Rating: 9.2
Bottom Line:
Taking the supercar to the next level, Lamborghini builds an exotic high-performance daily driver.
Pros:
  • Outrageous styling
  • Excellent performance
  • Easy to drive
Cons:
  • Attracts attention; police officers, too
  • Too soft for the true Lambo enthusiast
  • Tiny trunk space

There's something about seeing a Lamborghini on the road — it elicits a different response than any other supercar. It was almost 30 years ago that reporter Morley Safer on the CBS news show "60 Minutes" explained how seeing the Lamborghini of that time — the Countach — anywhere in the world was an event. Following in its predecessor's footsteps (rather, tire tracks), the newest Lamborghini should have the same effect.

But the all-new Huracan has even bigger shoes to fill. It replaces the Gallardo, which was the best-selling Lamborghini of all time. And while the Huracan has the exotic looks expected of any new Lambo and can hold its own on a track — as we discovered at the Ascari racetrack in Ronda, Spain — like its predecessors it is designed as a road car.

The Huracan is comfortable and easy to drive, but that doesn't mean the Italian automaker has gone soft. This extreme-looking sports car will hit 60 mph in just over three seconds and can exceed 200 mph, yet it easily motors through town to the grocery store — there's even a bit of trunk space for a few packages. As Lamborghini CEO Stephan Winkelmann told us, this is "the car that is going to make a difference for Lamborghini."

View Pictures:  Lamborghini Huracan LP 610-4

Model lineup
The Huracan is a 2-seat sports car with the engine located behind the driver. As with its predecessors, the name comes from the world of bullfighting: Huracan was a bull of the Spanish Conte de la Patilla breed that fought in the late 19th century — in case you wanted to know.

When deliveries begin later this summer, the Huracan will be available exclusively as the LP 610-4. The "LP" designation refers to the layout of the engine; in this case, the V10 is mounted longitudinally ("longitudinale posteriore"). The number 610 refers to horsepower, while the "-4" indicates the Huracan is driven by all four wheels.

Pricing starts at $237,250, but with all the available options most models will be closer to $300,000 before they leave the showroom.

Winkelmann wasn't ready to talk about future iterations of the Huracan; however, based on the timeline the Gallardo followed, it's a safe guess that we'll see a convertible sometime in the next two years.

Under the hood
The Huracan may get most of its attention because of its sleek, angled styling, but the heart of this supercar is its 5.2-liter normally aspirated (Lamborghini doesn't use turbos) V10 engine producing 610 horsepower and 413 lb-ft of torque at 6500 rpm.

For Lamborghini, manual transmissions are now a thing of the past — the only transmission available for the Huracan is a 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox. The transmission shifts via paddles mounted on the steering column; there is no clutch pedal. If left alone, the transmission will shift automatically, but for the best performance you'll want to use the paddle shifters.

All that power is put to the pavement via a new electronic all-wheel-drive system. Under normal conditions, 30 percent of the grunt is sent to the front wheels; however, when needed, power can be split evenly front to back. No more than 50 percent of the car's power will ever go to the front wheels.

With the quick-shifting gearbox and excellent traction of the new all-wheel-drive system, the Huracan can hit 62 mph in just 3.2 seconds; 124 mph arrives in under 10 seconds.

Inner space
Although "luxurious" may not be the word that accurately describes the Huracan's interior, it is comfortable with a high-tech feel. The raised center console boasts an array of toggle switches and dials, with the gear-selector buttons (Park, Reverse, Neutral) located at the bottom, directly between the two seats. One clever touch: The red cover over the start-stop button evokes the feeling of firing a missile rather than starting an engine, and pushing it rewards the driver with a massive roar from the V10 engine as it comes to life.

Many controls are located on the steering wheel, including a unique turn-signal switch. Rather than the typical stalk, a switch on the left side of the wheel activates the turn signals, which is a little odd, but easy to get used to. At the bottom of the wheel sits a bright red switch that Lamborghini calls ANIMA — Adaptive Network Intelligent Management (ANIMA also means "soul" in Italian).

The ANIMA switch adjusts the Huracan's dynamic drive mode system and can be set to Strada for everyday driving, Sport for more spirited driving or Corsa for a day at the track. Each setting affects the throttle valves, exhaust note, transmission, all-wheel drive, stability control and suspension to set the car up properly for its intended use.

Completing the high-tech feel is the 12.3-inch digital display in front of the driver. The high-resolution screen shows all the pertinent information, and it can be configured to provide selected information such as a navigation map.

The Huracan's sport seats are quite firm, as expected. They're very supportive for track driving, but for everyday driving power-adjustable leather seats would be a better option. Seats, as well as the rest of the interior, can be matched to the exterior color, which makes for a bright experience when driving an orange car.

On the road (and track)
While the Huracan was built as a road car, that doesn't mean it isn't great fun on the track. Acceleration is strong off the line, and given enough space the Huracan will keep occupants pinned to their seats well into triple digits. The paddle shifters move through the gears very quickly; downshifts are seamless, rewarding the driver with a burst of speed and an angry blast from the exhaust.

The Huracan has several onboard sensors — Lamborghini calls it "instinctive technology" — that measure vehicle movements, yaw, steering input, acceleration and more. The Huracan can instantly make adjustments to the all-wheel drive system, power, steering and stability control to keep the car on track — literally. With its stability systems, AWD and impressive grip, the Huracan can make a mediocre driver feel like a pro.

A short stint on the road provided insight into what it would be like to drive the Huracan in everyday situations. Although visibility out the rear window is almost nonexistent, large side mirrors compensate, so that overall rearward visibility remains pretty good. Passing vehicles is a breeze with so much power on tap, and the car feels incredibly stable, even at high speeds on twisty roads. Driving on a racetrack is fun, but the Huracan's great cornering and acceleration shine more on twisty mountain roads - further evidence backing up the Huracan's role as a road car more than a track car.

Right for you?
The Huracan is not a car for introverts. This beast draws a crowd every time it gets driven, and honestly that's part of the fun. As if the car isn't noticeable on its own, Lamborghini adds an exclamation point with bright color choices of orange, green and yellow.

Aside from the eye-catching looks, the Huracan is a road-worthy supercar nimble enough for everyday use. It's comfortable with all the expected amenities, and Lamborghini's attention to the driving experience means you don't have to be professional driver to take full advantage of the Huracan's capabilities. One in Verde Mantis, please.

(As part of a sponsored press event, the automaker provided MSN with travel and accommodations to facilitate this report.)

Perry Stern's automotive career began over 20 years ago as an advisor at a vehicle consulting firm. One of the original staff members of CarPoint, Microsoft's automotive website that launched in 1995, he became editor of the site in 2002, which is now known as MSN Autos. Stern has also contributed to MSNBC and various MSN properties in Canada, Japan and Europe.