When Lamborghini announced that it wouldn’t make anymore all-combustion V12 cars, it felt like the end of an era for the champion of the childhood bedroom wall. Sure, some of you may have put up posters of F40s or Enzos, but the Lamborghini ultimately won the war on teenage aspiration with ludicrous machines like the Countach, Diablo, Murcielago, and Aventador. From here out, all big Lamborghinis will be electrified, a word that strikes fear into the hearts of petrolheads everywhere. Electrification often means weight, complexity, a Faustian bargain of speed in exchange for soul. Mercedes-AMG C63 S E-Performance, I’m talking about you. If AMG could get electrification so wrong, would the lab coats at St’Agata do it right? Well, fear not. Lamborghini has released details on its new plug-in hybrid V12 powertrain and it seems like the Aventador replacement will be an absolute face-melter.
On the face of it, a 6.5-liter naturally-aspirated V12 sounds, to borrow a line from David Byrne, same as it ever was. However, the L545 V12 is an entirely new beast compared to the Aventador’s L539 V12. Peak power? An earth-shattering 813 horsepower at a stratospheric 9,250 rpm. That’s more power than a Dodge Challenger Demon on pump gas from the V12 alone. We haven’t even factored in electrification yet. Oh, and this symphony of internal combustion won’t stop spinning until 9,500 RPM. Get your Over 9,000 jokes primed and ready now.
Despite the absurd power and 12.6:1 compression ratio, Lamborghini’s found a way to make the new engine lighter than before, clocking in a shade over 480 pounds, 37 pounds less than the Aventador’s motor. Not bad for a thumping V12. What’s more, it’s hitched to an eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox for improved livability over the Aventador’s single-clutch spine-crusher, and it only sends power to the rear wheels. That ought to put chest hairs on your chest hairs.
However, distilling the gearbox down to a livability concession would be undermining its sheer genius. It’s an eight-speed dual clutch that uses just two shafts, yet weighs 425 pounds. That’s 92 pounds heavier than the Tremec TR-9080 DCT in a Corvette Z51 when that Tremec is full of fluids. Shockingly enough, Lamborghini claims that’s lighter than the Huracan’s seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, but a hefty gearbox is necessary to harness 813 horsepower. Interestingly enough, the gearbox is mounted transversely despite the architecture’s longitudinal engine layout. That’s even weirder than not having a reverse gear since electrification can pick up that function.
Yes, crammed in the central tunnel of the new architecture sits a 3.8 kWh battery pack driving not one, not two, but three electric motors. Each front wheel has its own oil-cooled axial flux electric drive unit for off-the-line traction and pure torque vectoring, while an electric drive unit just above the gearbox can pump electrons to the rear wheels. Of course, you can plug the high-voltage system into the mains to recharge the battery pack, but the V12 engine is so thunderous it can recharge the battery pack in six minutes. Six minutes!
So how much power do the motors provide? Well, each front motor is good for 108.5 horsepower, and the whole system has a combined output of 1,001 horsepower. Bugatti Veyron output has arrived at Lamborghini. That’s more power than the SF90 Stradale, the most powerful car Ferrari makes right now. That’s more power than the upcoming Aston Martin Valhalla. That’s more power than any non-limited production hybrid supercar ever. The Aventador replacement isn’t just a new halo for Lamborghini, it’s a declaration of war.
While Lamborghini hasn’t released any performance figures for the new LB774 platform, here’s an educated guess: The Aventador replacement will be unfathomably quick for a stock Lamborghini. The zero-to-sixty time will naturally be savage, but unlike most EVs, the next big bull will most likely just keep pulling past the half-mile mark beyond all limits of legality. The plug-in hybrid era of wider-market performance cars has generated mixed success, but the plug-in hybrid supercar era is about to be epic. The new Lamborghini V12 architecture is proof that something great is on the horizon no matter what cartoonishly angular bodywork it’s cloaked in.
(Photo credits: Lamborghini)
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It’s a BMW i8 except with more frosting in the middle.
Oof, My body is ready!
Bring on another poster child!
I’m confused as to why this isn’t more of a solution across the board. I suppose cost certainly plays a role, but a lot of our favorite big honkin ICE engines could potential stick around for years to come with electrification…whether it’s the Corvette E Ray approach, adding mild hybrid systems to traditional large displacement engines, pairing the engines with more traditional hybrid systems, making plug in variants, etc.
It’ll reduce emissions and increase fuel economy. Will it have a dramatic effect? Ehhhhhhh maybe not but every little bit counts and it’ll at least be enough for a stay of execution for a few extra years while companies figure out how to make an EV performance car that’s actually engaging and in reach or regular people.
More complexity, and ultimately a clean break from ICE without a bunch of pandering carveouts is the only way we’ll make any progress. The goal is to use no oil anymore. We’re already doomed as a planet and carb fuels have to go away.
I say this as someone who gets 11mpg out of her 1988 V8 engine. My next car will be electric.
Eh, you can’t boil the ocean. Taking a series of small steps toward lower emissions is likely to be more effective than a giant ICE-ban-leap that’s going to fall flat on its face.
Plus, stuff like this will make electrification cool. It’s a halo car in more ways than one.
However, when we’re talking about relatively niche enthusiast cars that won’t see miles compared to more common commuter-type cars, what’s the harm? I agree we need to clean up our transportation sector NOW. However, these are a drop in the bucket compared to, say, trying to get semis to hydrogen/BEV, or even getting our airline fleet to alternative fuels.
This sparks joy.
1,001 horsepower (one more than one thousand!) is the automotive equivalent of Spinal Tap’s “It goes to eleven!”
Well, they needed to have more than a hummer, so added a “1”.
Remember when the Veyron hit that number? It boggled the mind back then that the engine in a road-going car could make that much power. Nowadays… eh. Doesn’t seem so impressive.
I wouldn’t go so far as to say not that impressive, it’s still hugely impressive. almost 20 years on from the initial Veyron debut, and there are still preciously few cars to have that much power.
The V12 can recharge the pack in six minutes! Would be pretty cool if it could backfeed from its charge port and top off other EV’s in a pinch during a super car road trip.
So if you pull up to one of Europe’s EV only zones with an empty battery, just redline your V12 for 5 minutes. The Earth is saved!
“a hefty gearbox is necessary”
A Tremec TR6060 weighs under 150 lb, just saying.
My ideal form for this car would be a smaller engine (like a 3.5 L v12 would be perfect), 6MT driving the rear wheels and electric front wheel assist. The motor could come on progressively with the clutch release.
A fair point, but that chonker is also the differential and has another electric motor (and what looks like the inverter stack) integrated into it, so that’s really not all that bad, all things considered.
If it includes the motor etc, then it is pretty impressive. I’m thinking that isn’t included in the published weight though, given the comparison to the non-electrified units in the Huracan and Corvette.
Are we sure its only a 3.8 kWh battery? I doubt its plug in for such a small battery or the battery info is wrong. A prius PHEV has a 8.8 kWh battery for 25 miles of range. A 3.8 battery in a Lambo is good for what, 1 launch?
Having a battery/motor system will likely mean that it will legally be a PHEV in many places, so avoiding higher taxes/congestion charging etc.
The upcoming Lambo Urus PHEV has a 17.9 kWh battery. Everywhere references 3.8 for Aventador PHEV, shame on all the auto journalists copying & pasting without a clue it is likely very wrong.
The E Ray (another mid engine sports car) has a 1.9 kWh battery.
Respectfully, I think if you blindly assume a big SUV and a small sports car share a battery size and accuse others of copy/pasting, it’s you who should be ashamed.
Not blindly assuming, but how is a 3.8 battery going to power 3 electric motors, its good for a 10 second 1/4 run then empty.
I have a somewhat relevant question that, well, probably applies to this engine. In PHEVs, when you leave with a full battery, the engine doesn’t start. Then, if you both have charge and floor the pedal, the ICE springs to life, and immediately races to redline. Is that not, like, really bad for the engine? I’m assuming something has been done about it (a really fast burst of oil? always pumping oil?), but, it just seems extremely unhealthy for the engine, especially if, say, every time the car is driven, there’s a highway merge or two that requires full throttle from cold, that would add up quickly. What’s the solution they use for this? I’m sure it’s not great on a Toyota 4-cylinder, but, a high-strung engine like this, seems like it could be really bad.
Solutions vary. My old Ford Escape hybrid would dip into the battery “reserve” (discharge below the normal operating range of 43%-83%) to buy the gas engine a few seconds to cycle and lube-up. Other newer hybrids have a separate electric oil pump. Me being paranoid with my current PHEV, will make sure I have enough electric range to get where I’m going, or if not gently warm up the engine before hitting the highway (put it on “EV later” mode and blip the throttle, then put it back on Auto)
But can you make it a camper?
Just what is the “sheer genius” of the transmission?
You proclaimed it as such, then failed to provide anything to suggest that it actually is genius.
Hey this means it is no longer and “LP”, right?! “Longitudinale posteriore”
Wow, this is some poetic stuff 🙂 The second to last paragraph made me feel an urge to recapture France!
The thunderous V-12 can recharge the battery in 6 minutes?
Meh. The drizzly in-line 4 in my Volt can recharge the battery in… Uh. Wait.
Max engine torque is 535 ft/lbs in case anyone was wondering. And to continue the Demon camparo that’s about 200 ft lbs less than a Demon on pump gas. Not sure I would compare the two, but there it is.
At least they won’t have to pump fake engine noise through the speakers 🙂