Just Crazy Enough to Work

Lamborghini knows how to build crazy. The former tractor maker has been doing it since it’s inception in the 1960s, but really hit its stride in 1974 with the Lamborghini Countach, which looked fast no matter which way it was pointed. The Lamborghini Huracán, a V10-equipped supercar that sits just underneath its bonkers Aventador (soon to be replaced by the Revuelto flagship) is not crazy.

The Huracán premiered in 2014 as the sensible and more affordable Lamborghini, before the angular Urus SUV debuted. Since then, the company has seen that it became progressively faster and crazier as the years went on, capping it off with this Huracán Sterrato, an idea dreamt up when a development vehicle was destined for the scrapyard.


What came out the other end was this Mad Max-like hybrid of a supercar, a rally car and a 4×4. The Sterrato has about 2 extra inches of ground clearance over the regular Huracán and wider widths at both the front and rear. To protect its innards the Sterrato has an aluminum front underbody shield and reinforced door sills.

1 of 13

The exterior looks wild both with rally-style fog lights attached to the hood and a giant roof scoop to suck in air over the rear-mounted engine. With this supercar focused on dirt, it needed to but put high on the vehicle to keep it protected from contaminants. The purpose built Bridgestone Dueler tires have a knobby pattern that can be seen from the profile view.

Like the rest of the Huracáns, the Sterrato comes with a rear-mounted 5.2-liter ten-cylinder engine making 601 horsepower (hp) and 413 pound-feet (lb-ft) of torque. That goes through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission to all four wheels. The regular Huracan also has all-wheel drive, but the logic that controls the Sterrato is different.

Different drive modes, including Strada (Street), Sport and Rally, with Rally giving the most freedom to slide around on dirt, gravel and even tarmac. Those settings, in addition to the traction control and four-wheel drive system, also can stiffen the shocks, quicken the throttle and speed up the shifts. The funniest thing is that the Huracán Sterrato is probably the right Lamborghini for 95 percent of Huracán buyers.

Is the Huracán STO faster? Yes. Is the Huracán Evo quicker? Yes. Can the rear-wheel drive version go faster on a track? Also yes, in the right hands. But in the average person’s hands, the Sterrato’s combination of the breakneck speed (though its top speed of 161 miles per hour is far less than its brethren), pliable suspension and precise steering is better and more fun everywhere but the fastest, flattest, cleanest racetracks.

The Lamborghini Huracan Sterrato features a drive mode switch on the steering wheel.
Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A.

Dropping into the suede-covered bucket seats of the Huracán Sterrato, the seating position is low and tight. The slide-forward adjustment is convenient at the front of the seat and simple to grab and use. As with previous Huracáns, the Sterrato’s controls are focused on the driver, including the small, portrait-style touchscreen. It is surrounded by toggle switches and other airplane-inspired controls, including the ignition button and gear selector. Unlike the Urus and some others, the drive mode adjustments are right on the suede-covered steering wheel.

The cabin was hot out in the Palm Springs desert where it was being tested. The black suede on the doors and dashboard seems to absorb the sunlight and radiate it to the passengers. Even with the air conditioning on high the cabin was never truly at a comfortable temperature.

The touchscreen infotainment was finicky, not connecting to a Bluetooth phone and not switching FM stations. The software isn’t as crisp as the new options from Mercedes or Audi either. It was definitely a hiccup, but the V10 behind the driver provides plenty of soundtrack. The display does have an off-road screen mode like a Jeep, with gauges for incline and elevation.

But the Lamborghini Huracán Sterrato isn’t a rock crawler, it was made more like a rally car (hence the drive mode), for gravel and dirt roads that are mostly smooth. Granted, at Chuckwalla Valley Raceway in California the gravel part of the track was not smooth, with 6-inch-deep divots all over the dual-surface course.

The Lamborghini Huracan Sterrato comes with fender flares to help keep dust and rocks down.
Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A.

The first half of the track was asphalt and the Sterrato performed like a Lamborghini with insane acceleration from the all-wheel drive powertrain and direct and accurate steering, even on these softer tires. As the temperatures became warmer, the tires heated up and got slipperier.

On the rough parts the Sterrato held strong, even as its passengers were bouncing around the cabin. The platform, now more than seven years old, felt solid without squeaks or rattles or flex. Surprisingly the Huracán didn’t seem to bottom out either.

The paddle-operated, seven-speed transmission upshifts in milliseconds with a jolt of speed and will rev almost to redline on downshifts, which also settles the vehicle before a high-speed corner.

The Sport and Rally driving modes allow a little bit of slide from the rear end with the traction control in ESC Sport mode, but never enough to be dangerous. Like many of the new super and sports cars, the Sterrato lets the tail hang out, but always pulls the vehicle back straight. It makes average drivers feel like stunt drivers and the carbon ceramic brakes are unflappable.

The V10, still providing the soundtrack, starts getting louder around 3,500 revolutions per minute (rpm) almost like a switch. It’s a little annoying as that is a perfect rpm range for driving quickly up open mountain roads, which means the Sterrato goes from screaming to quiet to screaming hundreds of times. McLaren supercars aren’t much better. Ferrari is one of the few supercar makers that found a way to keep its exhaust sounding like music.

But Ferrari isn’t crazy like Lamborghini, shouting from its deafening exhaust and blinding onlookers with its shiny, multifaceted surfaces and accessories and fog lights. And sometimes (most of the time) supercar buyers want a little crazy with their purchase. And since most supercar drivers aren’t also race car drivers, the Lamborghini Huracán Sterrato (on sale now, limited to 1,499 units, for $273,177) and its slightly slower top speed, might be just the psychological prescription.

Source link