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[NEWS] Lamborghini Huracan Sterrato

Lamborghini Huracan Sterrato

Lamborghini Huracan Sterrato driving offroad front 3 4
Lamborghini Huracan Sterrato is the rough-and-ready swansong for the company's staple supercar

We have the Lamborghini Urus to thank for the existence of the Lamborghini Huracán Sterrato, the last and perhaps most entertaining variant of the company’s staple supercar. While developing the Urus 4x4, the firm’s engineers thrashed a development car around a sterrato (Italian for dirt road) at Nardò test track, had a great time, then decamped for a team dinner and wondered how much fun a Huracán could be in the same circumstances. A tired durability prototype was resuscitated and given raised suspension, and everyone who drove it, initial sceptic or otherwise, was a convert. So here we are. Of the Huracáns still to be built before the car goes out of production at the end of next year, a third – 1499 – will be Sterratos. The basis is a regular 4WD Huracán coupé, raised by 44mm and given 25% softer springs and an additional 35% (front) and 25% (rear) suspension travel. The track is 30mm (front) and 34mm (rear) wider and the wheelbase 9mm longer. Then there is what chief technical officer Rouven Mohr describes as good honest chassis tuning, including tweaking the 4WD system’s distribution, the torque vectoring via braking and the rear limited-slip differential’s operation, and only after that allowing calibration of the stability control. The Sterrato is finished with rugged plastic cladding, rally-spec lights, Bridgestone Dueller run-flat tyres and a £232,820 price tag. A few are still up for grabs, but won’t be for long.Mohr says that Huracáns, or any other super-sports Lamborghinis, are usually developed with measurable performance parameters front of mind. Some are applied here too, but there was also an emphasis on the subjective. Unless you can put measurable KPIs on smiles.Our drive consists of two parts. First is a straightforward, speed-very-much-limited road drive; the second a rallycross stage.Lamborghini is one of the more flamboyant sports car companies, so you settle into a lively Huracán-spec interior, whose only notable nods to being a Sterrato are the switch for the spotlights, some instrumentation changes (inclinometer, compass, steering angle indicator) and a new ‘Rally’ calibration on the drive mode selector. Those aside, the naturally aspirated 5.2-litre V10, Lamborghini’s last, fires with a noisy bark to a loud idle. This, like track-focused Huracáns, is not the most subtle car in the world.A slight surprise, then, to discover just how docile the Sterrato is as a road car. On its 235/40 R19 front and 285/40 R19 tyres, it has a relaxed, easy and absorbent gait to its ride that’s slightly at odds with the sharpness of the 602bhp engine and quick seven-speed dual clutch transmission. It reminds me of an Ariel Nomad – I always said that car was a trailblazer – but while Mohr hasn’t driven one, he does cite the Alpine A110 as an inspiration: a light car with a chilled, relaxed gait and one that’s keen to turn off-throttle. And on the highway the Sterrato does show those kinds of tendencies. If it wasn’t quite so loud, didn’t have quite such a focused and cramped interior and a rear-view mirror that was rendered hopeless by a roof-mounted air scoop, it would make a pleasing GT car. It has sweet steering, too; modestly weighted, very accurate and communicative.For the second part of the drive, Mohr has two instructions. “First, enjoy. And second, go sideways.” The circuit is half asphalt; half dust, sand and gravel. And the car is a hoot. Lamborghini suggests Sport mode for the Tarmac section and Rally for the loose, but the latter just leaves the stability control and ABS more lenient, so moves around beautifully on hard surfaces too.It’s hugely entertaining. It goes sideways, it makes a great noise, it’s easily controllable. And the nice thing about it is that for all of the giggles that are virtually inevitable with an engine like this and a softly sprung off-road chassis, there’s real depth of ability to the dynamics too.There’s noticeable roll and pitch, but the electromagnetic dampers are clearly clever because they stop any upward bouncing – it’s all absorb, poise and head off – so you can deftly control the body’s movements, pitch weight onto the nose under braking, turn and wait, and wait as you might in an A110, or a roadgoing sports car, for the tail to swing around, then get on the power and ride a controlled slide on corner exit.Better, it’ll let you do this on a hard surface just as it will on gravel. Catch an inside tyre on a kerb and it’ll hoick the car’s line tighter. Swing the body left or right to get it backed in, then ride the power on the way out. It’s very, very good. And while several seconds a lap slower, on circuit, than the latest track-focused Huracáns, Lamborghini thinks it’s as quick as an early one. Ultimately, it has so pleased Lamborghini’s engineers that although the Sterrato now gives track-day organisers two reasons to black-flag a Huracán - excess noise and drifting – they admit it has given them something to think about come the Huracán’s replacement, too. Reasons to be thankful to the Urus. Who’d have thought?

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