2018 Lamborghini Huracan Performante Spyder Review

Many enthusiasts are quick to point out the similarities between the Lamborghini Huracan and the Audi R8. They’re not entirely wrong — the two cars share a few key components including the chassis, transmission, and the 10-cylinder engine, which is the same design and partially made in the same factory in Hungary.

When an engine makes up such an important part of the experience, some have dismissed the Huracan as simply a more flamboyant R8. Maybe this is what spurred Lamborghini to show the world that its cars are far more capable, with its latest cars boasting impressive lap times around the infamous Nurburgring.

The car we have today is one such super-special supercar. The Huracan Performante, in droptop Spyder form, is certifiably fast. But, crucially, it’s not just fast. It boasts an incredible combination of speed and engagement.

That’s important because fast and powerful cars can sometimes steal a bit of the control away from the driver, in the very mindful pursuit of not killing their drivers. Too much power can overwhelm stiff chassis and terrify drivers — or worse. As a result, automakers incorporate heavy-handed stability controls or physically heavy all-wheel-drive systems and advanced suspension and aerodynamic systems.

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The more you add, the less the driver feels like they’re doing anything but holding on, and that’s a serious issue when someone drops hundreds of thousands of dollars for a crazy-looking supercar whose sole purpose is to be exciting.

Lamborghini has been doing a lot to fix this issue, and now with the Huracan Performante, its cars are more engaging than thought possible.

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Spicing up the Theatrics

The overall package is mostly the same, with a mid-mounted 5.2-liter V10 engine that sends power to all four wheels through a seven-speed dual clutch transmission. This time, the engine is tuned up to 640 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque (up from the usual 610 and 413), which allows this Italian supercar to hit 62 MPH in 3.1 seconds and 124 MPH in 9.8 seconds. If you’ve got the space, like on the track, this car goes all the way up to 202 miles per hour. Those who love to quote fancy numbers should know that the coupe is marginally faster, but the experience with speed should be the same, and this has all the joys of open-air motoring. And you can better hear that wonderful V10. That roof has speed too and can operate in 17 seconds.

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Theater, video games, virtual reality, roller coasters and thrill rides can’t compete with how this car feels when you want to go fast. Lamborghini must have the exhaust note equivalent to Hans Zimmer or John Williams, as the noises this car makes evoke your senses and emotions in a way that few other cars can. Maybe the brand’s V12 engine and the magicians at Mercedes-AMG make better automotive auditory atmospheres, but this one will keep your attention as well as those in the immediate vicinity. In comparison to the original Huracan, this model features a redesigned and lighter exhaust system, which should be celebrated for the sound effects it creates. 

Functional and Stylish Exterior Additions

You’ll notice that the Performante models look a bit different in comparison to standard Huracans, thanks to the use of more carbon fiber and additional aerodynamic components. The carbon fiber parts found on the spoilers, engine compartment, rear bumper and aerodynamic diffuser are forged composites, which are easier to shape, and also have an interesting marbled look. They’re also light and help the Performante shed 77 lbs (35 kg) over the Huracan Spyder.

Those spoilers and diffusers are extremely important to the Performante. Instead of more power, the aerodynamics are what really set this apart from other Lamborghinis. There’s a clever active aero system here, that doesn’t just lower a front air dam or raise the rear spoiler to improve downforce on the front or rear of the vehicle. Instead, there are flaps on the spoilers that open and close to help add downforce specifically to the right or left part of the car. This is a pretty ingenious way of manipulating the air around the car without adding any extra weight.

This in addition to the Pirelli P Zero Corsa tires, gives the Huracan Performante Spyder an incredible feeling of grip and control. Pushing the car into corners, it never seems at risk of letting go of the pavement, despite adding more speed. It adds confidence without slamming the door on speed. It’s impressive to see how fast this car is in action, and even more fun to experience it first hand.  This car should go down in enthusiasts books as the Lamborghini if it wasn’t for the newly announced Aventador SVJ that just debuted at the 2018 Pebble Beach festivities.

To prove just how capable the Huracan Performante is, the car achieved a 6:52 lap time around the world famous Nurburgring, a massive racetrack where 7-minute lap times used to be considered impressive.

Smooth, but Still Interesting

Three drive modes are available for the driver, a street mode, sport mode and track mode, with the latter two featuring different splits of power between the front and rear wheels as well as different steering feel. You can hear a major difference in the modes as baffles in the exhaust open up to let it flow better.

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Delivering the power, the transmission is surprisingly refined. As opposed to the recently tested Aventador, which uses a single clutch transmission in the interest of weight savings, the Huracan uses a dual clutch that swaps gears very quickly. Interestingly enough the gear changes don’t cause the Huracan to shudder, the car just keeps pulling away as if nothing happened.

Interior Issues

Inside, the Huracan has the same basic problems as most mid-engined supercars. It’s not the easiest to get in and out of and there’s nowhere to store anything. Visibility is non-existent, especially in this Spyder model, where the windshield is right at the same height as my eyes. I have to duck and weave just to see anything. The seats are also quite hard, although comfort-oriented seats are also available.

SEE ALSO: 2018 Audi R8 RWS Review

However, it feels more like a supercar than before, with Alcantara accents while the fancy lightweight carbon composite materials used on the exterior, is also found on the air vents, paddles, door handles, and the center console; basically everywhere you look. It looks and feels pretty high-class and special.

The Verdict: 2018 Lamborghini Huracan Performante Spyder Review

That’s underlined in every aspect of the car. Lamborghini made its “entry level” car truly special in the way it drives, feels, looks and most importantly performs. However, the Huracan Performante is no longer just the affordable Lamborghini, requiring at least $300,000, which is almost $100k over the base Huracan Spyder’s price.  Then again, there isn’t a single part of this Huracan Performante that feels pedestrian or overlooked. Some may say that the Spyder contradicts a few important aspects of the Performante, since it’s slightly heavier and less powerful, the end result is still the same, this is a car that is thoroughly exhilarating. For anyone who said the Huracan and R8 are too similar, this car disproves that completely.

Photos and Video by Brett Colpitts

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