It’s time to match the thrill and style of open-top driving with the audacious design of the Lamborghini Huracan. Is there a better match in the world?
We like: Lamborghini design, uniqueness, naturally aspirated V10
De don’t like: You pay over the top for that uniqueness, not a mad, crazy Lambo.
- If you don't want an all-wheel-drive: There's a Huracan LP580-2 available for the more hardcore driving enthusiast that wants rear-wheel-drive. Watch this video where we have the Spyder and 580-2 on the same stretch of road.
- If you want a different Italian car: Ferrari 488 Spider – the old rival offers a turbocharged engine and a metal folding roof.
- If you want to pay less: Early next year, the Audi R8 Spyder V10 will arrive; it's the same car underneath with a less exclusive badge.
Redhill: a stretch of tarmac sculpted into the side of a mountain, towers above Simon’s Town. Topographically, it looks like the designer spilled a huge piece of wet spaghetti over the hill and decided to tar over it. It’s narrow, the hairpins are flanked by bricked walls and it’s bumpy. It’s a miniature version of the famous Col de Turini, a serpentine stretch of road that switchbacks its way out of Monte Carlo, most famously used in the Monte Carlo Rally.
Redhill is a test of even the most agile machinery, normally suited to lightweight, nimble sportscars rather than powerful, wide supercars. It’s here where the fabric-roofed Huracan finds itself, lined up at the bottom of this sinuous, switchback ridden climb.
How does it fare in terms of
It’s a Lambo, so it’s got to be something special when you hammer the throttle, right? It is. Packed tightly just behind the driver’s left shoulder is a naturally aspirated 5.2-litre V10. The natural aspiration is a key element to the engine’s exquisite sound and character. It's ostensibly the last of a dying breed as manufacturers are seeminly cornered into producing emission-reducing smaller turbocharged engines for their headlining sportscars. So it’s a blast from the past in some ways, as it’s been a long time since we’ve seen a rev-needle free to roam the 8 000 rpm mark and the Lambo’s V10 merrily sings all the way to 8 500 rpm before it's reigned in. Lambo has at least tried to appease the environmentalists by including a cylinder deactivation system that shuts down an entire bank of the V10 at slow speeds. A little light on the instrument cluster pops up to let you know you’re using just 5 of the 10 cylinders...
But enough about the eco stuff and back to what happens when you mash the Lambo's throttle. The Huracan benefits (and in some cases doesn’t) from an all-wheel drive system. This means when you get on the throttle it doesn’t lack for traction and it’s also very stable at the rear under acceleration.
Powering out of one of Redhill’s many tight hairpins requires no real finesse of the throttle or hesitation from you ankle extension. You just boot it – and the sooner the better. As you begin to unwind the steering lock, you can unleash the full potential of the V10 instantly. There’s no squirm, no rear-end shuffle and certainly no sink in the suspension before the car bursts out of a corner. It’s pure excitement and motoring enjoyment and a lot of that comes down to the Huracan being easy to drive fast: even inexperienced drivers can access the power driver without worrying it may all go wrong/you’ll end up on YouTube.
Lamborghinis have never really had a problem attracting attention and the Huracan Spyder is no different. The fabric roof and all its bits and pieces add 100 kg of extra heft and the glass-covered engine bay (op the coupe) gets replaced with carbon fibre vents. It’s a pity because being able to peer into the engine is one of the coolest things about the "supercar experience", but the downside is forgotten soon as the roof is extended backwards revealing the Huracan Spyder’s achingly beautiful shape. If the Huracan hardtop is a supermodel in a classy evening gown then the Spyder is the same supermodel – in a bikini.
Thankfully Cape Town put its cold and wet weather on hold for a few days so that we could spend quality time driving with the roof down. The convertible’s forte is cruising through seaside towns at slow speeds so as to draw attention from crowds and bask in their adulation. Judging by the crowds it attracted while with us, the Lambo aces it as far as attention-grabbing looks go. If that doesn’t work you can always dab the throttle pedal a little and let the V10 fire off a riff that’ll wake the dead.
With the roof down the V10's sound reaches your ears uninterrupted and at an increased volume. The Spyder brings you closer to the heart and soul of the Lambo, its sound is so soulful and earnest that it might cause a lump in your throat. It urges you to hit the upper limits of the engine's rev range; you feel like the conductor of an orchestra of cylinders and exhaust pipes, able to bend the symphony to your will with a twist of your right foot. The sound is addictive and pure, better than anything adorned with a turbocharger/s can deliver. The V10’s pipes are clear of the disturbance that a turbo introduces to the combustion process, hence the cleaner, purer sound. Sticking with natural aspiration is all worth it when the results are this good.
Putting it through its paces?
Sitting at the bottom of Redhill, I scroll through the driving modes on the Lambo’s Alcantara-wrapped wheel, Strada? Sport? Corsa? Sport feels like the right setting here, it’s too tight and bumpy for Corsa (Race mode), plus a hint of traction control might be needed if there’s an unexpected wet/sandy/oily patch. Sport mode turns the exhaust volume up another notch, improves the throttle response and initiates a more rapid shift from the dual-clutch gearbox.
The Lambo is now primed to attack the climb up Redhill.
First and second gears are dispensed within a single breath, the Huracan hits 100 kph from a standstill in just 3.4 seconds and 200 kph is clocked up in 10.2 seconds. We’re not testing the latter number out here, but we are pressuring the carbon ceramic discs to perform at their best. They take a while to warm up usually, but the initial grab and bite is intense. The seatbelt grabs you in and you sink into the bucket seats, a bit of ab strength is required just to keep your face from thumping the steering wheel.
Once the brakes are hot, they can get quite grabby and difficult to modulate but they are extremely effective. Taper off the brakes before the corner and start turning in, the Huracan’s chassis, is taught and rigid, there’s very little flex and it whips in towards the apex. At the tightest point of the turn the fronts don’t quite bite and grip as much as you want and the nose can push a bit wider than you anticipate. It’s a brief extra pause before you can use the advantage of the all-wheel-drive flexibility and punch the throttle. When the power hits the wheels, it’s like the Huracan has been shot from a compound bow.
There’s no spooling and pausing for turbos here; as long as you’re at least in the middle of the rev range, the Huracan will respond immediately. Instant gratification is delivered wholesale by virtue of the ease with which the Lambo can dominate a corner. Hoof it to the next bend, climb on the brakes with gusto, simply repeat the previous corner’s technique and the Huracan will continue to bend to your will. It’s not scary – it’s hardly intimidating – and, it’s properly quick. It feels like you’re getting the most out of a supercar without having to try hard at all or without needing much in the way of driving talent.
A theatrical interior?
Lamborghini interior design is... showy. The Huracan plays homage to fighter jets in its cabin with the abundance of toggle switches and latches that need to be lifted. The start button hides behind a red latch that needs to be lifted before the start button can be thumbed into action. It’s like a protection cover before being given the go-ahead to fire a missile volley. It’s not entirely comfortable if you’re a slightly taller driver as it doesn’t feel like the seat reclines enough to a comfortable position and those who like a more laid-back position are going to struggle to get comfortable. The interior does feature Audi-like switchgear however: the centre console buttons, the font and the icons are all borrowed from Ingolstadt. At least the instrument cluster has a slightly different take on the Audi Virtual Cockpit, if only marginally. Everything is designed with a trapezoid in mind and the shape is littered throughout. Unfortunately, the cabin lacks quality feel and touch that you’d expect for the money you’re spending. The Audi R8's interior feels more solid and that’s nearly half the price of this Lambo.
The Spyder is the best current derivative of the Huracan, because the open-top driving experience enhances the aural and visual pleasure a Lamborghini can deliver and appreciably so. The extra weight of the fabric roof hardly detracts from the driving experience and on the right day on the right road provides one of the best motoring experiences you’re ever likely to have. There are a few flaws with the driving position and the cabin could do with more Lamborghini theatrics. The front luggage bin is small and gets hot when the brakes warm up, which is fine if you want to keep some food warm (we jest, of course).
If it’s attention you want, the Huracan Spyder delivers top marks, right from the angry LED daytime running lights through the sculpted shoulder line, multi-layered rear bumper and quad exhaust pipes. This Lambo is the perfect car for the committed hedonist. If said hedonist can conjure up around R6-million.
We drove the Huracan Spyder and (rear-wheel drive) LP580-2 derivate back to back. Watch: