BULLS ON PARADE

ďTHAT V10 ENGINE DEVELOPS 610HP AND DRIVES ALL FOUR WHEELS IN THIS VERSIONĒ

WORDS ANDY ENRIGHT PHOTOS NATHAN JACOBS

IF YOU READ any of the early reviews of Lamborghiniís Huracan, you might have come away with the impression that it was an understeering dud with too much Audi in its double helixes and not enough SantíAgata fairy dust in the mix. Itís an easy conclusion to come to if youíre put onto a race track with Lamborghiniís minders forbidding you to switch out the electronic nannies, so Lambo somewhat shot themselves in the foot there.

But whatís a Huracan really like when you have one at your disposal to do with as you please? We landed a Huracan Spyder, perfectly timed with some of Melbourneís more hideous weather, and set out to discover the rationale behind the successor to the big-selling Gallardo. A key point to consider first. The open-top versions of coupes are usually poor relations as driverís cars. The Huracan is different, as the carbon fibre and aluminium chassis was designed from the outset to cater for a convertible version, so thereís no appreciable difference in body rigidity between the convertible. That drop top just plugs you closer to the aural fireworks from the naturally-aspirated V10 engine.

Even with the hood up, you can drop the tiny rear window if youíre heading into a tunnel at speed and want to turn the volume up to eleven.

That V10 engine develops 610hp and drives all four wheels in this version, hence the 610-4 badging. Translate that to metric and thatís 449kW and 560Nm of torque.

Thatís enough to be going on with. Lamborghiniís quoted 0-100km/h time of 3.4 seconds is a couple of tenths down on the coupe, thanks to the Spyder adding around 100kg to the kerb weight. To be honest, the car feels faster.

The two most significant improvements over the Gallardo are the carbon brakes and the gearbox. Lamborghini never used to be able to get the brake feel right with their early carbon brakes, and youíd often get that heart in mouth feeling that you had no brakes over the first couple of centimetres of pedal travel. The brakes on this Huracan are just about perfect. This car also gets a

slick seven-speed dual-clutch transmission where the Gallardo had a truculent single-clutch unit. Itís a big plus. Or a big minus if you preferred the old gated manual box. You canít get one of those any more but to be honest, this car is too fast and too urgent to really make much sense of a manual box. Youíd forever be driving it with one hand on the wheel.

What strikes you most about the car is that Lamborghini has matured as a company.

Not that it has become old or that the car is any less exciting to drive, merely that it better understands the subtleties of how to calibrate systems, balance compromises and create a really well-judged fast road car. The Huracan hits barely any bum notes.

Complaints? The electricallyadjustable driverís seat is set too high which will limit the carís appeal for taller drivers, thereís not much oddment space in the cabin, some of the sightlines are tricky and the front boot is a bit of a joke for a car with the Huracanís grand touring potential. Oh, and I donít know if thereís a way to stop the Lamboís theatrical flare of revs at startup. Your neighbours will hate that if youíre trying to make an early morning getaway and itís quite unnecessary. The idle-stop system proves that the Huracan can start in a civilised fashion.

Yes, the Huracan does tip into understeer at the limit, but thatís perfectly right and correct for a road car. Switch to Corsa mode and you can balance the car on the throttle, the stability control letting you hold a half-hand of oversteer.

Switch it off and youíre on your own. Just remember that this is a wide, short-wheelbase car with a pin-sharp throttle.

In other words, practice somewhere where a spin will have little or no consequence.

The ANIMA switch on the steering wheel completely changes the nature of the car. The magnetorheological dampers are a must-have and Iím in the minority in liking the optional dynamic steering system. Try it before you buy it. One item from the options list thatís really non-negotiable is the parking pack. The front and rear sensors and camera are a chunky $5,700 but take the sweat out of inching the Huracanís invisible extremities into a space.

Youíll love the hugely configurable TFT virtual display and the way that Lamborghini has made a stalkless cabin work a lot better than Ferrari. And the sound.

The V10 is feral in the upper reaches, utterly knocking the spots off the aural signature of a Ferrari 488 GTB. Ultimately, it seems as if itís the last of a line. Lamborghini, beholden as they are like every other car manufacturer to emissions legislation, will doubtless move to either turbocharging or hybrid technology and these angry atmo engines will be but a memory, so perhaps this is a high water mark thatíll never be repeated. For a car that received a muted reception, the Huracan is really coming good. Itís quite comfortably the best car ever to roll from the gates at SantíAgata. A big claim? Spend a bit of time with one and itís really not.

ALONG CAME A SPYDER

So, should you buy the Huracan Spyder over the coupe?

Youíll have to come up with another $43k to meet the Spyderís $471,000 asking price, and that doesnít really net you anything else in terms of added equipment.

The fabric roof opens in 18 seconds and itíll even work if youíre rolling at up to 50km/h.

With virtually no dynamic penalty to pay, the question is why wouldnít you?

Getting a little more intimate with that thunderous V10 has to be worth a nine per cent premium.

ďAND THE SOUND. THE V10 IS FERAL IN THE UPPER REACHES, UTTERLY KNOCKING SPOTS OFF THE AURAL SIGNATURE OF A FERRARI 488 GTBĒ

LAMBORGHINI HURACAN LP610-4 SPYDER

ENGINE 5204cc V10 (90į), dohc, 40v MAX POWER 449kW @ 8250rpm MAX TORQUE 560Nm @ 6500rpm TRANSMISSION 7-speed dual-clutch KERB WEIGHT 1524kg 0-100KM/H 3.4sec (claimed) ECONOMY 12.3L/100km (EU) PRICE $471,000 ON SALE November 2016