Our colleagues at Motor1 Italy recently tested the new Lamborghini Huracán Performante in Imola. The text you see below is the transcript of the accompanying video review. With a car this special, a normal, written First Drive simply wouldn't do it justice. Enjoy.
– Imola, Italy
I think people are wrong when they say that Lamborghini is no longer Italian – that with Audi, the inspiration of the past has gone. And it’s not only for a matter of words or national flags, it’s about… ideas.
And you know, when new ideas need simple words to describe them, well, then usually they are good ideas. And ALA sees to be one of them.
For starters, this active aerodynamics by Lamborghini – Aerodinamica Lamborghini Attiva, that’s what ALA stands for – surely has had a big role in achieving the lap time of 6 minutes, 52.01 at the Nürburgring, the new record for production cars.
And here’s how it works. Basically, there are two settings, which can be chosen automatically by the electronic brain which controls all vehicle dynamics. There’s a low downforce setting and a high downforce setting and there are two areas involved in the process: at the front (on the spoiler) and with the rear wing.
Talking about the front splitter, there’s a flap, a sort of valve, that when it’s closed lets the air flow above and underneath, generating a high downforce at the front wheels. And also a high level of drag. When you open the flap, the air goes underneath the vehicle reducing both downforce and drag.
For the rear wing, the flaps are in two channels that are taking air flow from ahead, and redirecting toward the wing, passing through the pillars, which are hollow. When the flap is closed, you can have clean air along the wing, above and below, having the flow connected to the wing and so producing downforce but also a lot of drag.
However, when you open the valves, the air goes through the pillars and bleeds out to the bottom edge of the wing, interfering with the air along the wing and generating turbulence, and therefore making the wing to stall, as you don’t want to happen to the wing of an aircraft. This is how you reduce both downforce and drag.
So, under braking, the system is off and both vales are closed, maximizing downforce at the front and at the rear. In the straights, when you want to go as fast as possible, the ALA system turns on and both the flaps open reducing drag and making the car more slippery and quicker.
But there’s more. You can vary the downforce across the wing and so, in a corner, putting downforce on the inner wheel (that has less weight on it) and you can reduce the downforce on the other side.
And in corner entries this improves speed, reduces steering angle, and so it reduces understeer and slip angle on the tires. This is why Lamborghini calls all of this Aero Vectoring, a kind of third way to help a car make a corner after Brake Vectoring and Torque Vectoring.
So, how does all this stuff fell like when you drive out on a circuit? We’re at Imola, which has some very high speed corners that should perfectly show the benefits of the active aerodynamics.
Following the pace car, a standard all-wheel-drive Huracán, the big difference you feel is the instant way you can change direction, a really good sensation of lateral stiffness at the road level – also because the springs, dampers, and anti-roll bar are stiffer. The feedback at high speeds is inspiring, even if I still don’t completely trust the variable dynamic steering. Good brakes, though, really nice pedal. And a nice sense of agility and adjustability due to a weight reduction of 40 kilograms [88 pounds], thanks to the forged carbon composite materials, developed through the years by the ad persona bespoke department, and also thanks to the titanium exhaust system.
The V10, 5.2-liter engine has titanium, too, for the vales, and therefore more power and torque: 640 bhp and 600 Newton-meters [443 pound-feet], for a top speed of 325 kph [202 miles per hour], 2.9 seconds from 0-100 kph [0-62 mph], 8.9 from 0-200 kph [125 mph], and a 31-meter [102-foot] stopping distance from 100 kph [62 mph].
Prices start from 193,000 Euro before taxes, almost 240,000 Euro in Italy. ($274,390 in the United States.)
This is how Lamborghini has gone after the Ferrari 458 Speciale, the McLaren 675LT, and the Porsche 911 GT3 RS. And it’s an exciting answer, because the ALA system is a clever idea – it’s a technology that doesn’t spoil the driving experience. So you can have fun even on a car focused on performance and on Nürburgring records. Which is always good news.
Gallery: 2017 Lamborghini Huracan Performante: First Drive
2017 LAMBORGHINI HURACAN PERFORMANTE