I drove a $443,800 Huracán Performante to see if the high-performance Lamborghini is worth the hefty price tag — here's the verdict

Hollis Johnson/Business InsiderBravo Lambo!
  • The Lamborghini Huracán Performante is the high-performance trim level of the already high-performing regular Huracán.
  • The Lamborghini Huracán Performante has about 30 more horsepower than the lesser Huracán.
  • We drove a $US320,785 ($AU443,800) Huracán Performante and were extremely impressed – although we couldn’t take this supercar to the track, its natural home.

A funny thing has been going on with Lamborghini. When I was growing up, the Italian legend’s supercars were considered wilder and crazier, cruder and more tasteless, than Ferraris. If you liked Lambos, you kind of knew what you wanted to be when you grew up, and it wasn’t necessarily civilized.

Since the late 1990s, however, Lamborghini has been owned by the VW Group and allied with Audi. This structure has tempered some of the old Lambo stuff, beneficially making the brand more dignified, easy to live with, and more technologically up-to-date.

That sounds great, but what about, you know, the Lambo-ness? Well, we’ve seen the benefits played out in the Huracán lineup. Lamborghini sells three cars: the Huracán sports car-supercar, the Aventador super-hypercar, and the new Urus SUV. The Huracán is meant to provide a little something for everybody who wants to get into the brand.

Hence an all-wheel-drive version that can be mistaken for an Audi, a rear-wheel-drive version that can’t – and that remind Lambo lovers of the Lambos of the 1970s and 1980s – and a drop-top Spyder for open-air motoring, and now a track-oriented car, the Performante.

Yes, it looks like a race car. But it can be taken on the road. And then to the track. And back to the road. It’s for that type of well-heeled enthusiast who wants to test their driving skills, as well as tool around and stun the neighbours.

Lamborghini let us borrow a 2018 Huracán Performante for a few days. Here’s what we thought.

Photos by Hollis Johnson.


Behold! The shark-like Lamborghini Huracán Performante, in a dashing “Rosso Mars” paint job. Our tester was the all-wheel-drive version.

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The Lamborghini Huracán Performante is the “regular” Huracán turned up a few notches.

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The ferocious architecture of the Huracán remains: this is a classic mid-engine supercar. Unlike Lambos of old, the Huracán has gone for a more stately, dignified vibe. In as much as that’s possible for the snarling bull.

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Speaking of snarling bulls …

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… Here it is! Huracán is actually the name of a fighting bull — that’s a Lambo tradition.

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The Italian-colours detail is flamboyant, and for me, maybe overkill. But it’s certainly fun, and this Lambo does hail from Bologna. Our tester started at about $US274,000. A few extras took that to over $US320,000. For example, a lifting kit to avoid pothole-and-driveway damage was $US6,900.

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The Huracán is, effectively, a wedge. What the Performante adds to this already aerodynamic design is a welter of technologies to make a very fast car go very much faster.

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There’s an air splitter up front, but the most notable aero feature is that large rear wing. It’s part of the a “ALA: system. “Aerodinamica Lamborghini Attiva.” It dynamically varies downforce, sticking the Lambo to the road at high speed and loosening it up at slower velocities.

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Look closely and you can see that it’s made of Lamborghini’s Forged Composite material, a type or carbon fibre that’s compressed rather than woven. That’s what accounts for the cool patterning.

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From the rear, the wing actually looks rather discreet.

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A theme throughout the Huracán is hexagons. Here’s one: it’s the side-view mirror.

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The fuel cover is tucked away in the shadow of an air intake.

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Note the dual exhaust pipes, perched above the Lambo’s rear diffuser. They’re modest, given that the Huracán Performante is powered by a V10 engine.

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I’ve always been a fan of the Huracán. I think it’s one of the most beautiful and purposeful Lambos. The lines and curves flow almost musically, and the music is loud without being excessively distorted.

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The Huracán Performante sports ventilated carbon-ceramic brakes and meaty black calipers. A necessity, to slow the Lambo from a top speed of 202 mph.

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Because the engine is behind the driver, the normal trunk becomes a front trunk — a “frunk.”

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Not a lot of cargo space in there. Enough for two racing helmets.

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Also, a pair of zippered pouches carrying repair gear.

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For example, a pair of white leather Lamborghini-branded gloves.

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Let’s pop the “transparent engine bonnet,” through which one can gaze upon …

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The unholy golden 5.2-litre, 631-horsepower V10 engine. No supercharger. No turbochargers. Just old-school power, produced by displacement. Torque? That’s 443 pound-feet of push.

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Shall we slip inside?

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Yeah, it’s snug. And yeah, there’s A LOT of synthetic suede Alcantara. The Huracán Performante is the least luxurious Lambo of the current generation I’ve yet been in. It reminds me of the McLaren 675LT, another purposeful, track-oriented machine.

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The red Lambo badging and stitching adds some flash to the otherwise monotonous “Nero Cosmus” interior.

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Enter the hexagon!

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Snazzy!

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I tend to feel pretty comfortable behind the wheel of a Lambo. These cars can be crazy. But the Huracán is fairly pleasant to drive when you aren’t in full-on go-fast mode. The transmission is a banging seven-speed dual-clutch unit, with automatic and manual modes — the latter making use of paddle shifters behind the steering wheel.

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The instrument cluster is digital and will reconfigure depending on which drive mode you’re in.

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Driving modes are selected using the “anima” switch on the steering wheel. You have “Strada,” “Sport,” and “Corsa” to choose from.

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Corsa transforms the instrument cluster into a track-oriented information-crammed screen that’s dominated by a digital tachometer.

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Founder Ferruccio Lamborghini would be proud.

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Believe it or not, there’s even a cupholder, concealed in the dashboard. I didn’t test it. For obvious reasons. The Performante can blast from 0-60 mph in 2.5 seconds. You wouldn’t want to chance spilling your latte.

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The Forged Composite features also appear inside the Huracán.

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The patterning really is cool. It’s a wonderful change over the near-ubiquitous woven carbon-fibre.

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Climate controls are blissfully simple, located along with the infotainment-system controls on the Lambo’s jetplane-esque central console.

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No, you don’t have central infotainment screen. Instead, you have this wee display on the instrument panel. Believe it or not, it’s actually quite easy to use.

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The navigation renderings might be small, but they’re detailed and accurate. The system provides Bluetooth connectivity, as well as USB/AUX ports. You don’t really miss a big touchscreen interface.

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This small screen provides — in Italian! — some throwback engine and battery data, via digital gauges.

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Other features are controlled using these aviation-style switches. The red one is for the hazard blinkers.

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But the most important of all is the red flip-up cover for the start-stop button. Let’s fire the Huracán Performante up and drive!

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So what’s the verdict?

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I’ve driven the “base” Huracán with all-wheel-drive, the high-strung LP580-2 with rear-wheel-drive, and the Huracán Spyder drop-top. I’ve genuinely enjoyed them all, so much so that I always look forward to a few days in Huracán-land.

These Lambos are more refined and balanced than Lambos of old, a consequence of Lambo being owned by the VW Group and sharing tech and platforms with Audi.

In this context, the Huracán Performante is sort of the best of all worlds. It can be dialed back to pliability for everyday motoring, although the fact that it’s a V10 mid-engined two-seater supercar means it will never really be practical.

Once a Lambo, always a Lambo, as I found when I drove nice and slow around my suburban town and watched the jaws of teenagers drop everywhere as I tooled by. They seemed paralysed by the Lambo’s undeniable Lambo-ness. As they should have been!

But its blistering velocity bona fides are also undeniable. The Performante lapped Germany’s famous Nürburgring track so swiftly that it set a new record for production vehicles in 2017.

As with the 755-horsepower Corvette ZR1 that I drove a few months back, you simply can’t get into the Performante’s capabilities in normal life. You have to find yourself a race track in order to access the more hypnotic and thrilling orders of speed the Lambo can deliver. And that’s why this car exists. Lambo wants track junkies to have a car that’s up to the task, but that’s still street-legal.

Street-legal-wise, the best part of the Performante is of course that vicious, snarling, belching, burbling V10, all thrust and backfire and bark and yowl. Simply driving around at the legal speed limit, flipping between gears, is auditory bliss. You don’t need to go fast, heretical as that is to say. You can have fun playing the pipe organ of combustion that is the Performante’s brilliant motor.

Yes, indeed, 320 grand is a rich price to pay for such pleasures, which can also be had with less-expensive versions of the Huracán.

But if you are a track hound, or if you simply have the resources to spend up on Forged Composite carbon and the like to feel your car glued to pavement at all times, then you’re not going to want to overlook the Performante. It’s spectacular.

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