How the Lamborghini Huracan Evo is fast, furious and a lot of fun
We test-drive the supercar at the Bahrain International Circuit and finally understand the real meaning of "driver satisfaction"
A few years ago, Lamborghini announced that it was no longer chasing top speeds and was pulling out of the race to build the world’s fastest cars. It was to focus instead on products that could deliver the maximum in driver enjoyment over outright speed.
It was an odd message from one of the world’s most revered supercar manufacturers, as Ferrari and Bugatti, as well as specialist constructors such as Pagani and Koenigsegg, all work feverishly to outdo one another in their quest to raise the top-speed barrier.
However, strapped behind the wheel of Lamborghini’s new Huracan Evo at the Bahrain International Circuit recently, I finally understood what they were on about, as I cannot remember another time I’ve had so much fun on-track in a car that had no right to make me look so good behind the wheel.
Yes, it is still mighty quick, with a top speed of more than 325 kilometres per hour and a zero to 100kph time of 2.9 seconds, with just another 6.1 seconds taking it to 200kph, but the magic of the new Lamborghini hides in the clever electronics that allowed me to fling it around and hang the tail out like a drifting pro.
Any race driver will tell you that you have two options when you are on track: be smooth, focused and clean with your lines in order to clock the fastest lap, or let it hang out with a bit of tyre-smoking, sideways fun that puts a huge smile on your face, but which is by no means as quick.
Lamborghini has decided to go for option B in the development of this mid-life facelift to its 5.2-litre, V10 Huracan and, as someone who will never qualify a car on the front row of a race, I am in it for the fun.
Its secret is that the new Huracan has a drift mode incorporated into its drive settings that, alongside its new rear-wheel steering, allows for some lurid power slides – under controlled conditions, of course – without getting into trouble.
The key ingredient is Lamborghini’s software programme, which it calls LDVI (Lamborghini Dinamica Veicolo Integrata), which reads the driver’s style and pre-empts their actions quickly, trying to stay ahead of the curve by being proactive, rather than reacting to a driver’s input.
Using gyroscope sensors and accelerators located low in the car close to its centre of gravity, it measures its roll, pitch and yaw against the aggressiveness of the steering input, throttle positioning and brake pressure from the driver 50 times a second, to determine the level of commitment the driver is placing in the car.
Add to this its millisecond transfer of information from the front wheel dampers to the rears, with data such as changes in surface grip or bumps before they reach the rear wheels, and you could be forgiven for thinking that the Huracan Evo knows what you are going to do even before you think about it.
What this meant from the inside was that I soon had the confidence to throw this Dh1 million-plus car around the grand prix circuit with the utmost confidence and I was extracting more from it than nearly any other performance car I have driven on-track.
The combination of the chassis electronics, as well as its all-wheel steering and torque vectoring, rewarded my efforts and, unlike other forms of traction control and drift control fitted to other performance cars, this one felt organic, as if there was no electronic intervention keeping it under control.
The result? It made me look good, allowing some nice slides that came back on line perfectly, every time. Even wearing the sticky, Pirelli P-Zero Corsa tyres (245/30 R20 on the nose and 305/30 R20 on the tail) purpose-made for the Huracan Evo was not enough to stop its 600Nm of torque from a V10 that sings to an eye-watering 8,000rpm, from breaking traction.
Away from the chassis control wizardry, the Huracan Evo, which replaces the LP610-4 model and gets the uprated 630bhp engine from the Performante, has been given a makeover in some of the more civilised areas, such as a 21-centimetre HMI capacitive touchscreen in the centre console that acts as the brain for its new, in-car connectivity features.
Functions such as the seats, climate control and its infotainment options, including Apple CarPlay with smartphone integration, are now located in the one panel. A multimedia system incorporates connected navigation and entertainment, including web radio and video player, and allows for voice commands.
Leather and Alcantara-covered seats are power-operated, but as is Lamborghini tradition, you can expect a stripped-out version to come later that offers more race-focused seats with a harness option.
In order to extract an extra 30bhp from the naturally aspirated V10, Lamborghini has also added titanium intake valves and the lightweight, high-exiting exhausts from the Performante, although they have resisted bringing over the Performante’s innovative ALA active aero wings as well.
Yet the team were keen to point out that some aero tweaks built into the nose and a new duck-tail rear lip provides seven times more down-force on the Huracan Evo over the LP610-4, and it is also three seconds faster around the Nardo test track in Italy.
Sure, there might be one or two cars faster than the Lamborghini Huracan Evo, but so far, none of them have returned the same kind of driver satisfaction as this tail-happy vehicle.
Updated: February 21, 2019 02:59 PM