For those of us who have been interested in fast cars since the 1970s, the lingering impression remains that Lamborghinis are long on looks and big, loud engines and short on sophistication, technology, and refinement.
This started changing in 1998 after Audi purchased Lamborghini, and the transition accelerated with the introduction of the Gallardo about five years later. With every subsequent new car, Lamborghini has gotten more serious about offering a more complete set of automotive virtues. The most impressive one yet is the new Huracán Performante.
As the name suggests, this is the high-performance version of the regular Huracán, as if such a concept makes sense for a car that can turn the quarter-mile in 10.4 seconds at 135 mph in standard form. But the Performante pulls it off, establishing a new production-car record of 6 minutes, 52.1 seconds at the Nürburgring Nordschleife. Yes, a Lamborghini test driver was behind the wheel and the car was equipped with supersticky Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R tires. But still, that’s some 35 seconds quicker than a base Huracán’s lap time.
A 360-Degree Approach
Achieving such a massive improvement required upgrades in several areas of the car. Lamborghini R&D boss Maurizio Reggiani calls this a 360-degree approach to performance. For the Performante, this means more power but also weight reduction, suspension improvements, and the addition of an innovative aerodynamic package.
The extra power was enabled by fitting new titanium intake valves. Their lighter weight made possible a hotter intake-camshaft profile with greater duration and lift. Coupled with a freer-flowing exhaust system and a less restrictive air filter, the Performante engine makes 29 more ponies for a total of 631 at 8000 rpm—250 revs lower than the standard Huracán’s power peak. Peak torque increases by 30 lb-ft to 443 at an unchanged 6500 rpm. The changes make for a usefully fuller power curve above 4000 rpm.
A weight reduction of about 90 pounds makes this stronger engine’s life even easier. The kilos and grams were shaved by fitting more carbon-fiber parts on the Performante. These use Lamborghini’s patented Forged Composite technology, which uses inner and outer molds under pressure to create more complex and less expensive parts than traditional laminate construction. In place of the intricate woven fabric pattern of the traditional carbon-fiber parts, these instead resemble a black-and-gray version of tortoiseshell but still look terrific in their own way.
There’s also a redesigned stainless-steel exhaust system that uses simpler plumbing and a central outlet to save 22 pounds alone. Keep in mind that 90 pounds is the net reduction after the weight added by the new aerodynamic package.
Reinforcing the chassis to match the additional thrust—the power-to-weight ratio is 7 percent better—the Performante gets 10 percent stiffer spring rates and thicker anti-roll bars to produce a 15 percent increase in roll stiffness. Recalibrated (optional) magnetorheological dampers match these stiffer components, as do suspension bushings that are 50 percent stiffer both axially and radially.
While the tire-and-wheel sizes do not increase—about the same as a current Porsche 911 Carrera’s—the rubber escalates from standard Pirelli P Zeros to the track-oriented P Zero Corsa tires. And even stickier P Zero Trofeo Rs are available as an option.
Finally, the Performante gets an aerodynamic package called ALA, which stands for Aerodinamica Lamborghini Attiva. The system adds a front splitter and a prominent rear wing to create as much as 770 pounds of downforce at 193 mph, greatly increasing high-speed grip.
The Attiva in the name means active, and the system can reduce its downforce—and associated drag—using some clever engineering. In front, a pair of grille flaps can open, relieving the air pressure above the splitter to greatly reduce drag and downforce.
Author- David Hughes, Autoblogger @globalmaniactimes