A howling V10 and a convertible roof benefit from the Performante’s teachings.
I can’t help but grin as I listen to the distinctive howl of half a dozen naturally aspirated V10s echoing off the surrounding hills. Ortega Highway – a lovely ribbon of tarmac that runs from San Juan Capistrano, California. all the way into San Bernadino County – is one of the few stretches of road in Orange County where a car like the 2020 Lamborghini Huracán Evo Spyder can get some legitimate exercise.
Having spent most of my formative years behind the orange curtain, I’m already quite familiar with this stretch of road. And that’s why it comes as little surprise that our Italian supercar procession is hamstrung by traffic. We’re relegated to about 50 miles per hour on a tight road where the turnouts are small, scarce, and rarely used by slower motorists to allow other drivers to pass.
But it hardly matters in the Huracán Evo Spyder. Despite a reputation for formidable capability, the Lamborghini experience has always been more about turning heads than cutting fast lap times. Dressed in nuclear shades of green and orange, these wedge-shaped exotics are anything but low-profile. But for good measure, I pop the drive mode into Corsa to open up the Evo’s new center-exit exhaust system, snap off a few downshifts, and give the accelerator a generous blip.
The Huracán didn’t become Lamborghini’s best-selling model to date based solely on its ability to draw attention.
It’s not all pomp and circumstance, though. The Huracán didn’t become Lamborghini’s best-selling model to date based solely on its ability to draw attention. Lamborghini engineers have honed and refined the Huracán’s platform since the model’s introduction in 2014, culminating in the track-focused Performante that debuted in 2017. While not quite as high strung, the Evo and this new Evo Spyder borrow key components from the Performante, while introducing some entirely new elements to the Huracán’s bag of tricks, and subsequently raising the bar for Lamborghini’s entry-level sports car.
There are some exterior changes afoot, as you’d expect from a mid-cycle refresh, but they’re far from just aesthetic. The Evo Spyder boasts more than five times the downforce and aerodynamic efficiency of the original Huracán Spyder. It’s achieved largely by way of a heavily revised front fascia and splitter, as well as a new integrated rear spoiler. More angular than ever, the nipped-and-tucked Huracán Evo is perhaps even more striking in Spyder form, as the pair of fins that taper downward from just behind the seatbacks give the car’s sculpted silhouette a greater sense of cohesion.
The soft top deploys quickly, and it takes just 17 seconds to raise at speeds of up to 31 mph. But the Evo Spyder often encourages you to keep the proceedings open-air whenever possible. Taller drivers such as myself will find headroom at a premium with the roof closed due, in part, to the Evo’s standard seats, which put a greater emphasis on grand touring comfort than the racier fixed-back buckets of the Performante.
It’s not just about ergonomics, though. The Evo’s party piece is its naturally aspirated 5.2-liter V10 nestled behind the cabin and ostensibly unchanged from its 631 horsepower configuration in the Performante. Open the active exhaust system and a baleful V10 howl accompanies the engine all the way to its 8000 RPM redline. Paired with the near-instant responses of the seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, and with power routed to all four wheels, the Evo Spyder sprints to 62 mph in a scant 3.1 seconds; just two-tenths of a second behind its coupe brethren.
Blame that slight performance penalty on the additional 256 pounds of structural reinforcement that comes with chopping the top, which brings the Spyder’s dry weight up to 3,400 pounds. But from behind the wheel, it’s hard to tell the difference in accelerative urgency between the two body styles, and the Spyder’s 201-mph top speed matches that of the coupe.
While the Evo’s updated looks and additional power make for obvious headlines, it’s the technology underpinning the sports car that’s most intriguing. That comes both in the form of a new 8.4-inch touchscreen infotainment system in the center stack, which delivers fast responses to inputs and genuinely useful gesture controls, and key chassis revisions.
While the Evo’s updated looks and additional power make for obvious headlines, it’s the technology underpinning the sports car that’s most intriguing.
Four-wheel steering, introduced into the Huracán canon with the Evo coupe, provides additional turning assistance at low speeds by steering the rear wheels in the opposite direction of the fronts, or more high-speed stability by turning the rear wheels in the same direction as the fronts once the car reaches a specified pace. After some track time in the Evo coupe earlier this year, I came away feeling that the variable-ratio steering rack and four-wheel steering system equated to a slightly twitchy car in the more technical sections of Big Willow. I had to deliberately recalibrate my steering inputs to compensate for the Huracán’s new level of enthusiasm for changing direction.
In the context of the Spyder, the system feels a bit more natural and useful. Out on the street, the car’s turning radius is notably reduced, making parking lot maneuvers less of a chore. And it’s still an effortless affair to hold the intended line through fast sections of road. In normal driving, it simply equates to a more maneuverable car.
The four-wheel steering system works in conjunction with a new brake-assisted torque vectoring system, as well as what the company refers to as Lamborghini Dinamica Veicolo Integrata, or LDVI. In a nutshell, LDVI is a new system that culls data from an array of sensors throughout the car to anticipate the intervention needed to keep the Evo going where the driver wants it to go. Given the current pace, available grip, and other real-time factors, LDVI’s job is to anticipate the need for electronic intervention, rather than reacting to events after they’ve begun, thus creating a more seamless experience from behind the wheel.
The morning after our jaunt down Ortega, Lamborghini let us off the leash for a few hours to do as we please with the Huracán Evo Spyder. From our starting point in Laguna Beach, we head north on the Pacific Coast Highway.
Roads that would allow one to put the LDVI system through its paces are few and far between in this part of Orange County, but it’s of little consequence.
With the top down you have to speak up to hold a conversation with your passenger, and the stereo sounds like a tin can on a string when forced to compete with the outside world for sonic superiority. But it doesn’t matter when you’re in a car like this.
More extroverted than ever, the Huracán Evo Spyder is the quintessential supercar experience. Even in an area like south Orange County (where the locals tend to be fairly blasé about high-end motoring), the charisma of the Huracán Evo is simply too hard to ignore. And in Spyder form, that fascination becomes more of a personal affair. People on the street ask us to rev the engine. Enthusiasts out on the road voice their approval with their own throttle-based songs. The car is in its element here, and for a moment we are celebrities, if for no other reason than our ability to convincingly play that role.