Driving a rear-wheel drive Lamborghini Huracan LP 580-2 supercar on the streets of Melbourne feels a bit like using an iPhone as a paperweight. Adequate, but not really harnessing the full potential of the unit.
When you lightly press the glowing start button on the electrified mothership that controls this bullish beast, the engine turns over with a bracingly loud grunt. The shudder travels up your spine and gives the tiniest preview of just how much power is living in the V10 engine sitting behind your back.
You could do so much with this overwhelmingly sexy sliver of Italian machinery, like fang it from 0 to 100 in 3.4 seconds, or marvel at the supposed top speed of 320 kilometres an hour. Unfortunately local laws will keep this 'lower cost' Lambo on a tight leash.
Stand out from the crowd
The model I'm testing arrives in a subtle shade of Arancio Borealis – which essentially the colour of a can of Fanta. If you're in the market for a $434,830 Italian supercar then you probably want the whole world to know about it, and there is nothing shy about this car. It virtually glows in the dark.
This one has been fully tricked-out with all the extras, of course. The starting price is $378,900, but customised flourishes are a given: perhaps a transparent engine bonnet with carbon forged engine bay, $10,100; or "Sportivo" bicolor smooth leather seats, $5100; or how about parking sensors and rearview camera, $5700? If you have to ask, you probably can't afford it.
I've been given five hours to test the car, and quickly get the hang of the racy levers and powered buttons. A line of retro silver hooks on the dash operate the windows and the all-important automated bumper lifting system which raises the nose: you'll know about it if you go over a speed bump without it activated, and scraping this beauty is likely to cause the driver physical pain.
As low as the car is, it feels reassuringly anchored to the road. Turning corners is a marvel, swinging into bends like a locomotive. And it's actually reasonably light for such a car – 1389 kilograms, give or take a passenger – and you certainly won't fit much luggage in the boot, with barely room for a single overnight bag in the nose of the vehicle.
Driving the Huracan (named after a Spanish bull, got it?) in an urban setting elicits a Mexican wave of turned heads. In fact the car is so cartoonishly sexy, so superhero-sleek, that it's impossible for most people not to have a major reaction seeing it glide along the bitumen like a hungry, orange shark.
Other cars seem annoyed by my conspicuous presence, and speed up to pass me, as if to prove a point. I keep my eyes on the road. Such competition is futile, the power in my rear wheels comprehensively kicking every other car to the curb.
The digital dashboard shows the kilometres flickering up and down with disturbing ease. At one point I pass a lumbering tram and it's as effortless as shifting a hot knife through butter. Later, driving 100 kilometres an hour on the Eastern Freeway is like taking a leisurely Sunday stroll.
The accessible supercar
Whether you're a revhead or not, the car is a joy to drive, despite some reduced visibility when peering through the angled windshield from such a low base.
The high, vaguely toy-like steering wheel features the signature Lamborghini bull winking at you. Several controls exist here, from the indicator to windscreen wipers, and at the bottom of the wheel are three 'settings': Strada, Sport and Corsa, a sliding scale to take you from the backstreets to the racetrack – perhaps more of a gimmick than a necessity.
Whichever mode you set it to, this car is electrifyingly, hilariously fast, and surprisingly user-friendly. The responses are hair-trigger accurate. The interior blends comfort and a blokey race-car atmosphere. It's enough to make any driver with almost half-a-million to spare feel like Kanye West on his day off.
Five hours are soon over, and I pull into the showroom with a newfound swagger. I hand back the keys with a tinge of regret knowing that after this, every other car will merely whimper.