We owe the arrival of this supercar to a broken clutch in a Ferrari in 1958, and a neighbourly dispute. Ferruccio Lamborghini, a former air force mechanic, turned his hand to tractors after World War II. His business became so successful he treated himself to a Ferrari 250GT, among others.
But when the clutch failed on one of his prized Ferraris, he discovered it was the same part used in one of his tractors. When he asked Ferrari if they could build him a stronger clutch, they dismissed Ferruccio as nothing more than a tractor maker who didn’t know what he was talking about. Out of determination or stubbornness – or perhaps a bit of both – he decided to build his own supercar and the first Lamborghini was born in 1963 in Sant’agata Bolognese, just 35 kilometres away from Ferrari’s home in Maranello.
You could say the rest is history, except that Lamborghini’s hasn’t been quite as glamorous as Ferrari. Lamborghini has had numerous owners over the decades and, in 1967, it made one of the most beautiful cars in the world, the Muira. But it has really only grown up as a legitimate supercar player over the past decade, after it was bought by the Volkswagen Audi Group, in 1998. The alliance turned out to be an ideal blend of German engineering and Italian design and brashness.
The new Huracan is the replacement for the Lamborghini Gallardo, by far the most successful car in the company’s history. As with every Lamborghini before it, the Huracan is named after a famous Spanish fighting bull (in this case, from 1879) and is also the Spanish word for hurricane. It’s a fitting name given the upgrades to the Lamborghini V10 engine and the introduction of an all-new super-fast seven-speed dual clutch gearbox.
It looks like a fighter plane inside. A 31-centimetre digital screen replaces analogue dials and can be configured in four different display modes. The flap above the start button is inspired by a military aircraft bomb trigger. The reverse lever is designed to look like the thrust accelerator of a plane. Here’s hoping any owners who happen to be pilots don’t get confused; they’d be in for a shock.
Meanwhile, Lamborghini has followed Ferrari’s lead and fitted buttons on the steering wheel for blinkers and wipers, though Lamborghini switches are more intuitive than the Ferrari’s.
It’s a good thing these functions are easy to operate because everything happens in a blur in the Huracan. The seven-speed dual clutch gearbox (which changes gears seamlessly) 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 ripping 0.5-seconds, from 3.7 to 3.2, is like being strapped nose-first to a low-flying missile.
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 1,000rpm. My only reservation: the cars sampled on a test track didn’t steer as sharply as I remember the Gallardo to be and it wanted to run wide. I suspect there will be a minor tweak to the front suspension set-up to address some of the early feedback.
That said, it’s by no means a deal-breaker. The Lamborghini Huracan is a fitting sequel to the Gallardo and makes new levels of supercar performance accessible to mere mortals.
Just wait six months or so until they sort out the steering.