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The 2023 Lamborghini Huracan Sterrato.Petrina Gentile/The Globe and Mail

Porsche started the trend – turning a fast and powerful 911 into an off-road machine with the 911 Dakar, which has a raised suspension, roof rack and optional pop-up tent.

Now, Lamborghini has jumped on the bandwagon, introducing the Huracan Sterrato, which starts at about $320,000 and means dirt road in Italian. As its name suggests, it’s a rally-inspired supercar designed to power through low-grip surfaces like dirt, sand and gravel roads at breakneck speeds. The limited-edition model, with only 1,499 vehicles up for grabs, is significant because it’s the last model to wear the Huracan badge and the last Lamborghini to be powered by the brand’s iconic naturally aspirated V10 engine as it transitions to an electrified future.

“Part of me is quite sad because it’s the final of a long history, but the other side is excited because we have a new challenge and the result, I think, will surprise you,” says Mario Fasanetto, Lamborghini’s chief driving instructor as we head onto Chuckwalla Valley Raceway in Desert Centre, Calif., about 90 kilometres north of Palm Springs.

The idea for an off-road-ready supercar came to the drawing board in 2017; a concept version followed two years later.

“We let journalists try it and they only had positive feedback, so [we thought] we must make this car. This is completely new for us. We didn’t expect it,” says Daniela De Vivo, vehicle development project manager at Automobili Lamborghini.

Lamborghini has the money and resources to invest in a rallycross-inspired supercar. It was a record year for the brand in 2022 – the best year to date with 9,233 deliveries worldwide, revenue of €2.38-billion ($3.48-billion) and an operating profit of €614-million ($897-million).

That growth continues in 2023 as the Italian automaker celebrates its 60th anniversary. In the first quarter of 2023, there were 2,623 deliveries, revenue of €728-million ($1.06-billion) and an operating profit of €260-million ($380-million). Canada ranks in the top 10 for Lamborghini sales worldwide.

We hit the track – half the four-kilometre course is on paved asphalt, the other half on a makeshift dirt track that comes courtesy of Lamborghini engineers who carved it out of the desert landscape.

Fasanetto the instructor rides shotgun, directing my every move, as I nail the throttle on the tarmac in Sport mode. Within seconds, I turn a bend, drive through some cones and leave the asphalt for the soft, sandy track. I toggle to Rally mode on the steering wheel and use the beefy carbon-fibre paddle shifters on the steering column to change gears on the fly.

Rally mode is designed for low-grip conditions and it works well as I whip around corners at speeds of about 80 kilometres an hour, following Fasanetto’s instructions. “Steer and throttle. Throttle. Left side. Right side. Second gear. Yes! Yes! Yes!,” he says, as the car drifts out and sand flies everywhere, obstructing the view ahead. “Don’t worry,” he reassures me calmly.

When pushed, torque goes to the front wheels to control the slide and push the car out of a corner. Within minutes, we’re back on paved asphalt. Nail the throttle and the 602-horsepower mid-engine 5.2-litre V10 can go from zero to 100 kilometres an hour in 3.4 seconds. After three laps and about 12 minutes, it’s time to head back to the? pit lane. Incidentally, Fasanetto can complete three laps in about three minutes.

Compared to the regular Huracan Evo, the Sterrato has a raised ride height and a new Rally mode, which is a first on a Huracan. The ground clearance has increased by 44 millimetres. The track width has also increased by 30 millimetres in the front and 34 in the rear. Under the car, there are aluminum (not steel because it’s too heavy) front skid plates to protect against dirt and debris, special Bridgestone all-terrain tires to provide better grip on the asphalt and gravel, rally lights, roof rails and a large roof-mounted air scoop to supply clean air to the engine when driving on dusty roads.

Over all, it’s a blast to drive especially off-road at high speeds. It’s an unexpected and pleasant surprise to see how this 1,470-kilogram machine moves quickly and easily on the dirt track; the traction on the soft sand is incredible. The vehicle never feels aggressive and it reacts well to every steering input. It’s lightweight and easy to drive.

Tech specs

2023 Lamborghini Huracan Sterrato

  • Base price: $319,617 (before freight and taxes)
  • Engine: 5.2-litre naturally aspirated V10 with 602 horsepower and 413 lb-ft of torque
  • Transmission/drive: Seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic/all-wheel drive
  • Fuel consumption (litres per 100 kilometres): TBA
  • Alternatives: Porsche 911 Dakar


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The Huracan Sterrato comes with roof racks that can carry about 175 pounds and can be fitted with a ski rack.Petrina Gentile/The Globe and Mail

Compared to the Huracan Evo, it’s bolder and more aggressive in its design, with a higher ride height, wider track and distinct touches including a new front end with rally lights, high-mounted exhaust pipes, a large roof-mounted air scoop that provides clean air to the engine and a roof rack that can carry about 175 pounds of goodies from surf boards to skis.


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The touchscreen infotainment system gets new graphics and a digital inclinometer with pitch and roll indicators, a compass, geographic co-ordinate indicator and steering angle indicator.Petrina Gentile/The Globe and Mail

The touchscreen infotainment system gets new graphics and a digital inclinometer with pitch and roll indicators, a compass, geographic co-ordinate indicator and steering angle indicator. I love the green Alcantara suede-like trim on the seats, which are embroidered with the Sterrato name, and the fabric door handles.


The Sterrato raises the bar and the fun factor higher than ever, especially when driving on sand and gravel. Drifting through corners is impressive. It tackles any terrain with ease and might. When pushed, the sound of the V10 engine is music to the ears.


It lacks some driver-safety-assistance systems you’d expect to find on a supercar with such a hefty price tag. The touchscreen isn’t user-friendly; it often requires multiple steps to complete simple tasks.


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The Huracan Sterrato has about 100 litres of front cargo room, not enough for a suitcase.Petrina Gentile/The Globe and Mail

With only 100 litres of front cargo room, there’s barely enough space to store my purse, let alone a suitcase.

The verdict

Open this photo in gallery:The 2023 Lamborghini Huracan Sterrato rides on special Bridgestone all-terrain tires to provide better grip.

The 2023 Lamborghini Huracan Sterrato can sprint to 100 kilometres an hour in 3.4 seconds.Petrina Gentile/The Globe and Mail

An exceptional heart-pounding supercar that excels in high-speed off-roading conditions, but is equally at home on a paved racetrack or public road. It’s the perfect way to bid farewell to the Huracan nameplate and Lamborghini’s haloed V10 engine.

The writer was a guest of the automaker. Content was not subject to approval.

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