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Lamborghini Huracan Evo: First Drive Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by David Booth February 2019

All bark and not so much bite, the original Lamborghini Huracan was a little soft, at least by supercar standards. Oh sure, its high-revving V10 snapped, crackled and popped, but at heart it was a poseur's car. All slithery wedge-shaped styling and show-off-y pastel paint wrapped around what was -- by Ferrari, McLaren and even Lamborghini Countach standards -- a car designed for prowling upscale shopping centers. Compared with a lowly Chevrolet Camaro or a Nissan 370Z, it was an Italian rocket. Put it up against a Ferrari 458 or a McLaren 650S, though, and by comparison it was a flouncy, understeering beast.

Like the Performante before it, the 2020 Huracan Evo changes all of that. But, unlike the Performante, which got its Nurburgring lap record-breaking speed from brute force and aerodynamics, the new Evo is smart, its impressive handling the result of what Maurizio Reggiani, Lamborghini's chief technical officer, calls its "brain." Officially, said "smarts" is Lamborghini's Dinamica Veicolo Integrata system (LDVI), and it melds all the gee-whiz stuff Lamborghini has dumped into the new Evo to create one cohesive supercar.

And there's a lot of gee-whiz to the new Huracan Evo. For one thing, Lambo's all-wheel-drive system has finally entered the 21st century. Huracans have always offered the ability to distribute some of its torque between front and rear axles, but now, for the first time, the Evo uses torque vectoring to alter torque distribution side-to-side across each axle. In other words, the Huracan Evo's AWD can individually decide how much of the 5.2-litre V10's 442 pound-feet of torque each wheel receives. Now, skeptics will note that even such lower-class sporting sedans as Acura's TLX have boasted similar technology for years. Nonetheless, it's a big move forward for the Huracan, helping cure the understeer that plagued previous cars.

All that torque vectoring gets a big boost from the other technological advancement for the 2020 model year: 4-wheel steering. Yes, the rear wheels now turn along with the fronts (albeit much less). The benefits are easy to understand: At low speeds, the rear wheels turn in the opposite direction to the fronts, which means the Huracan Evo pivots and steers more quickly. Reggiani likens it to the Evo magically having a shorter wheelbase. At higher speeds, meanwhile, the rear wheels turn in the same direction as the fronts, the Huracan Evo now "sliding" sideways. Reggiani likens the stability this generates to lengthening the wheelbase. Whether you consider all this wheelbase shifting real or imaginary, the former makes the Evo steer more precisely around tight hairpins (where all that flouncing used to happen), while the latter settles the car down at top speed so that those 200-plus miles per hour don't feel quite so scary. But, again, the ability to steer the rear wheels is nothing new. Top-of-the-line Audis, Ferrari's 812 Superfast and even the Acura RLX have been using similar technologies for years.

What is new is LDVI, the Huracan Evo's aforementioned "brain." According to Reggiani, the new Huracan's LDVI not only controls all of the Evo's disparate systems -- engine, transmission, torque-vectoring AWD, and 4-wheel-steering as well as the updated adaptive suspension -- but, by analyzing all the data generated by these technologies, it can actually predict what the driver wants to do next. Fling the new Huracan into a hairpin and, by measuring steering angle, suspension movement and throttle position, LDVI anticipates that you want some corner-tightening oversteer and relaxes the Evo's traction control system accordingly. Tromp on the brakes at 150 mph and LDVI foresees a need for stability, altering the brake bias and suspension damping even before you've finished pushing the brake pedal to the floor. Reggiani says that, on public roads, this new Lamborghini can even tell when you want to scoot around a pothole or avoid a fender-bender on a wet, slippery road.

It can be a bit unnerving, driving a car that knows you want to smoke the rear tires before you ask it to. Or that it can react to a sudden need for maximum braking before you've finished shoving the pedal into the firewall. On the other hand, the Evo is so smooth at hanging out its rear end that it's hard to be impressed by how smart this particular Lamborghini has really become. And, with 631-hp and 202 mph underfoot, smarter is definitely better.

All this brainpower is the Evo's main calling card. Yes, there's a power bump compared with previous standard Huracans, but it is essentially the same 640 CV -- that's the aforementioned 631-hp by the Society of Automotive Engineers' reckoning -- 5.2-liter V10 as in the Performante. Unlike the brainpower aimed at the chassis, said boost is the result of good, old-fashioned hot-rodding, some lighter titanium inlet valves letting the big V10 rev harder and a new exhaust system helping it breathe easier. For the record, that means the Evo is good for 631-hp at 8,000 rpm and 442 pound-feet of torque at 6,500 rpm. That's good enough to scramble the 3,134-lb Huracan to 62 mph an hour in just 2.9 seconds and see 124 mph in just 6.1 seconds more. Top speed, as I mentioned, is 202 mph. Probably more pertinent, since exercising that top speed will almost assuredly cause you problems with John Law, Lamborghini's naturally aspirated V10 sounds more supercar-ish than the turbocharged engines that power competitors from Ferrari (the 488) and McLaren.

An upgrade that will help drivers withstand the lateral g-forces from this new intelligence plus meaty Pirelli PZeros -- 305/30R20 in the rear 245/30R20 up front -- are some new adjustable racing seats. Previous Lamborghini lightweight seats were constructed from one giant carbon-fiber mold. They were adjustable fore and aft, but offered no recline or tilt adjustability. You either fit in them or you didn't.

Lear's new optional racing seats are similarly constructed of carbon-fiber and are almost as light, but offer full adjustability, albeit mechanically. They are also available in three sizes so their pronounced lumbar supports fit a wide range of girths.

Perhaps the Huracan's most significant, non-performance addition in its transformation into the Evo is the addition of a new infotainment system, Huracan owners are now able to adjust their seats and climate control systems via a new 8.4-in touchscreen. Apple CarPlay is also available as is a voice command system. More interesting, perhaps, is that all those LDVI controls can be displayed via a number of charts, the front-to-rear torque split, the side-to-side torque vectoring and even the comparative steering angles of front and rear wheels are viewable in real time. Since you may be occupied in said real time keeping the Huracan on the straight and narrow, all this information can also be downloaded and compared with ideal lap times and cornering loads on your home computer.

The 2020 Lamborghini Huracan Evo will be available later this spring with an MSRP of $261,274.

To gain access to this information, Autotrader attended an event sponsored by the vehicle's manufacturer.

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Lamborghini Huracan Evo: First Drive Review - Autotrader