Testing Lamborghini's Newest And Fastest Supercar, The Huracan Performante, At Its Hometown Track

What do customers considering plunking down $242,000 for Lamborghini’s Huracan supercar want even more? The Italian exotic carmaker is betting on its answer: a faster, more powerful, and more expensive Lamborghini Huracan.

Lamborghini revealed the $274,390 Huracan Performante, a high-performance version of the already high-performance car, at the Geneva Motor Show in March. This week, executives gave journalists the opportunity to drive it at Lamborghini’s hometown track, the Autodromo Internazionale di Imola, near the company’s Northern Italy headquarters in Sant'Agata Bolognese.

A more track-oriented version of the standard Huracan may seem redundant, but for an additional $32,000, the Performante offers improved steering, braking, and suspension that translate into an edge in performance. The Performante can zip from zero to 60 m.p.h. in 2.9 seconds instead of the comparatively sluggish 3.2 seconds the Huracan needs.

“There was the need to complete the Huracan family,” said Stefano Domenicali, Lamborghini’s Chairman and CEO. “Our approach is to make sure our customers have the choice to pick up whatever they prefer.” Lamborghini’s Huracan lineup includes two- and four-wheel drive versions, a coupe, and a spider convertible. But the Performante is at the “top of the game with regard to the family,” he said.

With its responsive chassis, active aerodynamics, and heavy use of lightweight materials, the V10-powered Huracan Performante was engineered with a number of advantages that helped it take the production lap record at the Nurburgring Nordschleife in 00:06:52:01. Its new patented airflow management system, which the company calls Aerodinamica Lamborghini Attiva, or ALA – the Italian word for “wing” – for short, helps reroute air along the car’s body and out the rear wing to enhance performance. “We think it can be something to treat the air in a revolutionary way,” Maurizio Reggiani, board member for research and development. Cutting 80 pounds from the Huracan’s frame using lightweight materials including Forged Composite, Lamborghini’s proprietary material made of chopped carbon fibers embedded in a resin matrix, helped improve the car’s ability to round corners and brake at high-speed.

What that means is that the Performante can make a novice feel like an F1 driver on the track. On our test drive, the car handled all 3.05 miles of its hometown track with confidence, completing the track’s 12 left turns and nine right turns with relative ease. In Corsa, the most performance-oriented of the car’s three drive modes, the Performante was especially forgiving, gripping well and braking solidly to make tight turns. Afterward, the Performante’s street mode, called Strata, transformed the car into a surprisingly comfortable countryside cruiser around the Autodromo’s beautiful, hilly Emilia-Romagna region.

Lamborghini, which sold 3,457 cars worldwide last year, is targeting global sales of 3,500 this year. “I believe we can do a little better,” Domenicali said, “but as always, I think that we need to control the market. We need to be stable in terms of uniqueness. We need to monitor what is really the demand and make sure that our offer is well less than what is really the requirement from the market. It would have been easy already last year to go much higher.”

The Huracan made up more than 70% of the carmaker’s sales mix last year, with the remainder comprising Lamborghini’s other model, the $400,000, V12-powered Aventador. Domenicali said that he expects the Performante to compose half of Huracan model sales within a couple of years.

“This year, it would be easy to go over 4,000 units, but I don’t want to do it,” he added. “We don’t want to deteriorate our position.”

Lamborghini will begin selling its third model, the five-passenger Urus SUV, for the 2018 model year. The Urus will eventually help double the brand’s sales, Domenicali said, “but we will never, ever change our position on the fact that our supercar has to stay exclusive, unique, and limited.”