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


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.

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