Words: Calvin Chan
Photography: Calvin Chan
Published: July 16, 2021
Being exposed to the elements with a V10 engine spewing an artillery barrage of arrest-me-now noises is a bucket list item for any driving enthusiast, an event that floods the dopamine centres of the brain and causes neural synapses to go haywire. It’s an unwritten but passionately upheld rule: sports cars need to be loud. And what better way to experience a combustion orchestra than with a convertible. Yes, open-tops are showered with compromises, and they’re not a purist’s idea of a driver’s car. They are less rigid than the coupes they are based upon, they’re significantly heavier due to the added mechanicals for the retractable roof, trunk and cabin space is compromised due to the extra room needed to stow that roof, and these convertibles subsequently cost more as well.
The Lamborghini Huracán EVO RWD Spyder is no stranger to these inherent penalties. It weighs 120 kg more than the Coupe, is two-tenths of a second slower from 0-100 km/h, and the top speed is laughably 1 km less at 324 km/h. But what you lose in structural rigidity, performance, and value, you gain in automotive theatre and a raw driving experience that no fixed roof vehicle could ever dream of providing. Without layers of metal and carbon fibre bordering the skies, a tidal wave of sounds, smells, and sensations pour into the cabin and turn a daily commute into a daily escape. It’s a feast for the senses, and we’ll try to succinctly describe what it’s truly like to pilot one of these raging Italian bulls that’s so purely focused on providing thrills instead of lap times.
There’s hardly 800 kilometres on the odometer and the meaty 20-inch Pirellis reek of fresh rubber. Good roads that demand courage are few and far in between around my area, and there’s hardly enough space (and run off) to effectively open the corks of the V10. Exploring this Italian’s limits is futile outside of a racetrack but even at low speeds, there’s a sense of purity when you rotate the wheel and stretch the Huracán’s vocal cords with your right foot. The Huracán EVO RWD Spyder uses the same 5.2-litre naturally aspirated V10 as the Coupe, and with an eye-watering 602 hp and 413 lb-ft of torque on tap, acceleration is instant and downright violent past half throttle, charging forward as if all it sees is red in the distance. Like high school physics class, air resistance is negligible, and drag never shows its hand until you roll down the windows and let air turbulence rummage through your hair.
How does one skillfully drive the Huracán then? Grab it by the scruff of the neck and just hang on tight, because once the dust settles and the Huracán grinds to a halt, all you truly remember are the spiky gear changes. You run through them like clockwork when a road opens up. First, second, third, fourth. Chances are you’ve blown past every speed limit in Canada by this point. Finally settling into seventh gives you a sigh of relief, as you take a moment to dread the pair of sirens creeping up into the rear view mirror. Stressful? Sure. Anytime you pilot a six-figure car is stressful, but we’d rather call it responsible entertainment.
The paddle shifters are column-mounted and are always begging to be pulled, but letting the 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox lead the dance isn’t a terrible idea. It’s polished by supercar standards, adding to its road mannerisms and road trip appeal, and the rough edges are only exposed when shifting in the wrong RPMs or when being too aggressive with the throttle. Shift too late or caress the limiter too hard, and the rear wheels will chirp as the gearbox struggles to keep the powertrain from imploding on itself.
The 8,500 rpm redline feels just right, and those comparing it to the 9,000 rpm limiter of the Porsche 911 GT3 truly haven’t witnessed a naturally breathing V10 before. Its intake and exhaust yawps are thrilling and harmonic, the kind that could only come from ten naturally aspirated pistons. It’s a religious experience for a privileged few, and the outrageous sound and speed is met with confident grip, augmenting the Huracán’s friendly demeanor. You don’t need a superlicense to jump in and look like a hero, and you can thank the new Performance Traction Control System for that. Whereas regular traction control systems instantly cut power and only add that power back once the car has stabilized, the Huracán will send power in advance so that once it has realigned following bouts of oversteer, it will have the power on hand to keep the train moving. It’s basically a guardian angel but one with a party hat that tells you to take more shots. The result is a rear end that playfully wags its tail out without the razor-thin margins that usually plague snappy mid-engine cars with short wheelbases. You can keep the throttle pinned yet have total oversteer control as the systems cut and add the power to keep you sliding.
And don’t get too focused on the performance numbers, because this RWD Huracán was engineered to provide thrills, not track records. By removing the front driveshaft and rear-wheel steering system that saves around 30 kg, it frees up the front wheels from having to do two jobs at once. Instead of applying power to the ground and trying to steer, it only does the latter. That leaves a pure and unfiltered line of communication to the driver’s fingertips, meaning you can actually feel the grip of the tires as the steering resistance ebbs and flows in weight and feedback. And while the Spyder is slower than the Coupe in a straight line, anyone who can detect the difference out on the open road is lying through their teeth. The Coupe we drove back in April was shod with Pirelli Sottozero winter rubber as well. Now we’ve got stickier P Zeros summer tires, and the traction they provide is immense.
The Huracán EVO Spyder adorns the same basic shape and silhouette as the Coupe but with less roof rake and the loss of the transparent glass cover that lets you peer into the engine bay. Unique to the Spyder is a lowerable rear window that floods the interior with intake and exhaust noise. Grigio Nimbus isn’t your typical, flamboyant Lamborghini paint colour but it suits the Huracán’s edgy lines and looks sensational in golden hour glow. It melds and compliments the backdrop instead of seeking the spotlight. The red fabric roof makes for a stunning spec as well.
Good news is that interior space isn’t hampered by the open-top conversion. Headroom is more than sufficient even for my six-foot figure and legroom is ample, though with the seat pushed all the way to the firewall and the steering wheel telescoped to its maximum distance. Cabin noise is minimal with the roof up, and acoustic insulation is above par. Though, we did notice some occasional turbulence above the fabric roof when hitting patches of dirty air on the highway.
The optional sport seats are comfortable, more supportive than the deep dished seats in the 570S, and we had no backache complaints even after a few hours behind the wheel. If those aren’t racy enough for you, Lamborghini also offers lightweight carbon fibre bucket seats wrapped in Alcantara. Synthetic suede is nice and all, and so is carbon fibre, but we’ve got a sweet spot for forged carbon composites. While they’re cheaper to produce than traditional carbon fibre, they’re just as strong, and like a marble countertop or wood panel, the random grains and patterns make it that much more unique. Our Huracán had it installed on the air vents, door handles, and paddle shifters, but you can go so far as to equip them on the center console and door sills as well.
It’s easy to wax poetic about a $300,000 Italian supercar and get lost in the romance of it all, but after living with the Huracán for three days and using it as our sole method of transportation, a few nitty gritty annoyances did rise to the surface.
There is an optional cup holder that extends out of the dashboard but its base is incredibly shallow and isn’t the most trustworthy companion to keep hot cups of coffee from ruining the smooth Italian leather. Ingress and egress is tricky due to the Huracán’s low door portals, but then again, what did we really expect from a supercar? Wind buffeting with the roof and windows down is quite poor, but that is quickly remedied by keeping the windows up, resulting in a quite impressively hushed cabin.
Unsurprisingly, outward visibility is downright terrifying when the roof is up, and you will be missing your SUV when navigating unfamiliar streets in the dark and in the middle of a downpour. The thick blind spots aren’t of much help either, and there is no blind spot monitoring system available so lane changes should be done with extreme caution. Of course, lowering the fabric roof solves any visibility issues, and it is electronically operated unlike the Aventador’s assembly-required example. The roof is operable up to 50 km/h, so you never have to worry about getting caught in a rain cloud without roof access, and it takes about 17 seconds to complete its choreography.
The Spyder’s dynamic penalties are few, at least outside a racetrack. There are noticeably more rattles when negotiating broken pavement, and the occasional chassis stutter as the front wheels wander around, but hardly enough for the casual driver to notice. It’s not a stiff carbon tub chassis like the McLaren 570S Spider but if you ask me, the tradeoff for wind, sun, and unfiltered noise is worth the dip in dynamic acuity.
Once we sweeped our ergonomic woes aside, we actually discovered how comfortable the Huracán was as a daily driver. Its road manners are excellent and sticking it into Strada (street) mode hushes up the exhaust significantly and calms the powertrain down for a somewhat subdued and relaxing ride. An optional front-axle lift system keeps the nose scratch-free, and there’s even cylinder deactivation to keep fuel consumption relatively at bay. Apple CarPlay and an 8.4-inch touchscreen will entertain the passenger as you’re busy ripping down the canyon, and there’s even a somewhat usable front trunk to store your weekend’s luggage.
The Lamborghini Huracán EVO RWD Spyder is the type of sports car that inspires generations of car enthusiasts. It belongs on the bedroom wall, in the daydreams of men and women of all ages, and out on the open road, not in storage barns forsaken to the duties of a garage queen. If $300,000 is within means, do us all a favour and buy a Huracán. Who knows what the life expectancy of these high displacement motors are with increasingly stringent fuel emission regulations on the horizon. There aren’t even any other production cars with a V10 engine aside from the Audi R8, which coincidentally uses the same one. But hopefully the combustion flame will stay lit just a while longer before electric hybrids ruin the fun and theatre. Until then, long live the convertible V10s.
Model: 2021 Lamborghini Huracán EVO RWD Spyder
Paint Type: Grigio Nimbus
Base Price: $268,431
Price as Tested: $314,571
Length/Width/Height (mm): 4,520 / 1,933 / 1,180
Dry weight (kg): 1,509
Engine: 5.2-litre V10
Horsepower: 602 hp @ 8,000 rpm
Torque: 413 lb-ft @ 6,500 rpm
Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch automatic
Engine & Drive Configuration: Mid engine, RWD
Tires: Pirelli P Zero; 20-inch