Lamborghini Huracán STO Review: Stonking Triumph

Lamborghini Huracán STO Review: Stonking Triumph

James Wong
James Wong
14 Nov 2022
Start up the V10 and you wonder if the EU emissions regulators had a summer siesta in Tuscany while homologating this beast.
What we like:
pros
Amazing V10
pros
Stupendous gearbox
pros
Magneride makes car usable for all occasions
What we dislike:
cons
Can feel exhausting if you plan to daily it

I requested for a refresher drive before my interview with the charismatic Stephan Winkelmann, Chairman and CEO of Lamborghini. I thought I had better get up to speed with the brand’s latest offerings before meeting the head honcho, since the last bull from Sant'Agata Bolognese I’ve had the privilege of taming was a Gallardo LP560-4 more than a decade ago.

I was secretly hoping for a 2 door model, but expected an Urus, which would work fine for me irregardless. However, the kind folks at Lamborghini popped a nice surprise when they said I could drive the Huracán STO. I missed out driving the car on track at its launch, and finally I got my chance to get behind the wheel of one. It easily was one of the most anticipated drives of the year, if not the most.

After all, this is pretty much Lamborghini’s swansong car for its ICE-only generation of cars. The brand has already openly communicated that all of their cars will be progressively hybridised from next year. It means that the STO very likely will be the purest expression of the Huracán we would ever see.

STO stands for Super Trofeo Omologato, which is a sexy phrase to mean the car is essentially a road-homologated race vehicle and inspired by the brand’s racing heritage. It retains the familiar 5.2-litre naturally aspirated V10 engine, in itself still an impressive feat of engineering despite its age, producing 640 hp (well over the 100 hp/L benchmark) and 565 Nm. It brings the STO from 0-100 km/h in 3 seconds flat, impressive for something rear driven and with no forced induction.

How it does this is to keep weight to a minimum. Tipping the scales at 1,339 kg, the STO is a good 43 kg lighter than the Huracán Performante, itself already a lightened version of the standard EVO. Various measures have been employed to keep the STO lean and trim, including having 75% of exterior panels in carbon fibre and fitting on exotic magnesium rims. The greatest expression of the great lengths Lamborghini went to save weight is the ‘Cofango’, a single-piece carbon fibre bonnet and wheel fender. It truly is a sight to behold and is well worth the trouble to unlock with the ‘secret’ key in the cabin. The same key is also used to unlock the rear hatch which partially hides the V10 engine cover coated in gold.

The other focus for the STO is to maximise downforce. So there are details like a shark’s fin for better airflow, a race car-like air scoop above the engine bay, NACA air intakes at the rear fenders and an adjustable rear wing that can change the air balance of the car by up to 13%. All this contributes to an incredible 53% more downforce than the Huracan Performante.

All this makes the STO look like it’s glued to the ground, and thus it feels intimidating on sight, and even more so when sat within. The view from the rear view mirror is just hints of sunshine from the slats of the modified engine bay panel, so one will need to have huge reliance on the side mirrors (and a reverse camera) for a feel of the STO’s surroundings. The carbon fibre seats have very little squab, if at all, and so set the stage for a committed drive - it’s like locking you in and making you reluctant to get out. But all of the switchgear is laid out in a very logical, yet minimalist, way, and the Germanic methodology does put one at ease in familiarity. It’s not a new interior by any means but somehow manages to stand the test of time and still feel fresh and appropriate for this all-eyes-on-me supercar.

Start up the V10 and you wonder if the EU emissions regulators had a summer siesta in Tuscany while homologating this beast. The beautiful sound envelopes the cabin and I am told it is even more extreme from the outside. It gets better and better the more you stretch it to the redline, so that’s where you keep wanting to go despite going against all common and wallet sense. At the top, you’ll be baptised in one of the automotive world’s most special experiences, all the while trying to extract the final rpms from the engine before shifting up with the brilliant dual-clutch gearbox. In fact, it downshifts telepathically too, so coming to a stop you’d find yourself doing it yourself only to hear the V10 flare up in its rev-matching enthusiasm.

While Lamborghinis have been perhaps unfairly criticised as more show than go, the STO proves this quite wrong. Its world-beating drivetrain is matched with a chassis that equals its excellence. The key component is rear-wheel steering, which is probably the single most important invention for enhancing handling in the last decade. It makes the STO super agile, even though it doesn’t have a long wheelbase and large body to begin with. Manoeuvring in tight spaces is a cinch while you can expect pinpoint-like accuracy at high speeds, despite the rather anodyne steering feel.

The other thing blessing the STO with impossibly good road comfort despite its track credentials is Magneride. Basically, within the suspension chamber is a fluid that can change viscosity in an instant with a live magnetic field. It’s not new and we’ve seen it in other brands, but that doesn’t detract from how it works so brilliantly here. There is compliance when you want it, or a stiff-as-nails ride if you want to set aside pesky Ferraris. Just toggle it through the simple (yet totally terrific) 3 ANIMA modes of STO (the default), Trofeo (track-focused) and Pioggia (for those monsoon days).

On the road, the STO is always utterly engaging and because there is no forced induction, there is no fear of breaking traction with every flex of the throttle pedal, instilling a huge amount of confidence despite the STO being exclusively rear-driven. Speed is also effectively quelled with the CCM-R brakes, which have 4 times the thermal conductivity than normal carbon ceramic brakes, so there is no need to wait for them to warm up to be effective. Still, there is far more performance than it would be safely possible to exploit on the road, with a great amount of untapped fun only accessed when the car is kept on a boil. I guess that’s where the STO ought to be brought to the track to realise its full potential. For the road, there is the slightly more tame-looking Huracán Tecnica with a STO drivetrain, but there’s something about the OG STO that’s far more magical, alluring and revered.

The Huracán STO might be the first Lamborghini in a long time collectors may desire to own and keep, and not just use as a short fling. It’s truly a triumph.

Photos by Horizon Drivers' Club

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