Exclusive: We drive Lamborghini's rear-wheel-drive Huracan
When Lamborghini launched the replacement for the Gallardo, the Huracan, the Italian company decided it should be three times the fun for the sports coupe.
Lamborghini first launched the all-wheel-drive LP 610-4 in 2014, following that up with the Spyder version and now comes the rear-wheel-drive LP 580-2 coupe.
Lamborghini says the Huracan range now offers three choices for customers: The AWD coupe is for performance, the Spyder is lifestyle while the rear-wheel-drive coupe is “fun to drive”.
This model was recently launched to the Asia Pacific media at the famous Phillip Island track in Victoria, Australia.
Priced from $390,000, the Huracan LP 580-2 (nicknamed Dash 2 by the Australian media at the Phillip Island event) is now on sale in New Zealand and will be joined by the Sypder this month.
Lamborghini’s head of Asia Pacific, Andrea Baldi, told Driven at the Phillip Island event, that from conception of the Huracan there were plans to diversify the product. “We had a flexible car and the decision from the beginning was to have these three vehicles,” said Baldi.
Lamborghini’s head of research and development, Riccardo Barbieri, was tasked to create three very separate products from the Huracan.
“We had to change the characteristics of each, and have them reach their limit … we had to create a different feel for the driver,” Barbieri told Driven.
“With the Gallardo, we have the same design for the two models [4WD and rear-wheel] and the only way you knew the difference was the way that it drove.”
With the Huracan LP 580-2, there are obvious visual differences to the 4WD, with the front and rear redesigned to give a more aerodynamic appearance.
Inside the Huracan there is no visual difference between the two vehicles, the Italian sports coupe having a centre console and all the controls on the steering wheel, including the fixed paddles.
At 1389kg it is also 33kg lighter than the 4WD, with the weight distribution now 40 per cent front, 60 per cent rear, reducing weight in the front axle by 3 per cent.
The Lamborghini Huracan line-up at Phillip Island.
To compensate for the reduced weight on the front end, the nose has additional downforce.
Pirelli developed 19in P Zero tyres for the Huracan Dash 2, with a softer compound at the front and a harder one at the rear while steel brakes with aluminum brake disc calipers have been contoured for weight reduction.
The Dash 2 has a 5.2-litre, V10 naturally aspirated, mid-mounted engine with 426kW of power and 540Nm of torque, with the 4WD at 449kW/560Nm.
It retains the seven-speed dual clutch transmission with the Strada, Sport and Corsa driving modes recalibrated to suit the rear-wheel-drive.
The Dash 2 has a top speed of 320km/h with 0-100km/h in 3.4 seconds.
At the Philip Island media event, part of the three-day Lamborghini Esperienza for Asia Pacific customers, the motoring journalists weren’t given the change to test the top speed limit, instead over three separate drive sessions on the track we gradually pushed the performance of the vehicle.
Before we drove the Huracan Dash 2 on the track ourselves, we were passengers in the rear-wheel-drive coupe with one of Lamborghini’s driving instructors who explained to us the famous undulating Phillip Island Gran Prix circuit with its blind corners.
Lap one had an instructor in a Huracan, leading myself and a fellow journalist on the track with our Dash 2 cars in Strada mode.
The instructor demonstrated the approach to each corner — and the infamous hill that you breach blind only to encounter a hairpin corner.
The lap certainly didn’t test the Huracan as we took the straight at a sedate 130km/h — as dictated by the instructor.
Lap two solo saw just myself, with a instructor piloting me around the track. Just before we left the pits he said to “have fun”.
Hey, that’s what this vehicle is all about.
The Dash 2 was now in Sport mode and not only did the Huracan performance alter dramatically but it was my first glimpse at what makes this version of the coupe so special.
Though many customers may have opted for the stability and speed from the all-wheel-drive Huracan LP 610-4, when it comes to fun you can’t go past the Dash 2.
The dramatic interior of the Lamborghini Huracán LP580-2. Pictures / Joel Strickland
With the rise and fall of the track, on entering each corner at speed the nose of the Huracan dips down, the rear nipping into oversteer mode, flicking to the side, but as you power out, the coupe fluidly aligns itself without any feel of instability.
It can sometimes be terrifying when you enter a corner at high speed on a track and worry that the sports car is going to teach you a lesson with flick.
You don’t want to be “that” motoring writer who spins off the track.
But the Dash 2 has been calibrated to allow for the exhilarating sideways action at speed without being cavalier.
In Sport mode there is also the insurance that if you go too fast, the ESP will take control back via the brakes.
On Lap 2 solo, I hit the straight at 240km/h.
I could have gone faster but the instructor in the pilot car was still dictating the speed.
Before the straight, the Lamborghini driving team had set up a cone chicane to try to slow us.
But I realised that instead of braking you could actually use the s-shaped cone chicane to implement the Scandinavian Flick (a rally move), that gives you momentum out of the bend and I could hit the straight at a solid speed.
The ability to implement this manoeuvre also highlighted the difference between the AWD and this rear-wheel Huracan, as you can get the most out of the vehicle.
I had driven the AWD mode in New Zealand last year at the Taupo track that unfortunately had many patches under water due to heavy rain. At Taupo we had to drive slowly due to the weather, but the conditions highlighted the stable four-wheel-drive ability of the sports coupe.
At Phillip Island, under sunny autumnal weather, the Dash 2 proved you can have fun.
LAMBORGHINI HURACAN LP 580-2
|CONS:||Not any everyday drive|