Fast, excessive and ridiculously entertaining, supercars like the Lamborghini Huracán Evo Spyder are anathema to the driverless-car lobby. And that is all the more reason why we should treasure them.
In his new book, Why We Drive: Towards a Philosophy of the Open Road, scholar, petrolhead and self-styled folk engineer Matthew B Crawford sets his sights on the dreary near future that will be the inevitable outcome when one of Big Tech’s pet projects, that of driverless cars, becomes reality. Crawford regards driving a car and riding a fast motorcycle – both of which he loves to do – as being among the few remaining activities in which the ordinary individual can develop the skills necessary to exert control over not only a moving machine, but also his or her own life. And he fears that soon, when we’re all trundling around town aboard Google Waymos, liberated by the supposed benefits of driverless technology to attend to such important matters as tapping out inanities on social media, surfing the internet or replying to endless pointless emails, this precious freedom is likely to be eliminated altogether.
“… Technologists and optimisers seek to make everything idiotproof,” Crawford writes, “and pursue this by treating us like idiots. It is a presumption that tends to be self-fulfilling; we really do feel ourselves becoming dumber. Against such a backdrop, to drive is to exercise one’s skill at being free, and I suspect that is why we love to drive.”
I couldn’t help but recall those words just days ago, when I had the opportunity to borrow a Lamborghini Huracán Evo Spyder, which must surely be one of the most glorious – and gloriously pointless – cars in existence. Because though clearly capable of transporting its two passengers from A to B, much like the aforementioned though considerably slower Waymo, the Huracán Evo is far more about just going, whether it’s from A to A, A to Z or, as is more likely still, from A to nowhere in particular. Ultimately, it’s about the sheer pleasure – no, make that the exhilaration – of driving.
Like every single Lamborghini that’s gone before it, the Huracán is about excess and extravagance. In spite of the fact that its basic design has been around for more than six years it remains as visually arresting as it ever was: a missile with razor-sharp edges, a slightly cab-forward design, a long, slanting windscreen that melds almost imperceptibly into the sloping bonnet and a stance that hugs the ground like a vacuum cleaner – though the facelifted Evo also has a new front splitter and revised rear-end aero that create even more downforce. With its electrically operated canvas roof retracted (it disappears into the rear deck in just 17 seconds), the Spyder looks even more dramatic than its coupe sibling – and as Lamborghinis have always been cars to be seen in as much as to be seen, that’s probably just as it should be. It also goes without saying that the Huracán is available in a rainbow of dazzling colours, so you’re on everyone’s radar all of the time.
Beneath the skin, the Evo is just as outrageously extreme as its exterior. Unlike the competition, it eschews turbocharging in favour of a wonderfully traditional, naturally aspirated 5.2-litre V10 engine. This can rev well beyond 8,000rpm and, while doing so, creates sufficient racket to wake an entire neighbourhood. Although giving away almost 100 horses to the likes of McLaren’s 720S or Ferrari’s F8 Tributo, the Lambo’s 631bhp and 599Nm (the latter available at a knee-trembling 6,500rpm) are still sufficient to dispense with the 0-100km/h dash in 3.1 seconds and provide a top speed in the region of 325, with the combination of immediate throttle response and a blindingly fastchanging seven-speed gearbox making hard acceleration as joyous – and cacophonous – as it’s utterly thrilling. And of course the noise provides another compelling reason to rev the engine to the max.
The Huracán is About the Sheer Pleasure — No, Make That Exhilaration — of Driving
Devoid of turbochargers and hybrid assistance, the power unit is certainly old school, but in other key areas the Huracán employs leading-edge technologies. Its stunning exterior is wrapped around a hybrid carbon-aluminium-composite chassis, while its suite of active dynamic systems includes LPI (Lamborghini Piattaforma Inerziale), which employs gyroscopes and accelerators to adjust the damping, and LDVI (Lamborghini Dinamica Veicolo Integrata), that harvests data from all areas of the vehicle to set up the drivetrain and chassis for just about any situation in real time. On all-wheel-drive versions of the Huracán (such as this particular Evo Spyder), there’s also rear-wheel steering, which reduces the turning radius and makes the car discernibly nimbler at lower speeds, yet also translates into incredible directional precision when it’s driven fast on long flowing stretches of highway. And if you want to track how all this wizardry is working, you can do so via an infographic on the new portrait-format 8.4-inch touch-screen display, the latter being a welcome upgrade to the cabin.
Naturally there are also the customary trio of driving modes, which are activated by the familiar Anima selector on the steering wheel. I find that in normal situations, Strada is usually easily up to the job, though a low-end flat spot in higher gears means you’ll occasionally feel the need to flip the left-hand paddle and drop a ratio or two. Sport is, as you’d expect, sharper and tauter with added fireworks from the exhaust, while Corsa delivers the full-on aural assault accompanied by kick-in-the-backside gearshifts and a much less forgiving ride. And when you need to haul off that speed by stamping on the anchors, the carbonceramic brakes are powerful enough to arrest an express train.
All that said, the Huracán Evo Spyder isn’t particular difficult car to drive and nor is it especially temperamental, though as a day-to-day proposition it’s nothing like as easy to live with as, say, a Porsche 911. Yes, the engine’s sufficiently flexible that the Lambo can easily handle slow city traffic, the view out the front is superb, and the provision of a suspension lift makes negotiating speed bumps a relative breeze, but at more than 2.2 metres from one flared rear-wheel arch to the other it’s almost as wide as a bus – and to say that it’s hard to see out the back is an understatement.
As seating is strictly for two people only with precious little room for anything else, nor can the Huracán be considered in any way practical (though when tightly strapped into the body-hugging sports seats while tearing along at some unfeasibly rapid pace, that will be the last thing on your mind). As for carrying with you anything beyond the barest of necessities, you might as well forget it because luggage space verges on the laughable.
Does any of that matter? Probably not at all, because driving a Lamborghini has never been about mere transport and it’s certainly not about common sense. It’s an event, a joyous, liberating and intoxicating mix of speed, sound and emotion that elevates the existence way beyond the quotidian. So if I take the liberty of paraphrasing Crawford and claim that cars like the Huracán Evo Spyder are certainly one reason why we drive, I’ll also go one further by saying how grey and dismal life will be when, no thanks to our friends at Google, Uber and the like, they’re no longer around to thrill us.