I’m sitting in the pits at Imola, astride the Lamborghini Huracán Performante, when the Neil Young chestnut pops into my head: “Huracán,” of course, translates to “Hurricane” in Italian. But forget Neil and Crazy Horse. This is Crazy Horsepower, with the Performante about to light off 631 ponies from the 5.2-liter V-10 perched behind my shoulders.
Lamborghini V-10 produces stadium-sized sound
By sounding this 10-cylinder salute to naturally aspirated engines, the Performante easily wins the aural battle over its turbocharged rivals, the Ferrari 488 GTB,McLaren 720S, and V-6 powered Ford GT. (The Lambo’s more-affordable cousin, the Audi R8, uses a version of the same V-10). Lifting off throttle stirs beautiful backfires and gurgles from the lightweight, retuned exhaust, a seething cauldron of spent fuel. When I fly past pit lane again in a trio of Performantes traveling roughly 140 miles per hour, their combined 30 cylinders produce such a glorious racket that I can barely hear myself think. But I can definitely see myself smile in the rear-view mirror.
Barroom debates aside, let’s keep things simple: Road or track, the Huracán Performante is a freaking beast. It’s even more impressive when you consider that, until quite recently, Lamborghinis were rarely in the discussion of which supercars were legitimately great on track.
Lamborghini might also work up a nice humblebrag from the Performante’s $274,390 base price, versus $930,000 for the Porsche 918 Spyder with Weissach Package-the ‘Ring’s previous record holder-and an insane $3.7 million for a McLaren P1 LM. In other words, at just $32,000 more than a standard Huracán coupe, the Performante is fairly priced by the loopy standards of supercars.
In just about any older Lamborghini-including the Murcielago, Gallardo and original Aventador-standing on the brake at these speeds would result in the kind of perilous rear-end wobble that introduces your heart to your tonsils. But instead of making me tussle with the wheel, the Performante sheds speed with the strength and precision of a race car.
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The cabin is also generously arrayed in forged composite, including the center console, vents and other trim. In contrast to the familiar tweedy weave of most carbon fiber, the funky composite has a random, almost tortoise shell finish. Some attending journalists hated it. I thought it was cool and different, especially in an industry where woven fiber has become a bit of a design cliché. Also different is the Italian flag decal (what, no checkers?) that highlights the rising, waist-nipping line of the rocker panels, like some hot Italian corset.
“Lamborghini dies when it follows the herd,” Dominicali declares. “Electrification and hybridization is the trend, we know this, everyone is doing it. But we are not going to follow. We need to be different, a car that’s not ‘normal.’”