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The Huracán Performante adopts Aerodinamica Lamborghini Attiva (ALA):  ALA is also the Italian word for wing

Italian legends Lamborghini are among the true elite of luxury sports car marques, and the Geneva International Motor Show is the most prestigious event of its type, so when the two come together it’s guaranteed to provide a spectacle to set any auto fan’s juices flowing. Last year saw Lamborghini introduce the ultra-exclusive (and ultra-expensive) Centenario limited-edition supercar, while 2017’s show is graced by the launch of the latest version of the manufacturer’s flagship production model, the Huracán.

Previous Huracáns include the “standard” LP 610-4 Coupe along with the Polizia variant used by the Italian State Police, but the name of this latest iteration gives a strong pointer toward the nature of the beast: the Huracán Performante is a track and road hybrid supercar which pulls out all the stops when it comes to brute performance.

Based around a 5.1-liter V10 engine pushing out a maximum of 631 hp, the Performante can power from 0-62mph in a startling 2.9s, and while the top speed is limited to 202mph, this is well within the car’s capabilities. The theoretical maximum speed is 218mph, which leaves plenty of power headroom even when running flat out. Such is the performance of this model that it has set a new record for production cars at the famous Nürburgring circuit in Germany, completing a flying lap in just 6:52.01m.

In addition to the under-the-hood power, performance is further boosted by the materials used in construction. The frame is a hybrid of aluminium and carbon fiber, resulting in a 40kg weight reduction compared to previous models in the range. The carbon fiber is made using a proprietary, award-winning process known as Forged Composite. The material enjoys the lightweight benefits of traditional carbon fiber, while being significantly stiffer and capable of withstanding higher forces. These properties are put to excellent use in the Performante’s key aerodynamic features such as the front and rear spoilers, hood, and aerodynamic diffuser.

The car’s aerodynamic capabilities are refined by the use of Lamborghini Active Aerodynamics (ALA, also coincidentally Italian word for “wing”). The ALA system electronically controls the profiles of the spoilers and other components to produce either maximum downforce or minimum drag as required. The system can react within 500ms, and according to Lamborghini, it is capable of increasing downforce by up to 750%. For extra auto-geek thrills, the cockpit includes a graphic display of the system in action including details of downforce and drag.

Impressive as all this may be, it’s worth little if you need the physique and concentration of an F1 driver to handle the machine. Thankfully, the roadholding characteristics are impressive, thanks in part to a 10% stiffening of the active suspension system over previous models, as well as a highly responsive hydraulic dual-circuit braking system.

More: 10 Best Cars at Geneva Motor Show 2017

From the outside, it’s clear that this is a serious sports car. Although the body shape is all but identical to regular Huracán models, this is in no way a bad thing. Low, sleek, powerful and sexy, the profile is everything you’d expect from this most iconic of manufacturers.

At this level, a certain level of interior comfort can be taken for granted, but relaxation is emphatically not the prime focus of the Performante. Both cockpit shape and dashboard features are centered firmly on the driving experience, taking design and functionality cues from the racetrack rather than the limousine. Nonetheless, it’s by no means a physical hardship to be either driver or passenger.

The first production units of the Performante are due to leave the factory in summer 2017, with a recommended price of $275k or €195k excluding taxes. That’s by no means pocket money, but for a car of this class and performance, it’s something of a bargain.