Lamborghini isn't killing off the V12 just yet
President and CEO Stephan Winkelmann confirmed this in an interview with Autocar
With the recent unveiling of the Aventador Ultimae Edition along with the news that the model will be discontinued, many were fearing that it could be the end for V12-powered Lamborghinis. With many countries well on the path to banning the sale of new internal combustion-powered vehicles by the 2030s and 2040s and emissions regulations tightening up more and more every few years, you'd think that it wouldn't make any sense to keep the V12 alive. Well Lamborghini doesn't seem to think this way, as in an interview he conducted with Autocar President and CEO Stephan Winkelmann has confirmed that Lamborghini will be making a new generation of V12 supercar!
The Aventador's replacement is due to arrive in 2023 and, according to Winkelmann, will be a plug-in hybrid that'll mate the V12 engine to an electric powertrain for the first time. Why is Lamborghini doing this? To futureproof one of its most iconic engines, basically. The brand wants to preserve the special quality of the V12, but in a way that makes it more sustainable and appropriate for the 2020s. "In terms of CO2 emissions, it is an important change, but we are convinced that this is going to work," said Winkelmann about his hopes for the new car. "The plug-in hybrid car which will follow the Aventador will have a V12 engine, and so the sound and the history will stay alive."
Is Lamborghini worried about the potential extra weight that could come as a result of implementing a plug-in hybrid system? Winkelmann certainly isn't. "If we speak about weight, we have to speak about power-to-weight ratio, and this is the key element," he said. "It’s about the set-up, the brakes, the aerodynamics – a lot of items which have to work together. One of the most important is the power-to-weight ratio, and if this is greater, then the behaviour of the car has to be adapted and we are sure that this is going to work in a very smooth and positive way."
The new V12 hybrid supercar will be a part of Lamborghini's drive towards further electrification, which will include more hybrid models and an all-new fully electric car that'll be different from the Urus and expressly designed to be daily driven. Lamborghini will also be doing a lot of research into synthetic fuels alongside this. "The first step is hybridisation. Then we’ll see if synthetic fuels give an opportunity to continue to work with combustion engines, because it’s not about the type of propulsion: it’s about the emissions you generate."
"But on the other hand, we foresee a fourth model for the second half of this decade which will be the first full-electric car, and here we’re looking at a bodystyle which will not be the same as the Urus, but at least a 2+2, so a car that’s daily driven." Perhaps this future fully electric car will be a homage to the Lamborghini Espada of old? That would certainly be very cool!
Winkelmann was actually keen to further point out that Lamborghini has always been a company that hasn't just made supercars. "We have to divide the brand into two types of car," he explained. "For the super-sports cars like the Huracán and Aventador, we want to keep the internal combustion engines alive as long as we can, and on the daily driver side, with the Urus and the new fourth model, we have to do an outstanding job – like we have with the Urus, which on first sight is not a Lamborghini to those who are used to looking at the Huracán and Aventador."
"But we are not always focused on super-sports cars. We had GT cars, 2+2 cars like the Espada and we had the LM002. So as a company, we also did lots of different stuff."
Will Lamborghini get help from the larger Volkswagen Group with its electrification plans? "We work together on platforms, for sure. We’re trying to see what is specific for Lamborghini," he said. "In general, a manufacturer always has a balance between ‘make or buy’: what is close to you as a DNA you make, and what is not that important you buy. Then you have to decide what you do best, and how fast you can achieve a positive result by doing one or the other."
"So the group, for us, is halfway between make and buy. We are part of the group, so we are also part of platform development, and on the other hand we have to pick the best fit in terms of cost and quality."
When he was asked about whether Lamborghini would draw upon its rich heritage in the future as times change, Winkelmann had a surprisingly very philosophical point to make that maybe many of us should take on board. "A brand like ours has to have strong roots, and they should build on the history of the brand," he said. "But you should learn about history. You shouldn’t repeat history until you fail."