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First drive: Lamborghini Huracán LP 580-2

Less is more in the tail-happy Huracan LP 580-2, a Lambo designed to drift

The Lamborghini Huracán LP 580-2 is for supercar fans who just want to have fun.

There’s a popular saying that claims you should never mess with a good thing, but sometimes the status quo begs to be challenged. Well known among supercar manufacturers for pushing boundaries, Lamborghini took the acclaimed all-wheel drive Huracán LP 610-4, lopped off the front axle, and de-tuned the naturally-aspirated 5.2-liter V10 engine. The result is the Huracán LP 580-2, the most engaging and driver-focused street-legal Raging Bull ever built.

With the Huracán LP 580-2, Lamborghini is targeting an entirely new audience in a hotly-contested segment of the supercar market. The LP 610-4 is designed for all-out performance, the recently-introduced Huracán Spyder is a lifestyle-oriented model (read: you’ll see a lot of them in Beverly Hills), and the 580-2 puts an unabashed emphasis on driving dynamics. Don’t call it an entry-level model or a budget Lambo, though, the 580 makes absolutely no compromises.

Although Lamborghini knew it would launch the two-wheel drive model early on in the Huracán’s design process, Maurizio Reggiani, the director of the company’s research and development department, told me that bringing the 580-2 to the market wasn’t as simple as merely unbolting the front driveshafts and sending them back to the parts bin. The front suspension is completely new; the rear suspension has been comprehensively re-tuned; the electric power steering has been revised to provide a more direct feel; the V10 has been re-mapped; and the brakes have been re-engineered to reduce unsprung weight. Heck, Pirelli even designed P Zero tires specifically for the 580-2.

Visually, the rear-wheel drive Huracán stands out from its all-wheel drive sibling thanks to a new front fascia with more upright slats, and an updated rear end with a bigger air vent. The changes are discreet, but they’re not invisible and a well-trained eye can easily tell the two models apart from a distance. While it looks every bit as loud and as fast as it is, Reggiani explained that designers opted not to fit the car with 580-2 emblems in front of the rear wheel arches in order to give it a cleaner appearance.

The V10’s snarl gradually invades the cabin as the needle runs up the tachometer.

The interior is standard Huracán fare, but that’s not a bad thing because the tech-laden cabin was updated with improved materials for the latest model year. Behind the wheel, the Huracán feels as well-built as any luxury car on the market today.

Power is provided by a mid-mounted, naturally-aspirated 5.2-liter V10 engine that delivers 572 horsepower at a stratospheric 8,000 rpm and 398 pound-feet of torque at 6,500 rpm. To put those figures into perspective, the same ten-cylinder generates 601 ponies at 8,250 rpm and 413 lb-ft of twist at 6,500 rpm when it’s bolted in the engine bay of the all-wheel drive model.

Related: Lamborghini CEO explains why the Huracan Spyder has a soft top

Don’t let the term “de-tuned” fool you. Linked to a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission, the 10-cylinder energetically sends the coupe from zero to 62 mph in just 3.4 seconds, from zero to 124 mph in 10.1 seconds, and on to a top speed of 199 mph. The 580 tips the scale at 3,062 pounds, meaning it’s nearly 73 pounds lighter than the 610.

Less is more

Pulling out of the pit lane at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar, the first thing I noticed about the Huracán 580-2 is how neck-snappingly fast it is. “Acceleration” isn’t a powerful enough term for how quickly the coupe gets up to freeway speeds – and beyond. Officially it takes 0.2 seconds more than the four-wheel drive model to reach 60 mph from a stop, but it feels just as fast when your foot is mashing the skinny pedal. It sounds the part, too; the V10’s snarl gradually invades the cabin as the needle runs up the tachometer.

2016 Lamborghini Huracan LP-580 2

The 580’s true nature became evident as soon as I entered the first of Losail’s many turns. 60-percent of the car’s mass is on the rear axle, and it feels so much lighter and more precise to drive than the 610 it’s based on that it’s like a completely different car. The steering is ultra-quick and ultra-accurate, the transmission fires off mind-bendingly quick shifts, and high-tech wizardry designed to eliminate body roll means that, with the track-friendly “Corsa” mode engaged, the Huracán corners flat regardless of how fast you come into a bend. It’s impeccably stable at high speeds, even when blasting down the straightaway at 160 mph, and the gigantic brakes slow the car down from triple-digit speeds with no fuss.

The rear-wheel drive Huracán feels much lighter and more precise than the 610.

Lamborghini repeatedly told us the Huracán 580-2 was designed to drift, which initially sounded a little nerve-wrecking. I immediately thought about how much power the V10 generates, its six-digit base price, and the fact that, well, it’s not my car. After a few minutes out on the Losail track I realized that Reggiani’s team has built a supercar that an enthusiast can enjoy pushing to the limit without having worked as a professional rally driver.

Sport mode allows just enough body roll to let the Huracán powerslide through corners in a perfectly controlled manner – and powerslide it does! Lamborghini’s state-of-the-art Piattaforma Inerziale (LPI) measures yaw, pitch, and roll with three accelerometers and three gyroscopes buried deep in the chassis, close to the coupe’s center of gravity. It instantly sends a signal to the appropriate driving aid(s) if it senses that the driver has lost control of the car. In other words, it’ll let you have loads of sideways fun behind the wheel but it won’t let you surpass the car’s limits.

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With that in mind, I quickly got the hang of how the Huracán performs at high speeds and every lap became more and more of a blast. Kick the tail end out with a flick of the wheel, counter-steer, and off you go until the track straightens out again. I can’t remember the last time a car maker went through the trouble of designing an electronic driving aid specifically to assist motorists in having fun behind the wheel.

Conclusion

The grin-inducing, tail-happy Lamborghini Huracán LP 580-2 is better to drive than the 610-4, it’s lighter, and it’s more affordable – what more can you ask for? Granted, it’s not as fast around a track as the four-wheel drive model, but the 580-2 is the version of the Huracán that customers who buy a supercar to have fun behind the wheel should put a deposit on. Lamborghini promises it will come in under $200,000.

Highs

  • Grin-inducing rear-biased handling
  • Light, precise steering
  • Neck-snappingly quick
  • More affordable than the 610-4

Lows

  • Not ideal for keeping a low profile
  • Starter home-like price