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Even at rest in a Gelson’s parking lot dotted with prim Mercedes and Lexus sedans, the Lamborghini Huracán — a $237,250 pavement-hugging sculpture of polygons on four wheels — practically paws the ground as if making ready to lay waste to the proverbial china shop. That this is a driver’s car first and transportation second is driven home when you discover there’s barely room to shove a smallish bag of groceries into the cubby between the Huracán’s sinister-looking headlamps. That’s it for storage. Golf clubs? The Huracán doesn’t even have cupholders.
And that’s as it should be. Like previous Lambos, including the beloved Gallardo, which it replaces, the Hurracán is named after an actual fighting bull, a bit of metaphorical theater carried over in the Lamborghini badge and baked into the marque’s DNA — Lamborghinis have a reputation for being wild beasts once the pedal drops, cars more at home on the track than on the street.
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The Huracán is meant to correct that impression. As the little brother of Lamborghini’s fearsome, $400,000 Aventador, the Huracán is the raging Lambo bull, supposedly tamed. And, true, puttering around Hollywood, the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and 5.2 liter V10 engine lurking behind the driver’s seat comport themselves politely — drama is reserved for the inevitable thumbs-up from fellow sporting-car drivers and dazzled civilians snapping photos.
Get the Huracán on the open road, however, and politesse goes flying out the window — along with anything else not nailed down. Punch the accelerator and the Huracán leaps through its seven gears as if shocked by the devil’s own cattle prod. Car & Driver was agape when, according to their timings, the Huracán blasted from zero to 60 in a jaw-dropping 2.5 seconds and burned though a quarter mile in 10.4 seconds at 135 mph — that’s faster than a comparable Ferrari and a half-second faster than the nearly twice as expensive Aventador.
Lamborghini claims the Huracán’s top speed is 202. I never got enough pavement unencumbered by “pain-in-the-ass innocent bystanders,” to quote Clemenza in The Godfather, to verify that personally, but given that a quick downshift puts you well inside illegal territory before you can say “moving violation,” I’m inclined to believe it. And all this in Strada, the most docile of the Huracán’s driving modes — press the Sport or Corsa buttons and the gloves come off: the full brunt of the 602-horsepower engine is unleashed, making for a classic Lamborghini wild ride of yore.
Audi took control of Lamborghini in 1998, and its influence can be found in the Huracán’s cabin — the infotainment system, seat controls and other accessories are Audi spec. But the interior is also defiantly retro, based in part on the 1967 Marzal hexagon-themed concept car, with a row of purpose-built toggle switches that control windows and other functions. The engine-start button is accessed by lifting a red cover as if launching a missile instead of a car. The cabin is surprisingly quiet, given the rock-hard Z-rated tires and the massive V-10 power plant tucked just behind your solar plexus. But there’s no soundproofing invented that can fully attenuate the Huracán’s unmistakable snarling, popping exhaust note when the engine revs to the red line.
The Huracán is part of a trend where luxury carmakers field relatively inexpensive models — relative in the sense that, in Lamborghini’s case, the price is closer to $200,000 than $400,000. So far the strategy seems to be working — the Huracán has notched 1,000 sales in the U.S. and 3,000 globally since its introduction earlier this year, more than Lamborghini’s combined sales for 2013.
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