A new Lotus, a new Corvette, and all the latest car reviews
You are here
£207,925 when new
It’s a Huracán with wings, right? Well, it’s a little more than that. I’m not one for Nürburgring obsession, but the Performante managed a 6:52:01 on the ‘Ring in October of last year. It’s one serious upgrade from the standard Huracán. It’s lost some 40kg, gained a load of aero tech and generally been at the protein. Some basic stats: 5.2-litre V10, no forced induction, all-wheel drive, 631bhp, 443lb ft, 0-62mph in under three seconds and 0-124mph in under nine. Its top speed is a noisy 201mph, and that’s with the barn door strapped to the back. But it’s a clever barn door. The Performante is interesting because it’s not just a stripped out roadcar with GT3 garnish, it features some interesting ways of bending air. Like what?
Like the new ALA system (Aerodinamica Lamborghini Attiva). It basically does a better job of shaping the profile of the car’s aero depending on the situation. There are active flaps at the front, and a really quite clever rear spoiler arrangement that sucks air in through the baseplates, channels it up through the support struts and fires it out of a series of slots in the bottom of the wing. Open the slots and it cancels out some of the downforce - good for top speed. Close them, and you get full pressure from the wing, good for slower corners. Close one side at a time, and you bias the downforce to one side or the other - aiding turn-in stability and grip - good for high-speed corners. The flaps at the front balance the point of reference for the downforce, meaning that the car should just feel really stable at all times. Sounds complicated, but once you’ve got your head around it, it makes sense. Is it any use on the road, in the real world? Surprisingly, quite a lot of use. But there’s a few things going on here that we need to separate out before we can figure out the rest. First up, the basic Huracán is actually pretty mild when it comes to handling characteristics - it’s an easy car to drive, with rear-biased all-wheel-drive helping cure your worst enthusiasms with the throttle. It’s naturally aspirated, meaning that it delivers power in one long, metered shove rather than thumping in with boost, and it won’t bite you too much if you get things wrong. The Performante is immediately a different animal, and that’s nothing to do with the tricksy wings. All the good bits of that V10 are still there, but the car feels more urgent. Part of that feels like some electronic map changes to the way the engine reacts, some is down to the steering being slightly quicker and the brakes and paddleshift gearbox having more bite and speed. It turns harder and sits flatter, and generally feels like it’s got more expensive suspension, because it’s not necessarily harsh with it. This we found out driving on Scottish Highland roads which can vary enormously from glassy-smooth to viciously potholed, tight and unsighted to long, yawning sweepers. It’s hard and comfy? Yep, but it’s got more goad than standard. It wants to go faster, pretty much all the time. And when you do, it steps up more quickly than a normal Huracán - it’s reactions are tighter, brighter and more insistent. On the track that breeds confidence, and you build up to quite serious speed very quickly. It’s a sign that it’s well-sorted. On the road, it means largely the same; it’s got a lot of talent, and it makes you look like a better driver. So it’s hardcore, but not scary. Bluntly, yes. It feels like an in-yer-face supercar, but get it out and about and it’s actually just really satisfying. The noise from the V10 is phenomenal, the gearbox is whip-crack, you can have fun at slower speeds. Yes, if you go very quickly on a track in Corsa mode you can feel various invisible things happening to the aero, but to be honest, you’ve got to be a little irresponsible to say that you can make it work on the road. And I think that might be the best bit - that the Huracán Performante is a road car that will happily operate on a track. It’s not a ‘track special’ in the purest sense, just a really well-sorted, weapons-grade Huracán for those people who want their Lamborghini to have some proper bite. Once you’ve driven it, the standard car feels a bit… bland. This one’s a wolf in wolf’s clothing? Yep. It looks great. It’s a mid-engined supercar with a big wing. It makes young children stare and shout words with soft consonants. Ok, so the windscreen is low (lots of headroom, but a dipping roofline), and you don’t really see too much out of the rearview, but every time I got into it, I felt special. There’s acres of Lamborghini’s ‘forged composite’ carbonfibre slathered everywhere, and a decent dose of the theatrical - including the flip-top start-up button - and it makes a brain-frying noise from those mortar pipes out back. And when we drove it on the road in the eponymous ‘Strada’ mode, it was happy trucking along with the best of them. No, it’s not particularly happy in torrential rain, and if you start to throw it around too much, it will step out of line smartly, but there’s nothing in it that feels terrifying; it does fire things at you quickly, but it’s got the high-definition responses from the steering and throttle that mean you can react just as quickly, and keep things safe. You’ll have to watch speedbumps and it’s not very good at parallel parking, but if you bought a Performante to get upset about things like that, I think you may be reading the wrong website. Mind you, it’s got a quite generous front boot for those of you who were wondering. So not just for the Nürburgring fetishists, then? Absolutely not. One of the joys of the Performante is that it is as satisfying on a country road as it is on a racetrack. I don’t think it’s quite as fast as some other supercars unless offered a specific set of circumstances that let the ALA become effective, but the basic ingredients - harder, faster, more reactive - make it the best Huracán it can be. And it’s got that visual set of cues that make it exciting. After all, no one ever bought a supercar to slip silently into the crowd, did they?
Ferrari 488 GTB review: a turbo Ferrari – Heresy? Not a bit. The hypercar-fast 488 GTB is still epic.
The unexpected successor to the short-lived 12C. The 650S is the car it should have been all along
£119,085 – £147,765
Audi R8 review: a seminal supercar first time round, the R8 is more changed than you might expect