- The Lamborghini Huracan STO is a car built for the racetrack but legal to drive on the road.
- It starts at around $330,000. With optional features, the STO I recently drove came to $400,000.
- The STO wasn’t just an attention magnet — it was a reminder of just how menacing street cars can be.
As I crept through Los Angeles traffic with a $400,000 Lamborghini Huracan STO’s engine burbling in my ear, a man in a black Dodge Challenger yelled: “Can I have a ride?” I tried to yell back.
The problem was, I’d only been in the car for about five minutes. I hadn’t figured out how to roll down the windows yet.
Getting accustomed to a supercar like the STO is a uniquely embarrassing experience. Everyone’s staring at you, you’re trying not to scratch the low front splitter on the ground, and you don’t know where any of your basic controls — like the ones that roll down the windows — are yet. As the man in the Challenger yelled through my sealed windows, I had to prioritize my time.
I needed to find the turn signals first.
Still, his enthusiasm made sense. The Huracan STO is a textbook Lamborghini: ostentatious even in a coat of dark gray paint, prowling lower to the ground than a weed-eater.
Its 631-horsepower V10 engine, which sits behind the driver, snarls like it wants to rip your throat out, and the only storage in the car is what you can fit in your lap and at your feet. Trunks and frunks aren’t needed when all you’re carrying is the audacity.
The STO starts at around $330,000, and the one I drove in LA came to $398,833. It had $7,200 sport seats, more than $20,000 in carbon-fiber accents, $16,500 in extras from Lamborghini’s Ad Personam customization program, an $800 cruise-control system, and a $4,000 nose-lift feature to navigate the car’s low front end over bumps and dips.
You might be wondering why cruise control — something that comes on decade-old Toyota Camrys — is optional on a $400,000 Lamborghini. The answer is that you’re not supposed to need it.
That’s because “STO” is short for “Super Trofeo Omologata,” and “omologata” is Italian for “homologation.” Many motorsport series require manufacturers to homologate their race cars, or give them a tangible link to vehicles that can be purchased for the road.
—Alanis King (@alanisnking) April 9, 2022
Some automakers thus create “homologation specials” — race cars tweaked to become road legal, less for their sales potential and more so their counterparts can race. People often buy cars like the STO to drive recreationally on the racetrack, not on the road.
“Omologata” is just another way to say that where we’re going, we don’t need cruise control.
Race cars — or cars modeled after them, like the STO — are also notoriously uncomfortable compared to normal cars. They’re stiff, low, and tight, with their seats gripping your hips and thighs like a giant hair clip. Comfort features are stripped away in favor of performance enhancements, and there’s no fluffy suspension to insulate passengers from the ground. You feel every little bump and crack you encounter, like a wooden roller coaster with a few boards out of place.
That’s because the STO doesn’t care if your ass hurts when you get out of it. If you care, you’re in the wrong car.
When Lamborghini dropped off my loaner STO at the Hampton Inn I stayed at, everyone stared. They wondered if I was lost, peeking into its windows and taking photos to show their kids.
I squatted into the low driver’s seat, flicking open the red cover over the car’s start button and clicking the paddle shifter in my right hand to put the car in “drive.” Everything’s dramatic in a Lamborghini, including getting it out of park.
The STO roars on startup and whenever it’s revved, but on the highway, its engine quiets down enough to hold a phone call. Its stiff suspension is oddly comfortable on long drives, and its seats and steering wheel have manual adjustments instead of power ones. (Remember: This is a track car, and track cars don’t need your silly power seats.)
The car is as wide as it is low, slithering around and always ready to strike. There’s no visibility aside from the front windshield: Check the rearview mirror and all you’ll see is an engine cover that looks like a big, thick rib cage over the V10 behind you; glance in the side mirrors and the massive rear wing blocks much of your view.
—Alanis King (@alanisnking) April 11, 2022
Some people joke that you only need to look forward when driving a race car, but in LA traffic, it’s nice to see the car behind you. With the STO, that takes a lot of concentration.
The STO’s rear wing, exterior air vents, and harsh styling communicate that this isn’t just a normal Lamborghini; it’s special — a Lamborghini that costs two home mortgages instead of one. It’s the perfect blend of Lamborghini and race car: bare and raw, yet still somehow gaudy. It’s minimal and excessive all at the same time.
I remember driving down a barren highway in LA one night under harsh yellow street lighting, glancing at the concrete dividing wall between my side of the road and the other. On it was a menacing, cartoonish triangular shadow slinking down the road, its intensity blinking on and off with each streetlight I passed. It was a scene from a superhero movie, playing out right beside me.
That’s when I realized: “Wait. That’s me.”
Because it’s designed for the racetrack, driving the STO on public roads is like stretching a rubber band and never being able to fling it. It’s too good for the street — launching like a plane and gluing itself to the ground, unfazed by anything a driver can do within the limits of the law — and too good for most drivers.
It’s a tool for precision, not an animal to be tamed. Its potential is at your fingertips on the road, even if you’re a little scared of where it could lead.
That’s what makes the STO great. It can be a pain to drive supercars on everyday commutes; each little dip requires a nose lift, and when a nose lift isn’t enough, it’s time to either scratch the front splitter or reroute the navigation.
But you don’t drive the STO on the road because it’s easy. You do it to tell everyone that you accept its challenges and discomforts — not because you particularly enjoy them, but because you’re tough enough to handle them.
You also drive it because everyone likes a little attention, even if you haven’t yet figured out how to roll down the windows and respond.