LAMBORGHINI HAS unveiled one of the most exciting cars of the year at the LA Auto Show, a rear-wheel drive version of its Huracán supercar dubbed the LP 580-2.
While much of the mechanical specification is identical to the allwheel drive LP 610-4, the removal of the front diff and driveshafts promises to have a huge effect on how the baby Lambo drives.
The same aluminium-carbonfibre hybrid construction, shared with the Audi R8, underpins both cars, though the removal of the all-wheel drive system has saved 33kg, the LP 580-2 weighing in at 1389kg (dry).
The 5.2-litre naturally-aspirated V10 carries over largely unchanged, however as the name suggests power is down slightly, the LP 580-2 developing 426kW/540Nm compared to its all-paw sibling's 449kW/560Nm.
Also carried over is the sevenspeed 'Doppia Frizione' (dual-clutch) gearbox, while as with all MY16 Huracáns the V10 now has the ability to shut down one bank of cylinders when not required in an attempt to save fuel.
Despite possessing launch control, acceleration is slightly slower, the 0-100km/h sprint taking 0.2sec longer at 3.4sec, though that's likely due to traction difficulties rather than any power deficit. And it's these traction difficulties that make the LP 580-2 such a mouth-watering prospect.
While the all-wheel drive Huracán is brutally fast, its thrills come from its sheer speed, as its traction and lateral grip levels are more or less unbreachable on the public road.
For the LP 580-2 Lamborghini claims to have recalibrated its ANIMA system – which controls steering weight, throttle response, damper stiffness and ESP calibration – "to provide oversteering characteristics, emphasising authentic rear-wheel drive behaviour."
To us, that sounds suspiciously like PR-speak for "no matter what the engineers tried they just couldn't stop the thing going sideways". Excellent.
That said, our last experience with a rear-wheel drive Lamborghini, the Gallardo LP 550-2 Balboni during Performance Car of the Year 2010, was a hair-raising experience, especially on track, due to the keenness with which the rear wanted to overtake the front. But then this is a mid-engined Italian supercar, so maybe it should be a bit scary.
The best news for baby supercar buyers, however, is the price.
Australian pricing is still some way from being confirmed, but Lamborghini recommends a price of €150,000 for European buyers, a substantial cut over the regular Huracán's €169,500.
Apply a similar discount to the Huracán's $428,000 local ask and the result is well under $400,000, which would undercut the previous LP 550- 2's $409,500 and even promises a price below the Gallardo's original $399,346 back in 2004. This would make the LP 580-2 the cheapest car in its segment, at least until the arrival of the McLaren 540C.
By focusing on fun, the Huracán LP 580-2 is a two-fingered salute to the current game of more power, more speed and more grip that has engulfed every segment from hot hatches to SUVs to supercars. Now all it needs is a manual gearbox option.