NEW YORK (MainStreet) The Lamborghini Huracán is supposed to go head-to-head this year with the Ferrari 458 and the McLaren 12C. On view this week at the New York Auto Show, the Huracán replaces the Gallardo, Lamborghini's highest selling model. In 2013, Lambo sold 2,121 cars worldwide, up from the 2,083 in 2012 but still lower than the 2008 banner year number of 2,406 units.
CEO Stephan Winkelmann described the transition to the Huracán as part of the natural overturn of vehicle models but one that stays true to the brand's integrity -- new but true blood that will help generate sales momentum.
"Lamborghini in the approach is always absolute and puristic," he said. "When I gave the briefing of developing the car, it was all about instinctive technology. So it was a combination of the newest technology in the car but also to create something that is easy to drive."
The car has a 5.2 L V10 engine and electromechanical power steering with optional variable ratio dynamic steering. Most impressively, it has 610 horses under the hood and 412 lb-ft of torque. It goes 0 to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds.
Obviously, Lamborghinis are not daily drivers, but customers have certain creature comforts they expect.
Steve Ehrlich, a 68-year-old car enthusiast based in New York City and Los Angeles, said he got rid of his McLaren 12C Spider recently and ordered a Huracán, because, in addition to its futuristic form and adrenaline-pumping power, he likes the telematics system -- in keeping with Winkelmann's vision for technological innovation.
"I like the technology -- I think it's superior, especially compared to McLaren," he said. "McLaren's trying. They have too many little bugs, too many problems with their computer system.Their navigation's always on the blink."
"He likes this [the Huracán], because it's all-wheel drive," his wife Beverly chimed in.
"I personally love all-wheel drive," he said.
"What happens if you get stuck in the rain?" she said.
That voice of the customer is something Winkelmann tries to keep in mind -- eventuating luxury while promoting facility of use.
"It's about fulfilling a dream for the ones who are buying it," he said. "We all wanted to have a car which has the latest technology, but it has to be a technology that is at your service -- very easy to use. So we say performing on the race track and easy on the road."
The optimized, seamless feel in steering, exterior and interior design are also essential.
"And it has to fit like a glove, like a tailor-madd suit the first time you step into the car," he said.
The U.S. market makes up the lion's share of Lamborghini sales worldwide (more than 40%), and because of importation tax challenges in emerging markets -- like in Brazil and India -- Winkelmann says the brand is focused on the U.S. market.
--Written by Ross Kenneth Urken for MainStreet