Bologna, Italy: A quaint city brimming with medieval charm, historical architecture, simple traditions, hearty food, and - perhaps a surprise to some of you - Lamborghini.
Earlier this year, we found ourselves on a whirlwind trip to Bologna and back to test drive the 2016 Lamborghini Huracán, the newest coupé from Lamborghini, as part of the Lamborghini Esperienza program. A "tried and tested driving program, designed especially to highlight the performance, power and control that Lamborghini has to offer," the two-day-long program was the perfect hands-on introduction to the world of Lamborghini.
We began our Lamborghini experience with a visit to Museo Lamborghini in Sant'Agata Bolognese, which housed the full range of Lamborghini cars starting all the way from the 350GT and Miuara. Several concept cars, such as the upcoming Lamborghini SUV URUS, were on display as well.
Housed in the same building as the Museo Lamborghini is also the factory, where we got to take a peek at the meticulous Lamborghini production lines. Everything was impeccably clean, organized, and structured: From start to finish, the Huracán spends about 40 minutes each on 23 different stations, with each station staffed with specially trained assembly workers.
In a marked difference to many other car manufacturers, Lamborghini still builds their cars mostly by hand on the production lines at Sant'Agata (there were only two real robots in the entire production line) - an impressive distinction that we could feel later on while driving on the Esperienza tracks.
The next day, we made our way to the Imola Circuit to test drive the Huracán. We began with a thorough lesson from the instructor on brake points, acceleration points, and turning instructions within the course during our two-lap warmup. We then moved on to the wet course, where we learned how to handle the Huracán on wet surfaces; and afterwards, the slalom, where we got to truly experience Lamborghini's Dynamic Steering technology - an effortless handling of the car at lower speeds and traffic-like conditions.
The handling and steering of car came naturally to us non-sportscar-drivers; the car felt just like an extension of our bodies (albeit a much more powerful and well-engineered one) and we came to understand the construction and features of the car much more deeply.
Every single element was there for a reason: to allow the Huracán to be the unprecedented engineering marvel that it is.
Post-lunch break, we returned to the course for the fun part: Faster rounds on different driving modes (Strada, Sport, and Corsa) to get a bearing on the Huracán's acceleration and steering. While we did not manage to hit the Huracán's top speed (a casual 320 km/h), we did get a taste of the powerful 580 PS engine. Lamborghini claims an acceleration rate of 0-100 km/h in 3.4 seconds for the Huracán, and judging from the smoothness and ease of performance, we'd be inclined to agree.
To round out the whole Lamborghini experience, the Esperienza graciously provided luxurious accommodations at the Gran Hotel Majestic Gia Baglioni, the oldest and most prestigious hotel in all of Bologna. Between the racing, factory visiting, and wining and dining at the I Caracci restaurant, we also managed to squeeze in a short walk around town to momentarily lose ourselves in the intricate web of architecture and cobblestone, beauty and romance - all illuminated by the dawn breaking over the horizon at the Piazza Maggiore.
As we took in the morning light and watched as the children played, it became clear that the city and Lamborghini were inseparable in their magic: a spell that we are still thoroughly enchanted by.