Speeding down Florida’s coastline-hugging A1A in a 202-mph Lamborghini Huracán, passing car after car pulled over by state troopers, I suddenly understand how it feels for explorers to climb past corpses on their way to Everest’s summit.
I’ve been given an extremely special opportunity: I’m not only the first journalist to get a ride in the all-new Huracán but also the first person outside the company to sit behind the wheel of this 10-cylinder, 610-horsepower beast, which replaces the Gallardo, Lamborghini’s all-time top seller. With a starting price of $237,000, the Huracán is the least expensive model in Lambo’s lineup; the company hopes to unload even more than the 14,000-plus Gallardos that were sold over their 10-year run.
The grigio lynx (that’s Lambo-speak for “sweet-looking gray”) model I’ll be piloting around the Sunshine State is actually the very first off the production line and the only one to have made the trip across the Atlantic thus far. The styling is cleaner than the Gallardo, its profile defined by a single line that seamlessly merges the nose, cockpit, and tail. Before I put my life in the hands of Lamborghini’s head test driver, an annoyingly handsome Italian named Richard Antinucci, I practice pronouncing “Huracán,” just in case I encounter any speed-loving young ladies who are curious: “oo-rah-KAHN.”
“Ready for the ride of your life?” Antinucci asks as he flicks the car into first with the right paddle shifter and gingerly pulls into traffic. Thankfully for my insides, he doesn’t use “launch” mode, but he does get the thing going. We probably shouldn’t print how fast Antinucci gunned it—while revealing he’s also a pro race-car driver—but suffice it to say, the Huracán accelerates from 0 to 124 in 9.9 seconds. The experience is utterly exhilarating, somewhat nauseating, and—despite the ludicrous speed and acceleration—only slightly terrifying. The combination of the car’s smoothness and Antinucci’s skill leaves me with just a moderate sense of imminent death on this beautiful spring day.
Something I notice on our drive—besides the scores of envious drivers honking their horns and giving us the thumbs-up—is how damn comfy I am. I’m swaddled in supple, fragrant leather (somehow Lambo interiors even smell dangerous). Aren’t Italian sports cars notoriously cramped and excruciatingly painful to ride in? No way, says Antinucci. “Just feel the side of your seat,” he says as we make short work of an overly ambitious Camaro that comes by for a closer look. “There are inclinations, vertical and back-and-forth adjustments, and lumbar support.” At six feet tall (OK, 5'11¾"), I have more than enough leg- and headroom. The only discomfort I feel as we pull over to switch seats is dizziness, but I suspect Antinucci is proud that his passenger looks a bit dazed. Time to shake that off, though, because now it’s my turn to take the wheel.
Even when you’re driving the speed limit in the Huracán, you feel like you’re doing something illegal—that’s how evil this automobile is. After a few minutes of readjusting my brain from Ford Fusion rental mode, I start getting used to the ride. Antinucci can tell, and he encourages me to “punch it.” I tentatively oblige and stomp on the gas. The sensation can only be described as similar to dropping from the top of a roller coaster, moving forward instead of down. Though the acceleration is dramatic, it’s also shockingly smooth, thanks to the Huracán’s double-clutch transmission, the first for a Lamborghini. The roar of the engine, mere inches from our heads, is almost deafening. Bucking recent automotive trends, Lambo didn’t put in a turbo- or supercharger, just an old-fashioned, awesomely massive 5.2-liter engine. Gobs of low-end torque make my stomach feel like it’s been left on the side of the road with every touch of the accelerator. Our path is mostly straight, so I get to experience the car’s Krazy Glue–level grip only on a handful of on- and off-ramps. I agree with Antinucci when, as we pull back into traffic and I adjust to strada, or street, mode, he says the car “is about as easy to drive as any car out there. The only difference is, underneath, it is a monster waiting
to be awoken.”
At the end of my adventure, Lamborghini CEO Stephen Winkelmann is waiting for me—or, more likely, his brand-spanking-new supercar. There are no dents, nicks, or cops to be seen, so he seems relieved. I ask him what he supposes the late Ferruccio Lamborghini, who founded the company in 1963, would think of the Huracán. See, Ferruccio started the company after getting into a fight with Enzo Ferrari about who could make the better sports car. (Yes, Lamborghini was founded out of spite.) “He would be proud,” Winkelmann says with a grin. “He would immediately recognize the car as a Lamborghini.” And surely he’d recognize the look of anguish on my face as I finally hand Winkelmann back the keys. The return from the top of Everest is long, indeed.