Lamborghini’s replacement for the Gallardo

Lamborghini’s replacement for the Gallardo, called Huracan, has been caught winter testing, ahead of its official reveal later today. (UPDATE: it has been revealed, scroll down below) The Huracan has some rather large shoes to fill, as its predecessor was the most successful model in Lamborghini’s history, having sold more than 14,000 units since its launch in 2003. That’s huge by supercar standards, but it seems like the Huracan is up for the task.

The Huracan pumps out 602 bhp from its 5.2 liter naturally-aspirated V10 engine, and come with all-wheel drive, thus giving it the name LP610-4, in traditional Lamborghini nomenclature. That’s quite a hike over the Gallardo – the Spyder version of which Jeremy Clarkson himself bought – that used to make anywhere between 550 to 560 bhp in its various iterations. Heck, that’s even more horsepower than the track-focused Gallardo Superleggera. Transmission duties will be handled by a seven-speed automatic dual-clutch borrowed from the Audi R8 V10 Plus, and top speed is 325 km/h while the naught to century dash is accomplished in a mere 3.2 seconds. As you can see from the pictures, the Huracan shares design cues borrowed from bigger brother Aventador as well as the Gallardo. It doesn’t break new grounds in terms of design but is an unmistakably modern reinterpration of the signature Lamborghini styling.

Minutes after the Gallardo’s official demise, there were speculations that Lamborghini would be naming the new baby supercar the Cabrera, but it is confirmed by Lamborghini themselves that it would be called the Huracan. The Sant’Agata Bolognese based manufacturer has released a series of viral videos on a futuristic microsite to drum up public interest in the new supercar. Dubbed the “Hexagon Project”, the series depict a group of English friends making their way to Lamborghini’s hometown to be the first persons to view the car in the flesh. Outside of the factory, we mean.

However, it seems like Lamborghini is stretching the joke too far in an attempt at being cool. They have just released Episode 3 of the Hexagon Project on YouTube and all we have seen yet are some really obnoxious hipsters wandering around the factory, and just trying to look cool while at it. There’s still no sight of the car in question, and the storyline or acting isn’t enough to keep viewers looking forward to the next installment.

There’s a reason we love Lamborghinis and it’s because they appeal to the rebel, the brawling, rowdy adrenalin-jacked kid trapped inside every one of us. Lamborghini is (was) the antithesis of oh-so-prim-and-proper Ferrari, the plucky upstart challenging the undisputed king, and we all root for the underdog. It is anti-establishment, and doesn’t give two hoots about racing, unless all competitors are wearing Blancplain watches. It doesn’t care about setting the Nurburgring ablaze, rather preferring to smoke all four wheels out of every corner, reminding you time and again who is boss, in case you push it too far. What it does is make the inner child inside us scream and squeal in delight and that’s why Lamborghinis quickly replaced Playboy centerfolds on every teenager’s bedroom wall.

Ferrari, despite their thoroughbred racing heritage and uber-excellent road cars, is now perceived by many as having sold out. Think of anything that you use in your daily life and chances are, you can get a Ferrari-branded alternative or accessory to that. Bags, computers, pens, key-rings, you can get anything you want at the Ferrari store, including aftershaves and golf clubs. Like a Top Gear presenter said, “Ferrari is a keychain company that happens to make cars.” Or something to that effect.

Couple this to the fact that they insist that every car that they deliver for a press review come with its own phalanx of engineers and mechanics. I review cars and motorcycles in my day job (no Ferraris yet, sadly) so I understand why every manufacturer takes it so seriously. But the very foundation of press reporting and objectivity is shaken when you insist on giving the press a car that is substantially different to what a customer is getting for his hard earned money. The irony here is that Ferrari doesn’t even need to go to such extremes to garner good reviews; their cars are more than capable of standing up in their own right. Like Chris Harris wrote in Jalopnik, “how ****ing paranoid do you have to be to put even stickier rubber on a Scuderia? It’s like John Holmes having an extra two inches grafted onto his dick.”

Lamborghini, it seemed, didn’t care about all this razzmatazz. It didn’t care about how inch-perfectly you nail an apex, as long as you do so with a big grin on your face. But not anymore. Now they have their own line of merchandise that is coming perilously close to Ferrari in terms of range and options. Heck, I received a Lamborghini pencil and some Christmas baubles as part of the press pack at the last Geneva Motor Show. Thank god they didn’t give me the barf bag for my plane ride home.

Maybe it is inevitable. Maybe it was bound to happen sooner or latter. The Middle East is in the doldrums, Kim Dotcom is languishing in Hobbitland, Jay Leno now subscribes to the McLaren newsletter, Rowan Atkinson’s last Johnny English was a miserable flop, and there can only be so many buyers of cars with price tags that rival the GDP of Burma. Cars like the Bugatti Veyron and the Lexus LF-A are monumental achievements of technology and engineering and, despite their price, still lose their makers money rather than actually bringing it in. Well, that might just be a form of clever marketing but that’s what they say. And so carmakers have to come up with new and unique ways to sustain their companies. Porsche does it with hedge funds, and rather successfully too. Despite producing much less cars than Volkswagen per year (one/sixtieth, to be precise), these plucky Germans has actually got so much money in their coffers that they wanted to own the monolith just a few years back. By some sleigh of hand that we outside Wall Street are too stupid to understand, the reverse happened. Oh, by the way, would you like to have a Porsche Design kitchen?

And so Lamborghini, once the upstart tractor manufacturer, is going the Ferrari and Porsche way. What was once the epitome of cool is now threatening to turn into a cash cow. I can understand the rationale behind marketing motoring related paraphernalia like sweatshirts and scale models, but an iPad case is taking it too far. Even SUVs are okay for that matter, there’s no rule that says you just have to keep making fire-spitting supercars. But, for the love of god, please, please, remember that you make cars first and foremost.

There’s nothing wrong with it technically; it just don’t go down well with the fans. Call us purists or anything, but we don’t want Lamborghini to follow in big daddy Audi’s footsteps. We don’t want Lamborghini to start taking itself so seriously now. Like Ferrari, Lamborghini doesn’t need this stupid viral marketing campaign to sell their cars. I’m sure the Huracan, just like the Gallardo, will be strong enough to stand on its own merit.

As for me personally, I’m tearing down my faded Veneno poster and putting up a Pagani Zonda in its place. At least Horacio Pagani still have his heart in the right place.