2016 Lamborghini Huracan LP 580-2 First Drive
The most enjoyable – not necessarily the “best” or “fastest” – driving machines permit latitude with their exactitude, using ruthless precision to support a driver’s personal style instead of smother it. Very few cars get it right. The Porsche 911 GT3 is one that does.
Add the Lamborghini Huracán LP 580-2 – the new rear-wheel drive variant of the all-wheel drive Húracan LP 610-4 – to the short list.
To get a sense of how the rear-drive car stacks up, let’s revisit our impressions of the all-wheel version. We drove the LP 610-4 at Laguna Seca back in May for the brand’s Intensivo driving school, and two idiosyncracies stood out. The first is that it ticked around corners like the second hand on a watch. That’s great for an autocross, pivoting through cones like a Tron lightcycle. But on a circuit, you want the freedom to find your own best way to move the machine around the track, and the all-wheel-drive Huracán won’t relent on its commitment to ultimate precision. You aim at grace but you get mechanics – a robot trying to follow your instructions for dancing the Tarantella.
The second peculiarity was that it squirmed under heavy braking, coming down from triple-digit speeds into a hairpin like a bull shaking off a swarm of flies.The LP 580-2 is the prescription to cure both symptoms. As the name attests, output drops from 602 horsepower to 572 hp and torque is reduced from 413 pound-feet to 398 lb-ft, all of it sent to the rear wheels. The timed run from 0-62 miles per hour is just 0.2 seconds slower than the 610-4. No mere devaluation of potency, engineers remapped the 5.2-liter V10’s power and torque delivery so it’s different from the AWD version. Power delivery is further differentiated between the 580-2’s manual and automatic shifting, and it feels more linear when you’re working the paddles.
You need a fetish for grilles to spot the variance between this car and the all-wheel drive version. Designers reworked the strakes on the lower front intake and removed the hexagonal mesh ornamentation, so you peer straight at radiators. The corners of a larger rear grille cut deeper into the bumper. The badge ahead of the rear wheels says, “LP 580-2.” The standard 19-inch wheels are of a new design called “Kari.” Those are the visual differences. The cabin is identical.
Forgoing driven front wheels sheds 73-pounds and shifts front-to-rear balance from 43/57 in the AWD model to 40/60 here. Suspension spring rates are ten percent more relaxed in front, the anti-roll bars are softer, and the bushings throughout more forgiving. The tires are Pirelli PZeros designed specifically for this car, with a different compound, structure, and tread design than the LP 610-4.In mathematical terms, the maximum roll angle on the two-wheel-drive coupe increases by 0.29 percent, which is like saying it’s grown by the width of an eyelash. Laps on the Losail Circuit in Doha, Qatar, demonstrated that all the little numbers translate to a massive difference in feel. In Strada mode, the system favors understeer, prioritizing safety. In Corsa, the system dials in precision assuming you want the fastest lap time. In Sport, the system opens up the boundaries on slip angle, and it doesn’t load up the steering with artificial weight as it does in the AWD car. You can wag the Huracán’s backside by trailing in and punching out after the apex, or banging on it all Fast & Furious: Tokyo Drift, spooling the thing out sideways while still in the braking zone.
The ticking motion is gone – this car flows. In fact, the front end is so lively it’s peeking in the direction of sensitive. In one section of Losail there’s a medium-speed tight right into a tight left, the track crowned between them. The AWD coupe would have simply torqued its way through the crossover. You don’t plough through that kind of terrain in the RWD coupe, its front end going buoyant over the crest as it held tight to our chosen line. Once we had learned the surface and how the coupe’s weight shifts front to back and side to side, nailing a seamless flick through that kink was its own reward on every lap – the best part being that a driver can figure out how to get it done their own way.This car will still protect you from yourself. Coming out of a high-speed right-hander we saw the guy behind fishtailing the entire length of our rearview mirror, then the car righted itself with a snap! He barely fell back – the Huracán reacts too quickly. Instead of ECUs doing calculations, the Lamborghini Piattaforma Inerziale puts three accelerometers and three gyroscopes in the coupe’s center of gravity to measure yaw, pitch, and roll. The LPI’s 10-millisecond input/response time with the various control systems avoids the lag of computers having to do calculations, bailing you out of bad action while you’re still on the throttle. If you need to dive on the brakes, only a touch of squirm remains. It’s there, but no longer unsettling.
The LP 580-2 retains all the best bits of the LP 610-4, namely being a comfortable, beautiful, mid-engined, naturally-aspirated V10 exotic with abundant horsepower, terrific grip, a numinous wail. On top of that, it is $38,250 less expensive than, and virtually indistinguishable from, its all-wheel drive stablemate – and can be built up with every feature on the more expensive car. Most importantly, the 580-2 is more pliant and markedly more fun to drive if driving is your thing.
Lamborghini says that 30 percent of its customers have never owned one of its cars before. The LP 580-2 is where those buyers should make their acquaintance with the brand.