Your chance to test-drive a Lamborghini Huracan

John McCormick

Downtown Chicago may not be the best place to test-drive a 2017 Lamborghini Huracan capable of 200 mph, but I channeled Ferris Bueller and made the most of it.

As traffic opened up on Lake Shore Drive, I let loose some of the 580 horsepower on tap from the Huracan’s V-10 engine. The wedge-shaped Italian supercar rapidly closed the gaps in traffic and gave a strong hint at its extraordinary performance capabilities.

Unlike the high-schooler in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” who goes for a joyride in a Ferrari, I did return my Lamborghini undamaged.

The Huracan was one of four rear-wheel-drive models — one a Spyder version — at Chicago’s Waldorf Astoria as part of a promotion between Lamborghini and the hotel. The program offers guests at the Waldorf an interesting — and free — opportunity to experience the latest version of the $250,000 supercar.

As a renowned luxury hotel, a stay at the Waldorf is not inexpensive. But the rare chance to drive a Huracan was a compelling option for some 70 guests who signed up over the weekend.

“We do have some guests who go on to purchase a car,” said a Lamborghini spokesman. “But really this is a chance to promote our brand in a prominent location and connect with people who haven’t driven a Lamborghini before. People are surprised at how easy it is to drive.”

Past Lamborghinis have been known for intimidating driving characteristics: harsh-riding and difficulty navigating smoothly in city traffic. But since the Italian brand has become part of the VW Group and benefited from the sophisticated engineering resources of Audi, the Huracan has been transformed, with a relatively absorbent ride and a tractable powertrain. However, with very limited side and rear vision, I wouldn’t say that driving a Huracan through crowded streets is a breeze.

The Waldorf Astoria Lamborghini partnership program is in its second year and involves a number of the hotel group’s global properties. So if you’re planning a trip to France this July, the Waldorf hotel in Versailles is hosting a session. The drive program moves to the Waldorf in Edinburgh, Scotland, in November and then to the Waldorf Boca Raton Resort and Club. Lamborghini expects to return next year to the Waldorf in Chicago, which also happens to boast America’s top-rated spa.

At each venue, a drive route is set up by Lamborghini and guests are led in the cars by a professional driver. Corey Lewis, a driver for a Lamborghini GT3 race team which will be competing at the Belle Isle races next week, was my guide and scythed ably through Chicago’s congested roads.

Racing is actually a big component in Lamborghini’s consumer marketing effort and the brand offers buyers a chance to compete on track in Huracans. Between the Waldorf Astoria drive experiences and the on-track racing, the company has a series of programs, including a winter ice-driving school.

As a luxury sports car brand, Lamborghini is not alone in offering enticing driving experiences for its customers and would-be owners, but the company’s menu of programs is well developed. To get a taste of what it’s like to drive a Huracan, the Waldorf Astoria experience is a good place to start. You just need a driver’s license and be over age 25, which, happily for Lamborghini, rules out the likes of Ferris Bueller.

John McCormick is a columnist for Autos Consumer and can be reached at