Making its debut in Geneva, the new Lamborghini Huracán Performante takes the capabilities of the automaker’s “entry level” model to its highest level yet. With less weight, more power and an enhanced suspension system plus its advanced active aero package, Automobili Lamborghini Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Stefano Domenicali says the Performante represents “the powerhouse of Lamborghini DNA and innovation, and a 360 degree approach to creating class-leading super sports cars”. He added that it serves as “the pinnacle of Lamborghini V10 production car performance to date, on both track and road.”

Raising acceleration and exhilaration 

Inspired by the firm’s own Super Trofeo racing cars as well as extreme motorcycles, the Huracán Performante’s sharper exterior styling makes use of mass-reducing Forged Composite components in all of its active-aero elements, a decision that also helped trim some 88 pounds from the curb weight. Freer-flowing manifolds, including an all-new lighter exhaust system, help raise output of the Huracán’s naturally aspirated 5.2-liter V10  from 602 to 631 horsepower and 70 percent of its total torque–upped from 413 to 422 lb-ft–is on tap from just 1,000 rpm. Passing to all four wheels through a modified version of the 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, the Performante can streak from 0-62 mph in 2.9 seconds and has a top end of 202 mph.

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The Huracán's chassis received a similar rethink for Performante duty. Tuning has been stiffened and sharpened, whether fitted with standard dampers or available magneto rheological upfits. The sharper response comes from the retuned electro-mechanical power steering, stability control system, ANIMA driving modes and Gen V Haldex AWD package with a mechanically locking rear differential. The car rides on new Pirelli P Zero Corsa tires fitted to custom 20-inch forged alloy wheels.

New active aerodynamics

Without question, the slickest bit of new tech on this high performance Lamborghini is the radically innovative Aerodynamica Lamborghini Attiva package. ALA for short, the system weighs 80 percent less than conventional hydraulic system and uses a trio of small electric motors to quickly, precisely and independently open or close air ducts located in the nose and tail of the Performante in a way that optimizes airflow to minimize lift and maximize downforce. The bulk of this aero magic takes place in the unique rear wing, which is mounted on hollow supports that can pass air up from a duct located behind the composite engine cover and into the main element where it gets directed out through slots on either side. With the two rear motors regulating specific flow rates and responding to steering angle, the Performante’s ALA system helps it stay planted in a straight line as well as develop 750 percent more maximum vertical downforce than a standard Huracán Coupe. This improves braking and high-speed cornering performance.

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Inside its driver-focused cabin, the Performante features deeply bolstered sport seats and a new configurable digital dash with a dedicated ALA display. The vehicle also supports Apple CarPlay and the record-and-replay Lamborghini telemetry app. The car’s racing-inspired black Alcantara upholstery is matched with a selection of Forged Composite components, including the air vents, shifter paddles, door handles and center console. Set to hit showrooms here this summer, the 2018 Lamborghini Huracán Performante will start at $277,885 including destination.

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