The latest from Sant’Agata, the Huracan LP 610-4 Spyder, has got a soft top and a loud V10. It’ll be great. Now let’s just move on, because the Urus SUV is set to be ready in 2018 to most likely be their first turbocharged and hybrid car. And here’s why building it will be Lamborghini’s biggest challenge yet.
At the Frankfurt Motor Show, I sat down with Lamborghini’s Head of Research and Development Maurizio Reggiani to talk about their upcoming $1.2 million limited-edition hypercar, the hybrid Asterion Concept, naturally-aspirated V12s, turbo-only Porsche 911s and the Lambo SUV that has to be faster than the 186mph Bentley Bentayga. Exciting times at Lamborghini, to say the least.
Let’s start with the secret hypercar they are working on. Well, they are working on it alright. All I could get from Mr. Reggiani apart from that is that it will be very different to anything they’ve done so far. Right.
Back in the day, the Reventon was created simply by wrapping the Murcielago in some sharpened cloth and sticking in a way more powerful engine. That was that. The $4 million Venenos were not much different. Aventadors turned to whatever number you can think of, a profitable celebration of being the crazy ones for fifty years running.
While the featherweight Sesto Elemento was a tribute to their carbon fiber technology, it also remained barely more than a concept car. They built 20, but there’s a good reason why you don’t see too many of them in action on YouTube.
The next one? Beats me, but the odds are on more insanity.
But how about a comfortable gran turismo with a plug-in hybrid powertrain, you may ask.? Well, the stunning Asterion won’t happen. And not because CEO Stefan “Check Out My Sweet Beard” Winkelmann doesn’t like hybrids. Just think about it.
Launching a smaller model in 2003 was a big deal for Lamborghini, especially considering that the Gallardo outsold all its predecessors by far with 13,992 units built in ten years.
But put one next to a Murciealgo and you realize that apart from developing a new aluminum spaceframe for it which then Audi could use to create the R8, all they had to do was downsize the original mid-engined supercar idea. Less cylinders, less carbon fiber, more volume, all the fun at a smaller price.
Making a front-engined SUV will be a whole new ballgame. Their last product using that layout went out of production in 1993. Not only that, but their SUV sales should exceed their two mid-engined supercars’ combined figures. That means they’ll have to expand the factory, build a new assembly line and hire a bunch of new employees as well. It’s pretty clear that there never was space for a fourth car in their lineup, therefor the Asterion was never to be.
Let’s not forget either that the first time we saw the Urus Concept was in 2012, yet the production version will only be ready in 2018.
There’s no rush, but Lamborghini has to do this right, and that’s a tall order from the engineering side as well considering the other ridiculously fast SUVs VW already has in its lineup, be that the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S or the new Bentley Bentayga.
Lamborghini mentioned earlier that they find VW’s SUV platform too heavy for their blisteringly fast SUV, but as Reggiani explained now, there are many ways they can turn those lighter. Using different materials and numerous weight-saving methods all around, the Urus should reign as the fastest and most agile despite the necessarily shared components.
I really hope they’re aiming for 200 mph. The F40 of SUVs would do it.
They will need power to go there as well, and lots of it. V12? V10? Twin-turbo V8? Hybrid?
Maurizio Reggiani has a pretty strong idea of what should power what.
No matter how many times I asked him about how Lamborghini can keep up the V12 fireworks when even Ferrari and Porsche has to go smaller and turbocharged to meet emissions, he always tells me the same:
- Lamborghini wouldn’t be Lamborghini without a naturally-aspirated V12 supercar.
- Turbo engines have lag, and any lag is unacceptable in a sports car.
- It’s a hard game with the rules out there, but this is what they do.
Gotta love engineers like him.
Having said that, because of the different dynamics and torque requirements, when it comes to the Urus, he says not only turbos can make sense in the engine bay but there’ll also be enough space for those damn heavy batteries. An SUV can carry them, especially of it got lightened everywhere else.
The company is breaking all sales records as we speak. Imagine if they pull this off!
Photo credit: Máté Petrány/Jalopnik
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