Beautiful styling and glorious engine noise
The Lamborghini Huracan is already a super-quick supercar, so the fact that this has more power and plenty of clever aerodynamics to make it faster on track is incredibly exciting. The Italian supercar manufacturer is better known for its more light-hearted approach to performance motoring, but in the Performante it takes going faster seriously.
It takes going fast so seriously, in fact, that the Huracan Performante broke the Nurburgring production car lap record, completing the fearsome German course faster than Lamborghini's bigger, more powerful car, the Aventador S.
The big rear wing and subtler aerodynamic devices dotted around the car make a huge difference when going quickly. The car constantly alters whether the aero assistance is on or off, and can independently control air flow on each side of the car to help turn in – it's genuinely noticeable.
You're so blown away by its cornering performance it's easy to forget that astonishing engine. The 5.2-litre V10 is an utter joy, and the aggressive wail that accompanies flat out driving is spine-tingling. With no turbochargers to rob response, the engine immediately reacts to every input making it easier to judge acceleration out of a corner.
However, put the car into the 'Strada' driving mode and its whole character changes. Engine response is less aggressive and the noise is turned down to be less invasive. The ride becomes relaxed and supple, and it reverts back to a more relaxing car you could use every day out on the road.
Lamborghini has drastically improved an already-intoxicating product – it isn't hyperbole to say that the Huracan Performante is one of the most exciting new cars on the market today. It mixes the immediacy of a naturally aspirated engine, the all-consuming noise of a high-power V10 and some fascinating aerodynamic wizardry to keep the car glued to the road. Phenomenal.
Running costs for the Performante will be through the roof. The official fuel economy figure sits at 21mpg on the combined cycle, but high teens will be the very maximum you'll manage – realistically you'll probably be looking at around 12 or 13mpg as the temptation to unleash that glorious V10 engine is often overpowering.
With such a high price and emission figure, tax will be in the highest bracket, while insurance will be up there too. It's to be expected with such a car, though, and is well worth the expenditure if you can afford it.
As you'd expect, space is limited and overall it's pretty impractical. To be fair, the 100-litre 'frunk' should be more than enough for a typical weekend away or a small weekly shop. Inside though, there aren't any cup holders and cubby holes are few and far between, which means that anything that's carried in the cabin has to roll around the passenger footwell or be wedged beside the seat.
The Huracan Performante gets the latest digital cockpit display, which is fully configurable and a joy to use. The layout of the instrument binnacle changes depending on which drive mode you're using – in full track mode the rev counter becomes prominent, while comfort modes display fuel economy and speed.
There's also a small digital display in the centre console that shows how the active aerodynamics are changing depending on what the car is doing.
It might be surprising, but it is possible to be relatively comfortable behind the wheel of the Performante. If you intend to use it on the road more than the track, don't spec the hard-backed sports seats – coupled with the comfort-focused 'Strada' driving mode, the non-sporty seats mean that long distances won't be as uncomfortable as you might expect.
That said, this is all relative – the Huracan Performante is still a track-focused supercar, so if comfort is key you might be disappointed.
There's no getting away from the fact that the Huracan Performante is an attention seeker – there really is no way for it to blend into the background in any setting making it a target for criminals. However, there's an alarm to put off would-be criminals and an immobiliser to make driving off tougher.
Lamborghini benefits from VW's extensive knowledge and investment in safety technologies, so the general crash safety of the Huracan is excellent. The extensive use of carbon-fibre is also positive for safety as it's extremely strong and should help dissipate energy away from the cabin in the event of a crash.
The Huracan Performante's key selling point is the driving experience – it really is up there with the great modern supercars.
As soon as you slip behind the wheel you're cocooned in the cockpit with fighter jet-inspired switchgear and prominent digital displays. Fire the engine up and it barks into life – the further up the rev range you send the needle, the more spine-tingling the noise becomes.
The truly awe-inspiring aspect of the driving experience is the cornering ability. Sticky tyres and clever 'active' aerodynamics push the car into the road and mean it's nearly impossible to unstick the car. You really need to drive it on track to appreciate its ability, though.
The Huracan Performante should be pretty low down on the family car list. With only two seats parents and kids can't travel together, while the sporty seats would make it nearly impossible to fit a child seat.
There is absolutely nothing about the Performante that would make it the ideal first car. The performance on offer would be too much for new drivers, and the ease with which you can drive up to the limit of grip imbues the kind of confidence that could be disastrous for an inexperienced driver.
Traditionally, supercars don't have the best reputation for build quality, but ever since Lamborghini joined the Volkswagen Group in 1998 its cars have shed that image. Today's car feels brilliantly put together and comes with the excellent ergonomics we've come to expect from other Volkswagen products.
The Lamborghini badge comes with a fantastic image as a brand that makes super-fast cars but without taking itself too seriously. As it continues to build better and better cars, its image is only improving.
Climbing in and out of the Huracan Performante is not the easiest task due to the low slung seats and low roof making the door aperture quite narrow. Getting in without banging your head takes some practice – particularly if you've optioned the sportier, high-sided bucket seats. Getting out isn't much easier, but the relatively narrow door sill helps matters somewhat.
The stereo in the Lamborghini Huracan plays second fiddle to the extraordinary soundtrack that is the engine. For that reason, the sound quality isn't quite up to the standards you'd expect from such an expensive car, but it should be more than adequate for most uses.
True to Lamborghini's extrovert character, there are a series of bright colours to choose from – avoid white as it hides the supercar's fantastic angular design. Instead, go for the vibrant matte orange or lime green to really accentuate the car's character.
The colours are offset against the aerodynamic devices such as the rear wing, which are black – the 'forged composite'; carbon-fibre structure is left 'naked'; to show carbon flakes that make up its structure. The marble-effect is unique and stands out.
Parking the Performante isn't easy – it's such a wide car that it takes some getting used to judging how close to the kerb you are. Forward visibility is excellent, but the view out of the back and in the mirrors is quite limited.
There are also concerns when parking in bays with cars either side as the doors are quite long and the roof is low. This means that the doors don't open very far and it can be tricky to squeeze out of the gap.
Emergency tyre repair kit supplied as standard.
Petrol engine options – 5.2-litre V10 (631bhp). Transmission options: Seven-speed automatic. Trim levels: Performante.