I had barely begun to experience this new Lamborghini Huracan when, at my first appointment of the day, the man I was meeting for breakfast said: “Don’t you feel like a jerk driving it?”
A few hours later, after I’d posted a picture of the car on a social media site, a friend wrote, “I’m sure it’s fun to drive, but doesn’t it make you feel like a jerk?” (They both actually used another word that was not as nice as “jerk.”)
In fact, I didn’t. I felt lucky. The Lamborghini Huracan EVO is a sublime Italian sports car, a benign beast that is as easy to drive as it is exhilarating.
Around town it is a startling head-turner. On canyon roads it is a hot knife through butter. On the track, based on previous Lambo experience, it is a precision racing instrument.
The EVO is the newest iteration of Lamborghini’s “entry-level” supercar family, joining the higher-priced Performante and replacing the outgoing rear-wheel-drive Huracan. Like its siblings, it is powered by a 5.2-liter V10 engine, mid-rear mounted and naturally aspirated, that makes 630 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque.
Power is applied to the pavement via an all-wheel-drive system that, on the EVO, includes rear-wheel steering, torque vectoring and other electronic aids designed to make the absolute most of the engine’s energy.
It does so with brio. In Strada, Sport or Corsa driving modes, this little drop-top is a mover, snappy off the line and roaring through the gears, via paddle shifters or relying solely on the dual-clutch automatic transmission with immense speed and sure-footedness. Even in track mode, the EVO virtually refuses to bust its back end loose on sharp turns or spin its wheels on sudden takeoffs.
Its builders say the EVO accelerates from zero to 100 kilometres per hour (or about 62 miles per hour) in 3.1 seconds, a little below the 2.9 seconds it takes the Performante model. Both cars top out at an electronically controlled 202 mph. While I didn’t test the car at anything like those levels, I believe the numbers. It’s a rocket, and of course it has the fuel economy to match.
The interior is all business, but with Italian charm. Race seats that sit low and firm are standard. The cockpit, draped in “carbon skin” coverings, is fitted with minimum airplane-like switches. Other functions are done through a new 8.4-inch touch screen mounted in the center console. One button lifts the low nose for clearing obstacles. Another lifts and stores the convertible top. Everything needed to make it go – turn signals, windshield wipers and other essentials – is mounted in the race-style steering wheel.
Creature comforts are slim to none. This may be the only car on the planet that offers a cup holder only as an option. The touch screen is minimalist. The front end trunk holds a small overnight bag, but not much more. The glove compartment holds two pairs of gloves – maybe.
There is a radio, but what’s it for? Is there music more beautiful to the ears, while driving, than the burble coming from the exhaust pipes?
So, what’s the trouble?
Lamborghini advertises the EVO with the phrase “Every Day Amplified,” underscoring the company’s contention that the Huracan is its “daily driver” model. While I absolutely buy that idea when applied to the Lamborghini Urus – the dynamic SUV that we reviewed earlier this year – I’m not sure it applies here. This car is definitely ready for the track, and it’s a blast on the Angeles Crest.
But it’s less ready for the 101, or the pot-holed hills around my house in Silver Lake. It rides very low, and its suspension is very stiff. The rear-view camera helps with manoeuvring, but the car’s architecture presents plenty of blind spots. And, at a base MSRP of almost 300,000 dollars, this isn’t a car for casual parallel parking or parking-lot behaviour.
All Lamborghinis have the reputation for being “chick magnets.” That was not my experience. I found it more of a geezer magnet. Everywhere I went, I was approached by people who wanted to look at the car, talk about the car or be photographed with the car. They were all middle-aged men like myself. (For the record, none of them seemed like “jerks” to me.)
Lamborghini said, when it announced production of the Huracan in 2014, that it would double the company’s total sales. And it did. Lamborghini sold 2,642 Huracans globally in 2017 and 2,780 in 2018 – far outselling the flagship Aventador and accounting for almost 75 per cent of total Lambo sales both years. This year, the company has moved twice as many Huracans as Aventadors, though both will be eclipsed by sales of the new Urus SUV.
That leaves open the image question, which is a common one. (There is a whole genre of social media posts that picture Lamborghinis parked in spots for the disabled, next to a preening owner, and so on.) Why is this? What makes this a jerk car? I’ve driven Ferraris, McLarens and Bugattis. No one ever asked if I felt sleazy driving them, or if I felt like a creep behind the wheel of a Porsche, Aston Martin, Bentley or Rolls-Royce.
It may be that Lamborghini makes its cars more available to nouveau riche rock stars and athletes than Ferrari, say, which famously limits its top vehicles to a chosen few.
But does that make it fair to judge a supercar by the superstars who drive them? Not to me. I enjoyed every hour of the week I spent in the EVO Spyder, and would welcome another.