Lamborghini blazes a trail for track-focused women with its STO

For a few pleasant days this past autumn, Madam Wheels got loud and low in the new Lamborghini Huracan STO. STO is short for “Super Trofeo Omologata” which, more meaningfully translated, means “a track weapon made road legal”. It lived up to the promise.

This isn’t surprising, really, given the brains that informed the car’s construction, aerodynamics and onboard tech came from Lamborghini’s Scorsa Squadra, or race team. Their pursuit of a weight advantage has resulted in 75 per cent of the STO’s surfaces being carbon fibre. Even the windscreen had been thinned to make it lighter.

‘The STO will be produced in limited numbers, which goes some way to explaining its price – $860,000 as tested, more than $260,000 of which was for options.’

The brakes, though, were heavy-duty, full Formula One-inspired carbon ceramic, which is great if you don’t like the unsightly brake dust that steel brakes produce. But the much costlier ceramic versions don’t perform at their best until they’re properly warmed up, which might require a fair bit of speed and heavy braking. We did say it was a track car.

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So, yes, it’s fast, capable of hitting 100km/h in 3 seconds from a dead stop, according to Lamborghini. Not that we were going to test that too seriously in Melbourne’s wet weather, especially given a nearby incident involving a rare Ferrari just days before. And that was in the dry. Maybe its ceramic brakes were cold? Like the ill-fated Ferrari, the STO is a rear-wheel drive which means it can be twitchy in the wet, but its four-wheel steering also makes it easier to manoeuvre in tight city streets.

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We were pleased to see cruise control featured on the STO’s steering wheel but not so pleased by the local Lambo specialist’s response when we asked if the cruise control was adaptive. He went full Italian, and was like, “Ha, ha, ha! It’s a race car! Ha, ha, ha!”

Point. Taken.

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Inside, there were other mod-cons we ladies might enjoy that aren’t here because, “Ha, ha, ha! It’s a race car!” No parking sensors. No visibility through the rear window. No useful boot space. In fact, there’s very little space for anything in the STO. And because of the carbon-fibre-rich nature of the interior, a wildly retracted seat belt or thoughtless entry or exit in a stiletto could do some serious damage.

Speaking of damage, if you really want to avoid it, you’ll need to do some heavy lifting driving this car. That is, use the car’s lifting system every single time you approach a speed hump or remotely steep driveway. There’s carbon fibre under its nose, of course, so navigating these obstacles is a painstakingly slow process, often to the irritation of drivers behind whose impatience may, perhaps, be more a symptom of their envy of the driver with the flashy livery delaying them.

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Otherwise, passing motorists seemed curiously willing to communicate with us, usually via a hand gesture, sometimes involving the middle finger. More often, though – especially once they realised a woman was in the pilot’s seat – it was with a smile and a wave or a thumbs-up.

In short, the STO is a feel-good car. Its lowness makes it sexy, its acceleration makes it fun, and its sound is, oh, so wonderful in this increasingly electrified car world. The STO will be produced in limited numbers, which goes some way to explaining its Australian price – $860,000 before taxes and on-road costs as tested, more than $260,000 of which was for options. Does one really need those ceramic brakes?

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