The Italians have a way with sports cars. Not to take anything away from our friends in Germany, England and Japan, but Italian automakers have a special knack for combining great looks and great performance to make great cars.

Lamborghini, building out its stable of lower-priced supercars, has added a convertible to the Huracan family.

The Huracan Spyder is a rear-wheel-drive street racer, powered by a 5.2-liter, naturally aspirated V-10 engine that makes 580 horsepower and will rocket the car from zero to 60 miles per hour in less than 3.6 seconds.

Built on a hybrid chassis made of aluminum and carbon fiber, with a body composed of aluminum and composite materials, at 2,300 pounds unfueled the Huracan is light, lithe and very nimble.

It sits low, with its wheels planted wide and square, on a double-wishbone suspension system that features Lambo’s MagneRide electromagnetic dampening system.

Lambo engineers combine the rear-mid-mounted engine and rear-wheel-drive transmission for weight distribution that’s 40-60 front to rear.

The resulting ride is exhilarating. Acceleration is wicked fast;  steering is extremely responsive, and braking is precise. The base price is $229,275. As tested: $280,845.

At the outer edges of performance, this Spyder version of the Huracan isn’t quite as technical or terrifying as the top Huracan – the all-wheel-drive, 610-horsepower hardtop.

But it offers the distinct delight of open-air motoring, which increases the driving experience and brings the intoxicating sound of the lovely V-10 right into the cabin.

The top comes down quietly and disappears into the trunk. Lamborghini boasts that special air ducts direct wind away from the driver and reduce turbulence in the cabin.

I wasn’t especially aware of that. Maybe I was distracted by the simple pleasure of driving a convertible. Is there anything more delicious than taking a fast car, with the top down and the heater up, on a mountain road at night? If there is, don’t tell me about it, or I’ll never get any work done.

Even in its stepped-down version the Spyder is still far more car than I am driver and made the motoring so much fun that all I had to do was try to keep up.

On winding mountain roads, it put my skills to shame and wanted to go a lot faster than I was willing to take it.

Driving modes are Strada, for street driving, Sport for sportier street, and Corsa for the track.

In Sport mode, the automatic rev matching on downshifts increases the V-10’s chortle.

I’d been forewarned to take it easy. The gentleman who delivered the car said, “Don’t take it over 100.” He said that twice. Since the vehicle had only 550 miles on the odometer, and looked like it had spent the day at the spa, I followed his advice.

But it was clear the Spyder was readier than I was to test its professed top speed of 198 mph. I did a few street miles in Corsa mode, and was properly impressed.

Everything about the Spyder is compressed and compact. The glove compartment is aptly named, in this case: It’s about big enough for a pair of gloves.

The navigation screen is smaller than the screen on your iPhone. The driver’s seat requires some calisthenics for entry, and though I’m not a big person I wished I were a little shorter and smaller in this car.

Although the Spyder is equipped with a hydraulic system that raises the nose so it doesn’t scrape on driveways, the low platform takes some of the fun out of city driving.

Getting in and out of the car is a workout, and sitting so low, in traffic, may feel uncomfortable to anyone accustomed to a high-rise sport utility vehicle or crossover.

But customers for this car won’t care about any of that. Those customers won’t mind the 16 mpg combined city/highway, or the fact that the car scores a 2 on the EPA 1-to-10 Fuel Economy and Greenhouse Gas Rating scale.

They might not even mind the $1,700 “gas guzzler tax,” or the $9,495 “destination charge,” a figure that’s roughly 10 times the normal rate.

They may be more impressed to know that the car tied for first place, with the Porsche 911 Turbo S, for the Robb Report 2017 Car of the Year award, revealed in the April issue of the magazine.

Or they won’t have time for reading. Instead, they’ll be carving up a canyon, captivated by the roar of the V-10, letting the Huracan make them feel like better drivers than they are.

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