2020 Lamborghini Huracan EVO track test review


Lamborghini is, and always has been, all about the drama. Its cars epitomize excess, with chiseled lines, raucous engines, and boldface attitude. The last special Huracán, the Performante, was no exception — a -focused special with trick active aero. For the latest Huracán, is taking a different tack: the Huracán , short for evolution, embraces a ton of tech in the interest of building a quicker, more versatile car.

That means there’s some give and take. While the howling, naturally aspirated 631 horsepower V10 plucked from the Performante remains untouched, virtually every other piece of the EVO’s performance hardware and software has been digitally upgraded or enhanced. That means the Performante’s ALA (Aerodinamica Lamborghini Attiva) system, which vectors airflow in order to maximize corner speed, is out — but a trick four-wheel steering system, adapted from the range-topping Aventador, is in. Evolution, indeed.

Even without ALA, the EVO’s new fixed aerodynamic setup produces significantly more downforce than the outgoing base Huracán. A series of splitters, ducts and a new fixed, slotted spoiler produce seven times more downforce than the old model. At 174 mph, airflow presses the insectoid EVO down with 161 pounds at the front and 132 pounds at the rear — splitting the vast difference between the base Huracán and the Performante’s maximum of 770 pounds at 193 mph. That rearward pressure is being particularly important because it minimizes the Huracán’s well-documented tail skittishness during hard braking.

EVO is also the first Lamborghini to feature torque vectoring and a new drivetrain ECU called LDVI, or Lamborghini Dinamica Veicolo Integrata, which orchestrates the car’s dynamic systems. While drivers won’t feel the system’s g-force enhancements while sitting in rush hour traffic, they will appreciate the new 8.4-inch multi-gesture touchscreen. Mounted low on the center console, the screen manages a host of features including climate control, an upgraded navigation system with realtime traffic, and stereo functions. The system is Apple CarPlay compatible, with Android Auto coming soon.

2019 Lamborghini Huracan Evo

Want to monitor the behind-the-scenes drivetrain sorcery? The screen can depict torque vectoring levels, g-force and steering angle via a slick overhead vehicle schematic. It doesn’t go as far as the Nissan GT-R’s datafest, but it does use the interface in the same spirit. While the new setup cleans up much of the button clutter of the old Audi MMI-based setup, Lamborghini thankfully retains its row of hard toggle switches atop the dashboard. You probably won’t miss a physical volume knob when you try the new system, which adjusts the volume with a simple double-finger swipe.

Nothing sets the mood for a spirited drive like firing up a big, naturally aspirated engine, and as always, Lamborghini brings the fireworks. Flip the missile launcher shield and press the red starter button, and the EVO’s monstrous ten-cylinder spins to life with a mighty, raspy roar. Large, fixed paddles flank the wheel, which is dotted with controls including turn signal toggles that operate like motorcycle switchgear.

With more electronics managing vehicle dynamics, Lamborghini’s drive mode settings now have an even more dramatic effect on how the EVO performs. Don’t even think about selecting Strada, or “road” mode on the track: the system constrains traction and stability control, making it akin to rain mode, while the exhaust note gets quiet enough for all-day comfort. Sport, though not the quickest way around the track, is the most permissive and certainly the most fun, since it allows more skids and bigger yaw angles. On the other hand, Corsa is calibrated for optimal lap times, meaning it won’t let you slide around if that will slow you down.

2019 Lamborghini Huracan Evo2019 Lamborghini Huracan Evo2019 Lamborghini Huracan Evo2019 Lamborghini Huracan Evo

My first go at Bahrain’s F1 circuit reveals familiar Huracán elements, and quite a few new sensations. For starters, it’s all but impossible to argue with the 5.2-liter V10, a ripper of a powerplant that eagerly shoots past its 8,500 rpm redline before meeting a hard rev limiter. The ten-cylinder mill is a monster, reacting with razor sharp responsiveness and sumptuous sounds. Pushed to its limit, the V10 will launch to 62 mph in 2.9 seconds and won’t quit ’till it hits 202 mph.

A back-to-back slalom course with the outgoing model reveals that the new Huracán feels remarkably sharper and nimbler than its predecessor. Despite the added hardware, the EVO matches its predecessor’s weight, which is 88 pounds heftier than the Performante. However, it took me a few laps at the F1 circuit to adapt to its high-speed handling characteristics. For starters, the EVO’s LVDI system factors data like steering angle, vehicle speed, suspension kinematics and g-force when determining how it will manage the vehicle’s dynamics. At high speeds, the EVO is quite good at negotiating all those puzzle pieces. However, it takes a leap of faith for the driver to get there.

Unlike the Performante, the EVO’s chassis feels like it takes slow corners differently than the quick ones. That shouldn’t come as a surprise, since Lamborghini engineers say the steering system’s switchover point from counterphase to in-phase can vary anywhere from 31 mph to 68 mph depending on a number of variables. That means steering inputs don’t always consistently translate to vehicle behavior.

2019 Lamborghini Huracan Evo

Thankfully the EVO’s chassis feels capable and responsive, with high grip levels and enough feedback at the steering wheel to accurately convey how the custom-spec Pirelli Corsas are interacting with the road. Trigger a slide, and the EVO feels far more controllable at the limit than the base car, which is largely due to the new stability control system. Lamborghini’s technical boss Maurizio Reggiani refuses to call the system “drift control,” but that’s essentially what it is: a way of controlling yaw angles enough to maintain sideways slides without spinning out of control.

One criticism — and this is an important one — is the fact that the smooth and quick-shifting seven-speed dual-clutch does an excellent job of upshifting during hard acceleration in Sport mode, but cannot be automatically shifted in the Corsa setting. It’s too bad that the driver can’t select a mode that sets the entire vehicle up for maximum speed around a track; after all, it’s essentially impossible to beat the computer when it comes to tapping that paddle as the revs rapidly climb to the 8,500-rpm cutoff. Its standard carbon ceramic brakes are also remarkably effective at slowing it down, though I did notice the pedal getting soft towards the end of my last session.

We also didn’t have the opportunity to drive the EVO on public roads. That’s a shame, since most baby Lambos are likelier to see road than track, a fact backed up by Maurizio Reggiani. “Some [Huracán drivers] may want to set the fastest lap time, but for the majority it is about emotion.”

2019 Lamborghini Huracan Evo2019 Lamborghini Huracan Evo2019 Lamborghini Huracan Evo2019 Lamborghini Huracan Evo

That epitomizes the EVO perfectly. It doesn’t have the uncanny linearity of the track-focused Performante, but explore its outer edges and the EVO’s personality unfolds. By my third track session, it feels like a different car altogether — a more capable supercar than I initially thought. And more versatile than the Performante. The numbers back that up: though the Performante’s active aerodynamics make it faster at the sprawling Nürburgring Nordschleife, the EVO excels at the smaller Nardo road course, where it produces lap times that are three seconds faster than its big-spoilered counterpart.

At the end of the day, the EVO’s track abilities prove to be far deeper than its predecessors (and arguably more versatility than the Performante), revealing a greater range of capabilities and more variety of responsiveness. But more fundamentally, by retaining the big, old school, naturally aspirated V10 and surrounding it with advanced tech, the EVO takes a leap forward to deliver an experience that’s both emotionally involving and blindingly quick.

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