Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles runs from downtown through West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Bel Air, Brentwood and Pacific Palisades before terminating at the Pacific Ocean. In the final, sweeping bend of this legendary roadway, you can turn right onto Palisades Drive. This is where I find myself on Thanksgiving Day last year behind the wheel of the Lamborghini Huracán EVO RWD Spyder.
The conditions for this test drive are superb. Palisades Drive is a dead-end road that climbs through a canyon into the hills above Pacific Palisades. There’s a private school and strip mall right at the bottom, both of which are closed for the holiday, and the first mile or so is unencumbered by intersections. It’s a four-lane divided highway that’s seemingly designed for zero-to-100 mph supercar testing.
The weather is sunny and unseasonably warm. The road is empty and inviting. The top and windows are down. I’m in the CORSA drive mode, which is intended for track driving, so I have to shift the seven-speed transmission manually using the large steering wheel paddles. To pull maximum performance and acceleration from this 610-horsepower V10 engine, the shifts need to happen just short of the 8,500-rpm red line. I’ve been trained to do this on track with Dream Racing, as the tendency for the uninitiated is to short shift, thus leaving power on the table.
After the first couple shifts, though, I find myself distracted by the exhaust note. Distracted may not be right term. It’s more like enchanted or seduced. Like ancient sailors encountering the Sirens. I’ve never experienced anything like it. This combination of top-down driving while accelerating through a steep canyon and the Lamborghini’s naturally aspirated V10, mounted right behind the driver’s seat, wound out to the red line produces a sound that defies description. It’s a primordial gearhead sound.
I say distracted because I miss the shift going into third gear because I was so transfixed by the melodic roar of this Italian supercar. Thankfully, there’s a built-in safety measure that cuts power before exceeding the red line and ostensibly blowing the engine. I didn’t make this mistake twice.
Lamborghini’s Huracán platform has evolved to be as broad, exciting and fruitful as Porsche’s 911 lineup—with six variants that probably deserve their own buyer’s guide. When the Performante was introduced, it made quite the statement on track, briefly setting a record at the Nürburgring. More recently, the limited-edition Super Trofeo Omologata (STO) borrowed liberally from the Super Trofeo EVO race car to become one of the most track-worthy street cars I’ve ever driven. Indeed, I’ve logged plenty of Huracán miles, both on and off track, and the EVO RWD Spyder is the most fun I’ve ever had on public roads. Why? In addition to the unrivaled acoustics of the top-down exhaust note, there are three main reasons:
1. Hero Drifting: Rear-wheel drive cars are, by their nature, more fun to drive because they are predisposed to letting the rear end get loose. It used to be that traction control was a binary proposition. Either the power cut off when detecting wheel slip or the wheels were completely free to drift. With 610 horsepower, though, a total lack of traction control can be unnerving and even dangerous in the wrong hands. The EVO RWD strikes a perfect balance in the SPORT driving mode, where it lets you drift to a certain degree—literally, to a certain angle—before it intervenes. And even then it’s just enough so the rears don’t completely get away from you. Otherwise, you can stay in the throttle and just subtly correct. Like hero dirt in mountain biking or hero bumps in skiing, this is hero drifting.
2. Playful Handling: The Huracán was born as an all-wheel-drive platform. Eliminating that front drivetrain creates a completely different driving experience. Specifically, you notice how much more quickly the car bites into turns and rotates through them because the front end is much lighter. Even though I didn’t push its absolute limit, I felt no sign of understeer despite several efforts to see if I could get it to push. Compared to the AWD models, it just responds faster to driver input on really tight and twisty canyon roads.
3. Made for Los Angeles: Can’t imagine a better place to drive or own the EVO RWD Spyder than LA, especially considering the legendary roads in the Malibu hills. While I was in LA for this test, I’d go for a gravel bike ride in the morning, and I was equally stoked to go for a Lambo rip in the afternoon. With perfect weather during a holiday week, the traffic was quite low on PCH, which made it easy to commute back and forth to the canyon roads. This inspired me to take drives on classic routes including Latigo, Topanga, Stunt, Mulholland and Tuna Canyon. These offer some of the best asphalt imaginable, and the convertible top makes it that much more inspiring and enjoyable.
The interior is also quite comfortable and entirely driver oriented. The 8.4-inch touch screen is like having an iPad installed in the console, giving you quick access to audio, phone, climate and other controls. The top stores away in just 17 seconds and (incredibly) can be retracted at speeds up to 31 mph, though I did not verify what that’s like. Finally, the STRADA driving mode is refined (read: quiet) enough to hold a conversation with your passenger with the top down, making the Lamborghini Huracán EVO RWD Spyder a viable daily driver in a warm climate like LA.
The one feature I wish it had is auto high beams. I first encountered this in my 2020 Ford Raptor, and it’s a game changer. You never have to think about dimming them for oncoming traffic. This would have been especially useful when driving in the Malibu hills after sunset.
MSRP for the EVO RWD Spyder starts just under $230,000.