If there’s one thing that sets the Lamborghini Huracan aside from its obvious Maranello and Woking rivals, it’s the engine. Where the Ferrari 488 has followed the McLaren 650S down the self-righteous path towards downsized, turbocharged enlightenment, Lamborghini has stuck to its naturally aspirated 5.2-litre V10.
The beauty of this is that you get instant throttle response and sweet, sweet linearity all the way to an 8500rpm redline – and none of the exhaust note corruption that causes such consternation when turbines start interfering with exiting gases. And the beauty of the Huracan Spyder is that you get to hear its 602 horses sing all the more clearly. Well, that and it looks bloody tremendous.
The Lamborghini Huracan Spyder sounds good then?
Oh hell yes. From the bassy, insistent idle all the way through the gargling, trumpeting mid-range to the shriek at the top, this is extrovert automotive expression that demands and deserves to be savoured.
After all, who knows how long this kind of wanton indulgence is going to last in the face of increasingly stringent emissions and economy requirements? Even with stop-start and cylinder deactivation that switches off the fuel and ignition of one entire bank of the V10, the Huracan Spyder still only manages a claimed 22.9mpg; if you’re looking for a supercar that gives a damn about appeasing your social conscience, this isn’t it.
Since you’re already beyond the point of redemption you might as well flip the ‘Anima’ drive mode selection switch on the steering wheel out of Strada and into Sport or Corsa. This makes the exhaust even louder and adds a percussive thunderclap of pops and bangs to every downshift and lift of the throttle.
Whenever the optional magnetorheological suspension is fitted, Sport and Corsa mode also stiffen the damping to the point of severe posterior discomfort on bumpy roads. That’s just one of the compromises Huracan Spyder owners will have to endure in exchange for the car’s persuasive drama, however.
What do you mean, ‘compromises’?
You’re going to struggle to find anyone who won’t agree that the Huracan Spyder is a stunning piece of automotive visual theatre. While the Ferrari and McLaren might be technically impressive from an aerodynamic perspective, the Huracan Spyder is actually gorgeous – and more so than its coupe equivalent. This last is largely down to the double buttress rear deck treatment, which adds a languorous allure to the Lamborghini’s backside, like artfully draped silk.
But in order to achieve this in combination with the soft-top roof, Lamborghini hasn’t just engineered a simple, single-piece deck lid. When the roof folds down the area immediately aft of the cabin is extended by a pair of hitherto hidden fins – the parts finished in the darker colour.
The addition of the soft-top and its associated complex mechanisms adds 100kg to the coupe’s kerbweight; the 488 and 650S equivalents gain less than half that, in spite of their folding metal rather than fabric roof construction. Then there’s the impact on the interior…
What’s up with the interior?
The Spyder might offer infinite head room when the sun is shining but as soon as you get in you can’t shake the feeling that it’s a little more cramped in the two-seater cockpit than it used to be. This is in fact even more obvious from the passenger side, as there’s not only a protrusion into the footwell from the external side of the car but the footwell itself seems surprisingly shallow as well. So much so that it took Lamborghini head of R&D Maurizio Reggiani to convince us that this was a facet unchanged from the coupe.
The issue is instead one of seat travel. A new internal bulkhead and the need to avoid the seatbacks rubbing on this to prevent squeaking means the seats don’t go as far back as they used to. Not too much of an issue if you’re under six-foot and like an upright driving position but if you’re much taller, or prefer laid back gangster-lean ergonomics, this is going to be troubling.
On top of which, over-the-shoulder rear visibility is essentially nil thanks to the height of those sexy buttresses. It’s like driving a van in this respect: you have to rely almost entirely on the side mirrors.
Ah, the driving – you haven’t mentioned much about that yet…
That’s partly because Lamborghini once again chose Miami Beach as the launch location for a Spyder. This is great when it comes to understanding these cars from the perspective of how most of them are going to be driven – slowly, in high-density urban areas populated by trendy, materialistically susceptible types – and for proving that even when such areas are utterly awash with supercars, a Lamborghini has the power to attract them. But in terms of really getting to dynamic grips with this Huracan, city streets laid out in a grid pattern and subject to a maximum posted speed limit of 55mph aren’t exactly ideal.
However, since we are professionals, and we did have a Huracan coupe long-termer for several months last year, we do have a number of observations. Perhaps most importantly, chopping out a great big piece of seemingly structural metal – namely, the roof – hasn’t really done the Huracan a significant disservice.
Even over some particularly nasty Floridian surfaces, the Spyder is a remarkably rigid convertible, and though you’d struggle to call the suspension genuinely supple it is unflinchingly composed. Which is useful in a car that is claimed to do 0-62mph in 3.4sec, and has the all-wheel-drive hardware necessary to consistently – and instantly – confirm that.
The seriousness of the Huracan’s performance is never in doubt. That engine truly is mighty and being surrounded by a phalanx of turbocharged alternatives only serves to prove what a beautiful, beautiful thing big capacity natural aspiration really is. Which in turn makes whatever recalibration Lamborghini has done to improve the optional ‘Dynamic Steering’ all the more celebratory; this variable rack set-up now has a reassuring weightiness that far surpasses the initially unnerving and flighty reactions of our similarly equipped long-termer. The carbon-ceramic brakes remain unflappable if occasionally grabby, and the twin-clutch seven-speed gearbox keen to please.
Wind management is also impressive. Top up, there’s a little extra treble from the rear screen seal, but the new three-layer roof construction otherwise keeps refinement to the claimed coupe levels – though that claim is probably helped by the coupe’s general uncouthness. Top down, the adjustable rear screen height, clever channels on the side of those aforementioned buttress fins and removable mesh panels serve to keep you from getting buffeted. The Huracan Spyder is a 201mph car in either configuration.
Ultimately, the Ferrari 488 and McLaren 650S are probably the better driver’s machines. But this Lamborghini is going to sell like half-price hot cakes in Amsterdam (relatively speaking; it does cost £205k) because it blends cor-look-at-that! drama with stunning lines, stonking performance from a superbly charismatic engine and an easy-going, unintimidating driving experience – backed up by the reassurance and traction of all-wheel drive. An awesomely compelling package; just make sure you fit within the new constraints of the cabin.