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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