Wild Fire

Wild Fire

Has the Italian automaker that once wrote the manuscript for building supercars gone soft, or will the new baby Lambo be proof of their continuing tradition of manufacturing wild, fire-spitting grandmasters of speed?



By George Kuruvilla

Published: Fri 24 Apr 2015, 3:22 PM

Last updated: Fri 26 Jun 2015, 12:28 AM

It’s all about the supercars around here. They are so much a part of the fabric of the car culture in the Middle East that they’re like furniture in a living room. But when we single them out, we find that people tend to think of Ferraris as fun but slightly fruity, Porsches as clinical, while McLarens are still finding their niche. Only Lamborghini has captured the imagination of the 10-year-olds, and those young at heart, like no other. They quite simply define the term ‘supercar’.

The Aventador we drove a while ago was a big hit in the office and around town. What we have today is something smaller, but equally special — the 2015 Lamborghini Huracan LP 610-4. This is the car that replaces the Gallardo — one that has, in its 10-year life cycle, sold 14,022 units and literally dragged Lamborghini back into good fortune.

Design & Aesthetics

This Huracan, as with most, if not all Lamborghinis, is named after a fighting bull named Huracán, of the Spanish Conte de la Patilla breed. He was known for his outstanding display of courage and belligerence. He fought in Alicante in August 1879 and his legacy continues in 2015 with this metal embodiment.

Lamborghinis, like the Muira, Diablo and especially the Countach, were the righteous choice for bedroom wall posters for decades, mainly because they were sleek, low-slung and, most importantly, menacing. But how does the Huracan compare? Good news is, this baby bull that graduates supercar school, is all that and more: 4,459mm long, 1,924mm wide and dinner table-like 1,165mm tall, or should I say low? Truth be told, there isn’t a bad angle. It looks like a tightly bound structure of “steel” that is as sharp as a knife.

The main headlamps, which have been slimmed and stretched back like the brows of an angry person, are equipped with full LED illumination with Y-shaped contours in each lamp, rendering a rather sinister look. Supposedly, with a colour temperature of 5,500 Kelvin, the LED light is quite daylight-like, providing excellent road illumination and putting little stress on the eyes.

The massive front air-intake with diagonal cuts stretch across the full width of the Huracán. They help direct cooling air to the brakes and headwind to increase down pressure on the front axle. A facsimile of form and function in equal measure.

The Huracan stays true to the brand’s lineage, especially in its profile, with the arrow-motif front-end meeting the equally raked windshield. They come together almost as a single plane or surface… even Ferrari doesn’t do that! However, those impractical but stupidly famous scissor doors that we have all come to love about Lambos are not present here.

Lamborghini defines its presence as monolithic and I’d have to agree; everything looks like it’s been carved out of one crystalline rock, with plenty of jagged edges and wedge-like protrusions and intrusions for reference, including those that tuck away the window and create a space for air induction down below.

At the rear, the art of origami continues. The spoiler — usually a whale-sized wing — is only a lip spoiler but, apparently, it provides 50 per cent more down force than a Gallardo. It works together with the rising diffuser to improve airflow around the rear. Also, every rearward element including the ferocious-looking quad tail pipes have an upward orientation, which is quite unique.

The glass screen that showcases the mechanical jewel of an engine is an option otherwise, as standard comes a busy set of louvres, down the spine. Similar to the front headlamps, the rear lights also take on a Y-shaped contour. Lamborghini knows how to spoil customers by offering them a choice of 17 exterior colours. Any of the Italian colours will do fine, but we suspect yellow and green will be first picks! The Huracan is a jaw-dropping spectacle of design, but those familiar with the brand would conclude that this slithering one is too subtle for a Lamborghini. But that just means there is more to come from the baby bull. In five years’ time, it is going to look as smashing as ever, just as the Gallardo graduated in style. Also, we’d like to see a huge tail on it by then.

Once you manage to slide into the low-seated interior, you’d gather that the spectacular remains, while the spectre magnifies. It is like you’re on board a celestial being’s space ship. It is a true amalgamation of rich materials with confusing shapes, mostly hexagonal; with surfaces draped in leather and alcantara, created from the hide of the finest cattle. The 3-spoke flat-bottom steering has a hexagonal centrepiece with a ‘Raging Bull’ emblem in centre. It’s decorated with a plethora of functional buttons, including those for the high beam, washers and turn indicators; meaning, there are absolutely no stalks on the steering column — only thing &behind the wheel are paddle shifters. It is a beautifully clean design, but you’d have to ignore the fact that the steering adjustment is manual in a near-million dirham car. Reverse gear is a special large toggle switch, with a pull-back action. It’s a little flimsy but very fancy.

Lamborghini have abandoned the glance-away centre head stack. Instead, they have a single 12.3” full colour TFT instrument panel where the instrument gauges are found. For navigation through the menus, you have Audi-esque 4-quadrant controls at your disposal. This screen incorporates both car related information such as the speedometer and tachometer, along with the infotainment stuff and there are plenty of arrangements which, of course, can be customised.

There are further display and control elements on the long centre console, ergonomically arranged as if on a lectern. The uppermost one is a narrow TFT display for climate control, which can be switched to show oil pressure, oil temperature and voltage. Beneath is a strip of fighter-jet style toggle switches for secondary functions like windows, hazard lights, etc — my favourite piece of equipment. The standard cabin comes in Nero Ade black with soft leather and Alcantara. Customers can also choose to have the two-tone interior with nappa leather. The seats are relatively soft, squishy and supportive for a supercar, and but make no mistake, this is not something you want to be driving for more than a couple of hours, even with the various electric adjustments. As for your friends, there are no back seats, meaning you may lose a few, but your new ones will be racing beside you.

Powertrain & Performance

The vicious 5.2L V10 that motivates this beast is a carry over from the last Gallardo, except this time it’s even more potent. Also, gone are the days of tractor building — Lambo is real high-tech now, equipping their cars with both port and direct injection, to improve performance at all revs.

The last Gallardo had a nasty single-clutch transmission, which was wrong on most accounts. This one borrows Audi’s 7-speed dual-clutch transmission, but they call it “Lamborghini Doppia Frizione” here. Lamborghini say that if tested on a dynamometer, the Huracan will easily crank out over 600 horses at 8,250rpm and 560Nm at 6,500rpm, which, by any measure, is a monument of technological progress.

What that makes the Huracan is a rocket ship for the road, but it’s also the easiest way to scare yourself stupid. With ‘Thrust Mode’ engaged, this will hurry down the highway from a standing start, whiz passed the 40s, 50s and 60s in a flash and reach a 100km/h in a claimed 3.2 seconds. But that’s not it. It’s hard not to incriminate yourself in a car that can touch 200km/h in 9.9 seconds. This happens to be the second fastest naturally aspirated car we have ever tested. Aventador being the fastest, of course!

But going fast is relatively easy, it’s the brakes that complete the supercar of today. How about front discs that measure 380mm clamped by 6-piston callipers, and 356mm rear rotors coupled with a 4-piston variety? Fantastic, I know! And as standard, they are made of the super exotic carbon-ceramic material that will last the car’s lifetime. Slam the brakes at speed and the car will halt from 100km/h in less than 105ft. The effect is like hitting a brick wall, if you aren’t ready for it.

Lamborghinis were known to be fuel-sucking witches of the late 90s. They would spew fire from the exhausts like toxic by-products of digestive problems. But Audi has helped Lambo cope with its drinking problem. This baby Lambo drinks only 12.5l/100km, a 11 per cent improvement over the Gallardo; much credit going to the stop/start system. While the 290g/km CO2 emission rating may negate the work done at carbon neutral cities, it’s far from laughable.

Lamborghini has incorporated a drive mode shifter — a red toggle on the steering wheel. They call it ANIMA (Italian for “soul”) — “Adaptive Network Intelligent Management”. This gives you a variety of drive modes, namely, STRADA, SPORT and CORSA. Strada meaning street, is best suited for everyday driving. Sport is to get across town quickly and show off to your friends. And Corsa, meaning race, switches off most electronic nannies and is meant for the high-velocity sessions around a track. All modes promote seamless shifting of ratios except in Corsa, where they have purposely incorporated jolts between shifts.

The noise liberated from the exhaust, especially in Corsa, is louder and more obnoxious than Kanye West will ever be. It is like a choir of jackhammers as the revs climb. The Huracan is equipped with “Lamborghini Dynamic Steering”, a variable steering ratio system that basically makes it easy to drive in city limits and ups the heft at high speed for stability. It also gets the magneto-rheological suspension damper that, in combination with the double wishbone suspension at all four corners and a rear-biased all-wheel drive system, makes this a fun car to steer. The net effect is a strong organic feel from the steering wheel at all speeds and a great magnitude of traction to accompany you along corners with a high threshold that needs a lot of heel to break.

Features & Functionality

Unlike Lambos of old, where you would need to graft a new nose every time you scraped a hump, this one, however, uses clever hydraulics to raise the front suspension and avoid sharp inclines. In the event of a crash, you have two front airbags and belt pre-tensioners to improve your odds of survival. The automatic climate control comes as standard, and it is dutiful in keeping both the sun’s heat and V10 thermal emissions away from the cabin. The standard infotainment system includes a radio with CD/DVD drive, an audio interface and six speakers. The navigation system is useable with detailed 3D graphics, but should have used the Audi-sourced Google maps variety, especially at this price point.

Verdict

All citizens of speed, gather around! The 2015 Lamborghini Huracan is the white-knuckle supercar you have been waiting for. Excuse its civilised nature, something Lamborghinis of old have forsaken, but it works well for both comfort and reliability. In the end, it’s the sheer gut-wrenching thrust and vocal ferocity that makes your hard-earned money worth spending... and what makes this a Lamborghini.


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