An e-mail popped up the other day from a guy we’ll just call, “Lambo Guy.” He is the official representative of all things Lamborghini in America and holds the keys, both figuratively and literally, to a fleet of those cars stashed in various cinderblock buildings across the United States. E-mails from Lambo Guy do not go into the delete file. They are opened immediately and savored, as one would savor bacon-wrapped cheeseburgers after a two-week backpack spent eating dehydrated turkey tetrazzini, or donuts made from diamonds.
You never know what Lambo Guy is going to say in these e-mails but you always read attentively to find out. Sometimes it’s just something about some driver in the Blancpain Lambo series race somewhere in Abu Dhabi that you can’t really write about as often as that fine and exotic series maybe deserves. Sometimes it’s an announcement about a Lamborghini store opening in Smackville, Peru, which you also can’t really write anything about. But you open them all anyway because, once every vague now and then, these e-mails contain something that makes all the 342 other e-mails worth opening.
“Hey, you wanna drive a Lamborghini?”
That is a paraphrase, but that was essentially his point. Indeed, he had two points, both of which make all the drives and write-ups of all the thousands upon thousands of crossover SUVs that other carmakers are “really excited about” worthwhile. This was the rare and wonderful Lambo-double-whammy — it was the offer of not just one, which would be reason enough to go to the rooftop parking structure and yodel, but two Lamborsghini for the same day, both Huracans: an LP 580-2 and an LP 610-4.
The Lambo LP 580-2 has more room and may be the better driver of the two Huracans we compared.
Talented pilote though your author may be, even he couldn’t drive two cars at once. So after telling Lambo Guy that yes, perhaps that would be a good idea to drive two Lambos in one day and yes, it looks like there is room on the calender prettymuchanywhereyouwanttheretoberoom, we placed a call on the Supercar Emergency Hot Line telephone kept in a desk drawer in the Autoweek lair high above the LA metropolis to the only guy both talented enough and trustworthy enough to handle an entire day of swapping seats in what would amount to over 1000 metric hp: Autoweek correspondent and all-around good guy Ben Stewart. Stewart himself is not only cool enough behind the wheel to not do anything dumb to these multi-gazllion-dollar exoto-rides, but he himself once owned a Countach (another story for another time perhaps), so he knows from Lambos.
Yes, said Stewart (we are paraphrasing again), perhaps I, too, have time for such an endeavor.
Stewart, writing ex-post facto: The best supercar experience is a short, intense one on a great road. That way there’s less time to fuss about the little stuff. Who cares if it’s hard to park or returns abysmal the fuel economy? It’s a Lambo! Its only true purpose on this planet is to thrill everyone inside and outside of the car — all the time.
Thus it was that we met in the super-secret Lambo Repository in a nondescript cinderblock building somewhere in LA and took delivery. The Repository is a story in itself, again for another time, but it also had Astons Martin hanging from lifts and one or two other cool cars.
Our contact, “Mike,” showed us around the inner workings of the Huracans — where reverse was, how the windshield wipers worked, where the insurance papers were — and we were off, Ben in the LP 610-4 Spyder and I in the LP 580-2 hardtop coupe.
Stewart: We had a chance recently to spend time with two new Huracans, a double dose of V10 power concentrated into a few brief hours of one delirious day.
LP 610-4 and LP 580-2 Rosenkrantz and Gildenstern, Abbott and Costello, Simon and Garfunkel
I immediately liked my car, maybe because I am not a convertible guy. I like a solid roof above me protecting my pasty white Euro-mutt skin. Yes, you need the vitamin D the sun provides, but you can get that through other sources like prune juice and beets. Plus, I like anonymity … as if you’re going to get any of that in a Lamborghini. Ha!
As you may recall, to make the AWD Huracan into a RWD Huracan, Lamborghini simply removed the front driveshaft, half shafts and differential, which lightened up the front end, allowing engineers to install slightly lighter springs and create what the company calls “… the purest expression of Lamborghini to date.”
The 580-2 had room to stretch out, sort of, and it drove about 200 times better than the old Gallardo. I said as much on earlier drives of earlier Huracans. This is a giant step up for Lamborghini, a company that has lived in the (albeit very fast) shadow of Ferrari its whole corporate life. And while Ferrari used to hold its sales to 5,000 a year no matter what in order to create “desire” for its products, Lamborghini last year hit 3,245 sales and was darned happy to have done so. So buy all you want, they’ll make more.
LP 610-4 interior was a little cramped if you’re over 5’10” or so
Stewart: The drop-top Spyder is the superstar of this duo. This is the one that snapped necks at the stoplights. It only takes 17 seconds to put the top down and go from obscurity to celebrity. That fabric roof completely disappears behind your head, making the big engine scoops on the car’s upper flanks more prominent. And the noises! Without a roof you can hear every beautiful, angry shriek of that 610 hp V10. When it all becomes too much, you can drive it around town with the top up and enjoy the car with a little more anonymity. It’s a bit cave-like in there with the roof in place. And you’ll notice a big nasty blind spot making it tough to see cars in the right lane. The Spyder’s top mechanism requires considerable real estate in the back forty of the car. So as pretty as those quilted leather seats are, the legroom is tight and there’s less seatback rake than hardtop model.
First we cruised Sunset Boulevard and Beverly Hills in general, not because we were shallow poseur douche weasels fulfilling a stereotype, but because it was on the way to our favorite twisting two-lane mountain road. Plus, it gave us a chance to review the car from the point of view of the shallow poseur douche weasel. Not that anyone who buys a Lamborghini could be classified as that, but some exoto-rental car drivers may be. We’d heard.
Alas, it was too early in the day to gain any of the coveted social status supercar owners sometimes seek. All the starlets were still sleeping it off in their Beverly Hills bungalows. Only a few jet-lagged German tourists roamed the streets. A few took pictures of the Lambos, perhaps thinking Stewart was a Charlton Heston clone. No one looked at me.
Stewart: We wound our way through great roads high above the Hollywood hills and after a short freeway blast picked up the sweet, sinewy curves of Angeles Crest Highway in the San Gabriel Mountains. It was a rough assignment but we tried to make the best of it.
Again, the 580-2 felt so much better than any Lambo before it. The influence of the Audi engineers was palatable and much appreciated. It turned, it braked, it was a real car. Granted, it didn’t turn and brake like a Porsche, McLaren or Ferrari, but its progress was worth a Most Improved trophy if anyone was handing those out.
Ben felt similarly happy with the 610-4. Lamborghini calls it “Performance and lifestyle under the open sky.” This version of the 5.2-liter V10 makes 602 SAE hp, good for a top speed listed at 201 mph.
Stewart: In the canyons, sun blasting our faces, the LP-610-4 Spyder is ridiculously fun — and potent. Lamborghini says the roadster hits 60 mph in just 3.4 seconds. And it feels no less thrilling and no slower than the last LP-610-4 coupe we drove six months ago, despite weighing over 250 pounds more. This thing is a beast. And few sounds are as wild as this Lambo’s V10 in Corsa mode bouncing off those rock walls. The Lambo has loads of grip. But what you do feel when you push it on Angeles Crest is tiny movements in the steering column. When you push the car hard, it feels a little unsettled and does understeer. You’d only notice this if you had a Coupe along to drive over the exact same road — which we did. The steering in those corners feels slightly less precise in this droptop.
While the engine in the LP 580-2 was down 30 hp on the LP 610-4, it made no real difference. Unless you’re at Bonneville…
When we reached the top of Angeles Crest just over 7,000 feet up in the San Gabriel Mountains at Cloudburst Summit, we swapped cars. “Yikes,” I thought, going from the relatively roomy 580 to the scrunched-up 610. My scrawny chicken legs were too long to fit comfortably in here (I’m only 6 feet-nothin’) and there wasn’t enough room to slide the seat back as much as would have been nice. I drove with my elbows askance not quite like a clown in a clown car but close to it. The car was too small for me and, with the top down, I began to fry like an egg on that sunny day. Stewart, meanwhile, was having fun.
Stewart: Slide into the LP 580-2 and we’re immediately more comfortable. The difference in legroom is so dramatic it had us wondering as first if the actual wheelbases of the two cars are different. They aren’t. But anyone over 6 feet tall will have a more enjoyable drive in a Huracan coupe. On the outside, Lamborghini has installed redesigned lower fascia with larger scoops that make the LP 580-2 look even more aggressive than the LP 610-4, if that’s even possible. When Lamborghini removed the all-wheel drive system on this model, the Huracan lost 72.6 pounds. But it also lost 30 horsepower, down to 580. You will not notice or miss any of those horses. Lamborghini quotes the 0-60 mph time identical to our Spyder. Lay into the throttle and it’s just as angry and ferocious-sounding. And that’s just how a Lamborghini should be.
We took off down the hill. Even though the 610-4 had those 30 more hp, like Ben said, I didn’t notice them. I was just trying to fit into the thing. And the handling felt more skittish. The 580 had been fairly smooth — when it went into a corner it stayed there all the way through the radius. You didn’t have to make any corrections. In the 610 you were always making tiny, minor adjustments. Maybe more seat time would have had me sorting it out better, maybe I’m a talentless dope, but I felt far less dopey in the 580. Granted, a skidpad and a slalom would reveal more, but up here the Spyder felt jumpier than the coupe.
Our favorite? The LP 580-2. Easier to drive, easier to sit in and it has a roof.
Stewart: Out on the twisty road, the 580-2 feels more direct, purposeful and connected to the road. It weighs 344 pounds less than the Spyder and feels like a little bit of slack has been taken out of every suspension and steering component. Lamborghini says there’s a good reason we notice this, because the suspension is stiffer and steering is recalibrated over the 610-4. Even the brakes and Pirelli P Zeros are specific to this model. It’s a big improvement. This car feels locked down and more serious about its job than the Spyder. It’s more playful too, and ridiculously fun to hit the corners carrying a lot of speed. Lamborghini says it’s tuned to provide “oversteering characteristics.” We restrained ourselves from drifting the big Bull, but that probably explains why it feels so lively on Angeles Crest.
So the winner? For cruising Sunset and wowing starlets, you’ll want the Spyder. For driving fun in a less-expensive package, pick the 580-2. Stewart agrees.
Stewart: The Spyder is gorgeous. But it’s the rear-drive 580-2 we’d park in our own garage. The driving experience is so much more involving. The 580-2 is the Huracan for the driver who’s going hit the good roads every weekend. It certainly left us wanting more time behind the wheel.
And with that we returned both cars to the secret Lambo lair and drove off in completely unremarkable crossover SUVs, not feeling “really excited” at all about coming back down to Earth.
On Sale: Now
Base Price: $204,995
Drivetrain: 5.2-liter naturally aspirated V10, rwd/awd (580-2/610-4); seven-speed dual-clutch automatic
Output: 571 hp at 8,000 rpm, 398 lb-ft at 6,500 rpm (LP-580-2); 602 SAE hp and 413 lb-ft of torque (LP 610-4)
0-60 MPH: 3.4 seconds
Pros: Aye Chihuahua!
Cons: Spyder is a little cramped but not enough to cramp your style