OTHER CAR MY IS LAM­BORGH­INI A

Why put miles on your pre­cious Hu­racán, when you can buy another Lambo to tow it in­stead?

Top Gear (UK) - - LAMBOS ON TOUR - WORDS: PAUL HOR­RELL / PHO­TOG­RA­PHY: RICHARD PAR­DON

Good for my fel­low TG- ists, hav­ing such a load of fun with their on-track Top Trump­ing. But I’d ac­tu­ally have won by roughly 100bhp, enough to bruise their egos so bru­tally that I’d have felt bad. So I’m off to do some­thing more real with the Lam­borgh­i­nis.

A rac­ing dinghy is tech­ni­cally a mode of trans­port, but no one uses it for that. A glider or a hot air bal­loon sim­i­larly. They’re about the recre­ation, not the trans­porta­tion. Be­tween the sail­ing and the fly­ing, peo­ple tow them be­hind SUVs. A Lam­borgh­ini Hu­racán Per­for­mante Spy­der isn’t any dif­fer­ent. On paper it ful­fils the tech­ni­cal def­i­ni­tion of an au­to­mo­bile, but re­ally as a form of trans­port it’s hi­lar­i­ously de­fi­cient in too many ways to list. But on the right road it will be recre­ation in ex­cel­sis.

That right road, the best in Eng­land for our pur­poses, is a loop around the North Pen­nines, through and above Tees­dale and Weardale. Its width, the va­ri­ety and fre­quency of its cor­ners, their sight­lines, the sparse­ness of other traf­fic, and the sheer jaw-drop­ping vis­tas when you can tear your eyes away from the next en­trance to apex, those things are, to my mind, un­matched.

Five hours, most of it mo­tor­way, sep­a­rates that road from the TopGear of­fice. Have you seen the Per­for­mante Spy­der’s seats? Lit­er­ally buck­ets. Arse­bruis­ing, shoul­der-cramp­ing, fixed-back solid car­bon­fi­bre buck­ets. The Urus’s, OTOH, are ad­justable in a dozen-plus direc­tions, and have mas­sage. With radar cruise en­gaged at around the trailer speed limit, its en­gine is to all in­tents and pur­poses silent, some 90 per cent of its po­ten­tial held in re­serve (it has a dial that tells me this). The stereo, sat­nav and driver aids are all top-end Audi spec. Urus or Per­for­mante on the M1: re­ally, what would you do? Lam­borgh­ini’s peo­ple were re­luc­tant to have us tow­ing an open trailer. They thought it’d make the Hu­racán look like it was bro­ken down. Well, I’d say if your break­down ser­vice starts us­ing Lam­borgh­ini SUVs as tow­cars, you might start ask­ing ques­tions about your your an­nual sub­scrip­tion. Plus, we didn’t want to get our­selves scooped by go­ing so­cially vi­ral. Yet only one shot of our out­landish rig ever hit In­sta­gram. It seems su­per­car blog­gers spend their time in Monte Carlo and Knights­bridge, rather than Trow­ell Ser­vices on the M1.

Brian James’s T6 trailer is an awe­some thing.

For load­ing, its hy­drauli­cally tilt­ing bed, and the Hu­racán’s nose lift, help us avoid split­ter-scrap­ing hor­rors. Its un­der­slung wheels mean it’s no wider than the (al­ready ridicu­lously wide) Urus, so I can be con­fi­dent that when I’ve threaded the Urus through a gap, the trailer will fol­low with­out catas­tro­phe. The masses in­volved are stom­ach-churn­ing: we’ve got 1.6 tonnes of fu­elled-up Hu­racán and 0.9 tonne of trailer to haul, plus the Urus’s own 2.2 tonnes. But it re­fuses to break sweat. Hon­estly, on the M1 we run an out-ofthe-road­works 40–65mph rolling-start drag race, and the 641bhp twin-turbo V8 still man­ages to out­run the photo team’s Jaguar F-Pace.

It makes quite the bel­low do­ing that, but the rest of the time the en­gine falls to a mur­mur, and sur­pris­ingly the tyres don’t roar, ei­ther, so it’s an easy job for the B&O stereo to dom­i­nate. I could eas­ily forget I’ve got the trailer at all. Ex­cept the sight of a su­per­car’s chuff fill­ing my rear-view mir­ror never ceases to sur­prise me. (We loaded it that way round to keep the V10’s mass close to the trailer axles.) Pic­ture too the dou­ble-takes of the

“It seems su­per­car blog­gers spend their time in Monte Carlo, rather than Trow­ell Ser­vices”

folk who come across a yel­low Lam­borgh­ini re­vers­ing at speed up the mid­dle lane of the M1.

On the pre­text of “What do SUV own­ers do with their SUVs?”, TopGear briefed me to get in among the car­a­van­ning fra­ter­nity. I stop at the CAMC’s Tees­dale site, where peo­ple are ridicu­lously mag­nan­i­mous in view of the old en­mity be­tween us and their homes on wheels. They shriek in won­der at the yel­low Hu­racán, but don’t no­tice that, as per the old bumper sticker, my other car is a Lam­borgh­ini. Once told, it too kinda bowls them over. I’d planned to erect my pa­thetic lit­tle ridge tent and stay the night here. But I also want to be up early to get the Hu­racán do­ing its thing on the moor above. A cold-start in ei­ther of these Lam­bos re­sults in what we mo­tor­ing writ­ers are con­trac­tu­ally obliged to call ‘an in­vig­o­rat­ing bar­rage of ex­haust noise over­laid with a fusil­lade of pops and bangs’. At 5am this would be the rud­est pos­si­ble thing to do to a field full of peo­ple in thin-walled sleep­ing quar­ters try­ing to have a hol­i­day. So we slink off the even­ing be­fore and find a ho­tel.

Early next morn­ing, a layby on the B6282 is the gate­way to the Per­for­mante. It rolls off the trailer, warms it­self through, and sets off to do what it came for. There’s been a lot writ­ten about the fixed-roof Per­for­mante’s blis­ter­ing track ef­forts, in­clud­ing a time around the Nord­schleife that many peo­ple just didn’t be­lieve. Its

“At 6,000rpm, this awe­some en­gine takes on a whole new mag­ni­tude of ur­gency”

ac­tive aero ob­vi­ously con­tributed. But at road speeds, other as­pects of its make-up will add much more to the joy of liv­ing.

So I start off in y’know, Strada mode. Not even Sport and never mind Corsa. The en­gine, at first, is all. It’s an elec­tri­fy­ing, af­fect­ing, un­for­get­table love song to nat­u­ral as­pi­ra­tion. Lord, let’s not let that song be­come a lament. We can’t, can we, see the death of en­gines such as this? Pis­tons must be free to re­cip­ro­cate at 8,500rpm, throt­tle but­ter­flies to ad­mit their air as pre­dictably as at­mo­spheric pres­sure dic­tates, and ex­hausts to re­main un­tram­melled by the muf­fling and in­er­tia of tur­bines. Lam­borgh­ini’s V10 has an in­stan­ta­neous and in­fec­tious vi­vac­ity, even at low revs, hurl­ing the car ahead through the mid ranges, and then, just at the point where your turbo-ac­cus­tomed fin­gers are in­vol­un­tar­ily mov­ing to­wards the up pad­dle at 6,000rpm, this awe­some un­blown en­gine takes on a whole new mag­ni­tude of ur­gency and pelts on­ward. Only af­ter another 2,500rpm of awe is its ra­bid en­ergy fi­nally bri­dled. Then you tap that pad­dle and the thing saw­tooths on for another mag­i­cal round in the next gear.

Cor­ners are com­ing. Car­bon-ce­ramic discs bite down on the speed, and the car dives in. It dis­poses of curves ma­jes­ti­cally, never los­ing its level or its tenac­ity. Oh, in a damp sec­ond-gear it’ll edge its tail out if you in­sist, but the drama is tidy. Mostly, it just grips, even at speeds where that aero can’t be do­ing much –

and in­deed the full asym­met­ric ALA is ac­ti­vated only in Corsa, a mode I don’t use be­cause it tight­ens the dampers to an ex­tent that this road won’t tol­er­ate.

Corsa mode also quick­ens the ac­tual ra­tio of the ac­tive steer­ing, so your hands move through a lesser arc. But again I pre­fer the Strada mode. Its lower gear­ing means the dis­tur­bance of bumps won’t jos­tle your hands into un­in­tended steer­ing in­puts. It’s like Fer­rari’s racks were in the Nineties, and I remember them fondly. The Per­for­mante’s spring­ing is sup­ple enough to breathe nicely over this bumpy ter­rain, too.

Even be­yond the dras­tic lon­gi­tu­di­nal and lat­eral gloads, what makes the Per­for­mante such a vivid joy is its sen­sa­tions. You touch the tyres, know­ing how their grip changes as first the fronts, then the rears, ne­go­ti­ate a bump or dip, and the en­gine wires it­self into your nerves and your cochlea. The roof is down too, for more sen­sa­tion at ev­ery speed. The mo­tion en­velops me from ev­ery quar­ter.

I re­turn, even­tu­ally, to a halt at our layby, if only to let my heart re­gain its com­po­sure. Seems fair to un­shackle the Urus from the trailer and see what it makes of this road.

It too can be ridicu­lously rapid. It’s the fastest SUV sold any­where. The mass doesn’t seem to im­pede its progress. By the magic of ev­ery one of VW Group’s chas­sis tech­nolo­gies, and one or two tweaks unique to the Lam­borgh­ini divi­sion, it man­ages to grip like crazy, roll very lit­tle, un­der­steer not much at all, and ride pretty well. But, crit­i­cally, it misses the in­tan­gi­bles that make speed thrilling. The steer­ing and en­gine are muf­fled, the ped­als in­dis­tinct in their an­swers.

Look, the Urus is ridicu­lously ca­pa­ble. At a mo­tor­way cruise, even with the trailer, it’s largely silent, abun­dantly lux­u­ri­ous and al­most drives it­self. It car­ries four peo­ple and their stuff over any ter­rain. And it’ll keep up with

99 per cent of sports cars in straights and cor­ners. By any rea­son­able met­ric, the Urus can do any­thing.

But that’s the point. Lam­borgh­i­nis are Lam­borgh­i­nis be­cause of what they canÕt do. Can’t carry your kids or your stuff, can’t cos­set you, can’t calm down, can’t com­pro­mise, can’t stop mak­ing de­mands. Ab­so­lutely can’t go incog­nito.

The Urus can. Peo­ple didn’t spot it was a Lambo at all. It’s quiet nor­mally, its note the soft, generic one of a V8 with 90-de­gree crank and tur­bos. Said ‘bar­rage of ex­haust noise over­laid with a fusil­lade of pops and bangs’ is in truth wholly ar­ti­fi­cial, hap­pen­ing only on cold-start or in the ag­gres­sive but­ton-modes. In con­trast, the Per­for­mante’s en­gine is all char­ac­ter, all of the time.

The shape of the Urus’s body has the same is­sue: largely a generic SUV in out­line and pro­por­tion, with a load of fal­si­fied creases over­laid to get your at­ten­tion. The Hu­racán has real Lambo pro­por­tions and so ben­e­fits from au­then­ti­cally calm panel sur­faces.

The blue car is su­per-com­pe­tent across a huge spec­trum, yet I can’t love it. The yel­low one is mostly pretty use­less, but in its el­e­ment it’s adorable. Still, to­day the first one has got us to the road where I drank in the sec­ond’s tran­scen­dent best, and for that I’m grate­ful to it.

Thanks to Jackie and team at the camc.com Tees­dale site

“Lam­borgh­i­nis are Lam­borgh­i­nis be­cause of what they can’t do”

Tees­dale’s first open-air shisha cafe was strug­gling to draw the crowds

Try as it might, Hu­racán couldn’t con­vince Urus to play see-saw

Fas­ci­nat­ing fact: PH owns a match­ing cap for ev­ery Lambo in­te­rior trim op­tion

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