When it debuted over five years ago, the Lamborghini Gallardo Balboni was hailed as gift to driving enthusiasts because of its simplified, rear-wheel drive layout. Journalists are saying the same about the new Huracán LP580-2 that debuted last month at the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show.
But the default for Lamborghini is still all-wheel drive. While it may limit tail-out hooliganism, the extra traction and modicum of safety all-wheel drive offers makes it the better choice for most models, Lambo feels. That includes the Huracán’s big brother, the Aventador, which won’t get a rear-wheel drive variant, according to Autocar.
Lamborghini research and development director Maurizio Reggiani told the magazine that the Aventador has too much power to be sold without all-wheel drive. Packing a 6.5-liter V12, the least powerful Aventador has 691 horsepower and 507 pound-feet of torque, while the Huracán LP580-2’s 5.2-liter V10 puts out 580 horsepower and 398 lb-ft. Rear-wheel drive cars with more power than the current Aventador do exist, but it would be unfair to consider Lamborghini overly cautious.
Reggiani also said that the Huracán was designed from the start to incorporate a rear-wheel drive variant. Computer simulations showed that ditching all-wheel drive wouldn’t cause any problems, he claimed. Eliminating all-wheel drive cuts weight and livens up handling, but it also cuts traction, making cars trickier to control, particularly on wet roads.
Since the Diablo, most Lamborghini variants have been all-wheel drive. Older models like the Countach and Miura were rear-wheel drive. The company started using all-wheel drive exclusively for a period before trotting out the Gallardo Balboni. That special edition was named after Lamborghini’s most legendary test driver, and designed with his input. It also ignited enthusiast interest in rear-wheel drive Lambos.
But Lamborghini is headed in the opposite direction of low-volume models built to satisfy hardcore car people. It’s next big product launch is expected to be the Urus, the carmaker’s first SUV since the “Rambo Lambo” LM002. Lamborghini is afraid a rear-wheel drive version of the Urus would hurt its credibility. And while an SUV that can drift would be pretty cool, it would also be kind of pointless.