Road Tests

The Last True Supercar: Lamborghini Huracán LP580-2 Spyder

A bottle of Italian white lightning

A blip of the throttle unleashes a maelstrom from the V-10’s exhaust. The fury vibrates through my body and bounces off the concrete chasm that surrounds the Automobile office. Ever since I hung that orange Diablo poster on my bedroom wall as a child, I’ve been dreaming of this day. Hardly original of me, I know; if I were a few years older, the poster would have been of a Countach. And if my time in the 2017 Lamborghini Huracán LP580-2 Spyder stopped here, simply revving the engine in a parking lot, I’d probably die with a smile plastered on my face.

Not so long ago, Lamborghinis were wild, feral beasts prone to making grown men and women cry due to any number of maladies and axe-murderer tendencies—or die of heat exhaustion. Lamborghini’s HVAC output was routinely described only slightly better than a hot cough. Entry and exit were an absolute pain in the ass and had the habit of causing a great number of wardrobe malfunctions with the brand’s heiress clientele. Maintenance was even more loathsome and expensive, since depending on the part in need of service, it sometimes required removing the entire engine, transmission, and even the silly-but-awesome scissor doors. More rigorous maintenance necessitated the expertise of a time traveler from the year 2341, even though most of Lamborghini’s components were old enough to qualify for AARP.

Then along came the Volkswagen Group. The Germans poured heaping mounds of cash into the brand and brought Lamborghini into the 21st century. It transformed the company’s supercars from breathtaking works of art that only worked as two-dimensional bedroom posters to world-class supercars able to go head-to-head with Maranello and no longer needing a golf handicap or extra insurance for self-immolation.

Model after model, each new Lamborghini exiting the marque’s Sant’Agata factory became a more useable supercar. All-wheel drive tamed the cantankerous rear-wheel beasts of yesteryear. Their air-conditioning worked but still not as well as the average Volvo. And the styling evolved, drawing closer to that of corporate sister Audi, with softer curves and more livable doors. But the increased focus on livability made it seem like Lamborghini lost sight of its heritage and the wildness that attracted so many to it in the first place. And while the company has brought out some truly outrageous creations (i.e., Veneno, Centenario, Egoista), its main lineup consists of AWD supercars that can almost be daily drivers. Most wouldn’t call the Huracán and Aventador boring, but they also weren’t as farcically ludicrous as the Countach, Diablo, LM002, or Miura in terms of styling and that extrasensory feel of “specialness.”

This Huracán Spyder, however, is something else. It doesn’t feel like the “Volkswagen generation,” as it’s been described to me. It’s what I’d imagine from Lamborghinis of old. Cheese-grater surfaces cover most of the supercar’s exterior with air inlets and tunnels forcing air through the carbon-fiber bodywork. Its exhaust, unlike most modern turbocharged supercars, sounds like it has the ability to summon the darkest of hell’s demons. And that Kraken-like V-10 sends its 580 horsepower and 398 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels alone, which is plenty to keep your hands and brain busy as the rear wheels struggle to maintain traction while launching from a set of traffic lights like the Roadrunner speeding away from Wile E. Coyote. Lamborghini brought its historical ethos back but left the fiery, unreliable qualities in the past.

Unfortunately, after pulling out of the office parking lot slowly, my first experience with the Huracán LP580-2 Spyder didn’t include raucously spinning the tires and bellows from the V-10. I was stuck in the hell of California’s Interstate 405 at rush hour. Fifteen miles took two and a half hours. This is not where the Lamborghini shines, which is good and bad. (The really good news is, this modern Huracán did not melt itself to the ground while idling in rush hour, something you might not have been able to count on once upon a time.)

While I never doubted the carbon bucket racing seats would keep both driver and passenger secure while whipping the Giallo Tenerife (yellow) Huracán through Nürburgring-like corners, they caused flareups of prior spinal issues. When I finally extricated myself from the cockpit, I felt like I had aged 40 years. The confining seats compressed my spine to the point it felt like two or three of my lumbar vertebrae had been surgically fused. I practically fell out of the car, now in a perpetual hunched position, moaning, and looking for Advil or a double pour of bourbon to ease my aching back. I dropped to the ground and stretched out to loosen my muscles and aching bones. With only T-shirt and jeans separating me from the sizzling tarmac, my back and butt sizzled. The warmth on my bruised and battered spine, however, felt blissful, and I could’ve stayed there for hours. Some things never change.

While staring up at the sapphire blue Californian sky, I considered the Lambo’s suspension. To its credit, the passive, old-school, non-magnetorheological suspension (MR is available as an option) soaked up almost every bit of the fragmented 405 tarmac and was far less harsh than Ford’s punitive Focus RS suspension, which in my opinion, should be reported to The Hague for crimes against humanity.

The Huracán’s standard suspension, however, is smooth enough for daily use, rolling over bumps and potholes, staying perfectly composed and never causing the car to sashay or pull the wheel out of your hands. And although it’s softly sprung, the Huracán is stable enough for when you get on the longer right pedal and the scenery goes plaid. To the outside observer, though, my supine appearance may have not conveyed that fact or made me look as if I was eager to return to the slightly agonizing buckets. However, ahead lay 11 miles of the most pristine, jagged, and desolate mountain roadways in California. With the spritely spirit of my inner 12 year old, the one with the Diablo on his wall, I hopped back into the Huracán and shed the aged feeling.

Nothing quite measures up to the percussive personality of the naturally aspirated V-10 reverberating off a canyon’s granite walls. The heavy metal band Megadeath would likely describe it as a symphony of destruction. And although superbly sonorous in the supercar’s standard mode, with the push of a button its howl magnifies. Shove the Huracán’s mode selector into Corsa, and the V-10’s yowl culminates with a staccato, .45-caliber overrun that’s sure to send a new barrage of shivers down your spine. Everything about this engine is meant to entertain, and does it ever.

Along the canyon’s tight blacktop, and Huracán’s fast approaching 8,000 rpm redline, first and second gear are the only gears necessary, and even then upshifting into second is rarely clicked for faster, straighter sections. When shifting is obligatory, the Audi-sourced dual-clutch transmission changes crisply and without violence. The shifts themselves are almost imperceptible, occurring in fractions of a second. Speed just continues to build, with the only distinguishable variance in gear selection being the exhaust’s tone. And as fast as the transmission upshifts, the downshifts are just as good, although slightly more fierce. Under hard braking, the supercar tends to twerk its hindquarters like Miley Cyrus, something that is likely reminiscent of Lamborghini’s previously untamable persona.

Keeping the car’s rear from spinning around and likely off the mountain’s side, however, were the company’s standard steel brakes and big six-piston calipers.  Although many supercar owners would likely balk at selecting the less expensive steel rotors over carbon-ceramic brakes, the ones on the Huracán never once lost pressure, they cost infinitely less money, and they handled the abuse of a three-quarter speed, 11-mile run up one of the tightest and twistiest roads outside Germany’s 12.9-mile Nürburgring Nordschleife. Through the entire canyon flog, there was never a need for better braking or heat management. Maybe if I had gone to track the car for dozens of laps, the carbon ceramics would’ve been helpful. But for everyday use, which is exactly what this car will see, the standard rotors are wonderful pieces of equipment and enough to stop its 3,300-pound curb weight.

The same goes for the Huracán’s standard steering unit. For a few thousand more, Lamborghini will deliver a Huracán with variable geometry steering, which has the ability to change the steering rack’s ratio from soft for around-town cruising to more forceful when the driver gets on the throttle and starts hucking the chassis into corners. After driving the standard unit, I’m not sure you need it. The standard steering provides an exactness that most modern supercars would kill for, adeptly communicating the road’s flaws to your fingertips. You’re never probing for where the front tires are, trying to discern the surface’s nuances. Just twist the wheel and lay into the throttle. The car will understeer, of course, but you can counter it with a dash more throttle and opposite lock to kick into the car’s RWD oversteer abilities.

As the canyon’s tight walls continued, my mind tried to keep up with the manic, quick revving of the V-10 and lightning-fast shifts. This is very much a driver’s car. When you clip apexes and treat it with respect, it rewards you, but lose focus for more than a moment, and like supercars of old, it will bite you. Be prepared to pucker or need a new pair of underwear. And that’s what makes this Huracán so different from other modern Lamborghinis and other modern supercars. In an era when every supercar manufacturer has evolved its products into more civilized offerings, the frenzied, knife-wielding howler that is the Huracán LP580-2 Spyder has returned to the old ways. It’s a car you’re always smiling or laughing in, including those Kegel moments, which for some reason are ecstatically good fun too. It’s a loud, brash maniac, just like the Diablo that hung on my wall.

Yes, this Huracán is everything I could’ve asked for in a first experience. And it made me hope supercar manufacturers see the inherent fun of their wares being a little more untamed. Unfortunately, the Huracán LP580-2 Spyder is likely the last of its kind; supercar progress means smaller, turbocharged engines, more safety and autonomy, and better everyday usability. This sadly feels like one last hurrah as Lamborghini and the rest of the supercar industry take the next step into modernity. I feel like I just barely slid into the experience under the wire. I hope I’m wrong.

2017 Lamborghini Huracan LP 580-2

ON SALE Now
PRICE $219,780/ $280,845 (base/as tested)
ENGINE 5.2L DOHC 40-valve V-10/ 572 hp @ 8,000 rpm, 398 lb-ft @ 6,500 rpm
TRANSMISSION 7-speed dual-clutch automatic
LAYOUT 2-door, 2-passenger, mid-engine RWD coupe
EPA MILEAGE 15/22 mpg (city/hwy)
L x W x H 175.6 x 75.7 x 45.9 in
WHEELBASE 103.1 in
WEIGHT 3,326 lb
0-60 MPH 3.2 sec
TOP SPEED 199 mph

 

 

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Buying Guide
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EPA MPG:

14 City / 21 Hwy

Horse Power:

580 @ 8000

Torque:

397 @ 6500