Lamborghini has introduced a revamped Huracan, called the Evo. The name suggests it is but a slight evolution of the super sportscar. In Bahrain, however, we found that it’s much more than that.
There are no driving roads in Bahrain, it’s a flat island that has a maximum elevation of around 130 metres above sea level. There’s no need for switchbacks, corners or interesting road building. It does have a racetrack, however, one that’s used to host the second F1 grand prix of every year and it’s a cracker of a track, notable for long sweeping corners and big stops. This is where I got to grips with the updated Lambo Huracan Evo and its plethora of technological features, which shifts it away from the "R8 with a Lambo casing" stigma that has plagued it since introduction (in 2014).
It doesn’t look different…
The exterior changes have been made purely with performance improvement in mind.
Yes, but there are a few notable changes... and for good reason. You get the impression that Lamborghini is stepping away from the old "playboy toy" or "Rambo Lambo" of old; as if it is striving to make a pure super sportscar that evokes sensory appeal both in looks and driving experience.
Physically the changes are purely for performance gain. The front has a new splitter and air intakes that usher 16% more air to into the radiators, allowing the engineers to ramp up the tolerances on the engine. The result is 470 kW and 600 Nm from the naturally aspirated 5.2-litre V10 engine. If you want to see an Italian engineer get emotional about their job, ask them why they haven’t gone the turbo route yet. They are enthusiasts to the core and hardcore fans of 8 000 rpm plus rev limit, with a profound, brings-a-tear-to-the-eye soundtrack to top it all off.
Mid-mounted exhausts as first seen on the Performant model. Also the gep in the rear wind helps with air flow.
Move around to the rear and the Evo has a more distinctive look. The exhausts have been lifted to flank the number plate (don’t tell McLaren) and this has made room for a huge rear diffuser that sucks air underneath the car, essentially vacuuming it to the ground and helping the newcomer to produce 7 times the downforce of the original Huracan.
If you look a little closer at the rear lip, you can just about see a little gap in it. This is another addition to the aerodynamic update; the revision is said to improve downforce and direct turbulence away from the car, all of which reduces its drag coefficient.
Anything else worth knowing?
Natural aspiration is still at the heart of the Huracan, now with 470 kW.
The Huracan Evo is a bit of a tech fest: it brims with new technologies that help it stick to the road, and unstick from the road (if "at the very limit of the performance envelope" driving is your poison) and make you feel like a hero without ever needing more than a smidgeon of courage and talent.
What's more, the Evo introduces 4-wheel-steer to the Huracan for the first time. Lamborghini has used the system before on the Aventador S. As with all 4-wheel-steer systems, the aim is to make the Evo more agile in low speed, tight corners, but then provide stability when cornering at higher speeds. You can actually see the system in action on the all-new integral 8.4-inch touchscreen, which was developed by Lambo.
Then there are other driving improvement systems. Torque vectoring allows for torque to be directed up and down the propshaft, but also side to side. The traction control system has been configured to create a more discernible difference between the 3 driving modes (Strada, Sport and Corsa), but more on that later.
Drive modes now have very distinctive behaviours for each setting.
All of these systems are governed by a single overlord: LDVI (Lamborghini Dinamica Veicolo Integrata). Normally each system acts independently according to their own parameters set by programming, but in the case of the Evo, one "brain" takes inputs from over 300 sensors and decides what corrective measures or improvements should be made. All of this can be done in real-time with no lag. If you think this is impressive computing power, the engineer that calibrated the LDVI assured me his Smartphone had more computing power and the job could be done by a '90s Pentium.
You said you drove it…
Yes, on a current F1 track... did I mention that? How that makes it any different from another track I’m not certain, but it’s cool nonetheless.
Initially, the electronic driving additions give the Evo a slightly weird response to the driver’s inputs. It’s very difficult to unsettle, even if you make wild swings with the steering wheel, the electronics mute any overreaction from the car.
The Bahrain track at night proved an excellent test of the high-speed stability bestowed on the Huracan Evo.
Once cranking up the speed a bit more, the electronics begin to dissipate into the background, allowing the driver to take more responsibility and push a few more limits. There is so much grip from the aero, chassis and tyres that the Evo’s not a playful car on the limit, it’s very seriously fast. Upshift from 3rd to 4th with a half turn of lock and the throttle flat to the floor? No problem, it sticks, not even a momentary wobble. That injection of torque and weight shift would normally have you counter steering and praying for some sort of divine intervention to keep it out of the wall.
Column mounted paddle shifters have their pros and cons, but Lamborghini has stuck with them.
The addition of 4-wheel-steering has also helped to circumvent the nasty understeer that took some of the edge off the pre-facelift version’s driving experience. The Evo will really whip into a hairpin, sometimes so fast and directly that there’s a slight disconnect with the steering as it lacks that "granular feel" to the wheel that gives you an exact indication of what the front wheels are doing.
Lambo wants you to take this car seriously (like you would a Ferrari 488 GTB). It’s very much a track tool meant for setting very fast lap times.
Will I feel like a hero?
During the press conference, Lamborghini representatives made it very clear that you can have fun in this car too. And by fun, they meant drift and slide about like a hooligan. It wasn’t implied and they didn’t even try to play it down, they literally said: "Go out there and drift, we want to see it".
The new Lamborghini brain can make you feel like a hero while making sure everything is under control.
An adjustment to the driving modes has made the Sport setting quite playful. It’s also here where the LDVI brain comes into its own. Sport mode has been given parameters to make it safe for road driving, but allows you to get the tail out – comfortably. You won’t pull mega drift angles, but it will hold a decent slide with full confidence that it can’t spin and won’t get out of control. The "brain" is able to predict what the driver wants in this scenario... Instead of intervening with traction control and a whole load of torque sent to the front to stop the drift, it aids you, doing everything it can to make you slide elegantly and professionally, when all you essentially need to do is put your foot flat and turn the wheel in the right direction.
Purists (and I’m usually one of them) may look down on a system like this, but when you’re driving something that costs around R5 million and you want to have a bit of fun without ending up in a Youtube crash video, this is a good solution.
There is a new Lambo-developed infotainment system that has a built in telemetry system.
The major interior update in the Evo's cabin is Lamborghini self-developed infotainment system. The 8.4-inch touchscreen sits above the caged start button and is quick and easy to navigate. It has all the modern functionality and apps built in as well as the best telemetry system I’ve seen in a production car. The data is downloadable but on the screen, you can pick a sensor, like lateral acceleration, throttle input, speed or brake application (to name a few) and then overlay that data with your best lap. As I said, Lambo wants the Evo to be seen as a very serious track car.
The Huracan Evo separates itself from the Audi R8 and makes huge strides from the original Huracan.
The new Huracan Evo employs a lot of electronic wizardry to improve its delivery of speed. The electronics prove most effective in slow corners, where the 4-wheel-steer can really rotate the car quickly and neutralises some of that deflating understeer from the original car. In faster conditions, the improved aero and downforce glue the Evo to the ground, cranks up the stability and confidence to really grab the bull by the horns.
Yet, you can still be a bit of a fool with a very expensive car thanks to the newly programmed Sport mode. When you’re not comparing lap times on the track, it’s nice to know you can still relax a little and have fun on an awesome road without employing race driver reactions and skill.
What this new Huracan Evo does is take a huge leap forward from the standard car, but also makes it distinctly different from the Audi R8. In doing so, Lamborghini has managed to offload the proverbial monkey that the Huracan carried on its back since introduction.