LAMBORGHINI HURACAN PERFORMANTE
The Performante version of the Huracan is lighter, faster, more powerful and equipped with a clever active-aerodynamics system called ALA.
THE Huracan Performante lapped the Nurburgring Nordschleife in 6 minutes and 52 seconds. Not only is this timing under the magic 7-minute mark, it beat the more powerful Aventador SV and also eclipsed the great Porsche 918 Spyder by a full 5 seconds. The new Huracan Performante embodies elements of the Gallardo Superleggera such as reduced weight and additional power. By using forged carbon fibre to substitute for some body components and lightweight titanium for the exhaust system, Lambo engineers have managed to pare 40kg from the coupe. They have also given the 5.2-litre V10 engine a new set of titanium valves and raised the output to 640bhp – 30bhp more than the regular Huracan.
Pirelli has also concocted a new sticky-compound P Zero Corsa tyre to help Lamborghini’s quest for a super-quick lap time. The suspension has been suitably uprated by 10 percent and the roll stiffness increased by 15 percent. The incredible grip from those tyres also gives the car a stunning launch capability – zero to 100km/h in 2.9 seconds, shaving 0.3 of a second.
In order to achieve that incredible lap time, Lamborghini had to dig deep, beyond just adding power and cutting weight. So the company developed ALA (Aero-dinamica Lamborghini Attiva), a very clever active-aerodynamics system without visible moving parts. The Performante’s aero system looks like any fixedwing setup, but closer inspection reveals vents along the underside of the rear wing – not unlike how the Dyson bladeless fan operates.
By allowing pressurised air channelled from highpressure areas on the body to flow through these vents, both downforce and drag can be optimised. Hidden valves under the base of the rear wing control the airflow to the left and right side. When the valves are completely shut, the internal airflow of the wing is allowed to provide maximum downforce.
The front splitter also has vents that maximise downforce when closed, and minimise downforce when opened by diverting air pressure away. At around 300km/h, the ALA can generate 350kg of downforce when it’s “off”, and lose much of it when it’s “on” to reduce drag. The ALA falls under the control of Lamborghini’s Piattaforma Inerziale (LPI) central computer, which determines whether to trim or increase drag proportionally between front and rear, or even between left and right
THE $998,000 HURACAN PERFORMANTE IS THE SUPERCAR DEAL OF THE YEAR.
of the wing, so as to ensure the most ideal aerodynamics in every driving scenario. When the Huracan is racing towards a corner, for instance, the system adjusts for low downforce and low drag.
As soon as the driver hits the brakes, the system shuts the vents and develops maximum downforce for braking and cornering. At the apex, when the driver gets back on the throttle pedal, the rear wing is trimmed such that downforce is increased over the inside rear wheel to optimise traction as the car accelerates hard. It’s a form of aero-vectoring.
The Lambo’s stability during high-speed cornering is remarkable, allowing the committed driver to maintain a higher average speed throughout. As with all aero-dependant supercars, there is a steep learning curve because their downforce develops and dissipates exponentially with speed. Brake hard from high velocity and downforce quickly disappears along with braking ability. Corner harder and the cornering limit goes up with increasing speed, particularly in the faster corners. It feels strange and takes me a few more laps to get used to it. However, the Performante is user-friendly and helps rather than hinders my effort to get a fast lap in, so it’s less of a workout behind the wheel.
This obviously track-biased supercar is decently comfortable in Strada mode, which is terrible for track work. The other two modes – Sport and Corsa – are a bit too firm for use on city roads, but the (optional) Magne Ride electro-magnetic damper system manages to provide sufficient comfort to make Sport mode acceptable for serious gearheads. Corsa mode sets all the handling parameters strictly for
near-neutral handling and prevents any sideways action. You need to shift the gears manually in this mode, but it will help you to achieve the fastest laps on a circuit. In Sport mode, the Lambo’s electronic nanny allows some oversteer if you want to push the car that far. Too bad there is no separate setting for the damper control, but on the whole and in my opinion, Sport is the best mode for performance junkies. It is not the fastest way around a racetrack, but it is without a doubt the most fun.
This latest Lambo is decently comfortable to drive, yet it can still thrash the likes of the Aventador SV and Porsche 918 around the world’s toughest circuit. The record-breaking lap on the Nurburgring Nordschleife has elevated the newcomer’s status to searing hot. And it costs a lot less than the Aventador, making the Huracan Performante the supercar deal of the year.
ALA is Lamborghini’s patented activeaerodynamics system which varies the Huracan’s aero load for high downforce or low drag. The Performante’s V10 powerplant has its own bronze manifold cover and repositioned, raciersounding exhaust pipes.