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
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