We’re still seriously envious of our motoring expert Jez Spinks because he recently drove the new Lamborghini Huracan LP580-2 at picturesque Phillip Island.
Even among the extroverted automobiles of a Lamborghini showroom, it’s possible to find a model on another level of flamboyance.
LP580-2 sounds like the name of the latest ultra-smart TV but is actually a new rear-wheel-drive variant of the Huracan supercar that makes its all-wheel-drive twin, the LP610-4, look almost sensible.
Lamborghini pitches the LP580-2 as its “purest fun-to-drive machine”, and even the technical presentation ahead of our drive at Phillip Island racetrack made more sly-smiled references to ‘power oversteer’ than we can recall from any previous launch.
Two key factors create the fun: the LP580-2 offsets its 22kW shortfall over the 449kW 610-4 by weighing 33kg less thanks to the absence of mechanicals required to also send power to the front wheels; and the rear-drive Lambo is also fitted with smaller (19-inch) Pirelli P Zero tyres designed to have less grip.
The LP580-2 can comfortably reach 290km/h on Phillip Island’s start/finish straight that runs downhill towards the Bass Strait, though the true fun happens in the track’s many corners.
Flick the steering wheel’s Anima toggle from Strada to either Sport or Corsa (Italian for ‘Race’), and the LP580-2 loosens electronic safety nets and stirs vehicle settings into a more aggressive mood.
Crucially, this doesn’t alter the sense that this is a remarkably easy car to drive flat-out.
The hefty weighting and accuracy of the key controls – notably the strong, linear brakes and tactile steering wheel – helps the driver understand quickly and easily when they’re on the limit of grip.
Head into a corner at speed and the Huracan’s rear tyres – 50 per cent wider than those you’d find on a Toyota Corolla – start to squirm as they try to arm-wrestle the V10’s huge wallop of power to the bitumen.
The driver’s choice is now to keep it that way for a quick lap – or to instigate that ‘power oversteer’ by squeezing harder on the throttle pedal.
Where this would push the every-wheel-counts 610-4 even wider of the racing line, the rear-drive Huracan simply pivots its bum to help point the nose in a more favourable direction.
Providing you’re not on the fastest bends and are quick enough with the counter-steer, it’s entertaining rather than frightening.
The Huracan’s V10 – stubbornly yet welcomingly free of any turbochargers or superchargers – also delights with its angry roar and crackling exhaust.
Main complaints about driving the Huracan, regardless of model, centre around the paddleshift system. The plasticky levers look and feel like spares from a Meccano set, and despite their huge size can be difficult to pull for downshifts when any steering lock is applied as they are fixed to the steering column.
The interior also looks like a serious case of hex addiction. Almost every conceivable control, display, vent, trim – you name it – is shaped with six sides.
In the context of a Lamborghini, though, the design is actually likeable. And it certainly further distinguishes the Huracan from its Audi twin, the R8.
The German supercar launches locally soon – likely to be start below the LP580-2’s $378,900 price tag that itself saves about $50K over the LP610-4. The R8 currently doesn’t offer a rear-wheel-drive variant, though.
And if the next, inevitable instalment of the entertainingly daft, drifting-obsessed Fast and the Furious film series is looking for a suitably equipped supercar, the Huracan LP580-2 should leap off the casting couch.