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The Lamborghini Huracan : Raging Bull goes to the ballet

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Breezy drive in a fresh cockpit

The Huracan is more than a successor to the long-running Gallardo. It is a whole new chapter in Lamborghini's legacy - one underscored by build quality, driveability and a design language that is less brash and vulgar.

The Lamborghini Huracan takes on twisty roads with more ease and precision than a compact hot hatch. -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

The Lamborghini Huracan takes on twisty roads with more ease and precision than a compact hot hatch.

In short, it is a Lamborghini like none before.

First off, the car employs a twin- clutch automatic transmission - one which the immaculately suited Lamborghini management previously dismissed as being too "soft" and "emotionless".

But in fact, it ranks as one of the best things that has happened for Lamborghini, right alongside the marque's acquisition by Audi 16 years ago.

The gearbox makes the Huracan so much more comfortable to pilot, especially when all you want is to get to the office without a speeding ticket.

And yet, it takes nothing away from the Raging Bull, which every 10-year-old knows is always going to be more "extreme" than a Prancing Horse.

Flip a switch conveniently located on the flat bottom of the steering wheel and the car goes from Strada (street) to Sport mode. And a second time to bring it to Corsa (race circuit) mode.

The first whips up a storm to transform an almost easy-going Lambo (unheard of before) into a ballistic beast the world is more accustomed to.

Seamless gear changes give way to sledgehammer shifts that shake you like a rag doll in your seat. But at the same time, they are a tinge less violent than movements made by the six-speed robotised manual the marque used previously.

Throttle response, which is already beyond reproach in Strada mode, becomes more sensitive, more urgent.

The car's suspension toughens up, going from firm to rock hard. Incidentally, the test car is equipped with Audi's electro-magnetic active damping system.

Unlike carbon brakes which are standard issue in the Huracan, this electronic wizardry is a cost option.

But it is highly recommended because it includes a nose-lift function that allows the oh-so-low Huracan to cope with nastier speed humps, steep ramps and roadside curbs.

The default ride setting in Strada is cushier than what the marque was previously capable of, but it is unmistakably Lambo. You still feel every pimple on the bitumen.

This intimate acquaintance with the road is reinforced by the steering, which is less hefty than before but still affords a decent level of feedback.

Now, let's come to Corsa. It may be tailored for track use, but it is, in fact, more friendly to use on Singapore roads. This is because it puts you in a "manual transmission" frame of mind, as the car will not change cogs on its own in this mode.

And because of that, you get to enjoy the fireworks that come with Sport mode, without the repression that comes with seriously delayed upshifts.

But given an empty stretch of road ahead, the car is most enjoyable in Sport mode. And it does not have to be a particularly expansive highway either.

Despite its broad shoulders, the Huracan carves up the twisty Old Upper Thomson Road with more ease and precision than a compact hot hatch.

Its ray-like profile and fat tyres give it an unshakeable adherence to the road and you merely need to tap the left pedal to sail past the baddest bends.

Compared with past Lamborghinis, which tend to be either a handful or constipated when driven in the city, the car, whose name means hurricane in Spanish, is a breeze.

When unprovoked, it is perfectly happy to hum along in seventh gear at a touch more than 1,000rpm. At this speed, it will accelerate effortlessly without changing down.

Equally astonishing is the car's build quality. While the Gallardo was commendable in that respect when compared with pre-Audi Lambos, the Huracan puts the brand on a par with top luxury players.

In some areas, its finishing is better than what you would find in a German rival.

Its cockpit is also refreshingly new. Along with the hexagonal theme that permeates the car inside and out, you get lots of neat features. Like a missile-arming ignition switch, a pull-up flap that engages reverse gear, a self-release electronic parking brake and motorbike-like signal switchgear (same for wipers).

The motorbike-like signal switchgear is most useful as it declutters the space behind the steering wheel and leaves no room for ambiguity when you want to play with the shift paddles.

Even the sports seat is comfortable, with proper adjustments and a padded headrest area.

The only thing the car could do with is a photochromatic rear-view mirror. Because it is so low-slung, headlight glare from vehicles behind can be irritating.

Last but not least, the Huracan is a beautiful car. Its styling is futuristic but not outlandish, aggressive but not coarse.

While the Gallardo appeared a little loud and uncouth in some colours, its successor will not be out of place at an establishment that plays classical music instead of rap numbers.

It even pulls off a shade most associated with its Maranello rival. Indeed, the test car looks quite regal in crimson. So, if you have always wanted to drive a Raging Bull, here is your chance.

Specs

LAMBORGHINI HURACAN LP610-4 5.2

Price: From $1,168,000 without COE

Engine: 5,204cc 40-valve V10

Transmission: Seven-speed dual-clutch automatic with paddle shift

Power: 610bhp at 8,250rpm

Torque: 560Nm at 6,500rpm

0-100kmh: 3.2 seconds

Top speed: 325kmh

Fuel consumption: 12.5 litres/100km

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