In Style + Design

Test Drive: Lamborghini’s Huracan Spyder

There are some obvious reasons that people buy convertibles – a desire for wind ruffling what’s left to their hair, an addiction to tanning at all cost, and all times, or a need to be seen – but creeping deafness isn’t one that usually comes to mind. When you’ve got a car like Lamborghini’s raucous Huracan, with its sound-barrier-shattering V10 engine, the coupe version really is going to be more than loud enough for most people.

Drop the roof on this new Spyder version (that’s a very sexy, very Italian word for convertible), however, and the noise doesn’t just get louder, it jumps into the cabin with you and vibrates your entire body.

Indeed, at full noise it feels like you might have somehow ingested a large dog, which is now barking through your insides to get out.

It seems possible, then, that only those with somewhat reduced hearing capacity – a result of too many years driving around in deafening super cars perhaps – would choose the Spyder over the sensibly roofed version.

That’s because there are, obviously, trade-offs you have to make if you choose a convertible over a coupe. In a normal car, the roof is an important structural part of the vehicle, effective making it a whole, and thus providing the best possible torsional stiffness.

Cut the roof off a car and you need to find other ways to make it stiff, generally by putting more bracing, and thus more weight, in the rest of the car. The result is that all drop-tops feel more squidgy than the vehicles they’re based on.

For a super-car maker like Lamborghini, of course, this is unacceptable, and the company has gone to great lengths to design is Spyder alongside the Coupe, rather than snipping away to make the rag-top later.

The result is a chassis that’s made of a hybrid of aluminium and carbon fibre, making it as light, and rigid, as possible. It’s the kind of engineering effort you can really feel when you throw this Huracan at a series of corners, as there is no flex at all in the body, and it sits beautifully flat, encouraging you to achieve G-forces that would be impossible in mere mortal cars.

On the downside, the extra weight (some 120kg of it over the coupe) does make you 0.2 of a second slower to 100km/h, at 3.4 seconds, but this is not something that will bother many people. Anything under 3.5 seconds is fast enough to make your kidneys hurt anyway.

And on the plus side, you get a fantastic fabric roof that can open and shut in just 17 seconds, a feat you can pull off, handily, at up to 50km/h. Every single passenger I showed this mechanical dance to said the same thing: “Wow, it’s like a Transformer!” And it is.

I must admit that, after a while, I got used to all that extra barking, baroque noise you get with the roof down, and I may even have come to love it.

What’s impossible not to love is the magnificent 5.2-litre V10, the same one found in the coupe, which makes a whopping 449kW and 560Nm, enough to push you to  a top speed of 325kmh/h. At which point your ears would probably just explode.

You can control the level of noise, and the car’s aggression, with the Huracan’s “Instinctive Technology”, which uses an “Anima” switch on the steering wheel to toggle between Strada (Street). Sport and Corse (Track) modes. The last of which introduces gear changes from the seven-speed gearbox that are almost alarmingly savage.

A clever all-wheel-drive system allows you to get all that power and violence to the road without ever feeling as out of control as the numbers might suggest.

Another plus is that, with the roof off, the Spyder looks possible even more aggressively attractive. It’s a simply stunning thing to look at, particularly when painted in the As Personal Glitter Paint Colour – Blu Nethun – our test vehicle was dipped in. It would want to be a nice hue, though, because this very special paint job was a $27,500 option.

The lovely black 20-inch high-gloss wheels we were rolling on were also a bit of a sting, at $10,140, while it might also strike some people as unreasonable that you have to pay $5700 for something as basic as parking sensors and a reversing camera.

When the base price of your Lamborghini Huracan Spyder is already $471,000, you’d think they could throw that lot in (with all its options, our car hit $604,708, including on-road costs). You might want to ask them for some ear plugs as well

Published 25 July, 2018