Lamborghini Huracan Evo
Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain
Wouldn’t it be great if there was a magic pill you could take that would instantly give you God-like driving skills?
As it turns out, there is such a panacea, and it comes in the form of Lamborghini’s brand-new Huracan Evo, which will soon replace the Huracan LP610-4 that’s been around since 2014.
Mere mortals are able to have the V10 bull dancing at the limits, and the magic pill is the addition of ‘predictive logic’ software (the Huracan Evo is the first Lambo to feature this) that anticipates what you’re trying to do and is already several steps ahead of you in terms of setting the car up for what’s about to transpire.
The Huracan Evo is a mid-cycle upgrade rather than an all-new car, but fresh life has been breathed into Lambo’s ‘entry-level’ supercar via the predictive software, plus the installation of four-wheel-steer, torque vectoring and the same uprated V10 that features in the hardcore Huracan Performante. It may not get the ‘ALA’ active aero that features in the Performante, but the Evo’s revised bodywork is claimed to deliver seven times more downforce than the Huracan LP610-4 that it replaces.
Our maiden thrash of the Huracan Evo is at the Bahrain International Circuit, a 5.412km track that has hosted a round of the F1 championship every year since 2004.
Its flowing, undulating layout provides a suitable playground to uncork the full potential of the revamped Lambo, and the key takeaway from the fang is that the Evo is fast, furious and fun – much more so its predecessor was. Lamborghini execs say the car is three seconds a lap quicker around the Nardo test track than the LP610-4, and it feels it.
But more than the raw pace, it’s the newfound accessibility of the car’s dynamic repertoire that makes it such a delight to drive in anger. It begs you to wring its neck. A key contributor to this is LDVI (Lamborghini Dynamic Vehicle Integration) – an electronic brain that oversees all the electronic vehicle dynamics gubbins and uses “feed-forward” logic to predictively tailor the driving setup 50 times a second.
Using info from accelerators and gyroscope sensors that measure roll, yaw and pitch (imagine a ship in high seas that’s being lurched from side to side, bounced off course and bobbing up and down, and you’ll get the idea of what these parameters are), the LDVI pre-emptively sets all the parameters – torque-vectoring, rear-steer, traction control – to make you look like a pro.
The beauty is that it makes you think you’re doing it all. Everything happens so seamlessly and invisibly that you’re completely unaware of the millions of computations and compensations that are taking place each lap. Electronic driver aids used to be a party pooper, but in this case they hugely enhance the fun factor. This might be a heavily digitised car, yet it feels completely analogue.
Dived into a corner too hot? No problem. The LDVI has already sensed that and the individual torque split to each wheel, traction control and rear-steer has helped compensate for this. You still need to do your part by applying counter-steering and throttle/braking adjustments where necessary, but the electronic finessing behind the scenes provides you with added breathing space and a greater sense of security.
As it turns out, my confidence gains a further boost as Lambo test driver Marco Passerini (whom I’m chasing on track) says over the walkie-talkie: “Don’t worry if the rear gets loose through Turn 9 (an open left-hander that you trail brake into to wash off speed for the tight left that immediately follows). Just trust in the car and lean on it.”
The addition of four-wheel-steer has dialled out any trace of the slight turn-in understeer that afflicted the Huracan LP610-4, and the Evo’s dynamics are further sharpened by the fitment of the same stiffened stabiliser bars used in the Performante. That said, the Evo retains softer springs than the latter to make it a more user-friendly proposition across patchy tarmac.
Grip levels are prodigious from the Pirelli P-Zero Corsa rubber (245/30 R20 at the front and 305/30 R20 at the rear), although there is a bit of slipping and sliding after a few hard laps as tyre temperatures start to soar.
That 5.2-litre V10 has always been a jewel of an engine, but in its latest guise – featuring titanium intake valves and a free-flow exhaust system that spits spent gases out via a huge pair of flame-thrower-mimicking pipes – it’s been escalated to an even loftier plane.
Towering outputs of 470kW (640PS) and 600Nm partly tell the story (as do stats of 0-100km/h in 2.9sec and 0-200km/h in 9.0sec), but it’s the sheer joyful abandon with which the V10 spins its way past 8,000rpm that separates it from the turbo horde. Few other engines out go about their business with such neck-hair-raising aural drama.
Ferrari’s 488 delivers a mightier mid-range wallop than the Lambo, but its turbo-fed torque spike (and the fact that only the rear wheels are doing the driving) makes it more of a handful to manage when you’re on the ragged edge around a racetrack. The linearity of the Huracan Evo’s power delivery and razor-sharp throttle response means it’s a much easier car to finesse at the limits. It telegraphs its intentions and is terrifically adjustable.
The Lambo’s dual-clutch seven-speed ’box is fast and fool proof, although perhaps a fraction behind the whip-crack immediacy of the Ferrari’s transmission. Steering feel, too, isn’t quite as textured in the Huracan Evo as it is in the 488. But we’re talking very small degrees here.
As before, there are Strada, Sport and Corsa drive modes to select from, with the first of these putting the magnetorheological dampers, engine and transmission in their most relaxed settings. Sport and Corsa harden everything up, but the former is the most entertaining as it provides the most leeway for sideways hooliganism by loosening up the stability control safety net. The latter is tailored more towards precision and shaving tenths off lap times.
The big change inside is the installation on the centre console of a new 8.4-inch touchscreen (with gesture control) that not only controls the infotainment, climate control and so forth, it can also be optionally configured with a dual-camera telemetry system that allows advanced telemetry recording and analysis. It’s a handy tool if you want to improve your on-track skills.
The Huracan’s cabin layout might now be five years old, but it’s aged gracefully and is freshened up via new trim combos, with an almost infinite number of personalisation permutations via Lamborghini’s Ad Personam program. If it tickles your fancy, you can have the cabin laced with lightweight Carbon Forged Composites or Lamborghini’s patented Carbon Skin.
We’ve yet to drive the Huracan Evo on road – the international media launch was a track-only extravaganza – but we know from ample time spent in the outgoing Huracan that it’s a relatively easy car to live with on a day-to-day basis. Entry/egress entails none of the acrobatics required for the Aventador, there’s ample headroom inside, and ride/refinement levels are by no means punishing (they occasionally are in its V12 big brother).
Visually, the Huracan Evo isn’t a massive departure from the LP610-4 it replaces, although the eagle-eyed among you will have picked up on the new front splitter and air intakes that optimally channel air under, over and around the car. There’s also a new aero-efficient underfloor design, while out back sits a massive diffuser that’s made possible by the exhaust pipes migrating upwards. Further up is a two-channel ducktail spoiler that helps keep the rear end glued to the tarmac at high speeds.
There’s no active aero in the Huracan Evo (R&D boss Maurizio Reggiani says that will be reserved for go-faster versions that will come later), but the newbie is still claimed to be six times more aero efficient than its predecessor, as well as delivering 16 per cent more engine cooling flow.
The Huracan still looks sharp considering the basic shape has now been around for half a decade, but I’m not totally convinced the latest version is more visually appealing than its predecessor. Personally, I find the LP610-4’s frontal fascia a bit cleaner and I also dig its quartet of exhausts. That said, I do have a soft spot for the ducktail spoiler worn by the Evo. Feel free to arrive at your own conclusions as far as the styling goes…
As a do-everything, drive-everyday supercar, the Huracan Evo can hold its own against pretty much anything else out there. The newfound agility and dynamism it has gained via the high-tech chassis-control wizardry, all-wheel-steer and uprated V10 have turned an already capable car into a great one. It’ll serve the Bolognese raging bull well until an all-new replacement arrives in another four years or so.