Driven: Lamborghini Huracan Evo Track Test

Lamborghini Huracan Evo Track Test on Slovakia Ring 110 photos
Photo: Lamborghini
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In the supercar realm, names are often extravagant or cryptic, so much so that a non-car person could easily find them amusing. Well, the Lamborghini Huracan Evo does none of that. Instead, the three-letter suffix that describes the mid-cycle revamp of the V10 Raging Bull is quite understated, since it uses such a simple description for what is actually a complex technical transformation of the Sant'Agata Bolognese machine.
So, what's the purpose of all the tech updates (more on this below)? I'll answer that question in the video we have here:

"Good, good, a supercar with a Lamborghini badge, so you get the otherworldly feeling, but one that you can daily drive - hey, wasn't this the raison d'être of the original Huracan?" I hear you asking.

Well, yes, the Huracan LP610-4 (told you many supercar badges are difficult to explain, but thankfully Lamborghini has dropped this nomenclature altogether) that came out in 2014 promised just that.

However, as I quickly found out while attempting to throw the supercar at a racetrack, the handling was't on par with the thrills delivered by the V10 heart of the vehicle: the car wanted to keep things safe, so the front end let go way before the rear axle could do anything and the one behind the wheel simply had to play by these rules, even in the most aggressive Corsa driving mode.

With the Evo, Lamborghini aims to make the track stint at least as enjoyable as the trip to the circuit, while ensuring the latter comes even easier. Spoiler alert: the newcomer is quicker than the Performante around the Nardo Handling Course.

A naturally aspirated V10 that allows the driver to play with 640 hp at 8,000 rpm and 600 Nm (442.5 lb-ft) of torque at 6,500 rpm.

If the muscle numbers of the Huracan Evo sound familiar, it's because this packs the Huracan Performante engine spec, in a move that has become familiar in the supercar realm (think: Ferrari F8 Tributo getting the 488 Pista engine spec).

Gone are the Nurburgring-savvy derivative's active aero and weight-saving measures, with the Evo using a different approach, one that brings plenty of fresh hardware and software.

The list of novelties ranges from rear-wheel steering and torque vectoring, through new accelerators/gyroscope sensors and a reworked traction control system to LDVI - Lamborghini Dinamica Veicolo Integrata is a central computer that controls all the bits and pieces mentioned above, while reading the driver's intentions via the gas, throttle, steering, transmission and driving modes.

Lamborghini Huracan Evo
Photo: Lamborghini
The Italian carmaker talks about a feed forward logic, which basically means the car figures out your intentions and prepares its organs to act accordingly.

This kind of Artificial Intelligence defines the current supercar era and I was able to put Lamborghini's implementation to the test on the Slovakia Ring.

So while the official press launch of the Huracan Evo took place on the Bahrain International Circuit in January, the carmaker invited us, a group of journos, to sample the exotic as part of a Esperienza Dinamica Corsa program that also saw customers grabbing the wheel during separate sessions.

There were multiple units of the Huracan Evo on site and with these packing various configurations, I could get a detailed look at the revised design.

In my book, the Golden Era Lamborghinis like the Miura and the Countach were showstoppers mostly thanks to achieving an extravagant look with a design that was comprised of simple lines.

And this is what I look for when gazing at a new-age Raging Bull (yes, I'm one of those aficionados who don't fancy complicated designs, which is why I'm not a big fan of creations such as the Centenario and would rather go for something along the lines of the Sesto Ele).

Fortunately for those like me, the look of the Huracan Evo isn't busy, even though the original Huracan came with a cleaner approach.

In fact, given the aerodynamic numbers mentioned by Lamborghini, the Centro Stille (the company's design headquarters) had done an amazing job at integrating the new aero elements.

For instance, the Huracan Performante, with its massive rear wing and its active aero, delivers 7.5 times more downforce than the Huracan LP610-4. Well, thanks to the new front apron, underbody work, rear diffuser and integrated rear wing, the Evo packs seven times the downforce of the LP610-4

Lamborghini Huracan Evo rear
Photo: Lamborghini
Since much of the aero work has been done at the back, where we also find a Performante-like raised exhaust setup, I have to talk about the look of the said diffuser - specs that involve bright colors, where the black element surrounding the exhaust area separates the upper area from the color-coded diffuser, bring a polarizing look.

Speaking of the clever rear wing design the Huracan Evo packs, I couldn't help but "place" a Performante wing on the Evo, as you'll get to see in the pic below.

Lamborghini Huracan Evo with Performante Wing \(photo perspective\)
Photo: Andrei Tutu
Before hitting the track, I went for a tight handling course that placed the car in the kind of environment you'd expect to find in a small Italian town. No, they didn't build a piccola città over at Slovakia Ring, using cones to simulate the cramped-space turns instead.

Lamborghini Huracan Evo city maneuverability test
Photo: Lamborghini
Much to my surprise, a Huracan Performante, which I hadn't driven before, was waiting just in front of the Evo - first I would lap the course in the Performante, with its fixed rear axle and all-round track setup and then I would jump into the Evo to see the difference.

If you're an aficioando, you're certainly familiar with the look that shows up on a supercar driver's face when he or she has to park in a tight space and there's a massive crowd around. You know, the kind that leaves sweaty palm traces on the Alcantara steering wheel.

Maneuvering the Performante through those cones reminded me of all that, but, luckily, the Lamborghini Squadra Corse (the company's motorsport arm) intstructors seemed like they would've been much more forgiving than the said crowd in the even of an... ahem... emergency.

With the Evo, that pressure instantly goes away and you can easily make your way through the course or turn to last moment adjustments along the way.

As we weren't given the opportunity for a rematch on the track, I had a little request, one involving the Performante and the Evo being lined up next to each other for a good old rev battle. And since I asked nicely, here it comes:

Full disclosure: I'm 33 and haven't experienced the urge to get a tattoo so far, but if I ever wish to get some ink, I'll probably want the art to include at least a symbol of the N/A motor.

Next up, it was time to jump on the circuit itself. The transition was abrupt: "Why isn't the helmet strap adjusted? OK, now it's good. There's the car, just let me climb aboard. Hey, I'm doing triple-digit speeds from the very first section, can I just do one or two cruising laps to adjust?"

I couldn't (think: instructors dictating the pace). Frankly, a gradual shift would've allowed me to establish a connection with the Huracan Evo quicker. And I'm not a guy who normally cuts supercars some slack.

In fact, that sort of connection is required when you want to see what the car's limits are, especially on a track like Slovakia Ring. We're talking about 5.9 km (3.7 miles) of uber-quick asphalt, as this circuit is loaded with high-speed corners.

Of course, that path would've boosted my confidence level to the point where I would constantly wish to challenge the car at the limit, thus increasing the risk factor of the event.

Regardless, as far as the handling goes, the Evo feels like a totally different car compared to the pre-revamp Huracan and it suffers from is enjoying a multiple personality disorder: this is a car that has four faces.

The first comes in the Strada driving mode, which makes the 640 horsepower monster suitable for your average driver. Now, you would imagine that the wildest manifestation of the Italian exotic comes in the Corsa, not the Sport mode. Well, it depends on how you define wildness.

Lamborghini Huracan Evo ANIMA driving mode controller
Photo: Lamborghini
Switch the ANIMA controller on the steering wheel to Sport and you'll see the car wishing to drift. For instance, if the machine determines you're willing to get the tail out, it will even countersteer to help you slide, albeit not at high speed. Of course, when the electronic nannies feel it's time for that rear end to get back in line, the car can always make the neccesary adjustments at the rear axle and I'm not talking about the torque distribution here.

The rear-wheel steering is more incisive than the setup you'd find on a GT Division Porsche Neunelfer and this is part of the vehicle's character. So while the steering itself still doesn't give you too much feedback, its strong effects come to save the day. Note that the passive steering has been dropped, with the Lamborghini Dynamic Steering, which varies the effort the driver has to put in, being the only system on offer.

Then there's Corsa. In this mode, the Huracan Evo just wants to grip and go, so you'll want to use it for clean lines and impressive stopwatch numbers. Speaking of which, the best lap times are extracted in the Corsa mode, not with the ESC Off, even when we're talking about pro drivers.

While we're talking ESC Off shenanigans, I have to mention we weren't allowed to do this. However, I did ask one of the instructors to put the nannies to sleep during a taxi lap and it made for one hell of a shotgun ride. Sure, I had pulled all-wheel drifts in Sport (the hairpin of the track obviously favors such shenanigans), but feeling the car letting go and knowing there's no safety net simply took the game to a whole new level.

The main straight saw us getting up to about 280 km/h (174 mph) and while that came easy, one needs to have a steady hand during braking.

You see, the straight was followed by a bend that required hefty deceleration and the car likes to fidget under heavy braking, which can feel pretty serious when you're doing the kind of speed mentioned above.

Lamborghini representatives insisted this is a built-in feature, explaining that if you make the slightest steering wheel movement, the vehicle understands you wish to slide, which is why the said lateral oscillation takes place.

However, while an experienced driver can easily keep things under control, with the move even reminding one of the good old days of racing when keeping the car straight while braking was a bit of a challenge, many will still wish for this feature to be removed. And that might just happen during a model year update (here's an example of such changes targeting the original Huracan for the 2016MY.

Another detail that could be made even better involves the transmission. The seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox of the Huracan Evo does a respectable job, but just doesn't feel up there with the phenomenal V10 when you're going all out on the track.

And while anticipating a tranny update seems like a difficult bet, Lamborghini has admitted it is considering other upgrades for track days.

Lamborghini Huracan Evo on Slovakia Ring
Photo: Lamborghini
Now that the Italian automaker is an active player in the battle for the Nurburgring production car lap record (this is still in the Aventador SVJ's trophy cabinet), with its main competitor being fellow VW Group brand Porsche, Lamborghini owners are spending more time on racetracks than ever.

In fact, it looks like there's a group of Performante owners who have set out to beat the 7m mark on the Nurburgring this year. Sure, there's a distance between the 6:52 that brought this Huracan derivative the said Ring record back in 2017 and this 7m challenge, with the latter also being done using the Bridge To Gantry configuration, which skips the main straight. But we have to keep in mind these are not pro drivers, while their laps can also involve traffic, so the said goal is more than enough.

And I was told that one of the paths considered by Lamborghini involves offering a circuit-savvy pack that would offer the kind of goodies found in the Porsche Club Sport Package. For the record, the latter includes a roll cage behind the front seats, a six-point racing harness for the driver, a fire extinguisher (mounting bracket and all), as well as a battery kill switch.

While we're talking track gear, it would be nice to have an optional redline warning for upshifts, which should be more visible than the current blue light arrangement on the digital dash, as the first two gears can sometimes catch one off guard and riding the limiter. For example, the Huracan GT3 racecar packs such a feature on its dashboard, while there are also aftermarket steering wheel light conversions.

From the way in which Ferruccio Lamborghini set out to build a car that was better than Enzo Ferrari's creations to every little detail of a present-day Raging Bull (the key is an exception, though, Lamborghini would be better off with truly bespoke key fobs), this is a wild brand. Now, "wild" is a a keyword when it comes to social media and we have to understand that Lamborghini is now working to integrate the way in which its creations are handled on the Internet. So here's what's up on Insta and others.

Until a few years ago, there were two main Lamborghini tuning subcultures portrayed on the web. On one hand, we have the 3,000+ hp Gallardos and Huracans (this V10 platform is one of the most popular of the street car-based drag racing world) that deliver astounding 1/4- and 1/2-mile numbers in the US (think: 7s arena and 250+ mph, respectively).

But those machines, which sacrifice themselves on the twin-turbo altar, usually maintain the stock appearance. The LED-crazy Lamborghinis of Japan, on the other hand, don't. Hello Kitty, anybody?

Nevertheless, if you open your browser today, you'll run into all sorts of renderings portraying wacky Lamborghini builds, such as this Countach with an open engine compartment. Then again, the said pixel work is nothing but a a step forward from the rear bumper delete trend, that sees owners getting rid of the rear apron in the real world to expose their newly installed twin-turbo kits.

Heck, I'm not even sure what's crazier, renders like this Liberty Walk Aventador J or the widebody kit the Japanese tuner actually installed on a Miura (you can worry less, since it's a replica).

And while the most absurd Lambo project to date has to be the Espada Hot Rod, I will always remember discussing Alex Choi's Huracan "Rally Car" with Lamborghini EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) CEO Andrea Baldi - he knew Alex, but hadn't found out about his exoskeleton build, so the look on his face when I showed him the contraption was priceless. After all, the monkey bar approach of the YouTuber behind the build even led to Audi R8 clone trolling online, which shows we're come quite far from the times when this kind of aftermarket game was dominated by Tron Aventadors parading around in London.

Well, it seems that the Italian automaker has learned to harness the creative force of the Internet.

For example, when pro drifter Mad Mike Whiddett set out to build a Huracan drift car with Red Bull earlier this year, Lamborghini gave him the stamp of approval. There was one condition, though: the V10 would maintain its atmospheric nature, so the Kiwi athlete went for a nitrous setup, taking things to about 900 hp. By the way, this seems to be the maximum output tuner are taking the stock engine to, while getting there is usually done with a supercharger or via the twin-turbo path.

And there's more, as, for instance, I'll publish a story about a Huracan that has received a manual gearbox conversion soon, with the project headed for this year's SEMA show.

Lamborghini Huracan Evo 8\.4\-inch touchscreen infotainment
Photo: Lamborghini
At the other end of the scale, we have customers like... I'll call him Mr. S. This is a buyer who came to Lamborghini and asked for the Corsa mode to involve automatic gear shifting, explaining he has never used the paddles on his Lamborghini.

Of course, Lamborghini does its homework and pays attention to customer feedback, which is usually in between the two extremes described above. So if you die-hard gear heads at home want a different direction for Lamborghinis, you'd better start buying them.

For one thing, the reason for which the Huracan Evo doesn't pack a customizable driving mode is that the company determined not too many owners would benefit from that.

In fact, while the half-a-day track experience didn't really give me a chance to play with the new 8.4-inch HMI (Human Machine Interface) touchscreen infotainment unit that dominates the list of cabin changes, the said absence is probably the only important drawback, if you will.

Like you, I'm glad Lamborghini did away with the old Audi-based system and, unlike in the case of the Urus, which uses a more modern version of Ingolstadt's infotainment, the piece on the Huracan Evo has a trully bespoke interface.

"So why does the Aventador S pack an Ego mode, then?" I asked. The answer talked about owners enjoying the hardcore exhaust setup mixed with less extreme ingredients for the rest of the car, but this still doesn't explain the absence of this mode for the Huracan Evo.

So here's to hoping Lamborghini listens and builds that Huracan Sterrato, despite Andrea Baldi talking about the size of the company limiting the potential for such specials. After all, I haven't met one aficionado who doesn't enjoy the said jportscar (jacked-up sportscar), while Lamborghini has confirmed the warm explosive welcome received by the prototype.

Meanwhile, I can confirm that the Huracan Evo will get a new seat option this fall. This has been designed to address the limited headroom of the Huracan Evo, a matter that becomes even more apparent when wearing a helmet (surprise!), but can also be felt with just a head on a pair of shoulders. Expect to gain between 3 and 5 cm (1.2 and 2 inches) of headroom.

All Lamborghini Models
Photo: Andrei Tutu
Nowadays, we want it all and we want it now, with technology propelling us towards this goal. Of course, there's more than one side to this tech coin. For instance, do you remember how cellular network architecture meant you had to wait a few moments before a call was made back in the day? Well, there were plenty of calls that got cancelled in that interval, with the caller changing his or her mind about the imminent discussion. These days, there's no time for second thoughts, as the connection is established almost instantaneously, which is obviously helpful for the vast majority of calls.

In the end, change is inevitable, with the old school kicks of the fetishists making room for the greater good. Now, profound electronic augmentation for all-wheel-drive has been used to defy the laws of physics before, with notable examples including the rally-bred Evo and the GT-R. Of course, with Lamborghini throwing so many exquisite ingredients into the mix, from the mid-mounted N/A V10 and the rear steering to the aura of the brand, the formula has been taken to a whole new level and makes the Huracan Evo an unique proposal in the always-growing supercar landscape.

So not only does this set the Huracan Evo apart from its ever-fiercer competition, but it also increases the already large gap between the driving experience of the V10 model and that of its V12 sibling, the Aventador.

The hardware and software revolution is the leitmotif of the Evo, thus making it much more than a standard mid-cycle revamp.

This transformation has expanded the breath of ability of the Raging Bull to the point where, say, you and your SO could easily share this machine and it would still be perfectly suited for each one's needs - Lamborghini's Huracan Evo ads portray a world where he drives a Coupe and she wields a Spyder, but I've decided to stick to a one-supercar-per-family scenario, since this seems easier to achieve.

While the original Huracan's driving experience was dominated by the naturally aspirated V10 found in the middle of the machine, the Huracan Evo's handling is just as exciting as the 8,250 rpm scream of its motor.

And it's up to you if you want to make use of this extra potential to get your hoorays at the track or to maneuver the beast through the city while acting like you're driving Lamborghini's first-ever compact car.

Mind you, be prepared for plenty of practice when you hit the track - at the limit, the rear-wheel steer and all the driving aids mean establishing trust takes longer. You see, in most scenarios, the added layers of complexity make life easier, while the electronics allow you to feel like a hero, without making their presence noticed too seriously. Nevertheless, those who wish to make the most out of the supercar need to understand its entire range of preconditioned reactions before going all out.

When it comes to the pricing, the fresh arrival starts at EUR219,000 in Germany, which makes it about EUR15,000 more expensive than the Huracan, but is still some EUR13,000 below the Performante (19% VAT included). In the US, the Lamborghini Huracan Evo has an MSRP of $261,274 plus tax, with the positioning described above being largely maintained.

Now, if I had to use just one word to describe the Huracan Evo, I'd definitely go for "playful". So, in the clip below, I tried to see what happens when playing with the Lamborghini as if it was an actual toy - would it be usable enough to allow it?

P.S.: Please don't attempt this on the road.
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About the author: Andrei Tutu
Andrei Tutu profile photo

In his quest to bring you the most impressive automotive creations, Andrei relies on learning as a superpower. There's quite a bit of room in the garage that is this aficionado's heart, so factory-condition classics and widebody contraptions with turbos poking through the hood can peacefully coexist.
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