Test Drive: A Long Weekend With Lamborghini's RWD Huracán Spyder

Lamborghini replaced its well-known Gallardo with the Huracán in 2014. Since then, it has filled out the line with a few coupes, the coolest police car on the planet, and a convertible. With a more aggressive front and rear-end, the new for 2017 Lamborghini RWD Huracán Spyder still comes in four wheels and two seats, but the two primary changes — rear-wheel drive and a drop top — double down to create a Huracán that’s fun to drive.

The RWD Huracán Spyder is the first car to emerge from Lambo since Stefano Domenicali took over the reigns at the Italian company. “This is a Lamborghini for those with a passion for life and the purest driving experience on the open road," the former team principal of the Ferrari Formula One team said in a press release. "It’s also a Huracán for those entering the Lamborghini family, wanting a true Spyder experience without compromising on the performance and dynamic handling of a rear-wheel-drive car.”

Like its all-wheel-drive predecessor, which costs an additional $42,570, the RWD Huracán Spyder retains the 5.2-liter naturally aspirated V-10 engine that produces 580 horsepower, as well as 398 lb-ft of torque, catapults from 0-62 mph in 3.6 seconds, and has a top speed of 198 mph. Weight distribution is 40:60 front to rear. Thanks to larger air intakes just below the headlights, the new Lambo looks even more aggressive than other Huracáns  This design change also helps the car perform better because the additional air flowing through the front end increases the downward pressure on the front wheels, giving the driver better control. The drop top takes 17 seconds to open or close and can do this on the fly at speeds of up to 31 mph. But it’s worth operating while it’s parked to witness the mechanical elegance of the operation.

Fire up the Huracán by flipping up the cage protecting the ignition switch that looks and feels every bit as cool as turning on the Batmobile’s engine. The sound is equal parts sexy and powerful, enough to give you a rush of adrenaline. It’s also a siren song calling neighbors you didn’t even know existed, who will have three questions: Is it a kit car? Can they take a photo with it? And, can they have your Honda Civic if for some reason you get to keep the Lambo?

During our long weekend, we took a few runs up and down one of the best driving roads in the U.S., Angeles Crest Highway, as well as through canyons in Malibu and Topanga. Due to winter storms that left debris littering much of the Crest, we didn’t put in as many miles as intended. But we found that the RWD Huracán Spyder helped us discover new parts of our chest just by mashing the accelerator. 

Like most supercars, the vehicle has a low nose, something you’ll want to be aware of if you’re using it as a daily driver. Forget it and you’ll hear an awful and expensive scraping sound. But hydraulics buy the driver a few inches to elevate the front end. Activated by a switch on the dash, this feature is great when pulling into a driveway with even a small lip. But it took a few drives to realize that the vehicle is low — it can bottom out on even a slight storm drain. Tougher to gauge are small depressions in roadways, especially those that look like reverse speed bumps. They’ll catch the front end a few times before you learn to spot them.

Lamborghini’s ANIMA system acts as the brains and nervous system of the RWD Huracán Spyder, adjusting everything from engine response and sound to steering ratios and damper stiffness. The system has three settings: strada (street), sport, and corsa (track). We played with all three and split most of our time between street and sport. We even spent some time in manual, but we quickly learned ANIMA shifts quicker and smarter than we ever could. Leaving shifting up to it gave us one less thing to think about, and let us concentrate more on steering. And with the top down, it’s all but impossible to imagine a more fun driving experience than this. [$219,000; lamborghini.com]

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