Whistler, BC - There’s something visceral about returning to your roots. Returning to the place where your formative years took place. Going back to the start of it all, the locations that formed your first memories and, essentially, made you who you are. For me, that’s beautiful British Columbia. Every chance I get to head west, I take it. The mountains feel like a warm hug, the Pacific Ocean a welcome wave. Everything about the west coast feels like home.
I didn’t grow up rich. In fact, living in Squamish (back then it was just a small logging town, not the recreational capital of Canada it is now) meant living in a trailer park (which still exists there today). But that wasn’t a bad thing. I loved growing up there, under the watchful eye of Mount Garabaldi and The Chief.
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So, when I was invited to take part in a drive program known as the Route 99 Tour with Lamborghini Vancouver, which would see me passing through my childhood stomping grounds, I could hardly say no.
A Measure of Success
Some vehicles are the embodiment of success and “making it.” Ferrari and Porsche come to mind, as does Lamborghini, of course. These vehicles represent the climax of doing well in life. They are seen as rewards, as goals to achieve, and are the thing of childhood dreams and the subject of posters on youthful bedroom walls.
Of all the supercar brands, Lamborghini has always been high on my list of favourites. From their exterior designs to their powerful rear-mounted engines and all-wheel drive, everything about Lambos piqued my interest more than the others.
When I arrived at Lamborghini Vancouver, I was greeted with the keys to both the more family-friendly Lamborghini Urus, and the all-new Huracan EVO equipped with rear-wheel drive. While each unique in its own way, they both exuded everything Lamborghini stands for luxury, performance, and prestige.
Journey Up the Sea to Sky
One of the most alluring things about the west coast is the ever-popular and well-known Route 99 - also known as the Sea to Sky or the Pacific Coast Highway. It travels all the way down the west coast, to the Mexican border, following the coastline along the Pacific Ocean.
I grew up travelling that highway in the backseat of my mum’s little grey Chevette (with white-wall tires) from Vancouver to Squamish, and up to Whistler and Pemberton. I know the road like the back of my hand, and yet each time I get behind the wheel of a different vehicle and drive it - the experience changes.
As I drove up Route 99, hands on the wheel of the Lamborghini Urus, following a Huracan EVO RWD coupe and ahead of that a stunning and balls-to-the-wall Lamborghini STO, I found myself feeling like I was experiencing the Sea to Sky for the first time.
While the Urus is, by far, the largest and fattest of the Italian automaker’s lineup, it is no slouch. Equipped with the most luxuries inside, the Urus boasts comfort and high performance, and should not be overlooked. Sure, it’s an SUV, but it is still at its heart a sporty, track-inspire vehicle.
Equipped with a 4.0 L V8, the Urus produces a staggering 641 horsepower and 627 lb-ft of torque. Now, at nearly 5,000 lb (curb weight) this is no bantam weight but it feels decidedly light on its wheels, despite that. I had absolutely no trouble keeping up with the Huracan EVO and STO. Acceleration is breath-catching and, again, despite its shape and size, the Urus absolutely devoured every corner on the Route 99 journey up to Whistler.
Perhaps one of the best features of the Urus is the overall comfort. I have been fortunate enough to drive a few Lamborghinis over the years, and it’s safe to say that the coupe performance vehicles are not exactly uber smooth and soft on the road. It can be a bit … rough. However, Lamborghini solved that with the Urus, without taking away from the drive experience too much. Despite coming with standard 23” wheels (mine was riding on 21”), the Urus was civilized and decidedly plushy - with all the standard amenities and features you’d expect in a modern vehicle inside. Including an easy-to-use and navigate HMI system.
As we passed through Squamish, we came to a stop at a traffic light. As I looked to my left, I realized I was stopped right beside the trailer park where I grew up, Timbertown. Sitting in a quarter-million-dollar Urus, I couldn’t help but think of just how far I’d come - and even more about how connected I still felt to the location, despite the disconnect with what I was currently piloting.
Taming the Huracan
As we arrived in Whistler Village, a cacophony of exhaust barks, pops, roars, and burbles, it was finally time to switch seats and get behind the wheel of the new Lamborghini Huracan EVO RWD. Now, while there was a spyder version available, it was the coupe that really caught my eye.
What’s truly unique about the Huracan EVO RWD is the fact that, unlike other Lambos, this particular model is equipped with rear-wheel drive. Now, some may see this as blasphemous. Just as Audi has built a reputation on Quattro, Lamborghini has done the same with a fleet of supercars that sport an all-wheel drive system. But not now.
I was curious to see if it really made that much of a difference in terms of handling and road feel. Of course, we didn’t have tack time with the Huracan, but the Sea to Sky is a decidedly windy and twisty road that can test any vehicle’s handling, no matter how slow or quickly you drive it.
In all honesty, the EVO RWD felt as grounded and planted as any other AWD Lamborghini I’ve piloted over the years. And while the Gallardo has always been my absolute favourite in the Italian maker’s lineup … I think my favourite has just been ousted for a new No.1.
Equipped with a 5.2 L V10, the Huracan EVO is an absolute joy to pilot and sounds like a jet engine, no matter the drive mode. Choosing between Strada (Street), Sport (exactly what it suggests) or Corsa (track), simply enhances the Huracan EVO’s ferocity to eat up the tarmac as quickly and efficiently as possible. The 602 ponies rise up quickly and efficiently, and the 413 lb-ft of torque kicks in fully at 6500 RPM (and you’ll get there sooner than you think, trust me).
Inside, the Huracan EVO is bare bones and decidedly stiff compared to the Urus. With minimalistic buttons and knobs, and an HMI screen that is both difficult to navigate and not the most aesthetically pleasing, it’s safe to say you aren’t going to purchase this vehicle for $300,000+ because of the interior design.
Route 99 Tour
While I was there to experience the Lamborghinis, there’s more to the Route 99 Tour than just Italian supercars. And it’s not just a media event.
Open to the public, the Route 99 Tour allows Lamborghini owners the opportunity to experience the gorgeous Sea to Sky drive up to Whistler in their own vehicles. There, they have the opportunity to stay at the stunning Four Seasons Hotel, while also having the chance to try a new Urus or Huracan EVO (coupe or spyder) to drive themselves to an awesome off-road UTV experience nearby, journeying up the terrain to enjoy gorgeous vistas of the surrounding mountain ranges.
It’s All in the Journey
It’s hard to put into words what it means to drive a Lamborghini. Not all will be privileged enough to experience such a moment in their lifetime, and I count myself extremely lucky to be able to say I have - and on multiple occasions.
Each time, it is a stark reminder of where I have been, and where I am now. And I think that’s the real appeal of a Lamborghini - Urus or EVO. It’s all about the journey, about making it, about getting there. It’s about that moment you wrap your hands around the performance steering wheel, depress that metal brake pedal, flip up the start/stop cover, flick the red start engine toggle and hear the engine bark to life.
And the real beauty is, that the journey doesn't end there. But the next chapter begins the moment the fingers on your right-hand press the paddle shifter into first gear, putting your Lamborghini into drive…