Lamborghini Huracan STO review: outrageous Omologata
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Lamborghini Huracan STO
- Properly track capable
- Epic V10 engine
- Intriguing aerodynamics
- Not exactly subtle
- Quite compromised as a road machine
- Cheap for a track-supercar, but far from cheap
“This is the best road car pretending to be a racecar… that I’ve driven on a racetrack”.
Not my words, but the words of four-time Bathurst winner and Kiwi motor racing icon Greg Murphy, as he piloted DRIVEN around the Hampton Downs National Circuit in the new Lamborghini Huracan STO.
They are also the words of Greg Murphy, Giltrap Group ambassador for brands like Lamborghini, so yes, you’d expect a pretty positive evaluation. But it was sincere nevertheless; he could have just said it was “really [insert swear word] good” and left it at that. As he sometimes does.
The STO is a very rare kind of Lamborghini: one that’s designed as much for proper track driving as it is for showing off. It’s basically a road-legal version of the Super Trofeo racing car (hence the name, S+T+Omologata), which is a stepping stone towards the genuine GT3 racer.
The STO is also likely the last really focused version of the current Huracan (there’s reportedly a weird rally-style thing coming called Sterrato and the softer STO-derived Tecnica though), so it’s going out in fine and highly finessed style. Whatever the garish decal pack might suggest.
The natural reference point is the Performante, to date the most enthusiast-oriented Huracan. There's no more power from the STO’s naturally aspirated 5.2-litre V10 (470kW at heady 8500rpm, 565Nm), but it’s 43kg lighter – remembering that the Performante has already shed 40kg compared with the standard Huracan.
It’s easy to look at the STO through a showroom window and scoff at another overdressed Lambo; I know I did. But up close, the aerodynamic detail is staggering and results in over 50 per cent more downforce than the Performante at circuit speeds. It’s hard to believe any road car could have so many exquisitely shaped holes.
Auckland | Eden Terrace
$4,678.70 p/w $18,714.81 p/m
Three-quarters of the body panels are carbon fibre and most are unique to the STO, save the doors and roof. This includes the fantastically named “cofango” (a portmanteau of the Italian words for hood and fender), a racing-inspired new frontal section that hinges forward to leave everything ahead of the windscreen exposed. Makes putting the groceries in the frunk quite a show.
Murph did vacate the driver’s seat for us writer-types to have a go. Helmets on. Cue race face (it’s quite similar to a terrified face).
The engine really shouldn’t be the centrepiece of such a thoroughly configured track car, but it still kind of is. At least for those first few laps. The naturally aspirated (we don’t get to say that very often these days) V10 (and that even less) howls through the rev range, all the way to the 8500rpm redline.
The only real issue I had initially was with the kickdown for the dual-clutch seven-speed gearbox. There’s a very firm detent on the throttle that you have to push through to wake the transmission up, which I imagine is essential to make it sane as a road car; but on track, it’s so firm that as a newbie you tend to hesitate when your right foot meets it, during which time a tiny percentage of momentum is lost and it becomes all the more alarming when the powertrain erupts.
Note to self: go harder. And yes, I know: serious people don’t drive supercars in automatic mode on a circuit. Give me a break… was just getting to grips with the car.
I’ve driven enough fast road cars on this track to know that the STO really does feel like a racer when the guy in the driver’s seat can get himself together. The nose is unfazed by fast corners that are often the undoing of lots of exotic machinery; the chassis has a surreal blend of high-speed stickiness and communication that’s only possible when there’s motorsport in the mix. All on road tyres, remember. On slicks, this thing would be… well, pretty much a racing car.
It’s not entirely gung-ho racing driver stuff; there’s plenty of specification still in there to help to amateur. The fixed-ratio steering certainly makes you feel like you’ve tamed the beast to go exactly where you want, but the STO retains MagneRide 2.0 adaptive suspension and rear-wheel steer, so there’s intelligent engineering (in the computer-controlled sense) in there all the time to help the ego along.
The carbon-ceramic brakes are phenomenal on the circuit. The first couple of corners at Hampton, I hit the braking marker, stand on them hard and... oops, we’re not there yet. Accelerate towards the corner again and make yet another mental note, for next time around.
The STO is quite a machine, not least for the fact that it’s a supercar for people who really care about getting the most out of themselves and the car on a track. The fact you can drive it home again afterwards (well, hopefully) is simply a bonus.
How much? That’s an open question, as is so often the case with exotic cars. Lamborghini NZ would only give a price “starting with a five” depending on how the customer specifies the vehicle. Let’s call it $600k by the time you’re finished, or more than $100k over the Performante price. It’s for serious people only; there are just 49 cars allocated to Australasia.
LAMBORGHINI HURACAN STO
ENGINE: 5.2-litre V10
GEARBOX: 7-speed automated dual-clutch, RWD
0-100KM/H: 3.0 seconds
ECONOMY: 13.9l/100km, CO2 339g/km (WLTP)
PRICE: $600,000 (approx, depending on specification)