Lamborghini’s new Huracan supercar – which replaces the 10-year-old Gallardo – has broken new technical ground thanks to a new type of hybrid carbonfibre and aluminium construction.
This new technique will not just been seen in the next-generation Audi R8, but also in ‘several’ mainstream Audi road cars, according to reports. The upcoming Audi Q7 is thought to be the first candidate for carbon-hybrid construction.
The Huracan renews Lamborghini’s assault on the fiercely fought supercar segment with more power and performance, a high-quality new interior, a new look and what the firm describes as an "innovative technology package".
Much of this specification appears to address the main criticisms of the outgoing Gallardo, which was feeling its age next to more powerful, more modern and higher-quality rivals such as the Ferrari 458 and McLaren 12C.
The Huracan, set to be seen in the metal for the first time at the Geneva motor show, is powered by a new, naturally aspirated 602bhp 5.2-litre V10 engine, which drives all four wheels through a new design of seven-speed dual clutch gearbox. It has a claimed 0-100kph time of just 3.2 seconds and a top speed of "over 321kph".
A full 75 percent of the engine’s 57kgm is available from just 1000rpm, a remarkable result for an engine that is not turbocharged.
Economy and emissions are also claimed to have been improved over the automatic version of the Gallardo LP560-4.
The Huracan, slated to go on sale in the second half of this year, has been developed in tandem by Lamborghini and Audi engineers and features a rear firewall and centre tunnel made from a single carbonfibre moulding.
The rest of the structure – including the front and rear subframes, front bulkhead, suspension components and much of the skin – is made from aluminium. The carbonfibre moulding is both glued and riveted to the aluminium that makes up the rest of the structure.
Audi technical chief Ulrich Hackenburg told Autocar that the new structure makes the Huracan over 50 percent stiffer than the outgoing aluminium-spaceframe Gallardo and around 10 percent lighter. Hackenburg also said that the real advantage of using carbonfibre in vehicle construction was to use it in "monolithic" structures such as the bulkhead and centre tunnel. He described this construction as the "backbone" of the car and the part of the structure that had the biggest influence on overall body stiffness.
Because the bulkhead and centre tunnel are moulded in one piece the construction costs are competitive with using conventional steel and aluminium stamped panels.
Despite an increase in the use of lightweight materials in its construction, the dry weight of the Huracán has actually increased slightly over that of the Gallardo, from 1410kg to 1422kg. This is most likely down to the amount of interior and dynamic technology that has been added to give the Huracán what Lamborghini claims is a combination of "absolute performance with easy-to-drive road behaviour" and a "luxurious and sports-orientated finish".
The styling of the Huracan has been deliberately softened in comparison to the Aventador said Fillipo Perini, head of styling at the sportscar maker. One of the aims of the Huracan project was to make it "easy for the road…but very capable on the track". To that end, there will not be a manual option with the car.
Other features include a configurable TFT instrument panel (which allows the whole screen to be dominated by a sat-nav map) and a steering wheel which houses finger tip controls for the wipers, washers, high beam and indicators. Removing the traditional stalks on the column has allowed the fitment of bigger gearshift paddles, says the company.
The high-quality interior of the Huracán is a big step forward from the Gallardo. It features Nappa leather and Alcantara trim and upholstery. A full suite of customisable options will also be offered.
A three-stage switch to alter the chassis’ characteristics – called the Anima – is fitted to the lower part of the steering wheel and will be an option. It offers variable ratio steering, which changes the amount of wheel movement depending on the chassis setting and speed of the car.
The Huracan’s 4x4 drivetrain is electronically controlled and, in a steady state, divides the engine’s torque 30/70 in favour of the rear wheels. In extreme conditions 100 percent of the torque can go to the rear or 50 percent to the front.
Carbon-ceramic brakes feature on the standard specification, while a variable steering system, called Lamborghini Dynamic Steering, and a magnetorheological adjustable damping set-up can be found on the options list.
The model had been widely tipped to be called Cabrera, but Lamborghini has chosen Huracán — or Huracán LP610-4, to give it its full title — for the name. It continues Lamborghini’s convention of naming its cars after famous fighting bulls, Huracán being a legendary animal that fought in Alicante, Spain, in 1879.
The Huracán replaces the Gallardo, itself the best-selling model in Lamborghini’s history with 14,022 units produced in its 10 years on sale.
As with the Gallardo, expect a whole host of extra variants of the Huracán to follow, including an open-top Spyder, a higher-performance Superleggera and entry-level rear-wheel-drive versions.