Lamborghini Huracan Performante ups the ante

03 April 2017

WHEN does a Lamborghini Huracan need more power?

When there’s a record to break!

And so it happened, earlier this year, just a few weeks before its global debut at the Geneva Motor Show, when the Audi-controlled Italian supercar marque smashed the Nurburgring circuit production car record by just under five seconds with an extensively modified version of its, ahem, entry-level supercar.

Setting a Nurburgring production-car record of 6:52.01 is certainly a massive feat for a 1400kg all-wheel drive supercar, but that’s what the Performante has managed

Yep, obviously 449kW of power and 560Nm of torque, delivered to all four wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission from Lamborghini’s 5.2-litre naturally aspirated V10 as fitted to the LP 610-4 (retailing from a cool $428K in Oz) was just not enough for the Sant'Agata, Bolognese-based engineers to crack that infamous German track, so in comes the appropriately named Performante.

Translating to ‘performing’, the new variant is all about doing, and setting a record of 6:52.01 is certainly a massive achievement in anybody’s language. And doing so required more than just a chip upgrade here and a larger exhaust there.

The Performante is the ultimate expression of the current Huracan series launched three years ago

First up, that 10-cylinder heart scored a 21kW increase and a 40Nm torque top-up, to bring the output totals to 470kW (at a heady 8000rpm) and 600Nm at 6500rpm respectively. That was achieved via a number of modifications and efficiency enhancements (that’d be the Audi influence talking there), including the fitment of titanium valves, a different air intake, and that obligatory exhaust overhaul.

Then, the 1422kg Huracan went on a diet, shedding 40kg in the process thanks to carbon-fibre material for the bonnet, front and rear spoilers, bumpers and rear diffuser.

That towering carbon-fibre rear spoiler can reduce downforce massively, so it’s not just there for decoration

Finally, Lamborghini worked on lowering the supercar’s airflow properties, with a new active aero system internally known rather evocatively as Aerodinamica Lamborghini Attiva (or more mundanely, Aerodynamics Lamborghini Active); it employs adjustable wings and flaps located inside the front spoiler and on two ducts connected to the wing spoiler to optimise air flow at any given point.

Result? The 1382kg Performante needs just 2.9 seconds to storm to 100km/h from standstill, and just seven seconds more to see 200km/h in 8.9s, before running out of breath at a respectable 325km/h. This, folks, puts it in Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4 territory. And it puts Australians attempting to hit that V-max in the slammer in most states and territories…

Detailed aerodynamic improvements means that the flagship Huracan is capable of achieving 325km/h; it even looks fast standing still!

If you can catch a glimpse of a hard-charging Performante, you might notice the massive forged composite carbon-fibre rear wing spoiler, which is claimed to boost maximum vertical downforce by up to 750 per cent over the more humdrum LP 610-4 coupe. There is also a redesigned front spoiler, black mirrors, side skirts with the colours of the Italian flag, an aggressively styled rear diffuser boasting centrally sited twin exhaust tips (as part of a lighter set-up that has been tuned to sound rortier than before), and a unique set of alloys that are said to lower unsprung weight.

A 10 per cent improvement in vertical stiffness means the latest Lamborghini’s suspension works more effectively, aided by a 15 per cent boost in roll stiffness, while radial and axial arm bushings are now 50 per cent more rigid than before.

Incredibly, you’ll need to dig a bit deeper for the so-called Lamborghini Dynamic Steering system to be fitted to your Performante, as that ushers in a revised and apparently more tactile electrically operated rack and pinion system with Strada, Sport and Corsa choices.

The changes to the 5.2-litre atmo V10 sees the Performante capable of hitting 100km/h from standstill in under three seconds

Plus, Pirelli P-Zero Corsa tyres are stickier than ever, aiding handling and road-holding, and in the braking department, new carbon ceramic discs with six-pot front and four-pot rear callipers slash the 100km/h-to-standstill distance to a eye-popping 31 metres. See, the Italians love stopping just as much as they adore going fast!

If you’re going to spend upwards of half a million dollars, the interior ought to be special, and the Performante obliges with forged composite carbon fibre themes aplenty. Look for the stuff in the air vents, paddles, door handles and centre console. And of course, being from the country that loves lush cabins, good old Alcantara trademarked suede-like material literally swathes everything, including the sports seats, dash and wheel, broken up with a delightful display of contrasting stitching.

Finally, the instrumentation’s digital display has been updated to display the broader range of driving modes on offer, and of course is compatible with Apple CarPlay and such. Multimedia connectivity, after all, is king of the road, even if that particular stretch of tarmac is the actual Nurburgring.

Alcantara with contrasting stitching envelops the entire interior, helping to differentiate the Performante from the regular LP 610-4’s cabin

Which brings us back to the beginning. The Huracan Performante will start hitting all roads globally from the middle of the year, with prices at the time of publication still to be revealed.

Apparently several have already been sold in Australia.

Would you pay around $500K or more for a Performante?

Byron Mathioudakis