Photos by Lamborghini/Charlie Magee
Thank you, Lamborghini, for your rolling gifts to the planet, all pointy, angular and snarling. And thank you for making them so distinctive that the car spotters of the world, even those who haven’t risen to the level of a true carniscenti, know instantly that they’re looking at one of Sant’Agata Bolognese’s offspring.
Faithful readers will recall how enamored of the Lamborghini Huracán I obviously was when I first reviewed the car. My only real “complaint” – the car’s looks and performance were too close to the flagship Aventador. Not the worst criticism one can receive, right?
Well, the Spyder (technically, the LP 610-4 Spyder) is all that and more. (The “610” comes from “cheval vapeur”, European horses – that’s just over 600 horsepower measured the American way — and the “-4” comes from all-wheel drive.) It’s clearly a very rigid drop top – none of the cowl shake or body shudder of convertibles past. The car feels like it was machined from a single platinum ingot. So what’s the performance trade-off from the coupe version? Almost none given that the top speed of just over 200 MPH and the performance stats (3.4 seconds 0-60 MPH) are virtually identical for both of the all-wheel-drive Huracáns. Thanks to extensive use of aluminum and carbon fiber, the car weighs in at just under 3,400 pounds, and you get a rocket car which quickly converts to an open ride — you can raise and lower the top in about fifteen seconds (it even operates while driving up to 31 MPH).
The question for Lamborghini was, where is the best place to host a worldwide launch of this car to show off its finest attributes? I think that their choice of South Beach in Miami in late January / early February was perfect. The sunny and warmish time of year — though we did have a few hours of a torrential downpour — gave us the chance to try the operation of the top (flawless and quick), frequently switching between an open and closed car. And this stylish missile, available in an array of colorful options, both shiny and matte, is very much at home with the Miami vibe. In fact, during one photo shoot which took place in the Wynwood Art District, one might be forgiven for thinking that the cars were painted by one of the numerous graffiti wall-artists in residence. Miami also is a great city for driving the Spyder given the numerous types of roadways — interstates and highways linking major areas, streets through tree-lined areas like Coral Gables, water-adjacent parkways where one can get that perfect Biscayne Bay shot and even cruising South Beach’s Ocean Drive. Like Rodeo Drive on the West Coast, Ocean Drive has seen it all but when a bevy of Lambos sails through town — in enough different neon colors to make even the most fervent Fauvist painter blush — heads do turn. Fun stuff. My co-pilot journalist Chris and I may not have been mistaken for Crockett and Tubbs as we cruised past the countless sidewalk cafes, boutique hotels and shops along the Miami shoreline, but were they rolling today, the famous duo probably would have swapped out their Daytona and Testarossa for a Lamborghini, the likely bedroom poster photo of choice for today’s American teen male.
Lamborghini went to great lengths to make sure that their new baby was instantly identifiable from all angles and the side view is no exception. When the top is down, for example, the boot cover includes two fins which from the side look somewhat like tapering headrests, which give the car a very dynamic profile and include vents which further lessen open-top turbulence for the passengers. Two hidden safety bars are ready to spring should the car roll, an unlikely occurrence due to the car’s exceptional dynamics, wide track and low center of gravity (even more so due to the fabric top’s extreme lightness). Speaking of the top, it’s made of three layers of material, including a rubber core to absorb much of the sound from outside of the car. The simplicity of operation and the way that the deck lid can change the side view of the car when the top is down are just two of the reasons why Lamborghini did not follow the Aventador’s design of having a rigid Spyder roof which is removed manually and stored in the front boot.
But this latest Lamborghini offspring isn’t only about the looks. With the sport seat in “my” car, the rake angle isn’t adjustable (fore and aft are) but it puts the driver in the right slightly-supine position so a day behind the wheel ends as it began, with a driver happy to be there. The sound of the naturally-aspirated (non-turbo) Spyder is a delight all in itself, what with ten cylinders pumping and pushing that petrol-fueled bark out the back through four well-placed trumpets. Approach the 8,700 RPM redline and get ready to paddle-shift the dual-clutch transmission and you’ll know that you are being motivated in a race-bred machine. Dial in the “Sport” mode on the Formula One-type steering wheel (like Goldilocks once said, the “Strada” mode seemed too mundane and the “Corsa” mode in the rain seemed foolhardy) and you get that extra snarl that so many love so dearly while the carbon-ceramic brakes (standard) still can bring you back to Earth in a heartbeat. Yet, despite all of this go- fast ability, with the Huracán’s start-stop technology and cylinder deactivation, this newest model gets better gas mileage and achieves almost 15% less CO2 emissions than the model it replaced (the Gallardo) yet it delivers substantially greater performance.
The U.S. base price for the Spyder is $262,350 and I predict that this will be a big seller. Already, the Huracán (Lamborghini’s “entry level” model) is on track to obliterate the sales records of the Gallardo (3,554 sales vs. 2,100 in the first 19 months of sales, an increased velocity of about 30%). But don’t expect to leave the showroom with a Spyder at the base price — well over half of the Lamborghini buyers opt to partake of the ad personam program in order to personalize their new ride. One my favorite options – contrast stitching to add, say, bright red threads to the black leather seats.
Whether it was P.T. Barnum, Gypsy Rose Lee or some other luminary (outrageous or otherwise) who coined the phrase, Lamborghini has the ability to “keep them wanting more” as their cars, like the new Huracán Spyder, continue the company’s track record of delivering more performance, better reliability and groundbreaking designs in each successive model and even after several hours behind the wheel, the driver doesn’t want to give it up.
An internationally-recognized attorney, Tim Lappen is a partner at a major Los Angeles-based law firm, where he chairs the firm’s Family Office Group and its Luxury Home Group. He can be reached at [email protected]