ABU DHABI, UAE – I had first and last driven a Lamborghini Huracán for the January 2015 issue as the CAR crew wound its way from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth for our annual Performance Shootout road trip. Somewhat fortuitously, as we polished our plans for this year’s event along a similar cross-country route, my inbox pinged with an invitation from Lamborghini to sample the latest iteration of the Huracán in the United Arab Emirates.
I recalled my hours spent behind the wheel of that original LP610-4, my back aching from the seats that are a chiropractor’s worst nightmare come to life (or sweetest dreams, depending what they charge their Lamborghini-driving patients an hour) and my eardrums ringing from the cacophony of tyre roar, induction racket and wind rush, but the smile on my face never dimmed. The LP610-4 was flawed, yes, but intoxicating too.
Five years later, the newest iteration of the Huracán has arrived. Acting as a bridge between the original model and 2017’s exclusive Performante, the Evo sports an updated version of the iconic (a trite term, sure, but utterly fitting here) V10 engine, a suite of new driving technologies and modernised interior architecture and connectivity systems.
Whereas the original Huracán’s 5,2-litre boasted outputs of 449 kW and 560 N.m, in Evo guise (like the Performante), thanks to box-fresh titanium intake valves and a new lightweight exhaust system, the naturally aspirated V10 now delivers peak figures of 470 kW and 600 N.m. They’re not class-leading numbers (a 720S contributes 530 kW and 770 N.m) but it’s the way the V10 doles out its power that makes all the difference. I simply cannot recall a vehicle this side of a 991 Porsche 911 GT3 with such razor-sharp throttle response. Every slight input is met instantaneously with a flare of revs. But that response isn’t annoyingly rabid like an AMG’s in sport+ mode. Instead, the Evo allows you to rapidly trim or grow speed as conditions dictate, all while the V10’s wail waxes and wanes behind your ears.
You’ll always hear a @Lamborghini Huracán Evo first before you see it. That 5,2-litre V10 is a work of genius. This side of a 991 Porsche 911 GT3, I can’t think of another car I’ve driven with such an immediate throttle response. (This was recorded from 8 floors up.) #HuracanEvo pic.twitter.com/Wn3PvSfkDe
— Terence Steenkamp (@Terence_CARmag) November 9, 2019
Our conditions dictated intense concentration as we left the pits of Yas Marina Circuit (yes, the one where F1 is hosted) behind a Lamborghini pace car driver for whom 200 km/h feels like half that to you and I. Fresh in my mind was an explanation by experts on site of the inner workings of the Evo’s new Lamborghini Dinamica Veicolo Integrata (LDVI) system, essentially a CPU controlling every aspect of the car’s behaviour. It monitors in real-time (20 milliseconds) the Evo’s lateral, longitudinal and vertical accelerations, as well as roll, pitch and yaw rates, and suitably adapts its reactions.
On the check list for the new car, too, are four-wheel steering and torque-vectoring. Combined, these system make the Evo more stable, both in corners and under hard braking (where there’s still some squirreling, but not much) and ultimately quicker.
They’re necessary because, what the V10 lacks in low-down grunt compared with its force-fed rivals, it counters with astonishing top-end pace. Acceleration above 5 000 r/min in the first three gears is utterly savage, and there’s very little respite in the next four ratios. It’s no wonder Lamborghini claims an almost fantastical 0-100 km/h time of 2,9 seconds. Remember the McLaren F1? It needed 3,7 seconds, and that was a bona fide hypercar.
It was on outing three around Yas Marina that I finally started relaxing behind the Evo’s wheel and appreciating its dynamic docility, how even in its most extreme corsa driving mode (where the traction control finds its intermediate setting) it felt welcoming, goading me into braking later and accelerating sooner. On offer are extraordinary levels of grip, real steering feedback and whip-crack changes from the dual-clutch transmission. I didn’t scratch the surface of the Evo’s capabilities, where before the LP610-4 seemed to run out of answers before you’d even had a chance to ask tough questions.
There are issues, yes. The seats are still some of the most awkwardly shaped I’ve sat in – back ache’s assured after an hour – there’s not much room in the cockpit for taller folk and the carbon-ceramic brakes are tricky to modulate in congested traffic. Elsewhere, though, the Huracán Evo is an intoxicating mix of classic elements – the V10 is one of the motoring world's great naturally aspirated engines – and contemporary components; LDVI does exactly what Lamborghini says it will. The Evo may not quite have the 720S’ overall polish, but does that matter in the emotive world of the supercar? I can’t imagine Huracán Evo owners would give a damn once they unbridle that heroic engine on a sinewy Italian mountain pass...
FAST FACTSModel: Lamborghini Huracán Evo
Price: R5 695 000
Engine: 5,2-litre, V10, petrol
Power: 470 kW @ 8 000 r/min
Torque: 600 N.m @ 6 500 r/min
0-100 km/h: 2,9 seconds
Top Speed: >325 km/h
Fuel Consumption: 13,7 L/100 km
CO2: 332 g/km
Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch
Maintenance Plan: 3-year/unlimited kilometre
See Full Lamborghini Huracan price and specs here