2020 Lamborghini Huracán Evo Spyder First Drive: Shredding Synapses in Monterey
Sant’Agata’s latest warhead has the power to part seas.
Sensory overload is inevitable during Monterey Car Week. Every year, enthusiasts from across the globe converge in and around this relatively low-key California beach city to celebrate the world's finest automobiles. The massive influx of gearhead influence transforms Monterey into something akin to a real-world version of Forza Horizon. High-buck exotics become a stunningly common sight around town—stumbling across a street-parked McLaren Senna and crossing paths with a Ferrari 250 GTO plodding along in midday traffic becomes the new normal.
And yet among all the noise, the Lamborghini Huracán Evo Spyder still manages to make its presence known. Heading out for a blast down Carmel Valley Road, the sea of cars inching into The Quail parted as I eased my Blu Sideris bull into traffic. It was a clear, temperate August afternoon—damn near perfect conditions for a roadster like this one, and it was apparent that other drivers had taken notice.
I used the opportunity afforded by the initially slow pace to open the roof, a process that takes all of 17 seconds from start to finish and can be accomplished at speeds of up to 31 miles per hour. After weaving my way out of the fray, I pointed the nose toward the hills, clicked the drive mode selector to Sport, and opened up the taps. When in Rome, as they say.
Since its introduction in 2014, the Huracán has gone on to become the bestselling Lamborghini in the company's history. Though it's likely to relinquish that title to the Urus SUV before too long, for now the automaker's V-10-powered wedge holds claim to the title. An array of different elements has contributed to Huracán's success, but perhaps more than anything else, the ability to effectively combine the Italian supercar experience with everyday usability has made the car a hit.
Yet some have voiced concern that the Huracán is too civil for its own good, forfeiting a tangible amount of drama and dynamics for the sake of accessibility. Models like the rear-wheel-drive LP580-2 and track-focused Performante have addressed those apprehensions to varying degrees, but with the Evo refresh, Lamborghini took a more holistic approach. By integrating new technologies like the Lamborghini Dinamica Veicolo Integrata (LDVI) system into the now-standard Huracán model, the idea is to not only make the Huracán a more capable sports car, but also a more playful driving companion.
"I think we must imagine LDVI is like two different souls of the car," Maurizio Reggiani, Lamborghini's chief technical officer, later told me on the Pebble Beach Concours concept lawn. "One is focused on interpreting the inputs the driver gives to the car, and the other is focused on what the car must do in order to fulfill the needs of the driver."
Electronic assistance is nothing new in performance cars, but Lamborghini's integration here is. Using a new central processor that manages all the Evo's dynamic systems, LDVI is designed to be predictive rather than reactive. So rather than putting the kibosh on the fun once things start to get rowdy, LDVI assesses what the driver wants the car to do based on drive mode, speed, steering angle, pedal inputs, and other real-time factors so it can deliver what the driver wants. The idea is a system that can help deliver understeer-free cornering or a tightly-controlled drift without the driver ever noticing. "It allows us to more precisely interpret the expectations of the driver and adjust accordingly," Reggiani says. "What we need to give to our customer is the confidence that they can push more and the car will be easy to manage. This is fundamental."
LDVI works in conjunction with the Evo's new brake-based torque-vectoring system as well as its new rear-wheel-steering system. After some hot laps in the Evo coupe earlier this year at Willow Springs, we had some mixed feelings about the new steering system—its eagerness to change direction required a conscious recalibration of steering inputs, and at times we found it tougher to get a good sense of rear-end grip as the car crab-walked through fast sweepers like Turn 2.
But on the narrow switchbacks in the Monterey hills, the new setup makes a lot more sense, not only for its ability to more urgently point the car into a corner, but also for the added maneuverability it provides in tight confines, making mundane tasks like U-turns less of a chore. Information about what the LDVI system is up to at any given moment can be accessed through the Evo's new 8.4-inch touchscreen infotainment display on the center stack, a system which lacks a physical volume knob but largely makes up for it with multi-finger gesture controls.
Chopping the top incurs a 256-pound penalty versus the Evo coupe due to the additional structural reinforcement needed to keep the car rigid, bringing the Spyder's estimated weight to something like 3700 pounds. But you'd be hard pressed to tell the difference from behind the wheel. Channeling the thrust through a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission that sends the power to all four corners, this droptop will sprint to 60 mph in something like 3.0 seconds (or less) and can achieve a top speed in excess of 200 mph.
That hair-raising motivation comes by way of a 631-hp, naturally aspirated 5.2-liter V-10. Plucked directly from the Huracán Performante, the high-winding mill absolutely sings to its 8,000-rpm redline through a new center-exit exhaust system, an experience that's made all the better without a roof getting in the way of the snap-crackle-pop aural theatrics. Yet I couldn't help but notice that the Evo's redline still falls 500 revs shy of the Performante's. Was it due to mechanical changes? Intake design restrictions?
"The engine is exactly the same," Reggiani explained. "But with the Performante being more track-oriented, we added a bit more to the rpm limiter. In the Evo, we didn't feel that this was something that was mandatory—you can achieve the maximum capability of the car at this limit. It's also important to remember that because the Performante has aerodynamic elements like the rear wing, it was necessary to have more rpm in order to achieve the same speeds."
Either way, it's hard to complain about a V-10 that sounds like this and revs to the moon at a time when choices for naturally aspirated high-performance engines seem to be getting scarcer by the day. Reggiani proved more elusive when asked about the prospects for natural aspiration in Lamborghini's future sports cars, but it's obvious that it is an important characteristic to him. "We consider natural aspiration to be the most exciting way to configure an engine in terms of responsiveness and emotion. It's clear that oncoming rules will put big constraints on us here, and we have not yet taken everything into consideration, but there are possibilities to solve this. And until then, we will stay with a naturally aspirated V-10 in the Huracán."
So it seems that the Huracán's howling V10 is safe for now, and along with it, a key tenet of the Lamborghini experience. As I reluctantly made my way back to drop off the car, I approached the still-languid Quail traffic scrum that blocked the route to my destination. With the exhaust opened wide, I grabbed the left paddle and snapped off a few punctuated downshifts. The seas parted once again.
2020 Lamborghini Huracán Evo Spyder Specifications
|ENGINE||5.2L DOHC 40-valve V-10; 631 hp @ 8,000 rpm, 443 lb-ft @ 6,500 rpm|
|TRANSMISSION||7-speed dual-clutch automatic|
|LAYOUT||2-door, 2-passenger, mid-engine, AWD convertible|
|EPA MILEAGE||13/18/15 mpg (city/hwy/combined)|
|L x W x H||178.0 x 76.1 x 46.5 in|
|WEIGHT||3,700 lb (est)|
||2.8 sec (est)|