It’s all too easy to relegate the Lamborghini Huracán Evo Spyder into a ‘Chelsea’s finest’ category, but there is more to the Evo Spyder than just its bright Arancio Xanto paintwork (other lurid hues, as some more subdued ones, are available) and the Armageddon levels of noise radiating from its hind quarters.
The launch of the coupe Evo last year introduced not just the application of a Performante-spec upgrade to the ‘regular’ Huracán’s 5.2-litre V10, but also a reformation of the car’s dynamic package in order to improve its ability to go around corners. To do this, Lamborghini decided to fit as standard the previously optional variable-ratio dynamic steering along with a rear-wheel-steering system derived from that in the larger Aventador S.
Subscribe to evo magazine
The Huracán’s electronic architecture was also given a total makeover, with a new holistic central brain under the LDVI acronym (which we’ll get to in more detail below), a new interior interface and fresh styling.
As deputy editor Adam Towler found out in Scotland last year, the changes applied to the coupe might not have been quite as effective as Lamborghini may have hoped, but the new Spyder has a somewhat more extroverted personality, one that contrasts against the need to rival more serious and capable rivals such as the F8 Tributo and McLaren 720S.
Engine, transmission and 0-60 time
The Lamborghini Huracán Evo Spyder is dominated totally and utterly by what lies at its centre. The 5.2-litre V10 has always made a strong impression, and in uprated Performante spec it is an ever-present reminder of how spectacular this unit really is.
Along with the power bump to 631bhp inherited from the Performante (up from 603bhp in the LP-610), response has risen to quite astounding levels. Even think about prodding the heavy floor-hinged accelerator pedal and the revs rise as if the crank is being spun by supernova and not something as crude and organic as melted dinosaur. It’s completely otherworldly in an ecosystem full of turbocharging and lean-burn economy cycles, and on its own seems worth every penny of the ticket price.
In contrast to the frankly horrid ISR single-clutch gearbox in the larger Aventador, the Huracán’s seven-speed dual-clutch transmission is the aged Modenese balsamic vinegar to the engine’s virgin press olive oil – it’s absurdly good, whether in automatic or manual mode, in either smooth Strada or full ignition-cut-whack-to-the-back-of-the-head Corsa.
Together, the engine and gearbox are able to foster some rather ridiculous acceleration numbers to 62mph, aided by the tenacious traction of both the Evo’s all-wheel-drive system and big rubber footprint on the road. The Spyder will reach 62mph in just 3.1sec, 124mph in 9.3sec, and go on to a top speed of 202mph. Remember for a moment that the Spyder has a canvas roof…
If the Performante’s powertrain updates gave the Huracán a new level of performance, it’s the chassis updates that define this Evo. There are both hardware and software changes here, the former pairing a new rear-wheel-steering system to the variable-ratio steering that was previously optional.
The forged aluminium double-wishbone suspension front and rear are now supported by magnetorheological dampers that have a much faster and more defined variability than a traditional adjustable hydraulic damper. Like all Huracáns, and the Audi R8 with which the Lamborghini shares plenty of underlying hardware, the chassis is mostly aluminium, with carbonfibre in the firewall, central tunnel and sills. This helps keep the structure tight on this Spyder model, although it lacks the ultimate stiffness of a full carbonfibre tub.
Keeping all this hardware in check is a new electronic brain, dubbed Lamborghini Dinamica Veicolo Integrata, or LDVI for short. This amalgamates data from input sensors across the vehicle and uses a central ECU to command all of the car’s systems in an integrated fashion. With all-wheel steering, all-wheel drive with dynamic torque vectoring, adaptive dampers and the traction and stability controls all working together, the idea was to make the Evo as dynamic as the Ferrari F8 and McLaren 720S.
What’s it like to drive?
In reality the Lamborghini is not as dynamic as its rivals. But where the Evo coupe we first met with struggled to play the role of a serious, scalpel-sharp supercar, this more vivacious Spyder seems to major on a somewhat different and more intriguing USP – sheer, unbridled theatricality.
As mentioned above, the V10 engine dominates: it’s loud, ferocious, and makes you feel like you’re strapped directly to the intake plenum. On the move, the extra 120kg that this Spyder weighs compared to the coupe isn’t so much felt by a reduction in velocity, rather by a more composed ride quality. Ridges and sharp intrusions on the road surface are certainly felt – those front tyres are as thin as Trump’s impeachment defence – but overall composure and body control is very good, giving you the confidence to push deeper into the dynamic remit without worrying about the car getting away from you. In fact, there is so much grip in dry conditions that the four-wheel drive system and relatively light torque figure (against those of its rivals – 442lb ft) mean it takes quite some provocation to cause the 305-section rear tyres to lose traction.
The steering may have once irked us with a rack that was a tad unpredictable, but along with the rear-steer, the Lambo’s turn-in at eight-tenths is just as sharp as its powertrain, feeling super agile and alert. It’s not as fast as a Ferrari helm, nor anything like as textured as a McLaren’s, but it’s accurate enough to not be a hindrance. At speed, the underlying chassis balance is one of gentle understeer, though, and its desire to dissolve you into the outright driving experience is far less than you’ll find in a Ferrari or McLaren.
Flip through the driver modes and the step-changes between calm (in relative terms, of course) Strada mode, intermediate Sport and ferocious Corsa are obvious. Strada does a great job of making the Huracán feel like little more than an Audi R8. It’s easy to place, the powertrain slick and well calibrated. But it takes one pull on the awkwardly placed mode switch (it sits on the bottom spoke of the steering wheel) for the Huracán to instantly become rather more violent. The engine’s voice is unlocked, the transmission bites with more impact and the body tightens up with a purposeful amount of lateral support without going overboard. As you would expect, this is where the Huracán is sweetest on the road, feeling every bit as dramatic and enthralling as you would have expected looking at that Countach bedroom wall poster as a child.
Corsa takes this a little too far in many respects, as the exhaust flaps now open to what essentially feels and sounds like a straight-through system from Lamborghini’s Trofeo racer. The transmission builds on this aggression, swapping gears with no more speed than in Sport mode, but executing them with a complete ignition cut that’s akin to an Italian nonna slapping you on the back of the head for not visiting more often. In fact, Corsa is almost unusable on the road, if not due to the physicality of the powertrain, then because of the firm ride that surely must turn the damper fluid from its usual oil-like state to something more like golden syrup that’s been left in the fridge overnight. However, the issue here isn’t the severity of all these elements – some owners may well want to take their Lamborghini Spyder on a trackday, assuming you can find one where it will slip under the noise limit – rather it’s the inability to mix and match each of the elements independently.
There are some other serious deep-seated issues here, principally in the interior, or more specifically its inability to fit human beings inside. Once you do cram yourself in, the Lambo seems to play a game of ergonomic hide-and-seek that extends beyond ‘needing to get to know it’ to ‘using the wipers is no longer important’. The infotainment system, despite its modern portrait touchscreen interface, is also quite horrible, there’s nowhere to put anything, and the seats have surely been designed with the Italian chiropractor’s association in tow, as you’ll need an adjustment every time you clamber out
But what the Lamborghini Huracán Evo Spyder offers aside from its clichéd Italian idiosyncrasies is joy. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, and this is something that is felt in the brightness and flamboyance of the powertrain just as much as in the car’s design and the availability of gloriously luminescent paintwork. And the more we’re discouraged from exploiting the performance capabilities of supercars, so the need for a certain level of theatricality becomes more important. It may not involve you like a McLaren 720S Spider driven on the edge, but you couldn’t call the Huracán Evo Spyder anything other than thrilling.
Price and rivals
The Lamborghini Huracán Evo Spider is priced from £218,137, putting it on par with the Ferrari F8 Spider (£215k) and not too far away from the McLaren 720S Spider (£237k). It is worth noting that the Huracán doesn’t quite hit the same high notes as its rivals dynamically, but for drama there’s nothing in it.
Options are typically vast and expensive, but the same could be said of its rivals, although it is worth noting the Spyder we tested in these images was pushing £272,000 with its near £54k-worth of options.
Outside of the open-top mid-engined supercar mould, the Mercedes-AMG GT R Roadster is more hot-rod than supercar, but sits at £178,675 and is no slower on the road. Likewise the even more focused McLaren 600LT brushes the £200k mark and combines the most engaging mid-engined driving experience without a roof panel in place.