Jaco Van Der Merwe
I simply couldn’t doze off into my usual in-flight nap on the late afternoon flight back from Cape Town. “I’m in big trouble,” I repeated to myself over and over again.
Instead of being on cloud nine as you would expect after having the immense privilege of driving a R5.5m car, the thought of the task ahead freaked me out. My job entails experiencing a car to give feedback by means of words. Yet even mankind’s most descriptive vocabulary cannot truly capture the signals your senses send to your brain when stepping on the accelerator of a Lamborghini Huracan Evo.
Sure, I can tell you how phenomenal the grunt from the 5.2-litre naturally aspirated V10 engine situated only centimetres behind your back sounds when you demand all of its 470 kW power and 600 Nm of torque. And how your core is pressed back into the pristine leather upholstery wrapped around the bucket seat which clads your back when you do just that.
The fact that I imagined smelling the fine leather stitched by hand. And I can add how fuzzy your brain feels when the G-forces work their way through your body, almost like a head rush caused by a non-smoker’s drag on a cigarette. Not to mention the adrenaline that oozes through your veins, sending tingles down your spine.
Not forgetting the humongous grin on your face that almost gets lost in the myriad of heavenly activity erupting elsewhere. But can words describe how all of these things feel at once? I’m afraid not. Not even the use of wows in capital letters with numerous Os and Ws in the middle and the end can do the magnificent Huracan Evo justice, so attempting to will only end in a cliché.
Where ordinary words will come in handy, though, is for a bit of background to this supercar. The Huracan has been in production since 2014 while the Evo has replaced the outgoing Performante. The Huracan Evo, starting at R4.5m, slots in above the brand’s first SUV, the Urus (R3.45m), and under the top-end Aventador which starts at a tad below R8m.
Huracan means hurricane in Spanish, which in turn replaced the Gallardo, a model named after a fighting bull which the Raging Bull nomenclature is quite fond of doing. The Huracan Evo sports the same V10 powerplant as the Performante, but is equipped with what Lamborghini describes as “next-generation vehicle dynamic control and aerodynamics”. Looking at the distinctive low profile the first version of the this car already appeared in six years ago, it’s hard to think the designers could have made it any more aerodynamic, but I’ll take Lamborghini’s word they did.
The designers claim the new front bumper assures aerodynamic efficiency via the front splitter with integrated wing. The enlarged air intakes feature the Ypsilon shape that is inherent in Lamborghini’s design DNA. The side profile features the Raging Bull’s hexagon design references in the windows, the new wheel design and around the new side air intakes.
It is at the rear where the view gets even better. Here, the twin outlets of the new sports exhaust system are positioned high up on the rear bumper. An integrated slotted spoiler not only adds loads of attitude to its sporty aesthetics, but apparently also enhances the air flow.
The Huracan Evo’s aerodynamic prowess goes even further than the eye can see. Even the underbody has been shaped to maximise efficiency. According to the designers, the improved downforce and aerodynamic efficiency of the nomenclature’s latest reincarnation is more than five times over the first generation Huracan.
Helping you keep this car stable at speeds it was built for are a host of control systems which we would need an additional two pages to describe the finest details of. In short, at the heart of the Huracan Evo is a new feature called Lamborghini Dinamica Veicolo Integrata (LDVI). It is a central processing unit that controls every aspect of the car’s dynamic behaviour, fully integrating all of the dynamic systems and set-up to anticipate the next move and needs of the driver, interpreting this into perfect driving dynamics.
The Lamborghini Piattaforma Inerziale (LPI), a magnitude of sensors placed at the car’s centre of gravity, has been upgraded to version 2.0. It monitors lateral, longitudinal and vertical acceleration, plus roll, pitch and yaw rate. Also upgraded to version 2.0 is the magnetorheological suspension, which instantaneously adapts the damping following inputs from the LPI.
A new advanced traction control system together with enhanced all-wheel drive and torque vectoring, allows traction to be directed to a single wheel as required. Enhanced Lamborghini Dynamic Steering (LDS) is now coupled with rear-wheel steering in order to ensure agility at low speed, plus maximum stability in high-speed cornering and under braking in the most severe conditions.
All of these incredibly advanced features come together to create three driving modes selected via the Anima controller found at the bottom of the steering wheel: Strada (street), Sport, Corsa (track), which are all pretty much self-explanatory. These will largely be determined by the driver’s mood or conditions the car finds itself in.
Judging by the vast difference in engine noise even at a standstill, you can pretty much guess what each mode will provide. If you somehow managed to miss the unadulterated roar from the superb sounding exhaust system during start up, then the change in personality the idling sound goes through in selecting Sport and Corsa will no doubt get your attention. Ignition alone is a thrill.
As you lift the cover plate guarding the start button on the centre console, you can just imagine the typical movie scene where the American general in the top secret bunker turning his key in the computer console in conjunction with the president and saying: “Commence launch sequence.”
Make no mistake, Strada mode offers more supercar than any normal person will ever need in his lifetime. Acceleration will allow you to overtake at times very few other cars will and it is amazing to see how quickly the seven-speed Lamborghini Doppia Frizione (LDF) gearbox works its way through the first six gears and then pull in seventh from below even 80 km/h to pretty much any speed you’d like it to go.
Sport mode utilises the lower gears more, with stronger exhaust notes and gives the driver the option of automatic or manual shift via the steering wheel mounted paddles. But when you want to poke the bear the way it is intended to be poked in Corsa mode, you can only do so in manual mode. And boy, what a thrill that is.
The instrument cluster puts its game face on, the engine gets even angrier and the exhaust notes are simply intoxicating. By now the missile is well and truly airborne. And in case you were wondering how the fuel performs that powers this missile, and I doubt anyone buying this car will, it was actually surprisingly decent at 15.6l/100km giving some quite enthusiastic driving.
Not being the most experienced in piloting supercars I wouldn’t be able to compare my 140 km behind the wheel of the Huracan Evo from Cape Town to close to Grabouw with any other car, but it sure as hell is a fabulous way to start. The low seating position, the roar, the raw thrill of the acceleration (0 to 100 km/h in 2.9 sec) and the ease with which it flies around corners at high speeds is simply breath-taking. Not to mention the reaction from the mesmerised pedestrians and fellow motorists.
In all of that advanced design there is still a bit of space for superb Italian craftsmanship, even a bit of quirkiness. To lower the side windows you have to press up on the centre console and to raise them you have to press down. That is as puzzling as the fact that the Evo does not come standard with a cup holder, but is as optional extra.
Lamborghini also assures us that the Huracan Evo is equipped with a radio that can be found on its 8.4-inch screen infotainment system located underneath a row of very cool looking retro racing-style buttons on the dash. Needless to say, we did not even look for it. During our total rendezvous of 270 km, the V10 roar was the only thing worth listening too.
They say the most difficult thing to do in life is lower your lifestyle. I get that. If this was my wheels, I’d refuse to get into anything else.
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