2018 Lamborghini Huracán Performante
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.