There was a time when spotting exotic cars in Indian cities was a rarity, but all that changed when the Volkswagen Group set up shop here, some 15 years ago and introduced a formal sales structure for its house of brands—which included the exotic sportscar brand Lamborghini.
Since, and despite the market having seen competition that included all the top tier brands— such as Aston Martin, Maserati, Ferrari and its own sister brand Porsche—the brand named after fighting bulls has raced ahead both in terms of popularity, sales and customer choice.
Easy to see why.
For one, the brand has the widest and deepest sales and service network with three dealerships across key cities, but the million-dollar question is what's (almost) a million-dollar car is this—what is it like to drive in India? Fortune India took a spin in a Huracán Evo—a four-wheel-drive rendition of the supercar to get to know firsthand.
Sleek as a stingray, low slung and as muscular as the fighting bull that the Huracán (which means Hurricane) and is named after, the super sports car that originates from Sant’Agata Bolognese, Italy, is as eye-catching as any in the world. The Huracán is derived from its predecessor, the Murcielago, which was a spirited supercar from 2005, and it's easy to see how the present generation has evolved. The Huracán is smaller, more compact, easier to handle, easier to drive, and even easier on the eyes, which is to say it looks almost pretty, especially in bright sunshine yellow, as opposed to like a monstrous wild animal that is hard to tame.
While too much technology takes away the one thing that makes a supercar what it is—it does pique one's curiosity to note if this is a car that will possess the same spiritedness as the older ones.
Inside it's clear that this is a performance vehicle. The spaceship-like interiors in plush leather suede and leather; the build and feel of the seat; the meatiness of the steering; the space-age like controls—for different drive modes and functions—evoke an F1-car-esque ambience, but once started up and its accelerator tapped is when one truly gets a sense of the V-10 rear-mid mounted engine, and the 640 bhp that lurks under the hood. Of course, in the rare event, one misses all that, the sound of the engine—which sounds like a blend of the roar of a Royal Bengal tiger and some other subterranean neanderthal beast—will swiftly serve as a reminder of the very serious power this carriage is capable of.
As an all-wheel-drive car, this sports car is shatteringly quick, and gets up to 100 km/h in less than three seconds, in a manner that lets one know that despite the compact and neat lines, it has been crafted in it is just as serious as its ancestors. Think of a modern-day iPod that's got as much capability as its earlier generations which were larger and heavier. A point to note—it goes from 0 to 200 km/h in under ten seconds, which is jaw-dropping in terms of acceleration power. Of course, in India, its buyers won't even dream of going anywhere near its top speed of 325 km/h. Thankfully professional tracks exist for that sort of driving.
That’s a testament to its modern engineering, structural suspension and driving aesthetics, as well as improved manufacturing as anyone who experienced an older Murcielago or Diablo will acknowledge their difficult gears and overall driving.
This latest generation of the Huracán comes with a new design that features a new steering that gives the driver super sharp responsiveness and agility of handling, and an infotainment system that's up to speed with any other, except that music may be the last thing one wants to hear when driving this vehicle. Driving In Mumbai may lead to concerns about ground clearance but those are unwarranted, given the nose-lift function that allows the driver to raise clearance with the flick of a switch. The Huracán is far easier to drive in city streets despite the presence of several high speed-breakers, small lanes, and numerous potholes. That is a major plus given that many other top performance cars do have an issue with ground clearance.
Some cars feature different drive modes, as a matter of cosmetic choice, but that is not the case here. In Strada mode, the Huracán Evo is agile and easy driving; in Sport, it becomes spirited and exciting, and in Corsa, it is sharp and exhilarating for environments such as racetracks.
Up at high speeds on the highways in Mumbai, the Huracán slows down impressively from triple-digit speeds to normal cruise levels just as impressive as it gets there in the first place—as a golden testament to its efficient braking. Supercar aficionado and founder of stock brokerage firm Angel One (formerly Broking) Dinesh Thakkar opines that while the Huracán is the last phase of its generation, it is all out a driver's car and possessed of extremely sturdy braking systems that just don't get spongy. "Even on a professional track, after eight or nine laps, the brakes do not get soft, remain crisp and that makes for tremendous performance when handling sharp curves and bends," he says, adding it’s not as exhausting to drive as older Lamborghinis; it is very practical and has loads of power.
The titanium intake valves and refined lightweight exhaust system churn out a sound that is like sweet music to the ears, especially at higher speeds, and while traditional wisdom suggests the Ferrari sound is the benchmark and holy grail of all exotics, the Huracán hits a few high notes of its own.
If there's a downside to driving a car such as this in the city it's the attention that it gets—whether it's wanted or not. Case in point, the collector at the toll booth on seeing the car coming from a distance got out of the booth. Was it to charge more for a Lamborghini?
No, it was so that he could take selfies and pictures, and he wasn't worried about the growing line of cars behind it. That's what you call an official traffic stopper.