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2018 Lamborghini Huracán Performante Spyder First

Drive Review

August 7, 2018

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Lamborghini Huracán Performante Spyder First Drive Review
First Drives
Same Brilliant Car—Just Louder and Windier

by Words: Chris Walton Photos: Manufacturer August 06, 2018
It's no secret. We love us some Lamborghini Huracan Performante. From our camouflaged
first drive on the Imola circuit in Italy where we said, "The Huracan Performante has such
high levels of performance that mere mortals can feel as if they know what they're doing on
an old F1 track. How can you put a price on that?" To the debut where it was revealed that
"the Performante's real party trick is its trick ALA system (Aerodinamica Lamborghini
Attiva). Forged carbon fiber is used in the Huracan Performante's active aero elements in
the front splitter, rear diffuser, and wing." Finally, it was announced with video proof that the
car had (then) set the production-car lap record (6:52.01) on the infamous Nordschleife
circuit at the Nurburgring. Finally, in our first test where the "Mantis" green, winged wedge
tied or set some of our own performance records, we wrote, "Supercars are special, and
they make you feel special. Measured on that scale, the Lamborghini stands apart. Not just
because of its radioactive paint and unmistakable style but also because it offers a driving
experience unique even among the ranks of the world's best supercars." We recently
included one as a contender for Motor Trend's 2018 Best Driver's Car (stay tuned for the
results). So, where did Lamborghini go from there?

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Super Spyder
They removed the top, making this the sixth iteration (not counting the Polizia, Pope, and
Avio special editions) of the Huracan that was introduced in 2014. Unlike the larger
Aventador S Roadster that has fixed, manually removable roof panels, the Huracan
Performante Spyder features a button-operated electrohydraulic system that opens the rear
deck and neatly folds and stows a cloth top beneath—at speeds up to 30 mph, in less than
20 seconds. Compared to the coupe, the Huracan Spyder's rear deck lid is necessarily
redesigned, and there's a pair of integrated passthrough ducts on the B-pillars that are said
to reduce cabin turbulence. With its power rear window up and soft top down, we can attest
to the ease with which two people can have a conversation at super-legal speeds. "Excuse
me, fellow professional driver, can you believe we are now traveling in excess of 100 mph
on this closed road with the top down and having this hushed conversation?"

With the rear window lowered, both wind and engine noise (more like music) dramatically
increase in volume. "My gawd! Listen to that!" Nor does the top, when up, cause any
booming or flutter. Adding 0.6 inch to the car's height, it's a well-engineered convertible.
And, despite the approximately 275-pound penalty, Lamborghini estimates only a 0.2-
second difference in acceleration to 60 mph. From our prior testing, this means it should
take just 2.8 seconds. That's adequate, right? Simply access launch mode (Corsa + ESC
off), two pedals in, jump off the brake, and blammo! We'll take Lamborghini's word that
Spyder's top speed is identical to the coupe's at 202 mph. Globally, Lamborghini expects
the Spyder to account for 40 percent of Huracan Performante sales but predicts that the
U.S. market take rate will be closer to 50 percent despite a whopping $33,069 premium
over the coupe.

Curves Ahead
Not just a straight line fiend, the Huracan Performante Spyder retains the coupe's ability to
bend the countryside to its will. This time, however, there's more landscape and
soundscape to enjoy. When the Anima three-mode drive selector is in Strada, it has a
profoundly mellowing effect on the exhaust loudness. In either Sport or Corsa, it's all manic
all the time, and in Corsa, you'll need to pull the paddles to shift gears. The Spyder driving
experience reminds me of riding a motorcycle. As you drive, your body senses changes in
temperature; your eyes, the light and shadow; your nose, the smell of fields and grass; your
ears, the octaves the engine produces. It really is a feast for the senses, adding another
dimension to the already intensely satisfying Huracan Performante experience.

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Our previous drives and tests of the Huracan Performante coupe all came with the
optional magnetorheologic suspension. The Spyders we drove had traditional dampers,
and although the optional ones work miracles, the standard suspension is remarkably
capable, as well. On the wide variety of roads we drove in and around Napa, California,
the car never once felt hard, harsh, or out of its depth. Our test cars, however, did
feature the dynamic steering option (variable-rate front rack and rear-steer).
Seamlessly, this system definitely helped the car negotiate slower, tighter corners,
steering in opposition at these speeds and in phase at higher ones. Unlike our dynamic
steering experience in the Aventador S Roadster that left us feeling as if the front and rear
steering systems weren't on speaking terms, the Huracan Performante's system works
invisibly and so well that one might not even know it was at play. And at speeds between
43 and 193 mph, the ALA active aerodynamics come online, as well. If you're not familiar
with it, there are ducts in both the front splitter and the rear deck that can be opened and
closed in 0.5 second. Depending on their position, the car can make differing amounts of
downforce, front, rear, and side to side. We wish there was a way to turn the system on
and off so we could tell you how well it works, but we'll simply point to a 2.64-second lap
time advantage we recorded at Big Willow Springs Raceway between a Huracan
Performante (1:22.53) and a Huracan LP610-4 (1:25.17). It can't be just the result of a 20-
hp advantage. There's clearly more to it than that.

The optional carbon-ceramic brakes on our Spyder are about as good as those available
on any production car. The pedal is, indeed, as firm as expected and doesn't need to travel
much to begin slowing the car. The hard part with carbon-ceramics is what happens as the
driver eases off the pedal. Do the pedals release predictably, gradually, or all at once in a
free-fall feeling? Lamborghini got this part right, too. The brakes are confidence inspiring
both for their power and fade resistance, and also for their predictable release, allowing
trail-braking to feel natural.

Adding Through Subtraction

Lamborghini could've simply left the Huracan Performante coupe alone as the best
supercar it has ever produced. Sure, the cubic-dollars ALA-equipped Aventador SVJ
recently reset the lap record at the Nurburgring, but the tidier, more affordable Huracan
Performante will stand the test of time and remain the one that started it all. By offering a
convertible version with the Spyder, Lamborghini did very little to take away from the
Performante's inherent greatness. Removing the top only adds to the experience, offers a
broader range of emotions to enjoy, and succeeds in pleasuring more of your senses.
Almost as a rule, I prefer the coupe over the convertible variant of the same car. The
convertible is often less rigid, less practical, and less capable. However, given the choice, if
I had an extra 33 grand lying around, I think I'd be one of the 50 percent who'd opt for the
drop-top version of the Huracan. I'd lose essentially nothing and gain a motorcycle in the

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2018 Lamborghini Huracan Performante Spyder

BASE PRICE $314,654

VEHICLE LAYOUT Mid-engine, AWD, 2-pass, 2-door convertible

ENGINE 5.2L/630-hp/443-lb-ft DOHC 40-valve V-10

TRANSMISSION 7-speed twin-clutch auto

CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 3,800 lb (mfr)

WHEELBASE 103.2 in

LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT 177.4 x 75.8 x 46.5 in


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2018 Lamborghini Huracán Performante Spyder
First Drive Review