In the pantheon of legendary Lamborghinis there will always be a spot for models such as the Countach, Diablo and Murcielago. Now the Italian supercar manufacturer with a flair for the outrageous has a new name – and it’s unlike anything else on (or off) the road.
Sterrato is a rally-inspired version of the Huracan that is specifically designed to tackle off-road terrain at ridiculous speeds. Nothing new in that you might think, except this isn’t a jacked-up SUV with extra ground clearance like the Aston Martin DBX, or the Ferrari Purosangue. This Lambo is a proper low-down, wedge-shaped and often very dirty supercar.
Trimmed with plastic wheel-arches attached by exposed rivets, special run-flat tyres and a pair of rally LED spotlights clamped below the bonnet, the rugged Sterrato looks like it has just driven off a World Rally Championship stage in the 1970s and into the record books.
Priced at £232,820, around £30,000 more than a ‘standard’ Huracan Tecnica, it would be easy to assume all that extra spend went on those eye-catching accessories. Not so, because the Sterrato is much, much more than that – it’s a proper madcap machine built to go sideways in the rough.
Apart from the Porsche 911 Dakar, there isn’t another supercar that will hurtle around a dirt track with such aplomb. Then, when you’re ready to hit the Tarmac again, the all-wheel drive, seven-speed Sterrato will dust itself down and behave just like a conventional supercar. Well, as ‘conventional’ as a Lambo ever gets, anyway.
I’ve travelled into the Californian desert to be among the first in the world to experience what promises to be one of the most collectable Lambos of all time. At a remote location, where General Patton once tested second world war tanks, the Italian dust devil is about to be unleashed for the first time.
Barrelling across the sand at ridiculous speeds, it’s clear there’s a lot more to the Sterrato than a pair of lights and some rugged trim. It’s indecently fast off-road, ridiculously easy to steer and, best of all, so much fun.
My passenger, a Lamborghini test driver, isn’t urging me to slow down on the approach to every corner but to drop down a gear and hit the gas. And while it is both noisy and cramped in the cabin, the thrill of driving a low-slung supercar as it crashes over dunes and bottoms out on dips is astonishing.
Plastic cones are brushed aside and a plume of sand accompanies every turn as the Sterrato flies through a series of fast curves and tight hairpins with wild abandon. The steering wheel seems constantly on opposite lock as the Lambo has been deliberately set up to oversteer, sliding sideways in second and third gear at a riotous 8,500rpm.
A supercar from the Mad Max playbook, the 602bhp Sterrato is actually the slowest Huracan to date. The last of the 5.2-litre V10s before a hybridised replacement next year, the all-wheel drive model is restricted to a ‘modest’ 162mph and also weighs an extra 47kg. The Sterrato will still see off 0-62mph in a respectable 3.4 seconds, though.
At first sight, the interior is plain regular Huracan and, thanks to an enormous, roof-mounted air intake, any rear visibility available in a low-slung Lambo has been completely obliterated.
The roof scoop intake isn’t just for show though. The front air intakes have been blocked off to prevent them clogging up with debris, especially when travelling sideways. The slim snorkel system is designed to vent air to that rear-mounted V10 at whatever angle the car is careering.
Then there are the 19-inch run-flat tyres, made for asphalt or dirt. The bespoke Bridgestone Duellers display plenty of grip and play a major part in the Sterrato’s incredible off-road traction.
Remarkably, there’s no compromise in ride quality and because the Lambo’s chassis set-up is more robust, it can also cope with a great British pothole at speed. The sills have been further reinforced to cope with off-road driving, while the rear diffuser has been replaced, perhaps wisely, with a scuff plate. Finally, instead of the enormous wing found on the Huracan STO, the Sterrato boasts a tiny lip spoiler.
Add 44mm of additional ground clearance, softer springs and extra suspension travel compared to the standard Huracan, and the Sterrato (‘dirt road’ in Italian) becomes a fantastic all-rounder. Lamborghini has created the perfect car for the UK’s pockmarked roads without even realising it.
Inside, heavy duty floormats are complemented by a series of touchscreen displays designed for off-road driving, including a rather pointless inclinometer.
A compass may help negotiate an alternative route to Waitrose, while the only other difference is a ‘Rally’ drive mode not found on the everyday Huracan.
Chief technical officer, Rouven Mohr, explained how the car came about: “This is not a car that was designed by committee – nobody sat down at a drawing board with a brief to create a supercar with off-road ability.
“About seven years ago, the R&D department was testing our Urus SUV for production and one night, over dinner and wine, we imagined what it would be like to drive an all-wheel drive Huracan at crazy speeds through the forests. One thing led to another and the Sterrato project took off.”
Underneath the rally persona is a four-wheel drive Huracan coupé, with a wider track and slightly longer wheelbase. Tuning the chassis involved reworking the torque vectoring via braking and re-calibrating the stability control. “When the car was finally built, everybody who sat behind the wheel came back with a smile on their face. That is a sound basis for any vehicle, it combines the driving experience of a supercar and the fun of a rally car,” added Mohr.
He may well be right. Lamborghini did have a brief dalliance in rallying during the 1970s but instead chose a different direction. Which begs the question, how crazy would the Sterrato have been if they hadn’t?
Originally, Lamborghini announced a production run of 1,063 examples but then upped that number to 1,499. There are still a few left, in case you do need to get to Waitrose in a hurry.