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Lambo Huracán: all you need to know

  1. Barry. Good thing those Spanish matadors never called any of their mighty fighting bulls Barry. Or Simon. Lamborghini’s long-awaited successor to the Gallardo is here at last, andits name is Huracán. Pronounced Ooh-ra-cahn, it is - as the linguists among you may have guessed - the Spanish word for ‘Hurricane’. But the Huracán is named not for wind, instead, says Lambo - which seems to have an inexhaustible supply of these matador legends to draw upon - for a fearless bull that fought in Alicante in 1879: a man-cow, says Lambo, that “remained defiant and invincible”. We rather hope the ‘invincible’ bit is more figurative than literal, otherwise there’s a pissed-off, immortal, 140-year-old bull stumbling round southern Spain.

    So Huracán LP610-4 it is: a good name for a car with some big espadrilles to fill. Long in the tooth it may have become in the last couple of years, but the Gallardo has been a game-changer for Lamborghini. In the 40 years between the firm’s birth and the introduction of the little V10, Lambo sold an average of 250 cars each year. But since the Gallardo strutted its way on stage, Lambo has shifted around 2,000 cars annually: in total, just over 14,000 Gallardos were made in its 10-year production run. For all Lambo’s dabbling in multi-million-quid, ultra-limited hyperthings, that’s the stuff that keeps fast-car firms from sliding into TVR-spec oblivion.

    Photography: Wilson Hennessy 

  2. But the Gallardo was a product of simpler, more innocent times. When it landed in 2003, the ‘baby Lambo’ really only had to worry about the Ferrari 360, which - though a fine car by the standards of the day - had been on sale for four years already. The Huracán must carve out its territory in a supercar warzone containing not only the Ferrari 458 - which is a) two generations developed from the 360 that did battle with the Gallardo and b) quite simply one of the very finest Ferraris ever created - but McLaren’s freakishly rapid, getting-better-every-year 12C. Oh, and the Audi R8, which has grown from a 911 Carrera-rivalling sports car at its inception to - in its latest 542bhp ‘V10 Plus’ flavour - a genuine everyday supercar, not to mention one that borrows more than a few parts from the Lamborghini warehouse. Chuck the 560bhp, four-wheel-drive Porsche 911 Turbo S and BMW’s paradigm-shifting i8 hybrid into the mix (and while you’re at it, why not Mercedes-Benz’s upcoming GT, and the departing SLS?), and it’s clear the Huracán will have to work a whole lot harder than the Gallardo ever needed to in order to convince the world’s well-heeled to part with their wonga.

    Lamborghini, in a burst of surprisingly un-Lambo-esque restraint, hasn’t tried to reinvent the big-selling, V10 wheel (though, honestly, so mad have been the creations pouring from Sant’Agata recently, it genuinely wouldn’t have been a surprise to see Lambo replace the Gallardo with a three-wheeled bat-pod powered by zirconium and caustic put-downs). There’s no McLaren-style turbocharging here, no fiddling with hybrid modules or energy recovery systems. The Huracán remains a supercar in the most traditional sense, a wedge-shaped lump of exotica with a big, naturally aspirated engine of many cylinders at its heart.

  3. That heart, specifically, is a familiar 5.2-litre V10: an evolution of the direct-injection unit from the outgoing Gallardo, which, in final LP570 guise, made 562bhp. The Huracán, however, muscles its way into the 600bhp club, making a maximum 602bhp at a dizzying 8,250rpm, along with 413lb ft of torque. That nestles the little Lambo neatly between the 458 (562bhp) and 12C (616bhp), and, perhaps as importantly, puts clear air between the Huracán and that pesky R8 Plus.

    Of course it’s four-wheel drive (hence the 4 in LP610-4: the LP refers to the longitudinal arrangement of the V10, the 610 to the Huracán’s output in metric horsepower). Like the Gallardo, we’d expect the Huracán to use Lambo’s viscous coupling system that pushes 70 per cent of torque to the rear wheels in normal driving, but can shove almost full power to whichever axle is most in need when things get slippery. Which means the Huracán won’t be an inert understeerer - the Gallardo, remember, even allowed you to get a little tail-happy in icy conditions with electric aids switched off - but should prevent you making an impromptu Anish Kapoor sculpture of the roadside Armco if you run out of talent. Which, much as we may marvel at the subtle adjustability of the rear-drive 458, is probably good news for those of us lacking in Stig-grade skills.

  4. As is the news that, at last, Lamborghini has treated its baby to a proper flappy-paddle gearbox. The Gallardo’s E-gear robotised manual was hardly the height of sophistication when it was introduced and, by the end of that car’s life, resembled a Mesolithic-era fossil beside the 12C and 458’s double-clutch efforts. (The Aventador, of course, retains a heavily modified version of this ‘box, but can pass it off as part of its whole Yeah, I’m A £300k Lambo With Pointy Bits So Screw You shtick: the Huracán must offer a more rounded proposition. Such is the back-to-front logic in the rarefied world of supercars.)

    So the Huracán employs a new seven-speed dual-clutch ‘box called Lamborghini Doppia Frizione (LDF), which we’d suspect - though Lambo engineers haven’t yet confirmed this - shares much with Audi’s S tronic transmission that found its way into last year’s facelifted R8. No bad thing: that gearbox is as smooth and snappy as any in the business, and has already proven it can handle 542bhp in the shape of the R8’s own V10: fettling it to take another 60-odd horsepowers should be no issue.

    But what Lambo giveth with one hand, it taketh with the other: the introduction of a decent two-pedal set-up means Lamborghini won’t offer the Huracán with a manual ‘box, at least at launch. A shame: the Gallardo was one of few cars to offer stick-shifting in a supercar world increasingly intolerant of those who like to use their left foot for tasks less menial than rescuing bottles of water that have slipped into the driver’s footwell.

  5. But double-clutch equals double-fast. Lambo says the Huracán will get from a standstill to 62mph in 3.2secs. Which is hellish rapid: seven-tenths quicker than the departing Gallardo and slap-bang between the 458 (3.4secs) and 12C (3.1). Of course, there’s always some wiggle room in the precision of these figures - not to mention the odd dose of conservatism/optimism from the manufacturers - but safe to say Huracán owners won’t be left trailing in the wake of their Ferrari- and McLaren-owning mates at the McDonald’s drive-thru. It’ll do 0-124mph in a blink under 10 seconds and top out at over 202mph. The Ferrari 458’s vmax? 202mph exactly. Clearly, this is coincidence.

    Unlike the McLaren 12C - and indeed Lamborghini’s own Aventador - the Huracán doesn’t get a carbon-fibre monocoque tub. Instead, it uses what it calls a ‘hybrid chassis’, an integrated spaceframe structure of carbon and aluminium. Lamborghini, remember, hearts carbon fibre: the Gallardo-based, £1.95m Sesto Elemento that so enchanted Hammond, featured the black stuff in many different and novel applications. The Sesto’s propshafts, suspension and even wheel rims were all forged from carbon fibre, so expect to find it making an appearance in some unusual locations in the Huracán. Not that this thing is quite so bantamweight as the one-tonne Sesto Elemento: Lamborghini quotes a dry weight of 1,422kg for the Huracán, which should equate to a kerbweight under 1,500kg. Maybe a little less.

  6. The cabin is Lambo’s now-familiar, and entirely welcome, blend of VW Group switchgear wrapped in Italian lunacy. Perhaps most conspicuous - beyond the theatrical, pointless and utterly brilliant jet-fighter-style start button sheathed under a red cover - is the toggle at the base of the steering wheel to select from three dynamic modes. As in the Aventador, you can flick between Strada, Sport and Corsa: the latter, if Huracán’s V12 big brother is anything to go by, will require a steely will and possibly heavy medication to survive for any length of time. Doing so alters gearbox response, throttle mapping, the aggressiveness of the stability control systems, torque split of the four-wheel drive and, interestingly, the noise from that V10. Which would suggest a) the presence of butterfly valves in the exhaust, which, as we all know, can be locked into ‘permanently loud’ mode at the removal of a fuse and b) that the Lambo engineers have spent plenty of time making the Huracán sound good. Given the Gallardo made a noise like Satan’s own Stratocaster, this news should make your ears feel warm, fuzzy and just a little bit fearful for their wellbeing. Carbon-ceramic brakes come as standard, while variable magnetorheological suspension - as found on the Corvette and R8, as well as the latest generation of Ferraris, in which dampers filled with magnetic fluid are stiffened or softened depending on the current passed though them - is offered as an option.

    As for visuals… well, you don’t need us to help there. Just look at it. The Huracán neatly melds the dense, blocky aesthetic of the Gallardo with the samurai-blade slices of the Aventador, but ends up in a place all of its own. It’s a Lambo, no doubt: that triple-slatted rear deck owes much to the Aventador Roadster, there’s ample use of Lamborghini’s favourite new ‘Y’ motif - check out those intakes ahead of the rear wheels and the rear lights - and the huge, high air intakes behind the side windows are borrowed from the Sesto Elemento. But the Huracán resolves Sant’Agata’s angular design cues into something both striking and somehow subtle. Neat trick. Though the Huracán is a mite bigger than the Gallardo in all directions, it looks compact. It looks mean. We reckon it looks pretty special.

  7. There’s a whole lot more to learn about the Huracán before its official unveiling at the Geneva motor show in March, not least its price: the outgoing Gallardo cost from £136,000, but you can’t get a new 12C or 458 for very much less than £180k. If the Huracán can weigh in cheaper than its new arch-rivals, it might just be able to carry on where the Gallardo left off.

    Just think: nothing more than a modest EuroMillions win, and you could be looking at your next self-drive European summer holiday. High on an empty Alpine pass, late-afternoon sunshine splintering off the Huracán’s bodywork, V10 revving towards 9,000rpm, quad exhausts straining and screaming before that double-clutch box flicks a split-second change…

    Huracán. Here’s hoping the reality lives up to the promise. And the name.

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