Learn to drive a Lamborghini

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Front seat and dashboard view of a Lamborghini Esperienza

Go with the wind

The biggest revelation in driving a Lamborghini is how refined, composed and easy to drive it is.

Lamborghini’s Esperienza program offers prospective owners an irresistible opportunity to try before they buy. This rare chance to drive a $428,000 Huracan at Sydney’s Motorsport Park also allowed us to dispel some myths about such sophisticated machinery.

The biggest revelation is how refined, composed and easy to drive they are. Long gone is a driver wedged into a claustrophobic cabin while they struggle with heavily weighted controls and twitchy handling delivered by big wheels and a short wheelbase. Huracan’s exceptional performance delivery and modern all-wheel-drive handling is delivered with the same fingertip precision you’d find in a Mazda MX-5.

The scintillating Italian styling compels you to circle the waist-high Huracan several times to absorb all the finely sculptured detail before climbing aboard, which is also no more difficult than in any common sports car. Tailored leather seats hold you snugly in place but with all the adjustments necessary to comfortably accommodate tall adults. That said, the atmosphere makes you feel like you have just been individually fitted for a Le Mans race car. If it weren’t immediately obvious from the long tail and stubby nose design, a glance over the shoulder is an instant reminder that its mechanical configuration also mirrors race cars, with a high-performance V10 engine virtually strapped to your shoulders.

Naturally, luggage space is non-existent, and with 11-inch rims on the back you can forget about carrying a spare wheel.

Following Lamborghini tradition, the dry sump 5.2L, 40-valve V10 engine is naturally aspirated, and with a compression ratio of 12.7:1 it delivers an impressive 449kW and 560Nm. It’s mated to a 7spd dual-clutch transmission with three selectable drive modes: Strada for road use, Sport for spirited driving and Corsa for track work. Power is delivered to all four 20-inch Pirelli tyres via an electro-hydraulic multi-plate clutch. The dry weight is 1422kg thanks to a frame and body constructed of aluminium and carbon fibre composite, and this outstanding power-to-weight ratio, considering it’s an AWD car, gives a factory performance figure of 0-100km/h in just 3.2 seconds. On the flip side of the coin, official fuel economy is 12.5L/100km, and CO2 emissions are 290g/km.

As you settle into the beautifully finished Huracan cabin, there are subtle touches, such as the multi-function steering wheel, flip lid (bomb door) starter button and paddle-only gear shift that reinforce that fighter pilot feeling, and while the howl of a highly tuned engine just behind your ears is well insulated it’s undeniably intoxicating.

On this closed circuit, the goal is to become fully acquainted with the car through exercises designed to explore the pin-sharp handling, AWD grip and point-to-point acceleration and braking. The best example of Huracan’s precision engineering is that it doesn’t take long to find yourself at a fair pace, slicing in and out of witch’s hats with just a gentle roll of the wrists, pinning yourself to the seat under full acceleration as you head to the next obstacle and finding the massive six-pot carbon fibre brakes have hauled you down to rest in half the space you allowed.

By day’s end we’re putting in quick laps behind a professional driver in a pace car who gives feedback via radio, fine-tuning any minor indiscretions.

Esperienza is the vital introductory experience for the Lamborghini owner in terms of understanding the capability of their car, even if they never intend to take it on the track. For those keen to explore competition, the next step is ‘academy’, where you work personally with a professional driver. From there it’s a club competition series and, ultimately, getting really serious in GT3.

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Written by Ernest Litera
May 04, 2015