Lamborghini Huracan - Pushing the limits

By LEE PANG SENG | 30 March 2016

Lamborghini is expanding rapidly, buoyed by the strong demand for its rather limited range of models; for the moment, it counts only two models with the respective variants – three each of the V12 Aventador and V10 Huracán were launched last year.

The latter included the Huracán LP 580-2 rear-wheel drive model that was launched in late 2015 to support the Huracán LP 610-4, along with the Spyder and Huracán GT3, a race-ready car.

This supercar stable will include the Urus SUV (sport utility vehicle), Lamborghini’s first, within a year as the Italian’s supercar production premises is currently adding a new line, expanding its area almost twofold to 150,000 square metres from 80,000 to also include a new warehouse, new offices and 500 additional employees (1,300 currently).

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For a supercar manufacturer who thrived on a single model for the first 40 years of its operation (beginning from 1963), the addition of the Gallardo (the predecessor to the Huracán) in 2003 signalled its ambition to expand its model range to broaden its clientele portfolio.

And it appeared to have worked as Lamborghini’s sales since 2010 (when 1,302 cars were sold) increased steadily with 3,245 cars sold in 2015 to mark a new record year.

The Huracán, by the way, was only introduced in 2014 to take over from the Gallardo.

The demand in the Asia-Pacific region had more than doubled from 13% in 2007 to 28% in 2015. Japan accounted for the biggest share of the market with more than 300 cars delivered.

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To get the regional media excited about the Huracán LP 580-2, Lamborghini held a ‘dynamic launch’ in Kaohsiung, Taiwan that included a drive at the Penbay International Circuit.

Opened in 2011, the 3.527km 16-turn FIA Grade 2 race circuit in Donggang, Pingtung County is the only international standard motor sport facility in Taiwan.

The mid-engine Huracán LP 580-2 was probably introduced to take on the Ferrari 488 GTB, which was also launched last year to replace the 458; this 3.9-litre V8 rival has both rear-wheel and all-wheel drive variants.

Generally, the Huracán variants have the same 5.2-litre V10 except that the engine in the LP 580-2 is tuned to deliver a lower output of 580PS from 610PS of the all-wheel drive models.

Lamborghini Huracan LP 580-2 - 21It is a naturally aspirated engine, which is continued from the Gallardo, and that means it has no force-feed assistance such as turbocharging as the high engine displacement of more than 5.2-litre allows it to develop good torque early and sustain it across the rev range.

The LP 580-2 has plenty of torque at 540Nm against 560NM for the LP 610-4, and the transmission is the same seven-speed LDF dual clutch automatic with manual paddle shift options; there is no Huracán with manual transmission.

As Lamborghini comes under the Volkswagen Group, it is not surprising that the Huracán shares the same powertrain and other mechanicals with the new Audi R8.

With fewer running gear to reduce overall vehicle weight (the LP 610-4’s kerb weight is 1,550kg, about 30kg more than the LP 580-2), Lamborghini has deemed it ideal to reduce engine output and give the rear-wheel drive Huracán the same level of spirited driving.

Lamborghini Huracan LP 580-2 - 12To support that, the LP 580-2’s performance is exciting; 0-100kph in 3.4 seconds (3.2 seconds for LP 610-4) and 0-200kph in 10.1 seconds (9.9 seconds) while top speed is 320kph (more than 325kph).

If you are wondering what the name Huracán refers to, you should have guessed that it has to do with hurricane, for which the Spanish word is Huracán.

The difference between the LP 580-2 and LP 620-4 is in the front; the latter has a seamless lower air apron with angled airscoops while that for the LP 580-2 has a three-section design.

In body styling, the Huracán has clean minimalist lines that resemble the classic wedge profile with a sharply raked front expanding to a bigger rear.

Sitting on a 2,620mm wheelbase (shorter than that of a Honda Civic), it has aluminium double wishbones and magnetorheological dampers for the suspension all round; the body has mixed aluminium and carbon fibre components and is said to be significantly stiffer than that of the Gallardo.

The LP 580-2 runs on Pirelli P-Zero tyres that are specially developed for Lamborghini, with 245/30 R20 size in front and wider 305/30 R20 at the rear.

Lamborghini Huracan LP 580-2 - 10It comes with ANIMA (Adaptive Network Intelligent Management) that has three drive modes -Street (Strada), Sport or Race (Corsa) – via a selector on the steering wheel.

Getting comfortable in the Huracán is helped by electronic controls and driving a left-hand drive sports car means that the brake and accelerator foot is angled more comfortably, unlike a right-hand drive with which the wheel arch intrusion compromises that a little.

We were in a group of 22 that included Taiwanese and Chinese media, and six Huracán super cars to get us excited over almost three hours.

While it was conducted in a convoy, with a pace car leading two media cars per group, there were the usual wheel screeches and cones being knocked all over at the tight corners.

Being placed at the bottom of the media list, we had the benefit of just us and the pace car driver.

All in, we enjoyed more than 13 laps over three sessions (of four to five laps each); in the first one, we started with Street mode and found the Huracán quite loose through the corners.

Lamborghini Huracan LP 580-2 - 03That didn’t give us the confidence to push this 580PS Lamborghini hardtop coupé and pace car driver Xuxu, a regular rally and drift participant, urged us via the walkie-talkie to push the Huracán harder to keep up with him.

The car felt nervous and there didn’t seem to be the road grip we were expecting from such a car; the turn-in to the corner was also a little slow and although we were selecting the gears, the power build-up didn’t open up as quickly as we would like.

Once we selected Sport mode, the Huracán became a different car.

Although it had a greater tendency to oversteer, the power feed was a lot better through the corners and the suspension reacted better to handle the higher demands placed on it.

This boosted our confidence tremendously and we explored the car’s dynamic limits through the respective corners, taking pains not to ram into the pace car’s rear.
Lamborghini Huracan LP 580-2 - 18We were still getting to grips with using paddle shifts but most of the corners were taken in third while the two tight near hairpin turns were best done in second gear.

The 600-metre straight, which we entered in third gear, was long enough to let us see almost 200kph as we upshifted to fifth before braking hard for the fast approaching first corner.

In the second session, we drove in Sport mode but alternated between Sport and Street in the final one; the crackling exhaust note was very addictive and we loved shifting the gears to hear it (it sounded tamer in Street mode).

By then, we had concluded that the car was fully in its dynamic element when driven fast on a race circuit in Sport mode.

The hot lap with Xuxu at the wheel topped the session; in pushing the limits of the car, we hit a few cones and encountered more oversteer on exiting a corner.

Lamborghini Huracan LP 580-2 - 15He might be less exciting than the other two pace car drivers (one of whom had his share of spins and oversteering moments), but the LP 580-2 continued to be an exciting car to drive in rear-wheel drive format at the limit.

It should have no shortage of admirers when it arrives on Malaysian shores in the latter part of the year.

Lamborghini is also expanding two areas of customer service for the first time; a wider area of customisation with different interior colour choice among others and the offer of more aggressive body kits (the latter is available from June).

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