Audi R8 Coupe 2016 review
Craig Duff road tests and reviews the Audi R8 at its international launch in Portugal.
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Lamborghinis never fail to turn heads and the Huracan is right up with the most eye grabbing of them all. Lamborghini owners of a certain type seem to favour orange and Kermit green, but this wicked-looking black car must be the best of them.
As with any thoroughbred, value is all relative. The Huracan LP4-610 starts at knee-weakening $428,000 plus on roads.
The standard inclusions are leather trim, carbon and aluminium bits and pieces, a fully-digital dashboard, four speaker stereo with DVD, Bluetooth and USB, climate control, selectable driving modes, heated electric seats, sports pedals, carbon ceramic brakes and trip computer.
Our test car also had the menacing Nero Nemesis matte black ($20,300) and, ahem, reversing camera and parking sensor for a slightly mickey-taking $5700.
There's a honeycomb motif everywhere - in the various external grilles, inside and where there aren't hexagons, there are sharp lines and geometric shapes.
After the design reset of the Gallardo, Lambo has started to loosen the bonds a bit – it's still no Countach and goes without Sant Agata's bedroom wall scissor doors. Unlike rival Ferrari, Lambo has done a terrific job with the doorhandles – flush with the bodywork, they pop out when you need them. Deadly cool.
The double Y of the daytime running lights to mark it out at the front, as well as a well-flared pair of nostril intakes; the rear is dominated by huge quad exhausts close to the ground and a pair of sleek LED taillights. Step closer and you can peer at the engine bay through the louvered cover (or specify the transparent one).
Inside is full of lovely aluminium switches and levers as well as a huge set of alloy gear shifters that are infinitely nicer than carbon fibre paddles. The cabin is snug but not cosy – jump out of an Aventador and into the smaller Huracan and you'll notice the smaller car has the vastly better cabin for space and comfort.
It's very odd to hear the V10 cut out as you roll to a stop
The switches are arranged like an aircraft's and all made with beautiful materials. It's a special cabin but in our case there wasn't much in the way of colour. However, a visit to your Lamborghini dealer will attest that you can have any colour you like in here.
Behind the cabin lurks a naturally-aspirated 5.2-litre V10 producing a glorious 449kW and 560Nm. The transmission is from the parent company, the Volkswagen Group, but has undergone - in what is perhaps an understatement - significant changes to handle the power, torque and 8250 rpm redline. Power hits the tarmac through all four wheels.
The engine features stop-start when in Strada mode. It's very odd to hear the V10 cut out as you roll to a stop. Not bad, just weird in a supercar.
With just 1474kg to shift, 0-100km/h is dispatched in a withering 3.2 seconds and Lamborghini claims fuel consumption of 12.5L/100km. You may laugh (and we did), but that seems almost achievable given our average over 400km of reasonably hard driving was an almost respectable 17.0L/100km.
The Huracan's super-strong carbon fibre and aluminium mix chassis is backed by four airbags, ABS, traction and stability programs and brake assist.
It will come as no surprise that the Huracan does not have an ANCAP safety rating.
A very familiar interface (okay, it's Audi's MMI) controls the four-speaker stereo. While that not sound like many speakers, there's two mitigating factors – the cabin isn't very big and ten cylinders is a lot to compete with.
There's no central screen, it's all run through the dashboard which itself is customisable and also doubles as the screen for the optional (and not very good) reversing camera.
Again, the satnav is an Audi-based unit and is very easy to use.
Pull the door closed and you are fronted by not much in the way of car adjustment. A certain other Italian manufacturer's wheel is festooned with switches to alter the car's behaviour but Lamborghini has restricted itself to three modes – Strada, Sport and Corsa – and an ESC-off button on the dash. The latter was, of course, left untouched, partly due to discretion and insurance reasons but also because it was absolutely bucketing down.
Flip the red cover up, press the starter button and the V10 bursts into life with a whirr followed by an extravagant rev. Pull the right-hand shift paddle towards you and drive off.
No histrionics, hesitation or juddering, it does as you ask. The engine is quiet, composed and flexible and doesn't need revving to get the car moving.
Flick the ANIMA button down once and you're in Sport mode. That loosens the sound of the engine and sharpens the shifts. In this mode you will have the most fun, by a long, long way. The racket from those exhausts is breathtaking – part Gatling gun, part baritone roar, Lamborghini's penchant for drama and fun is completely undiminished.
A lot stuff that used not to work in these super-manly cars now does
It's an extraordinary sound and even with the rain, a run through forested country roads demands the windows down. It sounds like a WRC car with anti-lag as it pops, spits and crackles on the downshifts into the corners. Except even more demented.
The massive carbon ceramic brakes are a joy and are able to cope not only with the rigours of the track with little drama but cope sensationally on the road. They have plenty of feel without the woodenness that used to be associated with this brake material. They're almost as much fun to stomp as the accelerator.
Cornering is epic, too. The 'piattaforma inerziale' (inertia platform) is a powerful set of computers that can "see" what the car is doing in 3D and tweak power distribution and diff settings accordingly. It's seamless – you don't feel like things are being done for you – and makes a hero out of you as find yourself covering ground at indecent speeds.
Another flick of the ANIMA switch and you're in Corsa mode. This brings a whole lot of focus to the chassis – less sideways, less wiggle, more get-it-straight-and-go. As we said, you'll have more fun in Sport.
The old-timers are moaning that Lamborghini has gotten boring and safe in its old age, as though that's a bad thing. Sure they're not as wild-looking but it's a pretty easy argument to say they are much better-looking. Raiding the Audi parts bin also means a lot stuff that used not to work in these super-manly cars now does.
The Huracan is colossally fast, but usably so. You don't have to use all of its power to enjoy it either (not that you could here anyway), just prod the throttle and listen to the noise.
Most importantly, it's superbly capable and not even slightly intimidating. People who say Lamborghinis have to be scary to drive are idiots. The people who made the Huracan are geniuses.
|LP 610-4||5.2L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO||$299,900 – 351,888||2015 Lamborghini Huracan 2015 LP 610-4 Pricing and Specs|