2016 Lamborghini Huracán Spyder review

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THE GOOD: All the style and presence of the coupe with that much more sound and engagement.

THE BAD: It’s a little heavier and a bit slower. You won’t notice.

THE BOTTOM LINE: One of the best supercars on the planet is made even better by the extraction of one roof. Worth the premium.

There’s a rift among supercar buyers, a division among those lucky few who drop unimaginable sums to own an exceptionally rare means of transportation. The first group are the adrenaline-seekers who crave performance, who look at horsepower and handling above all else. In the second group live those who want the lifestyle, the image and the attention associated with rolling up to the club in a car that very well may be worth more than the club itself.

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The two groups tend to coexist rather peacefully, but with the new $262,350 Lamborghini Huracán Spyder, they may find themselves with more in common than just swollen bank accounts and enviously packed garages. Lamborghini’s latest drop-top ticks all the right boxes from a performance standpoint, yet still has the outrageous presence and visibility to get you noticed wherever you go. This, dear readers, is a special machine.

Converted, not compromised

There was a time when buying a convertible version of a supercar meant getting a floppy, compromised version of the original. Lopping off the roof would kill the structural integrity, and the resulting car would flex and rattle through the turns. Handling irrevocably compromised, these became the lifestyle cars, looking and sounding great while offering maximum visibility to anyone within.

Thankfully, those days are largely gone, and here’s proof. The Huracán Spyder is a soft-top version of one of my favorite supercars on the road. It looks incredible from any angle, sounds incredible at any rev, and offers enough performance to make you feel like you’re truly getting your money’s worth — even when we’re talking about an awful, awful lot of money.

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For the new Spyder, the compromises are few and the benefits many. It weighs about 200 pounds more than the hardtop, accelerates from 0 to 60 two-tenths of a second slower (3.4 seconds versus 3.2 in the coupe), and will roar on up to a top speed of 201 mph. That figure, at least, is exactly the same as before.

The top itself raises or lowers in 17 seconds and can be operated at speeds up to 30 mph. Yes, it’s fabric, but from the inside you hardly know it. The nondescript black headliner actually hides an advanced sandwich of materials that provide stability, noise absorption and a fair bit of insulation from the world outside.

And that’s good, because I sadly spent much of my time testing the Spyder with the top up, in the rain, in the midst of an unseasonably chaotic spring.

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On the open road

Water falling from the heavens is generally not considered ideal conditions for evaluating a convertible. However, rain does enable some unique testing. Thanks to this atmospheric situation, I was able to determine that one can quite comfortably drive the Huracán Spyder with the top down even in gentle rain — so long as one keeps their speed up over about 40 miles per hour. Since the top can only be operated at speeds up to 30 mph, you’ll need to choose your route carefully.

With the top up, the car is remarkably civilized. That is to say, as civilized as a 600-plus horsepower Italian supercar can be. There’s very limited additional wind noise vs. the hardtop, only a little extra sound from those massive 20-inch Pirelli tires crashing through puddles will remind you there’s nothing but fabric above.

But of course it’s with the top down that you really want to drive this thing and, when the weather cleared, within a few moments of open-air hustling I was smitten. The siren song from the 5.2-liter V-10 sounds just that much better without glass and carbon fiber in the way. With the coupe you’re never lacking in auditory rewards, but with the Spyder there’s just that much more noise to love.

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Your eyes will be smitten, too. From the outside, the Spyder cuts the same dramatic wedge-shape as the Huracán coupe, and with a closed top the look is largely unspoiled. Open things up, though, and it gets even better. The Spyder gets a custom engine cover with more scales than Khaleesi’s pets. It’s aggressive as can be, and a nice companion to the interior of the car, which is patently ridiculous.

To start the engine, you flip up a cherry-red protective cover and stab at the “Start Engine” button, a process that will have you hearing the “Top Gun” theme song in your head every single time. But only briefly, as the whirring bark of the V-10 spinning into life quickly does away with any wayward thoughts. And, despite a cabin is full of visual distraction that will make your passenger giddy, the driving experience is surprisingly unfettered. Your hands never need to leave the wheel, with control for turn signal, wipers and lights all integrated within easy reach of your thumbs.

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One thing you will have to reach for, but only slightly, is the mode toggle that rests in the lower portion of the steering wheel. Here you select between three driving configurations, in order of increasing insanity: Strada (street), Sport and Corsa (race). Think of them as more, more, more and regardless of how you like it, the car never fails to impress. Strada is legitimately comfortable enough for daily driving, so long as your daily drive doesn’t entail a lot of broken roads. In Sport it all gets louder and angrier, each shift coming with more of a kick, and that exhaust constantly snarling and growling. Corsa, meanwhile, is a bit too much for most roads. Here the transmission gives up any and all pretenses of civility and the traction control is reined back to the point where you can get yourself into a lot of trouble before it’ll help you out.

(cnet.com, https://goo.gl/tBgROV)

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