From the March 2018 issue
Science and reason tend to marginalize our awareness of it as we age, but there is magic left in the world. A rich vein of it can be mined from the very name “Lamborghini,” and the Huracán Performante crackles with the stuff.
Lamborghini used no magic in creating the Performante, just a practical and reliable methodology of adding power, removing weight, and improving aerodynamics versus the regular Huracán. The first of those is largely thanks to airflow improvements, netting 29 more horsepower and 30 additional pound-feet of torque, for totals of 631 and 443, respectively. The Performante’s lower weight is the result of a simplified exhaust system and wider application of Lamborghini’s Forged Composite, a resin reinforced with short, chopped carbon fibers.
All angles and creases, the mini-Murciélago look is great on any Huracán, but not even in the steamiest math-teacher fantasies does geometry look so good as on the Performante. The majority of the rear view consists of purposeful grille mesh for exhausting heat generated by the 8500-rpm V-10, accented by the awesome black-marble appearance inherent in Forged Composite’s manufacture.
It’s the inevitable result of multiplying 443 pound-feet through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission then through four Pirelli P Zero Trofeo Rs, but what happens when you engage launch control certainly feels like magic. The Performante accelerates so hard, you’re not sure if your eyes are widening because your brain is desperate for more input or if it’s simply the g-forces packing your eyelids deep into your skull. Either way, 60 mph passes in 2.3 seconds, an improvement of 0.2 over the regular Huracán. After the gut-punch launch, the quarter-mile whooshes past in just 10.2 seconds, at which point the Performante is wailing beyond 136 mph.
So narrow is the focus of the Trofeo Rs that driving in the rain is legitimately scary. Caught on a winding road in a downpour, we were outrun by an animal-control truck. But on dry pavement, the grip is astounding, with the Performante joining an elite club, posting 1.11 g’s on the skidpad. More amazing is how the utter flatness of the body conspires with that grip to make 1.11 g’s feel so anticlimactic. A stop from 70 mph takes 135 feet. And in non-extreme use, near-perfect pedal feel makes modulation easy.
The air vents, door pulls, shift paddles, and center-console trim bring the Forged Composite black-marble look into the cabin, where it’s surrounded by other special touches. From the toggle switches for the windows and other controls to the contrast-color perforations and striping on the seats to the fighter-jet-style flip-cover over the start/stop button, the Huracán never lets you forget that you’re not just in a car, you’re in a Lam-bor-ghi-ni.
There are drawbacks, sure. The single-piece carbon-shell racing seats are so narrow and hard that, for many of us, the bruising on our hips became visible in an hour or less. Ingress and egress require such feats of contortion that your author kneed himself in the face getting out. And it’s loud inside. The exhaust does have a (relatively) quiet mode, but let’s be clear: One thing you’re not going to be in a Performante is comfortable. So why bother? Let it feel special. Let it feel like magic.
VEHICLE TYPE: mid-engine, all-wheel-drive, 2-passenger, 2-door coupe
PRICE AS TESTED: $317,285 (base price: $279,185)
ENGINE: DOHC 40-valve V-10, aluminum block and heads, port and direct fuel injection
Displacement: 318 cu in, 5204 cc
Power: 631 hp @ 8000 rpm
Torque: 443 lb-ft @ 6500 rpm
TRANSMISSION: 7-speed dual-clutch automatic with manual shifting mode
Wheelbase: 103.1 in
Length: 177.4 in
Width: 75.7 in Height: 45.9 in
Passenger volume: 46 cu ft
Trunk volume: 4 cu ft
Curb weight: 3429 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS:
Zero to 60 mph: 2.3 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 5.4 sec
Zero to 180 mph: 23.2 sec
Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 3.1 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 10.2 sec @ 136 mph
Top speed (drag limited, mfr's claim): 202 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 135 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 1.11 g
C/D FUEL ECONOMY:
Observed: 10 mpg
EPA FUEL ECONOMY:
Combined/city/hwy: 16/14/19 mpg