Stick Shift: Lamborghini Huracán Spyder

Stick Shift: Lamborghini Huracán Spyder

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I’m feeling especially lucky as I blast down Highway 1 in sunny southern California, cutting through warm currents of eucalyptus and salty sea air. Somebody pulled a Blue Lemans Lamborghini Huracán Spyder off the poster of some kids bedroom wall, drove it down to Venice Beach and handed me the keys for a couple of days. After finally convincing myself that yes, this really is happening, I slide in behind the race-inspired steering wheel, wriggle down into the fitted leather seats, flip up the red push button start guard and fire up the mid-rear mounted 5.2L V10. It barks to life, raucous and angry. With a quick snap of the oversized paddle shifter, I place it in first gear, making sure the big bull is in its most tempered drive mode, and ease the sharp, wedge shaped nose onto the coastal highway. Destination, north.

Both the weather and the road couldn’t be better. I’m getting plenty of stares as I pass slow and not so slow traffic with ease. I should be. The new Huracán Spyder is nothing short of mesmerizing to look at. Through its mere existence it provides something of a public service, as it adds beauty and automotive magic to the world. I can practically see the excitement and appreciation in the eyes of everyone I pass.

Lamborghini has stayed true to a design direction that matches the personality of the car itself. From the Muira, to the Huracán, and everything in between, each model has visually captivated and excited, delivering a car that’s every bit as exciting to drive as its appearances would suggest. Crouched low, the Huracán looks poised to pounce at any second. With taught, fast twitch muscles, eager to fire, springing you forward in a torrent of smooth but manic acceleration.

Photo by: Brandon Randall

Photo by: Brandon Randall

While the Huracán design remains as extreme as ever, driving a high powered Lamborghini has never been easier. The big, naturally aspirated V12’s of the past made enormous power, but lacked the assistance of any driving aide to speak of. The product was a car that always felt like it was secretly plotting to kill you. Happily, this is no longer the case. In Strada drive mode, my blue bombshell was like the prophesied Lion laying down with the lamb. A tame house cat. It was borderline comfortable even, with light steering and softened suspension, a muted purr coming from the exhaust and normally spaced gears. In Strada mode, the Huracán is an exquisite Volkswagen, in the sense that it can be driven with confidence by practically anyone.

After five minutes in Strada, I flipped it into Sport and never went back. Sport mode unleashes the beast. Sport mode is the rodeo gate suddenly swinging open, the strap tightening over the bulls flank, goading it into a frenzy. Gearing becomes incredibly aggressive, the exhaust transforms from mild mannered Dr. Jekyl to evil Mr. Hyde. With every down shift it snaps and pops. With each climb to red line it crescendoes loudly to an 8,500 rpm climax. Drawing attention wherever it goes, the noises emanating from the wide-set dual exhaust are a hypnotizing symphony of sound. It never once got old. Why they bothered to equip the Huracán with a stereo at all remains beyond me.

Anything I could write about the Huracáns’ performance would be expected reading. The 7-speed dual clutch transmission is lightning quick, seemingly hard-wired directly into your neurological system, blipping off gear changes like the firing of synapsis. The automatic down shift from third gear into second in Sport mode can be a little abrupt, but its no surprise given the aggressiveness of that mode in general. The 4WD system keeps the tail in line and ensures plenty of traction even with over 600 hp on tap. The low position of the engine, double wishbone suspension and hybrid chassis composed of both aluminum and carbon fiber, make for a Lamborghini that feels incredibly stiff and tremendously balanced. Especially at speeds above 100 mph where it feels the most stable. The big carbon-ceramic brakes don’t even squeak under light use or heavy abuse.

A unique characteristic of the Huracán that took some getting used too was the turn signal indicators on the steering wheel. While habit kept me reaching for them behind the wheel, after an hour or so of retraining my brain, I learned to like where they’d been relocated. It allowed me to operate them without ever taking my hand off the wheel. The boot up front perfectly fits exactly one carry-on piece of luggage. The rest of the interior is lacking in things like storage space or a second cup holder. Minor issues, like missing the parsley garnish on a perfectly cooked steak.

Photo by: Brandon Randall

Photo by: Brandon Randall

The windshield rakes aggressively back towards the driver. With the top up, visibility is poor, a nerve racking discovery when driving a car valued at over $300,000. The Spyder is without question best experienced with the top down and the yellow California sun blazing overhead. In fact, if you’re over 6’1’’ you may find that driving the Huracán is nearly impossible any other way. Point in fact, my companion in crime was too tall to spend any time behind the wheel, so all the burden of driving fell to me, a cross I was all too happy to bear!

With the top down, the only blind spot is on the right side over the big air vent. The simple addition of blind spot indicators on the side mirrors would help solve the visibility problem and provide some necessary piece of mind. Seats are beautifully shaped, artfully stitched and incredibly supportive. Unfortunately they don’t recline or adjust more than an inch or two, and they’re narrow and become unforgiving if you spend more than a couple hours in them.

Bottom line, With the 2016 Lamborghini Huracán, as long as your expectations are in line, this car won’t disappoint. It’s not intended to be your first choice for long comfortable road trips, big grocery runs, or slow crawls through town. The Huracán needs a special occasion. It’s there to elevate your day to the next level. It wants a clear sky, an open road and a driver who’s passionate about driving. What it’s designed to do it does with perfect style and grace. Unlike Lamborghinis’ of the past, it can be as easy to drive as moms minivan, or a flat-out, screaming wild, hands down most exhilarating drive of your life.

By: Brandon Randall

Price as tested: $301,125.00

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