nearly every quantitative and qualitative way, superior to its bigger brother.

The Huracán is also a major improvement on the Gallardo—a car I never much cared for, dynamically. Sitting still, or rolling raucously up to its destination, the Gallardo managed to impress for most of its 10-year run, but the unrefined transmission, mediocre handling, and peaky, high-strung engine quickly showed weakness when pressed into true supercar service. Toward the end of its decade, it began to look a bit tired, too, a dozen special variants notwithstanding.

But the Huracán has none of these foibles. In fact, the engineering team behind the Huracán set out rather explicitly to remove the Gallardo’s shortcomings, all the while wrapping it in an unmistakably, irresistibly Lamborghini shell. They succeeded.

2015 Lamborghini Huracán first drive

2015 Lamborghini Huracán first drive

The Track

Let loose on the Ascari circuit for some group lead-follow action with a Lamborghini hot shoe at the wheel of an Aventador to set the pace, the Huracán initially feels like it's wearing a straitjacket. That's Strada mode, which has an insanely (but probably gladly) intrusive calibration for traction and stability control, preventing the application of full throttle with nearly any amount of steering angle dialed in. Fortunately, there are two other modes accessible via the toggle mounted at the six o'clock position on the steering wheel.

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Bump it down into Sport mode and things liven up quite a bit--the throttle mapping gets snappier, the seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox gets quicker, the dynamic exhaust gets louder, and the stability control system lets loose its death grip--just a bit. You have the option of letting the gearbox handle shifts for you in Sport mode, or doing the work yourself via the fixed column-mounted paddle shifters. Still, a few turns in Sport mode and an experienced driver will find themselves wanting more control.

The answer is Corsa mode. Reducing stability control to a minimum--it was so unintrusive when driven smoothly, we found no reason to object despite the Ascari circuit's many tortuous and tricky turns, elevation changes, and hard braking zones. Shifting is manual-only in Corsa mode, adding further to the driver's sense of control. Likewise, the gearbox, throttle, and damping are all sharpened to their most aggressive settings in Corsa, transforming the once mild-mannered Huracán into a car that's serious fun on track.

2015 Lamborghini Huracán first drive

2015 Lamborghini Huracán first drive

Dynamically, once in Corsa mode, the Huracán feels rather a lot like the Audi R8 V10 Plus. That's certainly not a bad thing: there's loads of power from the quick-revving 5.2-liter V-10 engine (601 hp, to be precise), and the 3,370-pound car is very well-balanced for a mid-engined, all-wheel-drive car. The tendency toward power-on understeer is notable, but a few laps of calibrating driving style to match the car's grip and propulsion levels quickly makes it an easy car to drive scarily fast.

Part of the credit for the Huracán's good manners goes to the Lamborghini Piattaforma Inerziale, a set of accelerometers arranged in three axes. Many cars use three-axis calculations to provide yaw, roll, and pitch information to the stability control system--but Lamborghini takes it two steps further, installing two additional gyroscopes so each axis has a direct reading for the system to use. Other systems use a single gyroscope paired with accelerometers, requiring them to perform calculations to derive movements in the other two axes. Lamborghini's new system in the Huracán enables far quicker and more precise readings to be delivered to the computers, resulting a stability control system that is noticeably better largely by being completely unnoticeable.

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