Monday, December 5, 2016

2017 Lamborghini Huracan Preview

On paper, it might be Lamborghini's entry-level model, but don't think of the Huraca?n as anything short of a genuine sports car. In many ways, we prefer it to its far more outlandish Aventador, and not just because it delivers way more than half the thrills at 50 percent of the price.

The Huraca?n replace the Gallardo in the Sant'Agata, Italy, automaker's lineup, and it's the best genuine performance car to wear the prancing bull today. Its balance belies its Teutonic roots, and its unmistakable V-10 snarls with with a level of passion seen in few other cars—ever.

We've scored it a 6.6 out of 10, accounting for the fact that it's an expensive supercar with all the compromises that prevent it from scoring a 10.

Don't look for big change for 2017 after the Hurac?n LP 610-4 added a Spyder roofless companion and cylinder deactivation for its V-10 engine last year. Soon, Lamborghini will release a Huraca?n Superleggera, a stripped-out model that promises to go especially fast. It's already been spied on the road, and we expect a debut sometime in calendar year 2017.

Though the Hurac?n lists for half of the price of an Aventador, it gives up little in terms of eye-catching style and ferocious performance to its big brother. Sleek, smooth, and aerospace-inspired exterior lines pair with angular, aggressive vents and scoops to yield a look that’s futuristic and yet channels the legendary Countach’s wedge shape. No shortage of scoops, ducts,and  intakes—all the usual Lambo styling cues—are here, but they're all living in harmony. The huge cuts and corners tuck perfectly into its dart-like body. It's a fresh take on Italian supercardom, and it's going to look fresh for years to come.

More than that, Lamborghini allows buyers to custom tailor their vehicles; if you want one with a yellow exterior and a green interior, they'll oblige.

A jet-inspired cockpit greets driver and passenger, but it favors the driver. Guarded switches and toggles are laid out in a way that's at first intimidating but is ultimately logical; it's the perfect fusion of Italian style and German precision. The instrument panel is a single LCD screen, which displays everything from navigation maps to engine data like revs and temperature, which only bolsters the jet-like look. The dash is otherwise a simple affair, adorned with the Lamborghini logo.

It's a little daunting, as it should be, although much of the controls are easy to sort through if you've recently driven an Audi. After all, both brands fall under the Volkswagen Group's umbrella, even though Lamborghini essentially operates on its own.

Mounted just behind the two occupants is the heart of the Hurac?n, a 5.2-liter V-10 engine, rated at 601 horsepower and 413 pound-feet of torque. Though it shares its core design with the engine that was shoehorned into the Gallardo, the vast majority of components have been redesigned to improve both power and to coax it to rev more freely, making the Hurac?n’s engine very responsive. It'll rocket from zero to 60 mph in about 3.2 seconds and on to a top speed beyond 202 mph, should you find a suitable place to test that.

Power is rushed to all four wheels via an electronically-controlled center differential, a notable upgrade over the viscous center coupling of the Gallardo. The new differential allows power to be preemptively distributed around the car, with up to 50 percent of power flowing through the front wheels, though the static distribution is a 30/70 front-rear split, giving the Hurac?n traditional rear-drive dynamics

Underneath, magnetically controlled dampers, which stiffen and soften very quickly—much quicker than air dampers could—transcend the Hurac?n from track day star to highway cruiser. A trio of on-board accelerometers and gyroscopes transmit information about the vehicle's state and conditions of roll, yaw, and traction, to better predict behavior. The net result is sharper responses over any terrain, from the "corkscrew" at Laguna Seca to the country road behind your house.

Steering is electric, and while feel isn’t as clearly communicated as you’ll find on some other high-end supercars, it’s accurate, and the available dynamic steering ratio provides quick, sporty input. On track, the Hurac?n is mostly balanced, exhibiting some power-on understeer, but largely doing precisely what the driver requests.

Toggle between conservative Strada mode, playfully reserved Sport, and downright track-ready Corsa and you'll still stay within a safety net that even seasoned race car drivers have deemed acceptable.

Mild-mannered it's never, but Strada mode is where there's a relative calm in the Hurac?n's power delivery. In Strada, the 7-speed dual-clutch transmission mutes shift shock and the magnetic dampers take the edge off mismatched road surfaces. But flip the toggle on the steering wheel to Sport mode—or Corsa, the track setting—and that calm dissolves into a frenzied search for the outer extremes of grip and acceleration. Corsa mode dials back the stability and traction control and still, it's poised and composed and controllable. It's shockingly easy to drive the Hurac?n quickly, something we cannot say about the more abrupt Aventador.

What surprises Hurac?n drivers and passengers alike is how well it actually works as a daily driver. Sure, most buyers will have a few other cars in their fleet, but it's nice to know that the Hurac?n offers ample room for two occupants over 6 feet tall. Well-bolstered and supportive front seats covered in fine hides envelope drivers of all sizes, and even visibility is excellent, so long as you're looking forward or out to the sides. Since there's a louvered engine compartment cover sitting just behind your head, don't expect to see much behind you. At least there's a backup camera.

The Hurac?n is low and wide—excluding the mirrors, the car is 75.8 inches wide—so it's not exactly maneuverable in tight confines. Cargo space is minimal in the Hurac?n, with a front trunk area holding little more than a single roll-on bag.

Despite some small inconveniences, the Lamborghini Hurac?n LP 610-4 is easily the best Lamborghini we’ve driven to date, suitable for both days at the track and weekends on the open road. If you’re in the market for a design-driven supercar, the Hurac?n should be the first stop on your list. Consider us jealous.

MGCLS - LAX Car Service

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