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BAHRAIN – Wouldn’t it be great if there were a magic pill you could take that would instantly give you god-like driving skills? As it turns out, there is such a panacea, and it comes in the form of Lamborghini’s new Huracán Evo, which will soon replace the Huracán LP610-4 that’s been around since 2014.

Mere mortals are able to have the V10 bull dancing at the limits, and the magic pill is the addition of predictive logic software (the Huracán Evo is the first Lambo to feature this) that anticipates what you’re trying to do and is already several steps ahead of you in terms of setting the car up for what’s about to transpire.

The Huracán Evo is a mid-cycle upgrade rather than an all-new car, but fresh life has been breathed into Lambo’s entry-level supercar via the predictive software, plus the installation of four-wheel steer, torque vectoring and the same uprated V10 that features in the hardcore Huracán Performante. It may not get the ALA active aero that features in the Performante, but the Evo’s revised bodywork is claimed to deliver seven times more downforce than the Huracán LP610-4 that it replaces.

Our maiden thrash of the Huracán Evo is at the Bahrain International Circuit (check out the video below), a 5,412 km track that’s hosted a round of the F1 championship every year since 2004. Its flowing, undulating layout provides a suitable playground to uncork the full potential of the revamped Lambo, and the key takeaway from the fang is that the Evo is fast, furious and fun – much more so than its predecessor. Lamborghini executives say the car is three seconds a lap quicker around the Nardo test track than the LP610-4, and it feels it.

But more than the raw pace, it’s the newfound accessibility of the car’s dynamic repertoire that makes it such a delight to drive in anger. It begs you to wring its neck. A key contributor to this is LDVI (Lamborghini Dynamic Vehicle Integration) – an electronic brain that oversees all the vehicle dynamics gubbins and uses “feed-forward” logic to predictively tailor the driving setup 50 times a second.
Lamborghini

Using info from accelerators and gyroscope sensors that measure roll, yaw and pitch (imagine a ship in high seas that’s being lurched from side to side, bounced off course and bobbing up and down, and you’ll get the idea of what these parameters are), the LDVI pre-emptively sets all the parameters – torque-vectoring, rear-steer, traction control – to make you look like a pro.

The beauty is that it makes you think you’re doing it all. Everything happens so seamlessly and invisibly that you’re completely unaware of the millions of computations and compensations taking place each lap. Electronic driver aids used to be a party pooper, but in this case they hugely enhance the fun factor. This might be a heavily digitised car, but it feels completely analogue.

Dive into a corner too hot? No problem. The LDVI has already sensed that and the individual torque split to each wheel, traction control and rear-steer has helped compensate for this. You still need to do your part by applying counter-steering and throttle/braking adjustments where necessary, but the electronic finessing behind the scenes provides you with added breathing space and a greater sense of security.

The addition of four-wheel steer has dialled out any trace of the slight turn-in understeer that afflicted the Huracán LP610-4, and the Evo’s dynamics are further sharpened by the fitment of the same stiffened stabiliser bars used in the Performante. That said, the Evo retains softer springs than the latter to make it a more user-friendly proposition across patchy tarmac.

That 5,2-litre V10 has always been a jewel of an engine, but in its latest guise – featuring titanium intake valves and a free-flow exhaust system that spits spent gases out via a huge pair of flame-thrower-mimicking pipes – it’s been escalated to an even loftier plane.

Towering outputs of 470 kW and 600 N.m partly tell the story (as do stats of 0-100 km/h in 2,9 seconds and 0-200 km/h in 9,0 seconds), but it’s the sheer joyful abandon with which the V10 spins its way past 8 000 r/min that separates it from the turbo horde. Few other engines out go about their business with such neck-hair-raising aural drama.

Ferrari’s 488 delivers a mightier mid-range wallop than the Lambo, but its turbo-fed torque spike (and the fact that only the rear wheels are doing the driving) makes it more of a handful when you’re on the ragged edge around a racetrack. The linearity of the Huracán Evo’s power delivery and razor-sharp throttle response means it’s a much easier car to finesse at the limit. It telegraphs its intentions and is terrifically adjustable.
Lamborghini

The Lambo’s seven-speed dual-clutch ’box is fast and foolproof, although perhaps a fraction behind the whip-crack immediacy of the Ferrari’s transmission. Steering feel, too, isn’t quite as textured in the Huracán Evo as it is in the 488. But we’re talking very small degrees here.

The big change inside is the installation on the centre console of a new 8,4-inch touchscreen (with gesture control) that not only controls the infotainment, climate control and so forth, but can also be optionally configured with a dual-camera telemetry system that allows advanced telemetry recording and analysis. It’s a handy tool if you want to improve your on-track skills.

Visually, the Huracán Evo isn’t a massive departure from the LP610-4 it replaces, although the eagle-eyed among you may have picked up on the new front splitter and air intakes that optimally channel air under, over and around the car. There’s also a new aero-efficient underfloor design, while out back sits a massive diffuser that’s accommodated by the migration of the exhaust pipes upwards. Further up is a two-channel ducktail spoiler that helps keep the rear end glued to the tarmac at high speeds.

There’s no active aero in the Huracán Evo (R&D boss Maurizio Reggiani says that will be reserved for go-faster versions that will come later), but the newcomer is still claimed to be six times more aero efficient than its predecessor, as well as deliver 16 percent more engine cooling flow.

As a do-everything, drive-everyday supercar, the Huracán Evo can hold its own against pretty much anything else out there. The newfound agility and dynamism it’s gained via the high-tech chassis-control wizardry, all-wheel steer and uprated V10 have turned an already capable car into a great one. It’ll serve the Bolognese raging bull well until an all-new replacement arrives in another four years or so.

Author: Gautam Sharma


CAPE TOWN – I’m calling it the “edge of infinity” face and I’m open to the idea of selling it to the emoji people. It’s when half of your face is winced as though you’ve just witnessed an airborne skateboarder land amidships on a staircase rail, while the other half is grinning like a 16-year-old who’s just talked his way into the screening of an 18+ movie. In context, it’s a look best practiced as the rev counter needle in a vehicle like the Lamborghini Huracán Performante surpasses the 8 000 r/min mark.

In this moment, the left-hand-side of your face instinctively grimaces out of sheer mechanical sympathy towards the innards of the ten-cylinder engine mounted over your shoulder, while the right side of your mug reflects the unadulterated visceral thrill associated with this moment. Scream if you want, but no one will hear you over the bellow of the accompanying exhaust note.

There’s no safe word here, only a brief respite offered by a flick of the right steering column-mounted transmission paddle before the next “edge of infinity” moment is upon you.

One man who must have perfected this look by now is Lamborghini test driver Marco Mapelli, the individual responsible for his employer’s last two Nürburgring Nordschleife lap records, the latest of which was behind the wheel of a Huracán Performante.

Helping the fastest Huracán to date achieve a quite astonishing (though since bettered by Porsche) 6:52,01 minutes lap time is its plethora of active aerodynamic add-ons that, while granting the Performante that much more street-cred over the standard car, makes optimal use of the air flowing over and under the car's body to limpet the Lamborghini to the ground through corners. Indeed, in true flamboyant Italian fashion, Lamborghini claims the Performante offers 750% more downforce then the standard Huracán.

Dubbed Aerodinamica Lamborghini Attiva (or ALA, which conveniently is also the Italian word for wing), this system includes active flaps within the front splitter, as well as hollow (and flap-controlled) wing mounts able to channel air to vents on either the left- or right-hand side of the tray for improved cornering downforce.

Shaving nearly 40 kg from the standard Huracán package, the Performante is an exercise in innovative forged composite materials, including the engine cover, spoilers, diffusers and bumpers. Serving as a constant reminder of its inclusion within the outer structure, there’s plenty more forged composite surfacing to be found on the interior of this special-edition Lamborghini. Here, and in arguably one of the most “rich people problems” sentences I’ve ever constructed, I actually don’t like the wet look that this surfacing brings to the interior, including on the air vents and door panels.

This, and the fact that by the end of my drive the sports seats were feeling a little too snug on my admittedly broader than optimal hips, will be my only gripes around my day spent with the Performante ... I promise.

If its default ride has been firmed according to the needs of lap-time pursuits, it only serves to heighten the decidedly more hardcore driving experience. That said, while the dampers are 50% stiffer to compensate for increased downforce there remains a welcome compliance that makes the Performante just about usable as an everyday commute; just make sure the bespoke Pirelli P-zero Corsa tyres are up to temperature before hitting the freeway fast lane…

Heavily reworked to include a new (lighter) exhaust system and the intake system from Lamborghini’s Super Trofeo racing cars, the Performante delivers its newfound 470 kW and 600 N.m of torque (21 kW and 40 N.m more than the standard car) to all four wheels via an optimised seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

While it admittedly took me a little time to stop hunting for the Drive Select button in the Huracan’s Audi-mimicked (and thus high-quality) interior, once reacquainted with the decidedly more Italian, steering-wheel-housed mode select switch, I patiently awaited the smallest clearing in traffic before dialling in full Corsa mode in search of my next edge of infinity moment.

Based on my time spent with the Performante, I couldn't obviously tell you when the active aero was doing its thing, but it is obvious that this more track-focussed Huracán offers a sharper turn-in than the standard car, while delivering that much greater shove out of each corner; and with that much more noise emphasising this fact.

I love cars like this. Cars that despite their modern day shared componentry requirements successfully manage to look and feel like fully fledged members of their immediate family. Faster, louder and decidedly more focused than a standard Huracán, the Performante feels that much more special and than the still impressive Audi R8 V10 Plus with which it shares much of its DNA. Usable in everyday conditions – but only just, and that, for me, is what a true Lamborghini should feel like. A special car for special moments.

Lamborghini Cape Town has moved to its new showroom at 1 Bridgeway, Century City.

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