Lamborghini Huracán – Is This Progress?

[hr] [dropcap]Q[/dropcap]uestion: How many country and western singers does it take to change a light globe?

Answer: 100. 1 to actually change it and 99 to sing about how good the old one was.

Here’s another question…… Why is that we all have a tendency to turn into country and western singers when a new car is released? I don’t know, but I’m about to do it again.

There’s a new Lamborghini in town. It’s called the Huracán and I don’t know about you, but my first impression is that it’s more storm-in-a-teacup than hurricane.

Here it is:

Lamborghini Huracan

Why is my first impression so-so?

Well, Lamborghini’s previous standard models were the Murcielago and the Gallardo, which looked pretty much the same as this new one, to be honest. The Aventador came out a few years ago and it looks kinda similar to this, too.

But over the last few years, a secret cache of Lamborghini designers that weren’t working on ‘standard’ cars stopped taking their meds and brought out some bat$h1t insane special edition cars like the Veneno, the Aventador J and the Sisto Elemento.

Lamborghini Veneno

Lamborghini Aventador J

Lamborghini Sisto Elemento

Madness!! Sheer, glorious madness!!!

Ferrari has always been the classic Italian supercar company whereas Lamborghini was always the slightly crazy one. After the Audi takeover in the late 1990’s, Lamborghini’s ship was righted by some sensible command and control, producing some suitably sharp-ish wedge models that even inspired a Batmobile. The rather more intense concepts shown above, however, hinted that a Teutonic Batman might have left the building and The Joker might have just taken charge again.

But now there’s the Huracan and it feels like Lamborghini’s come back to earth – just a little bit, at least.

Richard Hammond, in his Top Gear review of the Aventador, lamented that it was the first big V12 Lambo that didn’t feel like it was about to kill you. It was blazing fast. It could stick like a limpet. But he missed that seat-of-the-pants edginess that had defined previous V12 Lambos.

After the crazy Lamborghini concepts and special editions of the last few years, the Huracán kind of makes me feel the same way.

Lamborghini Huracan Side

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File this whole article under “Who Cares? You’re never going to own one anyway!”

I’m quite sure the Huracán is absolutely magnificent in every way. It’s just that the first photos look a little bit vanilla to me.

And if there’s one thing a Lamborghini should never be, it’s vanilla.

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Thursday Snippets – Frankfurt and non

The Frankfurt Motor Show is on again. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes because the Frankfurt Motor Show is like a small city unto itself. I’m quite sure it’s bigger than the central business district here in Hobart.

When I visited Frankfurt, in 2009, there were nine display halls. Each hall was massive. Some contain multiple brands but some were ‘owned’ by single carmaking groups. Mercedes Benz had their own hall. Volkswagen group had their own hall, except it didn’t include Audi, which had another pavilion all to itself. BMW had its own hall.

Jalopnik has a good article that provides some perspective as to the sheer size of these halls and you can imagine for yourself the amount of money that manufacturers spend on them. Rumour had it that Mercedes spent in the order of 30million EUR and that was back in 2009. Who knows how much Audi spent building an inverted city inside theirs, complete with mirrored ceiling.

AudiInvertedCity

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To the cars from Frankfurt, then…..

Autoblog do a good listing of the stuff they cover. I have to say that in looking through it, I haven’t been particularly inspired. Maybe I’m going off new cars all together.

Things that interested me (sort of, for both good and bad reasons), include the following:

Has there ever been a more dull looking 300hp hot hatch? The VW Golf R.

VWGolfR-Frankfurt

Anything to do with the Mercedes AMG CLA45 is interesting. This is a racing version.

MB CLA45 AMG-Frankfurt

I think I’ll mark this down as THE most interesting car at Frankfurt (for me). The new BMW i8. This is no longer a concept, which is what makes it so fascinating. This is a real-deal production car capable of a sub 4.5 second sprint with 94mpg economy in day-to-day driving.

I don’t know why but I find this much more interesting than a Tesla.

BMW i8 Frankfurt

Here’s one in something other than car-show-white

BMW i8

And check out the launch video, with the car in black:

1963 must have been a good year.

It’s the Porsche 911’s 50th birthday. It’s the Lancia Fulvia’s 50th birthday. It’s also the Abarth 595’s 50th birthday, so Fiat are celebrating at Frankfurt with an Anniversary edition of their popular retro-baby.

This Anniversary edition gets more grunt, special transmission, custom wheels, bigger brakes, an enhanced soundtrack and improved trim.

abarth-595-50th-frankfurt

I’m still trying to get my head around this Volvo Coupe concept. It seems so wrong but somehow also feels quite right.

Volvo – stop messing with my head!!!

volvo-coupe-concept-frankfurt

There is no conflict with the Porsche 918 Spyder. This is pure beauty mixed with absolute, uncompromising technical brutality.

porsche-918-spyder-frankfurt

And yes, I’ll also post the video of it setting a new production car lap record of The Ring.

I’ve seen a lot of people get excited about this Jaguar crossover thing. It’s called the Jaguar C-X17 and I’m not excited.

Another big luxury SUV. I’m sure it will ride beautifully and cosset its occupants in the utmost comfort. But does the world need another luxury carmaker tapping the crossover market? Really?

Big deal.

jaguar-c-x17-concept-frankfurt

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Non-Frankfurt……

Lambo beauty

We did a number of polls earlier about the most iconic cars from various countries. The one significant car country we didn’t cover was Italy. The reason: too intimidating. There are simply too many beautiful Italian cars to cope with. It’d blow up my poll software. My mind would melt. You just can’t assemble that much automotive beauty in one place without a permit and a hazmat suit.

The Lamborghini Miura is a case in point. This video takes a little while to get going and doesn’t reach the heights that it could, but it’s still pretty darn good. It tells the story of a guy who had one 40 years ago as a rich young Playboy, and the guy who became one of Lamborghini’s greatest test drivers.

Ferrari Insanity

This video has done the rounds of the web all week. If you haven’t seen it yet, set aside 20 minutes and watch it now.

This is Chris Harris from /Drive wringing the necks of both the Ferrari F40 and F50. Both the video and the cars are amazing in every way.

Nuts

A wonderful article from Hemmings observing first-hand the madness of the typical classic car owner.

Volvo P1800

“What’s it like to own a $10,000 car? Find out for $3,995.”

Fantastic brochure and advertising images for the Volvo P1800.

Short. Worth a read.

P1800

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How Lamborghini made Saab the biggest automotive insurance risk in Australia

It’s the 1980s.

There’s no internet so teenage petrolheads in Australia all read Wheels magazine to get their automotive kicks. There are all manner of car stories, interesting or otherwise, but as interesting as the stories might be, they are matched or sometimes outdone by the advertisements slotted in between them.

There were few ads more exotic than those for Alpine car audio. The reason is easy to see:

AlpineLambo

Anything featuring a red Lamborghini was instant automotive porn for a teenage revhead. It wasn’t just the teenagers that were captured by this, though. Alpine built a legacy that lasts to this day by virtue of their partnership with Lamborghini.

Saab also had audio provided by Alpine in the 1980’s. The same little clear/green buttons that looked so fantastic in Ferrucio’s finest were also available in the Saab 900 (in Australia – SW). The inclusion of Alpine audio was a wonderful bonus for Saab fans but once it became known amongst a certain group of undesirables in society, it also became a problem.

Steve Emanuel was working for a Saab dealership at the time. He now runs Saab Salvage, a recycled AlpineAdparts business in Sydney and I caught up with him last week when I picked up our 9000 Aero. I was eyeing off some Alpine units in his office when he told me about the problems they had with these stereos at the time.

The Alpine was a very desirable unit thanks to its great performance, sleek looks and, of course, its tie-in with Lamborghini. Saab cars both on the street and in dealerships became a target because of this. Alpine stereos became targets and seeing as there were a lot more 900s than there were Countaches on the road, you can guess which model became the focal point for break-in and theft.

The worst single instance was one guy caught with 6 stereos he’d pinched from dealer cars that he broke into. But there were many, many individual thefts. Replacing stolen radios and damaged dashboards was Steve’s most commonly completed task for a certain period of time in the 80’s.

Alpine audio made Saabs a target and Steve mentioned that at one point during those years, Saabs were considered the biggest automotive insurance risk in Australia.

The unintended consequences of an excellent advertising campaign.

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Are Supercars Getting Too Vulgar?

I hate being Mr Negative-Pants, but some of the images I’m seeing at the start at the Geneva Motor Show are making me a little uneasy. I subscribe to the Richard Hammond theory that supercars are meant to be stupendous, they’re meant to be an event. But isn’t this going a little too far?

This is the new Ferrari, which is officially referred to simply as LaFerrari. True. I don’t mind the name at all, actually. What I’m having trouble with is the compartmentalised design:

LaFerrari

What am I talking about, you say?

It looks like the car has been designed in bits and then those bits have been added together, or something. The design doesn’t flow. It doesn’t lead your eye from one place to another in a ordered way. It’s like there are 10 different design elements screaming “Look at me!” all at once.

The front wheel arches, which house but seem to be a different element from the healamps. The V shape on the hood. The deep vented doors. That crease before the rear vents. It’s like the Mr Potato Head of supercars – all stuck together.

Here’s how a Ferrari should look:

FerrariF12

To me, the F12 Berlinetta flows. It’s got presence and power but it’s also got elegance. Maybe the LaFerrari needed a touch of madness in its design in order to command the crazy price they’ll as for what’s being talked of as their Enzo successor, their fastest car ever.

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Another offender, in my books – and I’m really loathe to say this because I know a lot of people already love this car – is the Lamborghini Veneno.

The looks aren’t the only thing that are slightly offensive with this car, but let’s start there:

Lamborghini Veneno Top

This is even more disjointed than the LaFerrari! It’s as if it’s made from smoothed-over Lego. There are just way too many hard edges and holes in this design.

Here’s another view. Is this a car or a super-expensive, giant cheese grater?

Lamborghini Veneno

Here’s what else is vulgar about this car. Ferrari have been mocked from pillar to post about their brand building and merchandising but Lamborghini deserve to steal their position as the #1 over-hyped supercar maker – and it’s all because of the Veneno.

They’re only making four of them and they’re only selling three of the four. They’ll keep the first one for themselves. They’re asking 3 MILLION EUROS for the car. Three-freaking-million and yet it’s only got just over 70% of the power of a Veyron or Koenigsegg.

Let me say this plainly – I don’t think it can do what a three-million-Euro car should do in terms of actually being a car. It’s theatrical, but it’s not a patch on some cars that sell for a third of the price.

That Lamborghini have sold all three of these is a masterclass in marketing, or suckerteering (a word I just made up).

But back to the looks – can you really say that you love this automotive version of Predator? Does it fill you with automotive passion or simply juice you up because you might induce some fear into some lowly Porsche driver? There’s a massive difference there.

Lamborghini Veneno

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I’m a little less sure about including this third car because I actually quite like it. However, this photo of the McLaren P1 in yellow has not done it any favours.

McLaren P1

Is it just me or does that look a little like a flouro basketball shoe from the mid-2000’s?

I’ll take mine in metallic grey, please.

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A supercar’s allure should be in its sense of theatre, not in its costume. The costume should add to the sense of theatre but it shouldn’t be the whole show. It’s up to the engine, the handling and the interior to add to that external design and complete the package.

I’m quite sure that all of these supercars are extraordinary to drive, but there’s something that’s just a little too brash about the way they present themselves. The most alluring always manage to hold something back.

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And yes, in a statement that people who know me will think is totally predictable, let me just say that Koenigsegg have got it just right with Agera. It’s a beautiful design that states its intent with purpose but also flows and is completely functional. The same goes for the Pagani Hayauararauyirara.

Here’s an example of Koenigsegg handing Lamborghini their own arse in terms of hyper/supercar vehicle design. The Koenigsegg Hundra has wheels made of carbonfibre – an industry first. The front wheels weigh just 4.5 kilos each (the rears weigh 6.5 kilos). The Hundra has been sold to an owner in Hong Kong. It’s a one-of-a-kind vehicle with over 1,100hp and it has been sold for less than half the price of the Veneno.

If you can sort out some logic amongst all that, please let me know.

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How do you think a supercar should look? I know that people paying this sort of money want to stand out from the crowd, but aren’t some of these taking things just a little too far?