"Thanks for putting up with me," I say to the Lamborghini factory driver that I just chased around Big Willow. We'd just completed our second full course lapping session, something that wasn't originally part of the plan. After spending the majority of our first (and presumably, only) collection of full course laps stuck in traffic, backing off the group we were catching up with only to close the gap again after a few corners, I was admittedly a little frustrated. While that sort of thing isn't uncommon at media launches for sports cars, Lamborghini prides themselves on allowing their cars to be evaluated more or less at whatever limit the driver is comfortable at. A day at the track with the folks from Sant'Agata isn't lip service.
It'd be one thing if the Evo was "just another" Huracan. After all, I've been on track with the Performante and over the years I've had my fair share of seat time in other iterations of Lamborghini's sports car. It's not, though. This isn't the standard-issue model with an extra dollop of horsepower and a new coat of paint. It's also not a direct substitute for the Performante, but I'll get to that later.
As a mid-cycle refresh of the Huracan, the Evo is a fairly significant one. Sure, there's the expected nip-and-tuck updates to the aesthetic, but the tweaks go further than skin-deep, and the Evo introduces some hardware that's never been seen before on any other Huracan model.
Sensing my dismay after the full course session, Lamborghini's chief instructor, Dean DiGiacomo, suggested I keep my helmet close by. A few minutes later that factory driver and I are back out on track again, and this time we've got Big Willow all to ourselves. Even with a lead car to chase, the only driver limiting the pace here was yours truly. It was the stuff dreams are made of. And all in the name of science, of course.
Supplanting the LP610-4 coupe in the Huracan lineup, the Evo will now serve as the starting template for all subsequent Huracan models from here on out. Motivation comes from a version of Lamborghini's 5.2-liter naturally aspirated V10 that's nearly identical to the power plant in the Performante, albeit with a redline of 8000 rpm rather than 8500. But with 630 horsepower on tap and a redesigned active exhaust system barking out the song, the Evo boasts a 0-62 mph time of 2.9 seconds and a top speed of 202 mph. So, in terms of straight-line speed, those extra revs probably won't be missed by many would-be owners.
More power is always nice, but the big news is found in the chassis. As part of what the company refers to as Lamborghini Dinamica Veicolo Integrata, or LDVI, the Evo incorporates torque vectoring and rear-wheel steering into the dynamic playbook, both of which are firsts for the Huracan.
Working in conjunction with a retuned active suspension, the LDVI system uses data collected from steering input, throttle position, drive mode, and other real-time factors to create what Lamborghini describes as "feed forward logic." By doing so, the LDVI system can predict how much grip is available and the dynamic parameters needed to provide the driver with the desired behavior based on those inputs. The upshot is that the system is designed to anticipate issues rather than reacting to them, and that helps to keep the car going where you want it to without the delay and deviation from the intended path that often occurs when a traditional stability system intervenes.
New aerodynamic elements play a role here as well, and they dictate much of the Huracan's updated look. With a revised front fascia and rear diffuser, reworked side skirts, and a new integrated rear spoiler, Lamborghini says the Evo is six times more aerodynamically efficient than the outgoing LP610-4 while providing seven times as much downforce. New 20-inch Aesir wheels are also on hand to complement the Huracan's refreshed bodywork.
While it's largely business as usual inside the cabin of the Huracan Evo, the new 8.4-inch infotainment system is a welcome upgrade, offering multi-finger gesture control, Apple CarPlay compatibility, HVAC adjustments, and a vast selection of real-time telemetry information from the LDVI system. The new system looks sharp and seems to work well, though I'd have to live with it for a bit longer to really get a better sense of its day-to-day performance.
After getting acclimated to the car with cornering and slalom exercises, Lamborghini set us loose on Big Willow. Before I even fired up that rowdy V10, one of the key differences between the Performante and the Evo became immediately clear. At 6'3" I'm able to more or less sit comfortably in the Performante with a helmet on, but since the Evo is outfitted as standard with seats that are designed for better everyday comfort they're more cushioned, which effectively raises the seating position. Even with the seat lowered as far as it could go, headroom was seriously tight, forcing me to drop the seatback down and employ a Formula One-style driving position. Though they may lack some of the comfort and adjustability of the standard seats, the optional racing buckets are worth considering for taller drivers who plan to spend time at the track.
As with its predecessor, the Huracan Evo is outfitted with three driving modes—Strada, Sport, and Corsa—which can be cycled through by way of a toggle switch on the steering wheel. Each provides a unique personality in terms of ride stiffness, transmission behavior, front and rear power distribution, level of electronic intervention, and so on, but what's most noticeable before even putting the car's seven-speed dual clutch transmission into gear is how it affects the exhaust system.
The switch ostensibly doubles as a volume knob for the car, offering three distinct exhaust settings that range from near-silent in Strada mode to wide-open savagery in Corsa. With that in mind I decided to leave it in Corsa whenever possible, which also locks the transmission into full-manual mode.
Still unchanged from its original 1953 configuration, Big Willow is a fast, 2.5-mile course with plenty of elevation changes and a wide array of challenging corners. While there's no shortage of room to stretch the Evo's legs—we saw speeds of over 150 mph down the main straight—it's the more technical sections that really highlight what's new here.
Turn 2 is a long, fairly high-speed sweeper, and it's in this steady-state cornering where the new four-wheel steering system can really make its presence known. There's almost a sense that the car is crab-walking as the back end helps to pull the car around the turn, and it takes a second to get used to the sensation. At this point the Huracan is so willing and eager to change direction I had to deliberately recalibrate my technique, scaling back the amount of steering input I was dialing in for a given corner and getting on the throttle earlier to take advantage of the new dynamics. But even in Corsa mode the LDVI system was still working hard to keep me looking like a hero, quietly intervening when my ham-fisted inputs were deemed too brave to keep the car headed in the intended direction otherwise. Despite the absence of an ALA active aero-vectoring system like the Performante's, the Evo does feel planted at pace, though the lack of a rear wing is evident from the back-end's tendency to wiggle around a bit in the braking zone approaching Turn 1.
Although the Performante might be more ideally set up for the racetrack out of the box, the Huracan Evo is damn-near as quick around a circuit while providing more agreeable street manners. That not only speaks volumes for how far Lamborghini development has taken this platform over the past few years, it also bodes extremely well for the models that will incorporate this new hardware down the line.
If the Evo is the new standard for the Huracan, the future of the best-selling model in Lamborghini's history is looking bright indeed.