High altitude driving with the Huracàn Performante Spyder
Logbook from our epic journey with the emerald Lamborghini, in the heart of Unesco world heritage Dolomites
It doesn’t really matter if you have driven a thousand vehicles worth millions of euros, or just one modest city car. Getting behind the steering wheel of a Lamborghini, will always provide a sense of special occasion and this is particularly true when onboard of an emerald Huracàn Spyder with 640bhp, located just behind the two-seater avant-garde cockpit. Magnetic and spectacular at every glance and perspective, the “Emilian” is one of the best supercars to take on the majestic Dolomitic roads. Not surprisingly, the open-air driving Huracàn that we had the privilege to pick-up on a bright mid-March morning directly from Lamborghini headquarters in Sant'Agata Bolognese, turned out to be a superb amplifier of emotions. Sculpted by wind, science and sense for aesthetics, the Performante Spyder heightened the already epic alpine route experience by delivering an unforgettable collection of rare sounds, dynamics and visual expressiveness.
Day 1, towards the glistening Dolomites
Shiny, poised and waiting next to the Lamborghini Museum (a not to be missed stop along the Via Emilia), the Huracàn Spyder obviously wants someone to press the aeronautical style button to unleash the melodic power from its aspirated V10. Before turning on the ignition, we need to load our luggage and it is equally obvious that from a two-seater rocket with a 0-60 time of 3.1 second in the 0-100, boot space will not be a pièce de triomphe. However, by firmly pressing the bags (strictly soft) in the front compartment, behind the seats and on the passenger's footrest, even someone accustomed to moving around with Vuitton trunks, will be able to bring along cosmetic bags and clothes necessary for a weekend.
Bolzano highway is an ideal intro to acquire familiarity with the astonishing acceleration of the 5.2-liter V10. Press the gas pedal and the engine revs up to 8000 rpm releasing a sharp and relentless roar. The naturally aspirated acoustics are a by-product of a truly ludicrous speed where even far way objects, are reached and surpassed within moments. The truck heavy A22 is by no means the venue where to reach 325km/h but its long lanes, do help to perceive how the ALA aerodynamic system squashes the car to the ground as peed increases. Normally Italian highways are full of bullies and people that attach to other cars boots asking for way but not with this Lambo. Everyone “jumps” on the right lane with Swiss punctuality as such a remarkable extravaganza of style, geometry and colors, is a not to be missed spectacle. Also, when travelling at 130km/h, the passenger compartment is relatively quiet and so one can speak and listen without shouting or struggling. The decibels from the V10 though, do take take flight just after the exit of Bolzano when a beuatiful uphill road climbs towards the Sciliar and towards the fairytale like Val Gardena.
Given the staggering rhythm one can achieve with the Huracan Performante, twists and curves towards Ortisei are history way too quickly. Tarmac is devoured without hesitation while the grip from the four-wheel drive system, keeps the car firmly planted on the ground even when the surface gets close to freezing. It is very cold and the only dilemmas are choosing between opening or closing the soft top and in typical supercar fashion, choose whether to admire the landscape or enjoy the speed from the V10. Considering that although with less snow than in other years, views of the Dolomite massifs should remain a constant while this very special "Lambo" will return to Sant'Agata Bolgonese at the end of the trip, the only right answer is to immerse oneself in driving, and make the most of any moment.
Day 2, 4 mountain passes and 640bhp
After the sleep of the righteous at Gardena Grodnerhof Hotel & Spa – a typical Tyrolean style alpine retreat with a bygone charm – the sun removes every shade from the valley, stalactites hang from the the wooden chalets and with full tank restored, the Dolomiti Grand Tour comes alive in all its glory. We opt for the counterclockwise direction of the famed Sellaronda and with the poignant vision from la “Città dei Sassi between the Performante Spyder and the dramatic elongated profile of Sasso Lungo north face, the road soon reaches Col Rodella before plunging, amidst pine trees and rocks with oink hues, at the base of passo Pordoi. This stretch of SSR42 offers some of the most scenic views of the entire Dolomite range and while driving through panoramic curves and an endless sequence of hairpin bends, it almost feels like one can touch the vertical cliffs as the sound of 5.2L naturally aspirated engine, reverberates between gorges and crevaces.
Judging by people’s reaction at her passage, it is fair to say that despite being out of reach from almost anyone, Lamborghinis provide joy and lightness to the soul; they also often come with fantastic chromatic contrast and spectacular designs. Also, the imminent advent of mass electrification means that certain acoustics, are now close to extinction and it is not at all surprising that from Lupo Bianco to Passo Pordoi, the Lamborghini has catalyzed the complete attention of pass byers to the point that once at the Alto Adige and Veneto border, a small crowd was awaiting its arrival to better admire one of the most illustrious examples, of contemporary motoring beauty.
The second "stint" of the day will take us to Corvara and with the roof always well folded next to a masterpiece engine, only the narrow (and often blind) turns of the Campolongo provide a limit to astonishing performances. Power and corner speed, can only be fully exploited on track; especially when electronic maps are in "corsa" and at each gear change from the 7 speed sequential, it almost feels like being assaulted from the back by a rugby player. Pure adrenalin at every moment with Sport mode offering a balanced compromise. This said, even at down tempo pace, simple gestures like maneuvering the steering wheel, perceiving instant reactions while cornering and the right pedal impeccable modularity of accelerations, translate into a perpetual and uninterrupted state of exaltation.
Day 3; Stars and plateaus
After reaching Corvara we temporarily leave the Sellaronda circuit in favor the Hotel Rosa Alpina hospitality experience. Based in San Cassiano and owned by the Pizzinini family, this elegant venue in San Cassiano offers alpine chic rooms, club like common areas and as an ideal complement to the stay, the highly original and sophisticated cuisine - prepared exclusively with local mountain products - of the three Michelin star restaurant St. Hubertus. It is also worth mentioning that for driving aficionados, it will be difficult to resist the call of a quick session on the nearby SR48 that from the Falzarego plain (one of the symbolic places of the Grande Guerra), presents motorists with a long strip of asphalt dotted by rocky monoliths and natural sculptures adorned with snow. The views are extraordinary and for those willing to continue their journey towards the eastern flank of the Alps, glamorous Cortina is only a few kilometers away.
Our planned itinerary though, moves in the opposite direction and with the Huracàn Spyder in a perpetual state of grace, we return to Alta Badia before facing another epic uphill to passo Gardena. The rout along the SS243 provides hairpin bends nestled between the north-western side of the Sella group and the Puez Odle national park. The ascent to the pass is accompanied by guttural sounds cylinders juxtaposed to a gracefulness that seems to cancel out the effects of a 1610kg curb weight on physics. The absence of a metal roof allows passengers to become part of the scene and with landscapes as sublime and imposing as the Dolomites, the wow factor reaches new heights. The convertible configuration is also a feature makes construction techniques, design and stylistic solutions even more poignant and theatrical
Whether it's sliding on skis or pushed by bustling motor cavalry, March remains one of the most evocative months to discover the near mytholoigcal Quattro Passi route. Days are longer and filled with natural light; the snow still stands providing landscapes with new layers of natural artistry. Even more important for driving enthusiasts, is the absence of traffic. During summer, this famous itinerary is literally flooded with tourist buses, slow moving vehicles and tribes of motorcyclists but during the days anticipating the closure of winter season, the Dolomitic winding roads are often empty or at least, not congested. This said, do check the weather before travelling as some mountain passes might be closed in case of heavy snowfall.
For us, there is no snowfall in the horizon but the epic journey, is coming to a close. We drive back to Selva and then towards Alpe di Siusi with the road taking-off in Castelrotto. Meandering next to poetic villages like San Valentino, the tarmac keeps rising with wide and open fast sweepers. After a few hours on a Huracàn Performante, one can establish a sort of dynamic telepathy with the reactions. After three days, it’s more than possible to be completely seduced by the synthesis of style, performance and engineering. As the climb progresses, at 1800 meters above sea level, a snowy mule track crossing the alp provides a different kind of idyllic sensations. We are now entering a protected natural park where its mandatory to proceed at walking pace and use the car only to arrive or depart from the hotel. Thanks to the four-wheel drive and the good work of maintenance in keeping the road surface even, the Huracàn Spyder approaches Sporthotel Sonne Sole with relative ease. The holistic retreat of the Burgauner family - located at the end of the road and probably on the most special panoramic spot of the plateau - marks the epilogue of our story. It's 5:00 p.m. and all ski-lifts have just closed. Alpe di Siusi is now as solitary, silent and beautiful as it can be. The Huracàn emerlad hues, dye the snow with the color of the precious gem and while we take the last photos, a snow plougher approaches the Lamborghini masterpiece to better admire shapes and physiognomies that are as futuristic, as they are timeless.
My childhood memories are of arts, literature and visits of far away lands and now, I love writing about tourism, travel&motoring experiences as well as gastronomic cultures. Following the Degree in History & Politics and the Masters in International Relations at London School of Economics, I start my journalist career in 2004. Since then, I made it a point to visit all of the seven continents, while daily enhancing my passion and curiosity towards cuisine, charming hospitality and millenial traditions from the beautiful Italian territory