One Week With: 2018 Lamborghini Huracán Performante
My favorite raging bull
Every auto aficionado should have a chance to drive the 2018 Lamborghini Huracán Performante. Scratch that—every human should drive this Lambo at least once. Doing so would result in world peace. A universal state of nirvana. The end of humans doing anything else. That's because we'd all be standing in line for a chance to drive this mind-searing performance machine again.
Mere words fail when attempting to describe the experience of piloting this 631-horsepower, V-10-powered, $320,000 wedge of la dolce vita. I mean, the all-wheel-drive Performante, a lighter, more potent version of the already almighty Huracán, is capable of accelerating from a dead stop to 60 mph in just 2.3 seconds. Try it just once, and you'll know you know exactly how it feels to be a baseball thwacked by the bat of Albert Pujols. One second you're here, and the next you're … gone. But the stupefying speed isn't the whole of it. There's also … that sound. Frankly, in and around busy Los Angeles I found very few opportunities to mash the Lambo's throttle fully to the floor—but when I did, what issued forth from behind my ears was an outsized scream akin to Bigfoot walking into an electrified fence. The hair stands up on your arms—at least until it all gets blown back down by the ensuing g forces. Your time-space continuum shifts. The Performante is just sick fast.
It looks it, too. This extra-special Huracán sparks riots wherever it goes. Kids in a passing schoolyard yell "Check out the Lambo!" and break into full chase. Smartphone cameras pop up in the windows of nearby motorists. A cop at a stoplight motioned me to roll down my window, smiled conspiratorially, and said, "Don't have too much fun in that thing, okay?" But my 17-year-old daughter summed it up the Performante's charms best: "Dad, this is the coolest car you've ever brought home."
Yep, the Huracán is one bravura piece of automotive style and showmanship. Climbing aboard is like entering some futuristic spaceship: rows of gleaming switches, exotic materials (more on that in a moment), the exciting view of wickedly creased bodywork outside the windshield. Though the Huracán shares its basic platform, drivetrain, and many interior pieces with the Audi R8, the Lambo has a look and personality very much its own—which is to say, it's way, way more outré. Some of the details are so cool you can't help but smile—i.e., the center console's chromed reverse-selector handle and the bright-red flip-up protector over the start/stop button. Batman would feel right at home here.
Importantly, though, the cockpit works as sublimely as it looks. There's plenty of space inside for two, with more than adequate headroom for a six-plus footer. The controls are intuitive to use, while the configurable center driver's display provides a fine view of essential data. In Corsa (Race) mode, the display dumps the little stuff in favor a giant tachometer. The Alcantara that seems to cover everything from the seats to the dash feels rich. The seats, though quite rigid, are surprisingly comfortable even on extended drives.
What you can't fail to notice is the abundance of Lamborghini's "marble-like" Forged Composite—it's used for the center console, air vents, shift paddles, front air dam, and much of the car's dramatic posterior (the towering rear wing is completely made of the stuff). A lightweight, carbon fiber-reinforced resin, Forged Composite helps the Performante shed almost 100 pounds over the standard Huracán.
"It's a material that also gives us the opportunity to produce shapes we otherwise couldn't make with conventional carbon fiber," Lamborghini chief operating officer Alessandro Farmeschi told me at a recent company event. "The curve of the rear wing, for instance. Also, the engine cover on the Gallardo Superleggera was made of carbon fiber in two pieces, but on the Huracán Performante, with Forged Composite, it's a single piece—and 20 percent lighter."
The Performante also benefits from an active-aero system dubbed ALA, or "Aerodinamica Lamborghini Attiva," that, in concert with the rear wing, can produce as much as 770 pounds of downforce at 193 mph. Yet when the downforce isn't needed, small scoops just ahead of the wing struts automatically open, allowing air to flow into the wing (it and the struts are hollow) before exiting through a row of slots on the wing's underside—greatly reducing drag. The system's brilliance is that it can balance downforce and drag as-needed without the need for complex motors to adjust the angle of the wing itself.
Few supercars are as effortless to gun hard as this Lamborghini. Steering feel is superb, in corners the chassis bites and all but refuses to let go, and the carbon-ceramic brakes erase speed time after time without fade. The 7-speed dual-clutch shifter is so brilliant I deactivated automatic shifting every time I climbed behind the wheel, preferring to work the paddles myself. The Performante even rides pretty darn well—at least as long as you're not in super-stiff Corsa mode, in which case the car pounds over the pavement almost as if it didn't have a suspension at all.
After my extended drive in the Performante, I'd have to rate it as my favorite-ever Lamborghini. Sure, the V-12 Aventador that I pushed to 207 mph on a closed road in Montana is rarer and even more powerful, but for me the Performante has the exotic/livable balance just right. You could drive the car every day if you felt like it, but when the need for speed arises this Herculean Huracán can also deliver a visceral, senses-overloading driving extravaganza that'll leave you tingling for hours.
Sure beats walking into an electric fence.
2018 Lamborghini Huracan Performance Specifications
|PRICE||$277,885/$320,885 (base/as tested)|
|ENGINE||5.2L DOHC 40-valve V-10/631 hp @ 8,00 rpm, 443 lb-ft @ 6,500 rpm|
|TRANSMISSION||7-speed dual-clutch automatic|
|LAYOUT||2-door, 2-passenger, mid-engine, AWD coupe|
|EPA MILEAGE||14/19 mpg (city/hwy)|
|L x W x H||177.4 x 75.7 x 45.9 in|
|0-60 MPH||2.3 sec (est)|
|TOP SPEED||202 mph (mfr)|