2018 Lam­borgh­ini Hu­racán Per­for­mante

Motor Trend (USA) - - 2018 Best Driver’s Car - Words Frank Markus

Re­mem­ber how Randy Pobst was “ut­terly be­side him­self ” af­ter his track drive of the 911 GT2 RS? That’s how the Lam­borgh­ini struck the rest of us af­ter a romp up and down 198. “The con­fi­dence is un­matched,” Scott Evans said. “It’s so easy to drive at lu­di­crous speeds.” Mark Rechtin con­curred: “This car gave me the most con­fi­dence on cor­ner exit.” Erick Aya­pana felt “in tune from the first turn of the wheel and tap of the brake—it’s amaz­ing how planted it stayed through the mid­corner bumps.” Miguel Cortina called it “con­fi­dence-in­spir­ing from ev­ery an­gle.” Chris Wal­ton: “This is the com­bi­na­tion of con­fi­dence, per­for­mance, and emo­tion that our Best Driver’s Car should pos­sess.”

Randy Pobst: Pro­fes­sional Racer This car makes you into a god. You just get in and you drive like Ayr­ton Senna.”

Of course, some will pre­sume that the Lam­borgh­ini’s larger-than-mar­cel­logan­dini per­son­al­ity and se­duc­tive­ness swayed us. In­deed, Evans waxed hor­monal: “This car is pure sex. It tick­les the same cor­ners of the brain.”and Wal­ton con­trasted our top two fin­ish­ers: “As ca­pa­ble as the GT2 RS, for a Porsche it’s a bit clin­i­cal and un­emo­tional. The Lambo is all emo­tion, all the time. It wails, slides, jumps, and is a riot from bot­tom to top.”

Trust us on this one. Past Lam­borgh­i­nis have ex­uded these same ex­tro­verted sen­ti­ments but fallen short on the dy­nam­ics. This is “fi­nally a Lambo that’s as good to drive as it looks,” An­gus Macken­zie noted. “There’s sub­stance be­hind the style that makes the drive ex­pe­ri­ence live up to the the­atrics.” Jethro Bov­ing­don pointed out lit­tle things: “the way the gear­box in Corsa mode gives you a solid jolt in a straight line but smooth shifts in cor­ners; the all-wheel-drive sys­tem doesn’t de­fault to un­der­steer but de­liv­ers ev­ery last scrap of grip avail­able; the damp­ing is just in­cred­i­ble, eat­ing up

the worst sur­faces and still turn­ing with fe­ro­cious bite.”

There was also uni­ver­sal praise for the big-lunged, ban­shee-wail­ing V-10, which de­liv­ers a level of throt­tle re­sponse and au­ral de­light that turbo en­gines strug­gle to match. The gauges are bet­ter laid out and more use­ful than the Mclaren’s and more the­atri­cal than Porsche’s strictly busi­ness setup. Our big­gest com­plaint with the in­te­rior was with the hard-shell seats tai­lored to a waifish Mi­lanese model.

On the ob­jec­tive per­for­mance front, each of our top three cars lapped Weathertech Race­way La­guna Seca faster than any pre­vi­ous of­fi­cial BDC en­trant. The Hu­racán also out­per­formed its archri­val, the 2017 Bdc-win­ning Fer­rari 488 GTB, in all our ac­cel­er­a­tion, brak­ing, and han­dling met­rics—with a La­guna lap time that’s also 1.68 sec­onds quicker. (Yes, we know the Per­for­mante re­ally com­petes with Fer­rari’s 488 Pista. We hope to get one here next year to con­tinue the ri­valry.)

Pobst de­scribed the Lam­borgh­ini as “fan­tas­tic … loved the car through the cor­ner and off the cor­ner.” But his mood dark­ened for one main rea­son: the brakes. “I couldn’t get it to stop.” Given the car’s gripis­simo Miche­lin P Zero Tro­feo R-com­pound streetable rac­ing tires and car­bon-ce­ramic discs, he laid blame on the pad ma­te­rial. “The pedal felt wooden, like there just wasn’t enough pad bite. I’ll bet you it’s a half g be­low the Porsche.” Yes, the Porsche out-braked the Lambo in a few cor­ners where the 911 achieved higher speeds, but at the end of the front straight where they were both honk­ing along plenty hard, each man­aged 1.30 g.

It should be noted that Pobst had the same com­plaint with last year’s Fer­rari. Maybe that’s just how they do brakes in the Parmi­giano-reg­giano re­gion. For those of us who drive at a sub-pob­s­tian pace on real-world roads, no­body faulted the brakes. In fact, Evans praised the Lambo’s brakes for lack­ing the Fer­rari’s wooden feel, while Ed Loh and Bov­ing­don char­ac­ter­ized their power as ca­pa­ble of pro­vok­ing reti­nal de­tach­ment or blackout.

In the end, as al­ways, we’re award­ing our Best Driver’s Car honors to the car that best stroked our driver egos, the one that egged us on the most, scolded and scared us the least, sang to us the pret­ti­est, and made us feel the most in­vin­ci­ble. That car was the Lam­borgh­ini Hu­racán Per­for­mante. n

TORQ-TURE CHAM­BER No­body liked the skimpily padded hard-shell rac­ing seat, but ev­ery­body loved the sweet mu­sic com­ing from the free-breath­ing V-10. Its power and torque curves even look melodic.

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