First Drive: 2016 Lamborghini Huracán LP 580-2
– Carmel, California
You meet the most fantastic people in Northern California during Monterey Car Week – and I’m not just talking about the super rich owners. Coming out of a corner on Laureles Grade Road just outside of Carmel, California, a roughly 60-year-old woman is standing in one of the dirt turnouts, camped out watching all the great cars drive by. She’s got a lawn chair and a cooler, and she’s holding a poster board with huge colorful streamers and glitter. It isn’t until I speed by her in the 2016 Lamborghini Huracán LP 580-2 that she starts to smile and jump up and down, waving the poster board around with “YEA!” boldly printed on the front. You’ve got great taste, lady.
But that’s the kind of effect a Huracán has on people. Everyone loves a Lambo, and there’s big reason to love this new 580-2 variant. Eccentric old ladies don’t care that it has less horsepower than its all-wheel-drive, 610-4 sibling – it just looks cool. And you shouldn’t care about that lack of power, either. A number of key changes work together to make this the better-driving Huracán. Did I mention it’s less expensive, too?
The change to rear-wheel drive pays dividends in the Huracán’s weight and balance, and therefore handling.
The Huracán’s 5.2-liter naturally aspirated V10 loses 30 horsepower and 15 pound-feet of torque in its transition to 580-2 duty, but all 572 hp and 398 lb-ft are sent exclusively to the rear wheels. Lamborghini remapped the power and torque delivery characteristics, and the result is a linear wave of force that stays strong as you run from a standstill to 62 miles per hour in 3.4 seconds. That’s only 0.2 second slower than the 610-4, and in the real world, the increased acceleration time isn’t going to make much of a difference. Three-and-a-half seconds is still freaking quick, yo.
Never mind the numbers – the change to rear-wheel drive pays dividends in the Huracán’s weight and balance, and therefore handling. At 3,062 pounds, the 580-2 is 73 pounds lighter than the 610-4, and killing the front driven wheels changes balance from 43/57 front/rear in the AWD car to 40/60 in the RWD coupe. On top of that, the front suspension spring rates are 10 percent softer, and more pliant bushings are found at all four corners. Said another way, the 580-2 has a newfound freedom to wag its tail coming out of a corner, and the ride quality is generally better without being too cushy.
The Huracán LP 610-4 is so overly engineered with exacto-knife-like precision that the more forgiving dynamics of the 580-2 are rewardingly refreshing.
The Huracán LP 610-4 is so overly engineered with exacto-knife-like precision that the more forgiving dynamics of the 580-2 are rewardingly refreshing. The steering is still direct and full of life, the car defaulting to slight bits of safe understeer in its standard Strada driving mode. Everything sharpens in Sport, and the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission realigns its shift patterns to a logic so harmonious with engine and driver inputs that you almost forget about the large shift paddles. Should you choose to direct the transmission up and down yourself, the huge chunks of steering column-mounted metal are hugely rewarding in both mission and feel.
A third drive mode, Corsa, sets everything right for eking out the best lap time around a track. But for fast driving on the Monterey Peninsula, it’s overkill. The Huracán LP 580-2 is so sharp and balanced in Sport mode – and likewise so comfortable and compliant in Strada – that you’ll really want to just save that third setting for more extreme circumstances.
Nothing changes in the cabin, so the futuristic, angular look of the 610-4’s interior carries over for rear-drive duty.
Over the hills and around the sharp bends of Laureles Grade and Carmel Valley roads, the 580-2 operates with a fluidity that’s more Audi R8 than Lamborghini Huracán. I mean this as a compliment – where the 610-4 can sometimes feel twitchy, the 580 strikes a nice balance with its added lightness and turned-down-from-11 dynamics. If you really care about the art of driving, and making a car work with you along endless stretches of ups and downs and lefts and rights, the 580-2 is the right Huracán for the job.
Without parking the two next to each other, it’s tough to distinguish the 580-2 from the 610-4 in appearance. Viewed from the dead front, the 580 differentiates itself with a more prominent three-section air intake design and the removal of the AWD car’s mesh grille inserts. At the rear, the 580 wears taller air vents below the taillights – more prominent mesh outlets compared to the 610 – and at the corners, the standard 19-inch wheels have a new design. Otherwise, the two Huracáns are identical, and every option from the 610-4 can be had on the 580-2.
Downsides? As far as I’m concerned, there aren’t any.
Nothing changes in the cabin, so the futuristic, angular look of the 610-4’s interior carries over for rear-drive duty. You get the super-cool row of buttons across the top of the center stack, the gauge cluster looks like a first-generation effort of what we now know as Virtual Cockpit across the Audi range, and you still get the incredibly rewarding experience of having to lift the metal cover in order to push the red engine start button.
Downsides? As far as I’m concerned, there aren’t any. The rear-wheel-drive Huracán proves to be just as involving and delightful as the AWD car, with differences in character that make it generally more enjoyable for bombing around public roads. And the best part? The rear-wheel-drive car is nearly $38,000 less expensive to start. None of the LP 580-2’s characteristics take away from its core mission of being a Lamborghini Huracán, and offering one of the best supercar experiences on the road today. Who cares that it lost a little power? It’ll still make you – and those around you – jump for joy.
Photos: Nathan Leach-Proffer / Motor1.com