Al Tawee­nis renowned for its goats, gro­cery shops and one of the great­est moun­tain roads in the world. Rip­pin­gupthe newly laid tar­mac? ALam­borgh­ini Hu­racán be­ing driven by wheels’ Im­ran Ma­lik

Friday - - Contents -

The Lam­borgh­ini Hu­racán can take on any ter­rain.

Great roads chal­lenge every­day no­tions. They re­place the te­dious slog of the daily com­mute with their epic turns, awe­some ter­rain and land­scape that’ll blow your doors off. But you’ve got to travel a fair dis­tance to en­joy some of th­ese in­cred­i­ble black­tops. You can head to Cal­i­for­nia for High­way 1, aka Big Sur, which of­fers amaz­ing views over per­ilous cliffs while chas­ing the ragged Pa­cific Ocean coast­line. Or to Italy for the thrilling Stelvio Pass – nes­tled up in the Alps – that boasts 48 switch­backs, not to men­tion some ex­tremely daunt­ing cor­ners along the 24km stretch. And France’s Col de Turini – the breathtaking moun­tain pass and stage of the Monte Carlo Rally – sim­ply must be on your bucket list.

There are count­less oth­ers scat­tered all over the world, but if you haven’t got the means to get to any of them, well, that’s too bad. Ex­cept that it isn’t. You see, ar­guably the very best driv­ing road on the planet is right here on our doorstep...

It’s the crack of dawn and the alarm bells are ring­ing, lit­er­ally and metaphor­i­cally. I’ve got the keys to the all-new Hu­racán and have been given the un­en­vi­able task of tack­ling the most chal­leng­ing stretch in the re­gion. This par­tic­u­lar Gal­lardo suc­ces­sor has been flown in es­pe­cially from Italy, re­plete with Ital­ian plates, and booked solid for press drives after we’re done with it. I’ve been given one very spe­cific in­struc­tion from the Lam­borgh­ini head of­fice: “Do not bend it.” Like there’s ever a good time to dam­age a Lambo...

With those words at the fore­front of my mind and about to head to a road with more twists than the Chubby Checker hit, the pres­sure is un­doubt­edly on. No, pho­tog­ra­pher Ste­fan Lin­d­eque and I aren’t head­ing to Jebel Hafeet. I wish we were. Com­pared to where we’re go­ing, that one can be done with your eyes shut. The road we’re hit­ting is quite a dis­tance away and our snap­per wants to use as much nat­u­ral morn­ing light as pos­si­ble. Our des­ti­na­tion strad­dles the UAEO­man bor­der way up in the Ha­jar Moun­tains. Un­be­liev­able. Amaz­ing. Stun­ning. Not even a steady stream of ad­jec­tives can do this place jus­tice. It winds its way so high up one wrong move could be, well, the end...

It’s 5am, pin-drop silent and not a soul is in sight. Apolo­get­i­cally then, I flick open the Top Gun- style red cover from the starter but­ton. I may as well be about to fire a cruise mis­sile as the Lambo’s mon­strous 5.2-litre nat­u­rally as­pi­rated V10 fires up with an angry growl and amounts to about the same kind of fu­ri­ous noise. The re­sult is the same too – dev­as­ta­tion.

The Hu­racán sounds like it wants to suck up ev­ery­thing around it through its mas­sive air dams. Trees, roads and houses are about to be ripped apart, chewed up and then spat out the back of those four fat ex­haust tips. The beast is awake and there’s no con­trol­ling its tem­per. In its most gen­tle, ha, of set­tings, Strada, it would still gob­ble

‘If I push too hard I’ll be flung out of the win­dow and left face down on the rocks like a bull rider’

up parts of Jumeirah, sud­denly a hive of ac­tiv­ity at just 5:01am. The neigh­bours must be won­der­ing if there’s been a tremor.

It perks you up, that’s for cer­tain, and I’m fired up as I nav­i­gate this 602bhp su­per­car to Down­town. Res­i­dents here, long­ing for a nice lie-in on this crisp Fri­day morn­ing, are next in line for a rude awak­en­ing. Some­where along the way, I’ve switched to Sport be­cause, well, be­cause. The Hu­racán is blip­ping fu­ri­ously down the gears as I ap­proach a red light with the del­i­cacy of a wreck­ing ball; ev­ery time it drops down a cog, it feels like the tow­ers around me could top­ple. I don’t need to call Ste­fan to tell him I’ve ar­rived. He’s heard the Lambo com­ing all the way from Satwa.

He hops in, re­marks how roomy the cabin is, and we set off. The sun’s be­gin­ning to rise and the bright orange rays are re­flect­ing against this piece of Ital­ian artistry show­ing off its sump­tu­ous col­lec­tion of an­gles and curves to oth­ers shar­ing the road with us.

The Aran­cio Bo­re­alis pearl orange paint is mes­meris­ing. The whole spec­ta­cle looks pos­i­tively sci-fi. Almost ev­ery­one I pass gives it the thumb­sup salute – some clearly too star­tled to even re­act with any­thing other than a gap­ing mouth. It’s been faced with the for­mi­da­ble task of tak­ing over from the much-loved and out­ra­geous Gal­lardo, and do­ing bat­tle with the likes of the 458. For­mi­da­ble? Pfft. The Fer­rari has noth­ing on this – and that one bor­ders on ab­so­lute per­fec­tion. With its long fluid roofline, beau­ti­fully bal­anced proportions, hexag­o­nal forms and that oh-so-ag­gres­sive de­meanour, the Hu­racán has it in the bag. And that’s be­fore you’ve even floored it.

Do so, and it’ll go from 0-100kph in 3.2 seconds and on to a top speed of 325kph. There’s a thin line be­tween plea­sure and pain – your ears will vouch for that. With your foot buried in the car­pet and the tacho reach­ing for the 8,500rpm red­line, they’ll be treated to the glo­ri­ous wails of that in­cred­i­ble V10. If it’s the last thing you hear be­fore your eardrums give up the ghost, there’d be no com­plaints. Noth­ing can sound bet­ter at full pelt.

I’m do­ing ev­ery­thing to make this Bull re­ally angry; it’s in Corsa, I’ve got con­trol of the seven-speed auto, and I’m keep­ing my foot pinned and max­ing out the gears be­fore each flick of the right fin­ger. But even though I’m al­ready do­ing li­cencede­stroy­ing speeds, the Hu­racán is

barely break­ing into a sweat. There’s so much more power in re­serve that even when you’re go­ing fast, like re­ally fast, drop down a cou­ple of gears and it takes off like it’s been smacked in the back by a can­non­ball. It ex­plodes into life and is as much about noise as it is about thrust – a wicked com­bi­na­tion.

It’s taken an hour and a half to reach the sleepy town of Al Taween, be­fore which we make sure to stop at the near­est vil­lage, which has just a sin­gle work­ing pump. The near­est city is Ras Al Khaimah – a good 40km away. That’s a long walk to fill up a jer­rycan. So, we’re well prepped; two bot­tles of wa­ter, some gum and the Lambo at the brim. Be­fore we head up the moun­tain, a group of ex­cited kids sur­round the Ital­ian ex­otic. They’ve never seen any­thing like it. What usu­ally gets them go­ing is the sight of a bat­tered Hilux car­ry­ing a bunch of goats. There isn’t much to speak of in terms of ac­tion in this part of the UAE, so the Hu­racán has un­der­stand­ably caused quite a stir.

Look­ing up from the bot­tom of the val­ley to the top of the moun­tain, upon which re­sides a mil­i­tary post with a he­li­pad, re­veals what a daunt­ing task this is go­ing to be. We have to get up there – in one piece – be­fore the light gets too harsh.

I’m back in Sport (Corsa would be ask­ing for trou­ble) and be­gin slic­ing my way to the top. On this most hazardous road lit­tered with sand and gravel, the Hu­racán showcases its phe­nom­e­nal grip. It’s serv­ing up a ti­tanic amount of trac­tion thanks to its AWD set-up (torque is split 30:70 front and rear or 0:100 to the rear if need be) and although the path to the top is ex­tremely nar­row, I find the Lambo shrinks around me a bit like the R8 does. Only this is oh-so-much­mad­der. And nicer.

The light­ning-quick trans­mis­sion is from the Audi and my heart’s rac­ing from the pops and crack­les on the over­run. It’s prov­ing far eas­ier to drive up here than I’d imag­ined; at 1,422kg it’s light and re­mark­ably ag­ile, mak­ing it not just easy but very en­joy­able to ex­ploit. I’m pow­er­ing out of bends ear­lier than I’d usu­ally dare, but only after a hes­i­tant first cou­ple. It’s ev­i­dent that this thing is stuck to the road like glue.

There is a false sense of se­cu­rity, how­ever: if I push it too hard, I’ll be flung out of the win­dow and left face down on the rocks like a rookie bull rider. There are some hairy mo­ments when the tail feels like it’s about to break free, but cor­rect­ing it re­quires just a flick of the steer­ing and the nose is again ea­gerly sniff­ing out the next cor­ner. You need to give this car the re­spect it de­serves, oth­er­wise it could be a long way down.

Thank­fully, it’s got supreme stop­ping power cour­tesy of big car­bon-ce­ramic fade-free brakes. They’re get­ting a pound­ing up here, and I’m get­ting a se­ri­ous work­out from ma­noeu­vring the steer­ing, even though it’s light. It’s prov­ing to be a real adren­a­line rush; there’s a se­ri­ous mix of fun and fear pro­vided, which is then am­pli­fied by the sur­round­ings. It isn’t as mad as the Aven­ta­dor but it laughs in the face of common sense like its big brother, re­lent­lessly pow­er­ing me up the moun­tain pass and tear­ing up the straights. That snarling V10 is send­ing echoes bounc­ing off the moun­tain walls. It’s a bat­tle cry – the Hu­racán is at war and won’t rest un­til it has con­quered this stretch.

With just a hun­dred me­tres be­fore we get to the peak, there’s a snag. The road has been closed and the top of the moun­tain is off lim­its to­day. I switch the car off, stum­ble out and stare at it in amaze­ment as it ticks it­self cool. Ste­fan be­gins click­ing away be­fore the con­di­tions de­te­ri­o­rate, and what you see on th­ese pages rank as one of our best pho­to­shoots. He may have out­done him­self this time – just like the guys at Sant’Agata Bolog­nese re­spon­si­ble for this as­ton­ish­ing car.

The Huricán feels at home on both open high­ways and craggy moun­tain roads

The Huricán’s Aran­cio Bo­re­alis paint is mes­meris­ing

The Huricán sprints to 100kph in just 3.2 seconds

One of the best driv­ing roads on the planet is right here on our doorstep

i SPECS AND VER­DICT Model Hu­racán En­gine 5.2-litre V10 Trans­mis­sion Seven-speed auto, AWD Max power 602bhp @ 8,250rpm Max torque 560Nm @ 6,500rpm Top speed 325kph 0-100kph 3.2sec Price Dh938,952 Highs Looks, per­for­mance, eas­ier to live with than the Gal­lardo

Lows Rear vis­i­bil­ity

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