Bull with very sharp horns

IN­TER­NA­TIONAL LAUNCH/ Mo­tor News trav­elled to Bologna, Italy to ex­pe­ri­ence Lam­borgh­ini’s most pow­er­ful Hu­ra­can model to date, the Per­for­mante, writes Ler­ato Matebese

Business Day - Motor News - - MOTOR NEWS -

Lam­borgh­ini’s most rag­ing Hu­ra­can to date, the Per­for­mante, was launched re­cently at a rather balmy city of Bologna, Italy only a few kilo­me­tres from the com­pany’s fac­tory in Sant’Agata.

The Per­for­mante (Per­for­mance in Ital­ian) sits just above the Hu­ra­can in the hi­er­ar­chi­cal struc­ture and beefs up both the vis­ual and per­for­mance as­pects of the reg­u­lar model. It is a vis­ually stim­u­lat­ing thing to be­hold, typ­i­cal of the brand’s de­sign ethos, which fea­tures jut­ted lines and a low and wide stance rem­i­nis­cent of the Coun­tach su­per­car of the 1980s.

So what sets the Per­for­mante apart? Well, for starters, the model uses a great deal of forged com­pos­ite ma­te­ri­als — es­sen­tially re­cy­cled car­bon fi­bre in the front valance, side sills, rear spoiler and in­te­rior. Fur­ther light­weight ma­te­ri­als in­clude the ti­ta­nium hewn ex­haust sys­tem that now sprouts be­tween tail lights as op­posed to be­low the rear valance in the reg­u­lar model. This led to a weight re­duc­tion of 40kg, bring­ing the model’s dry weight to 1,382kg.

Mean­while, there has been a slight bump up in power with the nor­mally as­pi­rated 5.2l V10 en­gine now thump­ing out an ad­di­tional 21kW and 40Nm bring­ing the to­tal to 470kW and 600Nm. This all trans­lates to a slightly more ea­ger sports car that takes only 2.9 sec­onds to get to 100km/h from rest and 8.9 sec­onds to get to 200km/h from sta­tion­ary, while the top end is pegged at 325km/h. This places it in the per­for­mance realm of the Fer­rari 488 GTB, McLaren 570S and Porsche 911 Turbo S.

What those stats don’t con­vey is the emo­tional as­pect that comes with a nor­mally as­pi­rated, high revving en­gine such as the one in the Hu­ra­can Per­for­mante and the gun-trig­ger like throt­tle re­sponse that comes with an at­mo­spheric en­gine. Don’t get me wrong, the turbo en­gines in the afore­men­tioned ri­vals are mighty in their re­spec­tive per­for­mance reper­toires, but then noth­ing quite stirs the soul like the ban­shee wail­ing of an at­mo­spheric en­gine.

To as­cer­tain the out­right per­for­mance of the model, we were set loose on the Imola race­track. The track is a tech­ni­cal piece of tar­mac, char­ac­terised by chi­canes, var­i­ous changes in el­e­va­tions and an ex­hil­a­rat­ing main straight. Our first lap was more of a sight­ing lap, learn­ing where to brake and get back on the power. The Per­for­mante was easy to drive and we were quickly able to delve into its power and grip re­serves.

Thanks to the four-wheel drive sys­tem, driv­ing the ve­hi­cle in full at­tack Corsa (race) mode is both ex­hil­a­rat­ing and con­fi­dence-in­spir­ing. While some four-wheel drive sys­tems rob the driver of full con­trol, the sys­tem em­ployed here ac­tu­ally adds a layer of en­joy­ment to ap­pease any en­thu­si­ast. With more con­fi­dence it was into the main straight from a warm lap, keep­ing the throt­tle pinned in third gear as I let the en­gine wind up to the 8,500r/min red­line be­fore sum­mon­ing fourth via the up­shift pad­dle.

The straight kinks slightly to the right and then to the left, all the while keep­ing the throt­tle pinned to the floor boards. I glance at the speedome­ter and 245km/h is reg­is­tered while the ac­cel­er­a­tion and for­ward progress is not dis­si­pat­ing. The fate­ful Tam­bu­rello cor­ner looms. In a split sec­ond the brak­ing marker is in view and I stomp on the an­chors. Ini­tial pedal bite is good, but I then dig deeper into the din­ner-plate sized car­bon brakes, while shift­ing from fourth, to third, be­fore nos­ing the bull into the chi­cane. The pre­vi­ous long left-han­der — be­fore the chi­cane was en­gi­neered into the new track lay­out — meant that For­mula One driv­ers could pre­vi­ously keep the throt­tle fully opened for more than 22 sec­onds, at which point they were do­ing in ex­cess of 300km/h.

I man­age to get the car slowed down to about 85km/h be­fore slow­ing down for the Tosa hair­pin, which can be taken in third. Ac­cel­er­ate up to Pi­ratella, which is fast flow­ing, and one can re­ally feel the aero of the ve­hi­cle work­ing to keep it stuck to the tar­mac as the track drops as you dab the brake for Acque Min­er­ali into a dou­ble right han­der as you head up to the Alta chi­cane. Clip both apexes be­fore ac­cel­er­at­ing to­wards a blind Ri­vazza, where the ve­hi­cle’s rear end squirms un­der brak­ing, but keep brak­ing in a straight line and it soon set­tles. The next dou­ble left han­der brings you back into the main straight and you can do it all over again.

On the road, the model is eas­ily as com­fort­able as the Audi R8, in spite of the stiffer sus­pen­sion setup, but the Per­for­mante’s main forte will re­main the race- track, where the bull’s rage truly comes into its own.

Ac­cord­ing to Lam­borgh­ini SA, only four mod­els will come to SA later in 2017, so if you place your or­der to­day de­liv­ery will only be some­time in 2018. I can gladly re­port that the wait will be worth it. TBA Now 470kW 600Nm 325km/h 2.9 sec­onds 10.3l/100km/100km 314g/km

THERE HAS BEEN A BUMP UP IN POWER WITH THE 5.2l V10 EN­GINE THUMP­ING OUT AN AD­DI­TIONAL 21KW AND 40NM CO2 emis­sions: Star rat­ing:

The Hu­ra­can Per­for­mante is most at home on the race­track.

The in­te­rior is all jet fighter in its ap­pear­ance but with more com­fort. Be­low: That enor­mous rear wing is part of an aero pack­age that keeps things hun­kered down on the track.

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