The residents of southern Orange County are generally accustomed to exceptional things. But as I pull up to the front of our seaside hotel in Laguna Beach, I'm reminded that cars like the Lamborghini Huracan Evo Spyder still exist far outside the norm, even in an area where the median income is well into six-figure territory.
Slowing down to meet the valet, I notice a few onlookers fixated on this Nero Granatus-hued bull. Almost instinctively, I tap the toggle switch on the steering wheel to bump the drive mode into Sport—where the exhaust system is at its rowdiest—pull both shift paddles to put the seven-speed dual clutch gearbox in neutral, and give the throttle a hearty stab.
The naturally aspirated V10 doesn't disappoint, instantly howling to its 8,000 RPM redline before quickly settling back down with an array of snaps, crackles, and pops. And because the top is down, I can hear the reactions—an almost comedic mixture of reflexive shock and glee. Enough though—I don't want to risk losing any cool points, but I can't help but smile wide.
No matter how capable, every supercar worth its salt has some theater built into its DNA. The Huracan Evo is certainly no exception to the rule, and in Spyder form, the spectacle is no longer a one-sided conversation.
It might be tempting to write off Lamborghini's recently-updated sports car as just more of the same with a slightly reworked face, but as I quickly learned from my first taste of the Huracan Evo in coupe form at Willow Springs raceway earlier this year, this isn't some minor facelift. Sure, tweaks to the bodywork provide the Evo Spyder with more than five times the downforce and aerodynamic efficiency of the original Huracan Spyder (while taking the car's overall angularity to the next level), but the sheet metal is just the start.
An obvious highlight among the assortment of updates is the 631 horsepower, 5.2-liter naturally aspirated V10. Plucked from the Huracan Performante, it makes its way to the Evo ostensibly unchanged whilst breathing out of a new, livelier center-exit exhaust system. Channeled through a seven-speed dual clutch gearbox with the grunt sent to all four corners, this roadster will dash to 62 miles per hour from rest in a mere 3.1 seconds on its way to a 201-mph top speed. Though the terminal velocity remains unchanged versus its coupe counterpart, the drop top ends up being two tenths behind in the sprint to freeway speeds due to the additional 256 pounds of structural reinforcement required by chopping the top, bringing its dry weight up to roughly 3,400 pounds.
It's a small price to pay for unlimited headroom, though. Stowing the top takes just 17 seconds from start to finish, a task that can be done at speeds up to 31 miles per hour. It instantly brings a sense of occasion to the Huracan's otherwise tight confines, making it almost mandatory for taller drivers whenever circumstances allow. The lower, fixed-back race buckets from the Performante can be optioned into the Evo Spyder to create more headroom, but they're a bit incongruous with the overall mission of this Italian drop top.
BEHIND THE WHEEL
Interestingly enough, there are a few new features in the Evo's bag of tricks that are seemingly aimed at track prowess, but ultimately prove their worth more effectively out on the street. The four-wheel steering system, for instance—which turns the rear wheels in the opposite direction of the front at lower speeds to make the car nimbler, or in phase with the front wheels at higher speeds to promote stability—took some time to get used to at Willow Springs.
The Evo coupe's eagerness to change direction made the car feel a bit nervous at times, forcing me to consciously recalibrate my steering inputs to smooth everything out. But out on the road, that sense of anxiousness is non-existent, and the benefits of the system are still obvious when it comes time to maneuver out of a tight parking lot or carve up a few switchbacks.
It's unlikely that most Evo Spyder pilots will regularly put the predictive traction and stability control capabilities of the new Lamborghini Dinamica Veicolo Integrata (LDVI) system to good use during day to day driving, but drivers can still gaze in wide-eyed wonder as the system processes various streams of real-time data by way of the new 8.4-inch touchscreen display on the center console. I called upon the infotainment system for more mundane tasks, though, like navigation and playing music. While the system lacks a physical volume knob, a two-finger drag up or down the display from any menu screen will adjust the audio output, allowing you to pay more attention to the road ahead. Still, it's not quite as precise as the traditional method, but it gets the job done without much fuss.
The audio system is often irrelevant anyway, as Strada is the only driving mode where it isn't easily overpowered by the sonorous bark of that V10. Lamborghini considers this to be the Huracan Evo's standard mode, but in practice it's often too conservative to be particularly useful. With the exhaust hushed to near-luxury car levels, the gearbox is eager to upshift into higher gears to increase efficiency, and it takes a bit more coaxing from the throttle to wake things up again - probably more than it should.
Sport mode addresses most of this, with a more responsive transmission behavior and a highly emotive soundtrack from the active exhaust system, but a configurable preset like the Aventador S's Ego mode would go a long way here. As things currently stand, there's no way to, for instance, pair the steering weight of Corsa mode with the more compliant damper settings used in Strada.
We make do, though. On our way back from a jaunt down Ortega Highway, our procession of Huracan Evo Spyders wound up in typical rush hour traffic, and if the searing shades of yellow and green weren't enough to catch other motorists' attention, the unholy racket we were making certainly was. And with the top down, we could hear other drivers' revs of approval as we passed by, kindred spirits celebrating the joys of exceptional motoring.
It's our general predisposition as enthusiasts to consider convertibles to be inherently compromised, and from a sheer dynamics standpoint, they certainly can be. But when the scope of capability is this high, the relevancy of that talking point quickly erodes, especially when faced with the reality that there are other factors which play heavily into the overall supercar experience.
Spectacle has always been as integral a part of the equation as performance, and the Huracan Evo Spyder delivers both in equally spellbinding measure—all while allowing its occupants to openly interact with the sights and sounds of the world around it.