The Lamborghini ICE V12 will remain … but on the track only
We all know the Lamborghini Aventador LP780-4 Ultimae will be the last production car from Sant’Agata with the legendary V12 engine in her naturally aspirated form before electrification makes its entry into the Lamborghini flagship, and while the engine for the Aventador wasn’t based on the original Bizzarrini unit that dates back to the 350 GT from the Sixties, the L539 engine was specifically designed to be used in the Murciélago successor to make it lower so the point of gravity could be set lower into the chassis for improved handling.
The Lamborghini Aventador LP780-4 Ultimae is the final swansong for this type of engine from Sant’Agata, with a production run limited to 350 Coupe and 250 Roadster, this specific model will become an instant collector’s item, the comfort, and handling from the Aventador S combined with SVJ styling but without the ALA system, the Ultimae is the best of both worlds, and during the introduction by Stephan Winkelmann, CEO and director of Automobili Lamborghini SpA, he made it abundantly clear this would be the last V12 for Lamborghini in a combustion engine in this form … the last of an era, the Ultimate.
In a few weeks, we’ll be able to admire another Aventador based limited edition car, but that will be the Countach Homage model and will come with the Supercapacitor as seen on the Sian before, so not a real NA V12, rumors talk about a production run of 112 units to commemorate the LP112 designation the famous Countach received 50 years ago and a price tag of $3,000,000, the unveiling will be held during Car Week in Monterey, California, and I can’t wait to see what Lamborghini comes up with to celebrate their most innovative design that introduced the term ‘Lamborghini doors’ in automotive history.
The successor to the 2011 Lamborghini Aventador should be ready as a 2023 model, so there is still some time before the move into hybridization will occur in Sant’Agata, still, they are working hard on a new V12 engine, the current L539 unit will not survive into the future flagship supercar from Lamborghini, the 2023 model will get a different V12 engine that is currently under development, with additional electric motors integrated from the design stage on to create Lamborghini’s first hybrid V12 production model, but it will not be the first hybrid customers can buy from Sant’Agata.
That honor will go to the Urus, the Super SUV that’s setting sales records year on year, with over 15,000 units over three years of production, it’s safe to say the Urus brings in some serious turnover for Lamborghini, and we’ve been expecting this model as a hybrid right from the start, and it’s finally happening in 2022 it seems, next year we’ll get the mid-life facelift that’s been captured in spy-shots already, and electric motors and batteries will make their introduction into the Lamborghini line-up, just as it has done on the MLB Evo platform for models from Audi, Bentley, and Porsche, who all have their PHEV models for a while now.
Will the Urus Ibrido keep the twin-turbo V8 engine and add more horsepower with the electric motors, or will they switch to a smaller, weight reducing V6 engine to counteract the additional weight of the electric motors and the batteries … that’s what Bentley did with the Bentayga Hybrid, a 3-Liter V6 single turbo with 335 hp that adds 126 hp from an electric motor for a combined power output of just 443 hp, while the Bentayga V8 S comes with 542 hp … the Lamborghini Urus has 641 hp, so will the Urus Ibrido come with less? I sure hope not.
So, we’ll see the first hybrid Lamborghini next year on the Urus, then in 2023 the next step in electrification will come around in the form of the new flagship, the Aventador successor that will be Lamborghini’s first V12 hybrid, and Stephan Winkelmann already confirmed they will not be going down the route of a Supercapacitor for the flagship production model, the new V12 will come with state-of-the-art batteries instead, the Supercapacitor solution just wouldn’t be appropriate for a production car Winkelmann mentioned, will this new V12 be a 6.5-liter unit like the Aventador one … that’s not mentioned anywhere, possibly it will come with a smaller displacement to safe weight and size, every kg counts on a hybrid because the batteries are still very heavy.
I did read somewhere that one of the reasons Lamborghini is redeveloping the V12 engine for the hybrid successor is the fact they’ve pushed the L539 unit just about to its limits when it comes to power output, it seems the 780 hp on the Aventador Ultimae is as far as they are willing to go with this engine for a production model, so would that insinuate the new V12 engine will come with more power right from the start? Will we be seeing a Lamborghini in 2023 with more than 1,000 hp combined power output … we really should, shouldn’t we?
Only one year after the new V12 hybrid flagship takes over from the Aventador, the Huracán is up for replacement in 2024, and it will also be a hybrid right from the start, but chances are we won’t be seeing a return of the V10 engine at that time, the Huracán successor will more likely receive a smaller displacement V8 turbocharged engine, or even a V6 unit with turbos and electric motors, power output for the Huracán successor will be close to 700 hp if not more, as right now Lamborghini is probably deliberately keeping the power output of the ‘Baby’ below the flagship model to make a clear distinction between the two … if the new V12 hybrid goes over the magical 1,000 hp there is no reason why the Huracán replacement shouldn’t follow and offer up to 900 hp in her hybrid form.
Automobili Lamborghini SpA is going through some serious evolution over the next years, the Urus Ibrido in 2022, the Aventador successor as a V12 hybrid by 2023, in 2024 the Huracán gets replaced with a hybrid model too, and Lamborghini is still planning their all-electric fourth model after 2025, which will be a GT style car. Lamborghini will have two ‘lines’ when Stephan Winkelmann is asked about this, on one side there will be two supercars à la Huracán and Aventador, while on the other side there are the more practical models like the Urus and the new GT, he also mentioned the styling and design between these two ‘lines’ will be considerably different to cater to different market segments.
But wait, didn’t we title this article ‘The Lamborghini NA V12 will remain’? So what’s up with that, as it seems we’ll be seeing every Lamborghini model become a hybrid in two years or so? Well, there’s a catch, Automobili Lamborghini SpA will not be able to make NA V12 road cars anymore to comply with ever-stricter regulations worldwide, but those rules don’t apply to ‘track only’ cars … and that’s where the V12 engine will live on for several more years, without turbochargers or electric motors, just a pure, internal combustion, fuel-burning V12 that will emit her thundering soundtrack through an open exhaust … in line with the Essenza SCV12, so Stephan Winkelmann didn’t officially confirm this, but there are probably some more V12 powered track day only cars from Sant’Agata in the pipeline.
And what about the one-off models like the SC18 Alston and the more recent SC20 … will bespoke cars like that be able to retain the NA V12 engine and forfeit any hybrid setup in the future? My guess is this will be possible for several more years into the future, but at one point legislation will make new petrol-powered only cars illegal, but until then Lamborghini should be able to build hybrid cars in their entire lineup and create a few bespoke builds now and then … only time will tell, but the future of Lamborghini and any other supercar maker out there is hybridization and electrification … we can’t deny that.