Porsche 911 Turbo 2014 review
Stuart Martin road tests and reviews the Porsche 911 Turbo, with specs, fuel consumption and verdict.
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May 9, 2014
The Lamborghini Huracan is the garlic bread and herbed butter of the Italian supercar maker's line-up. More than 14,000 examples of the Gallardo predecessor were sold worldwide since 2003 and have powered the company from the brink of extinction to rude health.
Purists were worried what might happen to Lamborghini when the Audi luxury division of German giant Volkswagen took over the company in 1999. But history will judge it to be one of the most remarkable turnarounds in supercar history. Lamborghini sold 10,000 cars in its first 40 years. It sold 20,000 cars in the past 11 years.
As with every Lamborghini before it, the Huracan is named after a famous Spanish fighting bull, but it will need more than just fighting spirit to stand up to today's competition.
Much is riding on the Huracan's sharply-creased flanks, but its reputation precedes it. Despite being unveiled only months ago, there are already 1500 orders globally, which means if you order one today it'll be delivered in 12 months. We jumped the queue to get behind the wheel in Spain before it arrives in local showrooms in August.
The Huracan is cheaper than the Gallardo it replaces, at $465,000 drive-away including GST, Luxury Car Tax, stamp duty and on-road costs.
Standard fare includes Bluetooth phone connectivity, navigation, electric seats with heating, a front suspension lift kit (to raise the nose over driveways at the press of a button), magnetically-controlled suspension (optional in other markets) and carbon ceramic brakes. Conspicuous by their absence are front and rear parking sensors, or a rear camera, which are sold in a $5900 pack. Ouch.
The Huracan's frame and body are made mostly from aluminium, but the spine in the middle of the floor, and the firewall between the rear-mounted engine and cockpit, are made from high-strength carbon-fibre. The result is a 10 per cent saving in the body's weight.
However, Lamborghini conveniently neglected to mention that the overall weight of the Huracan once it's all bolted together has increased by 12kg, from 1410kg “dry” for the Gallardo, to 1422kg “dry” for the Huracan; dry being the measurement when there are no fluids.
The driveable weight -- with oils, water and a tank of fuel -- is 1532kg. The net 12kg gain despite the 10 per cent trimming of the body frame comes from the fitment of the new seven-speed dual clutch gearbox and extra in-car technology. One of the weight savings was the removal of the indicator stalks.
Lamborghini has followed Ferrari's lead and fitted buttons on the steering wheel for blinkers and wipers. However, it must be said, the Lamborghini switches are more intuitive than the Ferrari's.
The left thumb handles the blinkers, the right thumb does the wipers. Both can be quickly cancelled by pressing the tab in, rather than left or right. A 12.3-inch digital screen which looks like something from a fighter plane replaces analogue dials and can be configured in four different display modes.
A button on the steering wheel, with settings for “strada”, “sport” and “corsa” adjusts the responses of the steering, throttle, gearbox, suspension and stability control.
The addition of a “stop start” system trims fuel economy and helps the engine meet Euro VI emissions compliance.
Even in the computer age, most cars are made as a full-size clay model for one final validation before the company takes a deep breath and commits to spending hundreds of millions on a new model.
Which is why it is significant that Lamborghini designed the Huracan 100 per cent on a computer. The only physical models it made were just that: scaled-down models small enough to fit on a desk.
The result is no less impressive. Longer and wider than its predecessor -- and with a bigger footprint -- the Huracan has hints of the Lamborghini Murcielago V12 in its flanks.
The sharp lines and elegant use of hexagonal shapes leave you gazing. “We love a hexagon,” says Filippo Perini, the head of design at Lamborghini, who is clearly prone to understatement.
Almost every time you look at the Huracan, you find a new angle or design theme you'd not noticed before.
It may sound messy but it isn't. It's brave, and it's stunning. From the jagged vents across the back of the car (to cool the engine), to aircraft-style cabin controls inside, and the jewel-like details in the lights, the Huracan is a concept car that's come to life.
The start button flap inspired by a military aircraft bomb trigger -- that first appeared on Lamborghini's V12 Aventador -- has been refined for the Huracan.
It's made from metal rather than plastic and, when working properly, has a more precise feel. Unfortunately, on one pre-production car we tested, the metal flap above the starter button wriggled loose.
The reverse lever is designed to look like the thrust accelerator of a plane. Here's hoping a pilot doesn't get confused, they'd be in for a shock.
Two frontal airbags (one in the steering wheel and the other in the dashboard) and two “curtain” airbags in the roof for side impact protection.
Supercars like this would break the budget of independent crash test authorities such as NCAP, so they don't get tested and, therefore, don't have their results made public. But they must demonstrate to government authorities that the cars pass minimum safety standards.
Incredibly, a rear view camera (neatly integrated in the rear lower panel) and front and rear sensors are a $5900 option on this $465,000 car. And we think Ford and Holden are tight for not fitting a camera as standard across their range of family SUVs.
There are a few sacred cars you're apparently not allowed to criticise, lest their owners pop a sprocket. The Leyland P76 and Subaru WRX and pretty much any Ferrari or Lamborghini are allegedly off limits unless you want see someone hit the rev limiter.
So it is with great trepidation that before I tell you everything that's awesome about the new Lamborghini Huracan that I tell you what's, erm, imperfect with it.
As fanciful as it may seem to find a flaw in a $465,000 supercar, it is, after all, a man-made machine. And sometimes men can be too clever for their own good.
For all the promises made about the optional whiz-bang steering (a $3700 option which adjusts ratios below 50km/h and above 100km/h), something didn't feel quite right on the Huracan.
We sampled three different cars over nine laps of a winding race track, and then did a 60km road drive in another. Having sampled the various settings, as we were encouraged to do, it was tricky to find one that didn't want to understeer, or run wide in corners. It's not as good as I remember the Gallardo to be.
One car tested in the middle of the three felt better than all the others. But I can't for the life of me figure out what was different about it. One possibility: the tyres were shagged on some cars and less so on the 'good' one.
So with the disclaimer that we'll reserve final judgment on the steering (which, for now, doesn't feel as sharp or as intuitive as the Ferrari 458 Italia or Porsche 911 Turbo), let me deliver the good news.
The seven-speed dual clutch gearbox elevates the Huracan to a new level of supercar, slashing half a second from the 0 to 100km/h time. That's not much when you're testing a Toyota Corolla, but believe me, ripping 0.5-seconds, from 3.7 to 3.2, is like being strapped nose-first to a low-flying missile.
The other incredible thing that almost defies belief is that the gearchanges are absolutely seamless. You can hear them as the 5.2-litre V10 wails from gear to gear, but there is no longer a thump between ratios.
In an odd way, I kind of miss the Gallardo's brutal gear changes, but I wouldn't swap it for the Huracan's performance. Or sound. It is truly epic.
The 5.2-litre V10 engine has been reworked; it now generates 449kW of power and 560Nm of torque, 90 per cent of which is available from just above idle, at 1000rpm. Holy bleep!
As before, the normal mode for the all-wheel-drive system sends 30 per cent of the power to the front wheels and 70 per cent to the rear. But should the need arise it can send up to 50 per cent of power to the front, and up to 100 per cent to the rear.
Best of all, though, you don't have to think about. The new Huracan has more computer power than before, constantly analysing the behaviour of the car (and the driver) to make sure mere mortals get the best of their machine. It's Photoshop for driver ability, except it's fixing your faux-pas instantly.
The Lamborghini Huracan is a fitting sequel to the Gallardo and makes new levels of supercar performance accessible to mere mortals.