Although the cars it builds are fast and dramatic, Lamborghini has never been known for making cars for keen drivers. That has changed with the Huracan Performante.
Most notable of the raft of new touches is the active aerodynamics system. Up front the system is driven by an electric motor, while the rear deck houses air ducting to the new rear wing and its massive supports.
With the system turned off, flaps inside the front spoiler stay closed for maximum downforce at high speed and under heavy braking. The flaps are automatically opened by the motors in a straight line, cutting air pressure over the nose and sending air through the underside of the car through a special channel.
It's a similar story down back, where a set of ducts in the rear deck can be used to direct air over the rear wing. The rear wing works as normal with the flaps closed, helping slam the back of the car into the road at high speed or under heavy braking. Lamborghini says the new wing creates 750 percent more downforce than the slick rear end on the standard Huracan.
Opening the flaps changes things dramatically, forcing air through a channel in the rear wing. It acts like a very clever Drag Reduction System in a straight line, cutting down on drag for better acceleration, but the real benefits come into play in high-speed corners. The channels directing air to the left/right of the spoiler are individually controlled, meaning the computer in charge of active aero is able to create more downforce on the inside rear wheel by directing all the air to one side.
Lamborghini calls it aero-vectoring, and says it means less steering lock is needed to get the car turned and stable in high-speed cornering. The system is controlled by the Lamborghini Piattaforma Inerziale (LPI) chip, which is usually tasked with managing traction and stability control, and can automatically activate in just 500 milliseconds.
Not only is it much smarter than the standard car, the Performante has been on a crash diet. Aluminum in the body helps keep weight down, but the biggest gains have been made using Forged Composite, a special type of carbon fiber pioneered by Lamborghini. By forming chopped carbon fibers in a special resin, the company says it can create complex shapes you simply can't match using more traditional construction methods. It looks fantastic under motor show lights, and helps cut 40 kg (88 lb) from the standard car.
Keeping this lighter car on the road is a revised suspension setup, which is significantly stiffer than the regular Huracan. Not only are the springs and anti-roll bars optimized for the track, the bushings in the radial and axial suspension arms are 50 percent stiffer than before for even sharper steering response. Combined with a revised stability control tune and more aggressive aerodynamics package, it should result in a Huracan to make Ferrari nervous on the track.
Power still comes from a 5.0-liter V10 in the Performante, but Lamborghini has managed to free up another 38 hp (28 kW) over the standard car for peak power of 640 hp (477 kW) and peak torque of 600 Nm. The 100 km/h (62 mph) sprint takes just 2.9 seconds, and the car doesn't stop pulling until the needle is north of 325 km/h (202 mph).
If the performance on offer wasn't enough of a giveaway, you'll be able to tell the hotter Huracan apart from its more mundane counterparts by looking at the more aggressive aero package, bronze wheels and the new range of matte paint finishes on offer. Inside, Forged Composite has been used for the (giant) shift paddles, air vents, door handles and center console, while the seats and wheel are trimmed in Alcantara.
Pricing for the Performante starts at US$274,390, and deliveries will begin in Q3 of 2017. The car is on show at the Geneva Motor Show, where New Atlas is on the ground covering all the action.
Check out the promo video for the car below.