Lamborghini’s forthcoming Urus SUV will be the first turbocharged and in 2020, the first electrified Lamborghini product to hit markets. While Ferrari and Porsche have switched on to hybridisation or electrification in some form or another, Lamborghini seems to be the standalone in having so far resisted fitting even turbochargers to its models in the pursuit of lower emissions, let alone hybrid or electric power. Does this mean future Lamborghini supercars will follow the Urus tech application?
The straight answer for now is internal combustion engines (ICE) irrespective of number of cylinders still have life in them until an appropriate hybridisation package is available which can match the physics of the current ICE set-ups.
According to confident Lamborghini R&D boss Maurizio Reggiani, both V10 and V12 powertrains are here to stay for a while and his reasoning is understandable. “My dream is to maintain the naturally aspirated engine for as long as possible. It is a sense of emotion in a super-sports car.”
“Our DNA is the design, emotion and performance, to make the experience of the car unique. These are conditions that define a new car. We then try to put them in a more scientific way, making them ‘physical’ things so [you] can compare a new car to an old one or the competition.
“A Lamborghini cannot be only one of those things. It can have a magnificent design as a super-cool Lamborghini but, if the car can’t do ‘emotional’ when you sit in it –if you can’t hear the noise or feel the tyres working on the asphalt – then the job is not done. We try to perfect this every time. Design and engineering must work together. You can’t discount something in the car. You always drive it to enjoy it, to have fun and maybe to show off a bit.”
Reggiani is not entirely convinced about the current plug-in hybrid systems available for a typical Lamborghini supercar application. It would be too heavy, blunting the performance and the handling, and the packaging and car’s DNA would be heavily compromised.
At the same time, Reggiani is also aware that Lamborghini’s tryst with V10/V12 powertrains can’t last forever as industry moves forward with electrification or turbocharging technologies.
The decision to use the Urus as a proving ground for electrified Lamborghinis is the pitch by Lamborghini as a stepping stone into the new applications. “We start with the Urus and then our dream of light weight [for hybrid technology in super-sports cars] can be ready.”
Meanwhile, Reggiani has challenged developers of electric motors and battery packs to make them more suitable for the kind of cars Lamborghini creates. “I wish the next generation of the super-sports car to be served better by tier-one suppliers for the battery and electric engine,” says Reggiani.