EVER WANTED TO get cured of this crazy addiction we call cars? Then come to Miami Beach, where you can get the antidote by way of over-exposure. Walking around Collins Avenue and Ocean Drive, I think I saw more supercars in the space of an hour than I did in all of last year – the locals must surely be totally immune. Yet, 24 hours later, driving the same roads in the new Huracan Spyder, the reaction from bystanders remains exactly as it’s ever been: eyes go wide, mouths fall open, camera phones come out, and there are catcalls that might be propositions from the cafes and restaurants on the sidewalks.
Presumably the razzmatazz is one of the main reasons people buy Lamborghinis. For if you are reading this magazine you are probably also pre-empting what I’m likely to say after a day behind the wheel of Sant’Agata Bolognese’s new open-air darling. For example: ‘The Ferrari 488 Spider, with its rear-wheel drive and Formula One-derived God-mode electronics, is a more engaging steer.’ And: ‘The McLaren 650S Spider, with its carbonfihre Monocell construction and clever suspension, is more technically adept.’ Even: ‘Any moment now you’ll be able to buy an Audi R8 Spyder that’s essentially the same car for approximately two-thirds the price.’ All of which may be true, but all of which is also somewhat missing the point.
See, the thing about the Huracan Spyder- and I can say this for sure because I’ve seen plenty of the available rivals in the last 48 hours – is that it is fantastically good looking. While there’s much to admire about the aerodynamic efficacies of the Ferrari 488 and the McLaren 650S, neither is likely to result in you waking up i: the middle of the night, panting. Whereas the Huracan, especially sans roof when the new rear buttresses and deck treatment cleave away the coupe’s arguable dumpiness, doesn’t just look modem but properly gorgeous. The true Right Stuff of supercars oozes from its every curve and provocative angle.
Such style is more complex than it might appear, too. Instead of a simple single-piece rear deck, a pair of extra ‘fins’ – the dark-coloured elements -emerge as the roof is lowered. These not only help it look as hot and muscular as Ilsa Faust, the slots in the side of them direct wind down the side of the car away from its occupants while a pair of clip-in mesh panels prevent cross-cabin buffeting. The result is well worth the associated compromises – namely that despite the use of a fabric soft- top (customers like the obviousness of this convertible distinction, apparently), the Huracan Spyder is some 100kg heavier than the coupe, when its folding metal hard-top rivals gain less than half that bulk. And the rear three-quarter view is so obscured you have to lift yourself out of the driver’s seat like a gymnast when checking blindspots.
This does keep you limber, which is handy as Lamborghini is right up there with Maserati when it comes to uncomfortable seats. But a new internal rear bulkhead has reduced seat travel as well, meaning that if you’re approaching six-foot you may beforced to adopt a more upright driving position in order to physically fit – passengers are still more cramped due to the strangely shallow depth of their footwell. At 5ft 11in I’m entirely happy behind that fancy TFT gauge cluster, even if I also find the roll-over reinforced windscreen header rail is perfectly positioned to obscure American traffic lights. Honestly officer.
Roof up it’s less claustrophobic inside than you’d suspect, and the top’s three-layer construction provides adequate refinement – albeit in the context of a coupe that’s hardly internally shy and retiring. Not that it would matter either way, since with a 17-second operation that can be activated at up to 31mph, you’ll be driving with the roof stowed as often as possible. Especially since, when the only thing above you is sky, the glorious noise of the 602bhp 5.2-litre naturally aspirated V10 is enough compensation for anything.
McLaren and Ferrari can keep their turbos. The 488 might kick harder, but it doesn’t have an 8500rpm redline, nor such crisp, immediate charisma. The Huracan claims 0-62mph in 3.4sec (0.2sec slower than the coupe), and with four-wheel-drive traction plus the super snappy seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, this is a show you can put on infinite repeat – making that gap is less of an issue than remembering to get bade on the brakes before you head butt the vehicle in front. Fortunately the carbon-ceramics make up for their decorum-robbing low-speed squealiness with unrelenting retardation and a pedal position that suits left-foot interaction. The accompanying soundtrack to such shenanigans is end-of-the-world-orgiastic, complete with celebratory afterglow cannon fire in the Sport and Corsa driving modes whenever you lift off.
Too much? Then leave the steering-wheel -mounted ‘Anima’ switch alone and stick to the restrained Strada, which also offers the most compliant damper setting when the optional magnetorheological suspension is fitted. Lamborghini still doesn’t allow you to mix and match the parameters – also including steering and gearshift aggression – between driving modes, but to its credit, the Spyder’s structure is so stiff that you could keep it in Corsa without shaking to bits.
It’s difficult to make an absolute dynamic judgement when all you’ve done is drive around an urban grid, but I will say that the controversial variable-rate Dynamic Steering option has undergone some successful recalibration compared to our Huracan coupe long-termer. It’s much meatier, less inclined to throw you wildly out of sync by carving too much or too little out of a comer, and therefore far more comfortingly dependable. Put all of the above together and you’ve got a sensationally fast piece of moving theatre that is both hugely entertaining and easy to handle. It’ll apparently do 20imph top up or down, which is at once deeply impressive and completely irrelevant.
In terms of fitness for purpose Lamborghini has basically nailed it. The Ferrari and McLaren may be sharper and more technologically accomplished, but if you want to look amazing, sound outrageous and go fast without having to worry too much about the consequences, the Huracan Spyder is the life and soul of the party.