Lamborghini Huracan Performante Spyder Review: $310,000 of Pure Joy
(Bloomberg) -- If you want to make a Lamborghini executive laugh, ask her about electric vehicles.
This week at dinner with Katia Bassi, Lamborghini’s chief marketing officer and a member of the company’s board, I asked if the company would ever make a pure electric car.
It wasn’t that far-fetched a question. After all, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, and Porsche recently produced pure electric family haulers, and Lamborghini just launched a (nonelectric) family hauler of its own. And earlier that week the brand announced it will pursue hybrid technology for the aggressive Aventador.
But Lamborghini by its very nature attracts a different type of person, Bassi said, the type who needs a rumbling engine, even if it’s hybridized, to feel passionate about a car.
There was something refreshing about the way she rejected the idea. In an age when executives often hedge bets, deflecting every question, leaders at Lamborghini seems unapologetic about making fast, loud, and thirsty cars.
A jewel among that lot is the 2018 Lamborghini Huracán Performante Spyder. The $308,859 convertible is more aggressive than the excellent coupe version of the same car that Lamborghini produced last year. But with all that grit, it also claims the title of most drivable and most fun Lamborghini you can buy today.
It’s more aggressive because it’s $25,000 more expensive than the coupe and it’s noisier, both visually, with its big boy-racer spoiler, and audibly, with an open-top configuration that lets the engine notes smack you directly in the face as you drive. It’s also stiffer, a byproduct of the fact that when you lop off the top of a car, you have to stiffen it elsewhere, since it doesn’t have the pillar strength of a coupe.
Yes, it’s 276 pounds heavier than the coupe because of a reinforced windshield, the electric folding soft top, and some new bodywork, and it may be 0.10 seconds slower. But I don’t count aggression in matters of straight speed, do you? It’s also not for nothing this is the Huracán “Performante” Spyder—it weighs 77 pounds less than the Huracán 4 Spyder and, at 640 horsepower, comes with 30 horsepower more. You’ll hear and feel the difference.
Nothing about this car says ‘I’m chill,’ even if you choose the “low-key,” $2,500 Bianco Metallic creamy white paint job. This Lambos-have-no-chill thing, of course, is part of the fun and the reason why the brand is on a roll: Sales hovered at about 1 billion euros last year, and a full 60 percent of Lamborghini owners worldwide are under the age of 40; 22 percent of them are under 30. (This when the average luxury car buyer is over 50.)
The Huracán Performante Spyder is also the most drivable of the Lamborghini line because it combines the best lightweight carbon-fiber and aluminum chassis, solid carbon-ceramic brakes, and complicated fuel-injection systems. It’s also way faster around corners and in combined courses than the Huracán Coupe because of active aerodynamics, which are electrically-actuated flaps on the front splitter and on the engine lid that alternatively increase downforce and reduce drag. This allows the Performante to be quick in the corners without sacrificing performance in a straight line. As with the coupe, there’s also a $6,900 lift system, $2,400 dynamic power steering, automatic air conditioning, and an interior drenched in forged-carbon composite trim.
Like the Urracos and Espadas and Diablos from years of yore, the cockpit of this Huracán Performante Spyder with its flip-up switches and red start button cover feels like that of a jet. But you’ll feel more comfortable driving it than other models for those reasons and for some engineering reasons I’ll enumerate below.
First, I need to tell you that the optional lift system is critical. Without it, you’ll bottom out on hills, driveways, and tight corners. Trust me. Going without it would require the kind of OCD driving style that clashes in the worst way with driving a six-figure vehicle.
You’ll suffer from visibility handicaps if you’re tall (eyeline will be directly equal with the top of the windshield, black holes at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. as you check the mirrors behind you), but those are removed of course with the rag top fully down. Yes, the trunk is of the one-bag-only type. Yes, the highway fuel efficiency is less than 20 mpg. These come as surprises to no one.
But here’s why you’ll feel at ease behind the wheel of this beast of a car. The Lamborghini Huracán Performante Spyder comes with a 5.2-liter V10 midrear-mounted engine and four-wheel drive. It can reach 60 mph in an earth-shattering 2.3 seconds (yes, you read that right) and crest a top speed of 201 mph. And its full-electronic management system, seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, brake-based torque vectoring, and stability-control programming mean that, unlike the Aventador, which can be uncomfortably jerky unless it’s driven at a flat-out high speed in a straight line, it’s still as fun to drive eight hours into the journey as it was in the first hour.
From behind the wheel, the steering input is instantaneous; every corner is a delight. The Lamborghini Huracán Performante Spyder is distinctly itself, driving-wise—more acute than the Huracán, smoother than the Aventador, and with better visibility than the Performante coupe. It makes cars from other brands—good cars from other brands—seem dull, even muted.
This, then, is the real thrill of driving the Lamborghini Huracán Performante Spyder. As the auto industry gets increasingly autonomous and electric—attributes that remove humans from the act and sensations of driving—Lamborghini doesn’t budge.
©2018 Bloomberg L.P.