Since its introduction two years ago, the Lamborghini Huracan has surprised and impressed us with its balance of attitude and capability (and sales). The super-sports car is another extroverted, candy-colored wedge from Sant’Agata — we wouldn’t expect anything less from Lamborghini — but it backs up its trademark assertiveness with razor-sharp agility. It has proved as eager to devour canyons and square off against frozen lakes as it is to attract police attention, and it seems to have a promising racing career ahead of it to boot.
In short, it’s a bull that rages, but only when you want it to.
And the 2016 Huracan Spyder? It’s all that, minus the roof.
We’re in familiar territory here, powertrain-wise: You’ll recognize the coupe’s all-wheel drive, seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and 602-hp 5.2-liter V10, which Lamborghini says it will keep naturally aspirated as long as the regulators permit it. The sprint to 62 mph takes 3.4 seconds, or 0.2 second longer than the coupe, but who’s counting?
Even the aluminum-and-carbon “hybrid chassis,” which is related to the Audi R8’s, carries over more or less unaltered from the Huracan coupe — except, of course, for the ragtop. The Huracan was designed with the inevitable convertible variant in mind, and torsional stiffness is said to be up 40 percent compared to the Gallardo Spyder even without extensive (and heavy) structural bracing. So you’re not sacrificing rigidity or road feel to enjoy the wind in your chest hair.
Nor are you sacrificing style. The long, flat rear deck characteristic of so many drop tops — including the Gallardo Spyder — is absent here; Lamborghini worked to ensure the coupe’s wedgy profile and the hexagonal side window openings (Lambo’s into hexagons now, for some reason) were maintained with the top up or down. All the convertible hardware means that the superb naturally aspirated V10 is more or less permanently hidden from view, even if you pop the engine cover. But you can hear it bellow far better with the top down than you ever could in the coupe; we’ll consider it a fair tradeoff.
The Spyder is saddled with a substantial weight penalty, however: 3,399 pounds here versus 3,135 pounds for the coupe. Much (220 pounds) of that comes from the electro-hydraulically actuated three-layer soft top and its associated hardware, which includes pop-up safety bars that fill the role of bulky roll bars should you flip the thing over. We gave the convertible top a heck of a workout but never got around to testing that latter feature.
The power top deploys and retracts in 17 seconds at speeds of up to 31 mph. We managed to shave a few seconds off of that while dodging rain in traffic.
What’s it like to drive?
As we mentioned, the Huracan Spyder nails the 0-62 mph sprint in 3.4 seconds. It tops out at 201 mph.
Also, its convertible top can deploy or retract in a stated 17 seconds at speeds of up to 31 mph.
You can probably guess which set of figures we got acquainted with during the launch, which was conducted in a rain-drenched, high-traffic greater Miami metropolitan area (actually, we timed the top-dropping at 15 seconds, which is handy when you’re dodging foul weather).
Since Lamborghini considers the Spyder the “lifestyle” addition to the Huracan lineup, the choice of local was logical, if perhaps a little obvious. It was refreshing to be able to drive our “Kill Bill”-inspired, Guy Fieri-approved yellow-on-yellow-and-black Huracan Spyder without stopping traffic, the kind of thing only possible in someplace as car-jaded Miami. But the sequence of city streets, expressways and long, straight two-lanes out in the everglades, while perhaps an accurate representation of how the average supercar is used, is a poor match for the Huracan’s capabilities.
This thing was not meant to spend its life cruising South Beach, soggy or otherwise. Tolerant though it may be of low-speed crawling, it wants you to rev its free-breathing V10 to the sky and experience the perception-warping thrill of Vmax.
Maybe that’s the curse of owning a daily-drivable supercar, or super-sports car, or whatever something low and wide with 600-plus hp and all-wheel drive is considered these days: Unless you’re behind the wheel purely to bask in the adoration of exotic car-hungry plebs, you’re reduced to living for the occasional track day, or a few miles on your favorite quiet backroad, or a blessed break in the traffic on an unpatrolled stretch of I-95.
When you do get to wind it up and stretch it out a little, you’ll find the Huracan Spyder’s transition from mild-mannered tourer to track-ready aggressor nothing but fluid. There’s not a hint of turbo lag, because there are no turbos. The cowl doesn’t shake and shudder with the top down, and the car doesn’t flop down the road or around corners, because (believe it or not) convertible technology has advanced since the 1970s.
If anything, it’s so composed that you have to push it further than you ought to to revel in the sensation of speed. All of this is yet more evidence that the members of the Huracan family are, at long last, the Thoroughly Modern Lambos we’ve all been waiting for.
And yet, not too modern. So many high-performance cars assault drivers with adjustability and configurability; with throttle, steering and suspension modes to play with, you feel like you have to program the damned things before you drive them. You can trick your Huracan out with magnetorheological suspension (advisable) and the ratio-adjusting Lamborghini Dynamic Steering system (we’d pass on this option), but all told, there are few parameters to dial in here; you just slither in and go at whatever pace you wish.
It’s not that Lamborghini has turned its back on the sort of electronics that make 600 hp perfectly manageable in the wet. It’s that the company has made the implementation of all of this space-age wizardry feel fairly organic. Rather than the suite of buttons and toggles you’ll find on, say, a BMW M-car, the Huracan gets one big red steering wheel-mounted switch with three selectable drive modes — strada for street, sport for…sporty driving, corsa for the track.
And surprise! You can wring incredible performance out of the car, no matter the mode, with appropriate application of the throttle.
Our yellow tester had a yellow and black leather interior. Great for Guy Fieri, but we’d probably go another route.
Do I want it?
You don’t buy one of these if you’re looking to fly under the radar; that’s something that has been more true of Lamborghinis, historically, than some other cars in this corner of the market.
In case you haven’t noticed, things have changed since the age of the Countach. If you’ve written off Lamborghinis as style-over-substance blank canvasses for questionable aftermarket rims and offensive vinyl wraps, you’ve been missing out.
The company still makes a hairy, scissor-doored, V12-powered beast — that’s the Aventador — but the Huracan Spyder is the sort of exotic you could, if you were so inclined, live with every day. It’s comfortable enough to drive cross-country, too, so long as you steer clear of the optional carbon fiber bucket seats and hire a chase vehicle to tote your luggage.
But why are we trying to sell you on the practicality of a $267,545 convertible? Buy the Huracan Spyder because it has character, and because it makes a statement no matter which color your order it in. Buy it because it rocks one of a shrinking number of naturally aspirated powerplants, stuffed into a rock-solid chassis and mated to an all-wheel-drive system modern enough to tame it. Buy it because, unless you take yourself far too seriously, it’s fun to be in — even if you’re not going particularly fast.
If you’re about to drop north of a quarter of a million bucks on a car, it goes without saying that you have options. This is one you owe it to yourself to try — even if you don’t consider yourself a Lamborghini person — before you make any rash decisions. Just make sure you line up some clear skies and empty roads, preferably with a curve or two, before you grab the keys.
We love the sky blue paint — even if we barely saw the sun during our drive.
On Sale: Spring 2016
Base Price: $267,545
Drivetrain: 5.2-liter V10; AWD; seven-speed dual-clutch transmission
Output: 602 hp @ 8,250 rpm; 413 lb-ft @ 6,500 rpm
Curb Weight: 3,399 lbs
0-60 MPH: 3.4 sec (0-62 mph)
Fuel Economy: 13/26/19 mpg (city/highway/combined, European test cycle)(EPA City/Hwy/Combined)
Pros: Lamborghini’s signature flamboyance is finally backed up by credible performance
Cons: Hefty price tag; not for introverts