Flowing corners requiring big commitment in anything quick. Given my love for the place and the amount of time Iâ€™ve spent there over the years, the prospect of track testing Lamborghiniâ€™s new rear-wheel drive Lamborghini LP 580-2 2016 supercar has had me jumping out of my skin for weeks now. When the day arrives I drive to the circuit on a rare, hot, sunny Autumn day â€“ well, rare this close to the South Pole anyway. Iâ€™m expecting one of the best days of my very short journalistic career and after years of having been on the other side of the fence, in the passenger seat next to some scary driver, I was rather looking forward to frightening the hell out of a poor unsuspecting instructor (insert evil laugh here). Alas, Iâ€™m sorry to say, hours later I left the track feeling very underwhelmed and somewhat anxious about the sort of insight I could deliver.
Lamborghini LP 580-2 2016 Review
Lamborghiniâ€™s 580hp (LP 580) two-wheel drive (-2) supercar is the third variant offered in the Huracan range. Itâ€™s lighter, has two less driving wheels, less power but at $378,900 also inflicts less damage to the hip pocket than the original LP 610-4 Coupe ($428,000) and Spyder ($470,800).
The Lamborghini LP 580-2 achieves a claimed top speed of 320km/h. The 0-100km/h acceleration time is 3.4sec, thanks in part due to its relatively modest 1389kg dry weight. The 610-4 is quicker, but only just.
One interesting note on specification is that the Huracanâ€™s V10 engine produces around 75 per cent of its maximum torque from as low 1000rpm, making for a very tractable car on-road and the anticipation of using taller gears on track.
The factory puts a huge emphasis on this car being fun. â€˜Funâ€™ translating as a tendency to oversteer.
Lamborghiniâ€™s technical team believe it has achieved this through the extraction of 33kg worth of all-wheel drive hardware but, more importantly, all that weight is removed from over the front axle. The Lamborghini LP 580-2 now enjoys a 40/60 weight distribution â€” down from 43/57 for the â€˜-4â€™ variants â€” and the increased percentage over the rear helps with a more responsive front-end and slightly â€˜looseâ€™ or oversteery feeling from the back.
The rear-drive variant also achieves an increased roll angle through a softer suspension set up. Iâ€™m told this is to help with driver engagement but I get the feeling the boffins are endeavouring to do anything possible to transmit more than 400kW to the ground through the rear wheels only. Indeed, the reason for the decrease in power was to prevent the carâ€™s stability control system constantly intervening!
The front wheels also get a reduction in size â€” down to 19-inch from the 610â€™s 20-inch â€” in attempt to increase the tyre profile, therefore softening the tyre spring rate and again, I guess, increasing driver engagement.
The seating position is excellent and I can achieve a nice low seat and high wheel setting. From the cockpit, the view is very purposeful and the layout of controls intuitive.
There are no indicator or wiper stalks â€” replaced with switches on the steering wheel to provide a clear passage to access the flappy-paddle gear leavers that are quite large and remain fixed on the column. The display on the dash is all-LCD and varying information pages can be scrolled through via a button on the wheel, race car style.
Glaringly obvious is the button on the base of the wheel which has three settings or modes: Strada, Sport and Corsa. Itâ€™s Lamborghiniâ€™s way of turning a docile, easy everyday driver (Strada mode) into a fire-breathing track-day rocket (Corsa). Sport sits somewhere in between.
Iâ€™d like to say I could pick the difference, but it was difficult while cruising around at six-tenthsâ€¦ but Iâ€™m getting to thatâ€¦
Interestingly, when in Sport mode, the specifically programmed two-wheel drive stability control is set for optimum oversteer or â€˜funâ€™. In contrast, the higher mode of Corsa limits any undesirable angle and wheelspin, searching for outright lap time.
So on to the track.
We start off with a demonstration lap sitting next to an overseas instructor, one of the team from Lamborghini Experience. Alas leaving pit lane all I can see is a tunnel of cones lining the entire circuit. Iâ€™ve never seen so many witches hats in my life!
OK, I understand the need to keep us in check, particularly on corner exits, but not the need to place cones in positions that extend the track distance to about 6km!
I could see some light at the end the tunnel. I was to be in a car riding solo, following a lead car with the instructor on board with the opportunity to press on, as long as I could demonstrate some degree of competence.
Ha ha. Wrongâ€¦ That was pretty much it, speed-wise, for the day. By the end of it my frustration levels were through the roofâ€¦
So Iâ€™m sorry to say Iâ€™m battling to provide you with an accurate picture of what the car is actually like to drive at some sort of limit-approaching pace.
There are three things I can accurately deduce, however. One, the low-down pulling power from the engine is great and I was in fact a gear taller in most corners than I would otherwise expect; two, the traction control seemed unnecessarily conservative regardless of the mode; and three, this is a supercar thatâ€™s very docile when cruisingâ€¦
TheLamborghini LP 580-2 is childâ€™s play to drive in street mode and the only hint of the potential under your right foot is the unmistakable V10 bark.
But anything further than that Iâ€™m powerless to tell you about.
Apologies team, I was hoping to perhaps give you a lap time for comparison or some detailed insight from a race driver about a vehicle more akin to the racing machines we exploit on weekends (insert sigh), but not today.
The Lamborghini LP 580-2 has all the ingredients to make a great car and Iâ€™m sure it is, if it does all thatâ€™s claimed by Lamborghini.
Itâ€™s a shame I couldnâ€™t exploit its potential and find outâ€¦ I barely touched 200kmh or had any â€˜funâ€™, as they say. Our first local drive hardly provoked any passion or heart rate rise on the circuit and itâ€™s a car that truly should.
The argument may be that it was just an experience and not a track test â€” but why Phillip Island? Itâ€™s like flying all the way to moon and not getting out to bounce aroundâ€¦
Perhaps an investigation into Industry Best Practice, at least in this country, could help us find out how much fun the LP 580-2 really is in future.
2016 Lamborghini Huracan LP580-2 pricing and specifications:
Price: $378,900 (plus ORCs)
Engine: 5.2-litre ten-cylinder petrol
Transmission: Seven-speed twin-clutch
Fuel: 11.9L/100km (ADR Combined)
CO2: 278g/km (ADR Combined)
Safety rating: N/A