By Khulekani Dumisa
It is not every day that you get to drive a supercar, in fact it is not every day that you get to see a supercar. We were naturally very excited when we got an invitation from the folks at Lamborghini South Africa to drive the Lamborghini Huracán Performante. Forget that the standard Huracán had been released globally about 5 years ago, the Huracán Performante is worth the wait and will delight any would be suitor.
The raging bull
The car has at its heart, Lamborghini’s most powerful V10 engine. The 5.2l V10 makes 470kW of power and 600Nm of torque. This means the car can rocket from standstill to 100km/h in just 2,9 seconds. The top speed is more than 325 km/h. The car can be driven in three modes – Strada for everyday driving (whatever that means in a supercar), Sport for a more sporty drive and Corsa for track driving. At the briefing which was held at Lamborghini’s dealership in Cape Town, we were warned by Lamborghini SA Head, Toby Venter, that the car could be intoxicating and that we must be careful. More on that later.
Master of the wind
Giving a car this much power means you have to keep it planted on the ground and Lamborghini have done that with the Aerodinamica Lamborghini Attiva (ALA) system. This system manages front and back active aerodynamics of the Huracán Performante. The system automatically adapts to the driving style and type of route. When necessary, it increases vertical load to assist stability and speed through curves, or it reduces aerodynamic resistance to assist acceleration and reaching the top speed. The ALA system allows the rear spoiler to regulate air-flow through an electro-actuated flap which closes or opens depending on the driving conditions. On “easy” drives, the flap is closed and the spoiler works to enhance stability and cornering of the vehicle. Once the flap opens, it allows air flow through the inner channel and this reduces the vertical load and drag allowing you to reach the top speeds.
A lighter but quick bull
Now that you know that the Huracán Performante is quick and can manipulate the wind to remain firmly on the ground whilst achieving incredible performance, another innovation is the use of Forged Composites which is not a specific material, but an encompassing technology which combines the material, preform definition, molding and curing processes, and specific design features to create a forged composite carbon fiber part. This material has been used in front and rear spoilers, some interior parts and the V10 engine. This results in a lighter (with a 40kg weight reduction) but lethally quick car that was able to set a new lap record around the Nurburgring shaving 28 seconds off the time achieved by its LP610-4 sibling.
It is hard to describe the design of the Huracán Performante save to say it invokes emotion and everything about it is geared towards performance. Outside the front and rear spoilers play a major party in in performance through manipulation of wind forces to achieve maximum performance. The new, even lighter wheel rims hold the new Pirelli P Zero Corsa tyres to provide incredible grip. The interior exudes quality and class and fittings are made from the highest quality materials: the seats are made of carbon fiber, some interior parts are made of Forged Composites, and the upholstery is made from Alcantara. The design of these materials is geared towards performance. The cockpit also allows you to be connected with your iPhone via Apple CarPlay as it can display your apps on the digital odometer. Another important display is the telemetry system which is a system that allows you to review your performance and improve your driving abilities. The slight criticism about the dash is that it may seem a tad too familiar as it borrows from some VW Group counterparts. Some people may not wish to see this in their car that is worth over R6million but Venter sums it up nicely when he says there would possibly be no Lamborghini brand without the Group. This is a small price to pay in the greater scheme of things.
The first part was driving the car out of the dealership floor where the hand-over happened. You see the car sits very close to the ground (for performance of course) so you have to lift it to avoid costly mishaps. This is taken care of courtesy of a suspension lift button that lifts the front of the car. The car automatically lowers itself when it reaches speeds of 70 km/h. You must always remember this button and also remember to slow down to allow it to engage.
With the exit of the dealership out of the way, we navigated ourselves out of city traffic and managed to get ourselves onto the highway. Before we knew it, we were approaching some scenic and rewarding roads in the Western Cape with harmonic melody of the V10 egging us on. I can confidently say that few sounds will delight a petrol head than the sound of that naturally aspirated V10. Long may it reign!
With the car sending power to all fours, we soon saw ourselves fast approaching mountain passes with perfectly sculpted corners. The Huracán Performante seemed more at home here instilling both fear and delight as we switched it from Strada to Sport. The drive was incredible with the national speed limit being reached without breaking a sweat. In fact the drive grew more intense and exciting the more we drove. The Huracán Performante seemed to slice through wind and kilometers as if they were merged into one thereby delivering a captivating drive.
Before we knew it, we pulled over at our lunch stop and it was time to park the car. This would have been a tricky affair but Lamborghini has thrown in an all-important reverse camera to make you look like a pro whenever pulling up to an audience of onlookers.
Within a short space of time we were back on the road and I must confess that I have never spent such little time on a lunch stop but you can imagine why this ritual was broken.
The route planners had thought about everything and that also goes for the second half of the drive. There were curves, straight lines and small towns with cheering onlookers even! This is where the word of caution from Venter is to be remembered, the car has been so engineered so well, it invites you to attempt to perform at your peak and in a manner that can be intoxicating. You have to remain grounded though, and remember that you sit at the very bottom of a pyramid comprising of yourself, the laws of physics and the brilliant Lamborghini Huracán Performante.
The Lamborghini Huracán Performante is priced from R6,095,000 and this price includes Lamborghini South Africa’s 3 year/100,000 KM Driveplan.
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