Change is in the air. After having to restart Aventador production due to losing some units in a nautical accident, Lamborghini has finally finished naturally-aspirated V12 production with a pair of surprises that debuted today: a coupe called the Invencible and a roadster called the Autentica. They’re one-off cars that will likely be stashed away for the most part, but they’re still really important. Say goodbye to the NA, non-electrified V12 era, because this is where it ends.
Look closely at either car and you’ll be able to see a dab of Centenario here and a pinch of Reventon there, all draped over familiar Aventador mechanicals. These are Greatest Hits cars, ones that celebrate how far Lamborghini has come in its modern era, yet they’re less of an obvious cash grab compared to the reborn Countach. I love the wacky winglets on the Autentica, the absurd triple exhaust tips arranged in a triangular manner, and the cartoonishly large side scoops on both cars. These cars are like airbrushed T-shirt depictions of Lamborghinis come to life, imposing reminders that the Lamborghini brand is built on excess.
What’s more, those Aventador mechanicals mean that these are the last-ever non-electrified V12 Lamborghinis. It’s finally over, for real this time. Sure, the Countach LPI 800-4’s supercapacitor system isn’t electrification in the typical sense as it exists to aid corner-exit acceleration rather than cut carbon dioxide emissions, but the Invencible and Autentica derive their violence solely from explosions. There’s a certain romance to that which makes these two cars incredibly special.
It’s easy to feel numb to supercars, but a lot of that is due to how access to them has changed. Twenty years ago, Lamborghinis were cars you read about and maybe saw on TV or at major auto shows. Nowadays, all manner of Instagram accounts and YouTube channels detail every aspect of the supercar experience over and over again. We’ve never had better access to supercar content, but that ubiquity can make these astounding machines feel familiar to the point of being taken for granted.
Of course, there’s also the matter of the endless stream of special edition models meant to separate the rich from their money. Over the past five years alone, Lamborghini has churned out the SC18 Alston, the Sian FKP 37, the Essenza SCV12, and the Countach LPI 800-4. It’s a lot to keep track of, so it’s entirely possible that the Invencible and Autentica slip your mind entirely.
However, supercars are still incredible feats of engineering. We, the human race, figured out a way to go more than 3.7 times faster than a horse at full sprint using the power of explosions, then we found a way to do so in Alcantara-lined pods docile and safe enough to legally take through the McDonald’s drive-thru. Instead of fleeing from adrenaline, we lean into it and build some astonishing machines for blasting up Alps and pinning onto bedroom walls.
The Invencible and Autentica represent the end of Lamborghini’s first Audi era. A period of time when fire-spitting unassisted V12s ruled playgrounds and stat sheets, gluing eyeballs to crazy sheetmetal and giving those otherwise uninterested in cars a gateway drug. Although some were concerned about Audi’s influence over the mad Italian brand, the cars churned out over the last twenty years or so are incredible.
The Murcielago is one of the all-time great supercars. The Gallardo brought a bit of insanity downmarket without completely diluting the brand and enabled all manner of awesome builds with four-figure horsepower numbers to happen. The Huracan set new standards for a usable supercar, the Aventador proved that V12 Lamborghinis were still relevant in the 2010s, and the Urus is doing something very rare for the oft-bankrupt Italian marque – making a whole bunch of money. All of these cars helped usher Lamborghini into its modern era after some shaky runs in the 1990s.
Save a spot in your heart for the Invencible and Autentica, but don’t be afraid of the future. We’ll soon get to see an all-new mainline V12 Lamborghini that should offer a slug of plug-in hybrid torque. The unnamed Aventador successor should be familiar yet different all the same. Electrification is a big departure from the status quo, but it’s still a big Lamborghini which means it’ll likely grow faster and crazier than the Aventador.
It won’t be quite the same as its all-combustion predecessors, but we have the Invencible and Autentica to mark the years when Lamborghini transformed from maker of compromised yet cool bedroom poster cars to maker of genuinely good supercars.
(Photo credits: Lamborghini)
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For me, I’m numb to them because they are completely inaccessible. Barring a lottery win I’ll never have enough money to ever be in the same room as one so how it drives and the “supercar experience” are about as relevant to me as the performance characteristics of a moon buggy. An occasional engineering curiosity but not really something that is going to keep me invested. At least with something like F1 cars there’s the event to go alongside it.
I think what might be the most impressive from the Audi era is making Lambos…approachable? Dailyable, if you really want. Darn near reliable. If your goal is look-at-me theatrics with an engine that sounds like God ate beans on pizza for breakfast, the Lambo is the easy-button now.
To wit: I’ve been working part-time at a car storage place, and most of the exotics need to go on a charger, or need some form of extra babying with fragileish componentry or weird start-up procedures. Bless your heart if you forget the laundry list of things to check before leaving a McLaren parked at length, for example. Fun cars, but like, don’t leave the nose raised or forget to plug it into a trickle charger if it’s gonna be a little while. Etc., etc. That’s not really the case with the Lambos. They’re almost normal in comparison, and I say that in a positive way.
For all the angular bits and baubles, airplane-style start buttons and paint jobs almost glittery to qualify for bass boat use, the newer Lambos are the most trouble-free of the “has at least one model with doors *waves arms up and down* like this” marques. If you forgot to put one on a trickle charger, whatever, it’ll probably start up with no issues anyway. The build quality is pretty solid nowadays—just night and day compared to the older Lambos. I’m not worried about bits falling off in the interior, for example. I don’t think I’d want one as a track car—Porsches exist for that and are built more with “some lunatic is gonna beat the absolute hell out of this on track” in mind.
But for a loud, flashy object to show off and enjoy on the roads, I gotta admit the Lambos have earned my respect. The designs are still weird and pointy in a fun way, the exhaust notes are loud and rowdy, and while they don’t feel quite as “hand-built” as other exotics nowadays, honestly, that’s actually a good thing.
I love the old Lamborghinis from the original V12 era (even when they were V8s). The Murcielago was nice and had the last of the original V12, but had too much of a German look for me. The ones since have been overstyled and out of ideas. I know Gandini is retired, but surely there are other designers with talent, particularly considering that a supercar is the dream job of 99% of them. Lamborghini had a wide range of great styled cars that made them the legendary company and I don’t want them rehashing the past, but they can do better than to keep releasing badly reimagined Countaches mated with ugly (now retired) stealth fighters and an overpowered RAV4. I suppose they’re making plenty of money doing it this way, but are these going to remembered like the old legends? Maybe it doesn’t matter.
I saw a black, spoiler-less Diablo rolling through downtown Salm, OR, two days ago. I was struck by how elegant it looked compared to all of the pointy stuff they’ve churned out in recent years. It was a nasty, rainy day and it put a smile on my face to see someone out and about in an exotic in such conditions. Bravo, dude.
Can I be all pedantic and ask we stop saying “explosion(s)”? The fuel burns in the cylinders, a lot of work goes into making sure it’s relatively slow and complete, so it pushes the piston down, not hammer it down.
We can reach a compromise and just call all fire explosions until people are tired of hearing it. Campfire is a big, controlled, sustained explosion. Matches are tiny explosions. That candle? You better believe it’s a sustained explosion that smells like lemongrass.
It is an explosion, though, I believe. A highly controlled one. The combustion in an enclosed chamber creates a small, controlled explosion. In much the same way that burning gunpowder within the contained environment of a cartridge creates an explosion that propels a bullet, and the pressure needs to be right, this is a small, contained explosion that pushes the cylinder.
If I double charge a load on a firearm, that explosion can cause catastrophic failure, just like an uncontrolled burn in a cylinder can hammer the piston. In either case, that does not mean there is no explosion in the normal situation, just that it is controlled.
(Admittedly, my science background only goes as far as a few college classes and some time working around chemicals, so I could be very wrong in my understanding here.)
The 2010-current era is also where the brand completely lost its way stylistically. Don’t get me wrong…they’re cool as hell, I love an NA V12, and it’s not like I’ll ever be able to afford one anyway. But man…just look at these damn things. Lamborghini had always done well with designing interesting looking but still elegant cars that you can trace a clear lineage too.
But when I look at these or other Aventador variants I just see unlicensed video game cars. The elegance has been lost and the pervasive conspicuous consumption attitude of “more is more” has run around totally unchecked. The designs are entirely too busy. If you removed the prancing bull from these cars and didn’t rev the engine I’m genuinely not sure if I’d be able to identify them as Lamborghinis.
And then we have the Urus, which is one of the dumbest cars on the road. I’ve seen a few in person and they’re comically unattractive. While I’m not as staunchly anti-crossover or anti-SUV in general as many of my enthusiast brethren are, the Urus is the perfect example of the craze going too far.
If you need space get something with space. If you need extreme performance get a dedicated sports car. It’s not like the goons who buy the damn things can’t afford both anyway…and at the end of the day it’s still a badge engineered Cayenne/Q8. Just get a Cayenne Turbo and a 911 T on the side, which can still be had with a stick. Or a Hellcat Durango and a nicer 911. Or get a damn Bentley if you simply MUST have a vehicle that’s ostentatious, spacious, and fast.
Anyway…I’ll always appreciate Lambos because they remain the quintessential bedroom poster car, not to mention they’re no where near as uptight and snooty as Ferrari is. I’m sure they’ll be happy to build you one that has Nyan Cat painted on it and automatically blasts Gas Gas Gas over the speakers when you mash the throttle to the floor.
But what they’re currently doing design wise just doesn’t do it for me personally. It’s too busy and too over the top. Although money doesn’t buy taste, and clearly their customers love the more is more approach even if they’re lining up to buy a rebadged version of a car you can get for less than six figures.
No one can tell me they wouldn’t have been better off making a legit off-roader/military type vehicle ala LM002.
I mean they can, but I won’t be listening.
I won’t hear it either amigo. At least a vehicle like the LM002 is purpose built and excellent at its specific purpose. The damn Urus is compromised in every use. There’s a car out there that can serve every role it aims to fill better. It’s a jack of all trades, master of none.
The only thing it’s amazing at is conspicuous consumption, and for me personally that’s not a valid use case. I’d rather have a dedicated SUV or a dedicated sports car, not an abomination that’s trying to be both at the same time. And for the $220,000+ the damn Urus costs you can have excellent examples of both types of vehicles.
I’ll take a G Wagon and a Z06 over a single Urus every single time…not that it matters, as I can’t afford any of it where things stand today. But still…if I could spend that much on a car the Urus is pretty much at the bottom of my list for how I’d go about it.
I agree with you, and not to defend Urus buyers, but by the time you play in that rarefied air, the idea of “what you can get for the same money” is pretty irrelevant.
I’m not going to pretend to know the minds of everyone who buys these things, but as you’d imagine, the Viper owners that I interact with include some very affluent folks, which is a chance for me to peel back the curtain a bit. Some surprising takeaways I’ve noticed from that group:
-A lot more rich people than I assumed are limited in garage space. My dream has always been to get more space (land, square footage, barn/garage), but that mindset does not seem to be widely shared. An amazingly high number of Viper owners have a 4 post lift in a 2-3 car garage not for maintenance, but simply to fit another car underneath. So a car that can be driven in all seasons and “do it all” is more valuable than it may seem, even to someone who can afford anything.
-I’m going to try very hard to be gentle with how I say this, but a LOT of wives want SUVs, and want the badge. Lamborghini carries a lot more weight in the school pickup line than Mercedes does. Happy wife, happy life.
-A lot of rich people cycle through cars really fast. There’s less downside risk of getting something you don’t like if it’s on its way out in a year anyways. This has been exacerbated the last couple years when barely used cars could be flipped for over MSRP.
-Brand loyalty is kind of a funny thing. People absolutely love to flex by posting pictures of all their cars from a single brand together. Posting an Aventador next to an Urus across all your social accounts is a big deal.
All that is very true, but it just proves that most wealthy people have all the wrong priorities.
Side note: here in NYC only raging sexists (usually recent immigrants from women hating countries) say “happy wife, happy life,” usually in the most patronizing manner possible. I have noticed that saying those words does have a magical ability stop my Contractor arguing with me about how the house should look or whether he should fix the mixed up faucets, etc.
My two-year-old son just received a plastic shark toy thing with storage for other sharks inside and with blinking eyes and so on, and it looks just like one of these.
From the article: “…it’s entirely possible that the Invencible and Autentica slip your mind entirely.” Yep, eminently forgettable. But I already can’t tell any Lamborghinis from the last twenty-plus years apart.
Wasn’t the Aventador, for all it’s goodness, an outdated pig? It only had a single clutch automated manual and it’s interior was pretty much the same as at launch, no? I feel like the replacement will be a big leap for Lambo and I’m excited to see it.
The transmission is notoriously bad…and since they could easily borrow DCT and even high power manual technology from Porsche and Audi it’s pretty inexcusable that it’s as bad as it is.
Good lord are they fucking ugly though.
I’m extremely numb to supercars. When’s the last time they’ve made something for supercars that subsequently got applied to economy cars, 4x4s, Trucks, vans, etc?
To me they’re just a waste of time, money, and don’t improve your quality of life all in all.
They’re the car of people who got rich quickly and want to flex on the poors because that’s what they think it means to be rich whereas most rich people who made their own fortune drive pretty common practical cars like Subaru outbacks and such. Then lower income people think that being rich means buying tons of expensive crap and flexing on poors and the cycle continues.
For those who have made a ton of money or your goal is to make a ton of money here are some tips:
Mansions are impractical and generally pretty crap
Expensive cars are impractical and generally pretty crap
Private Jets are impractical and generally pretty crap
The most important thing you can buy with monetary wealth is your own happiness, and most of that comes from having enough of a cushion that you don’t have to worry about owing money to people or having an emergency situation that puts you into debt. Making more money once you have accomplished that generally doesn’t improve your quality of life any, and generally speaking you’re stuck paying even more taxes which sucks.
A friend of mine has a McLaren, before that he had a 911 GT3 RS (several of them), R8, F360.
When he meets people with one of his stupid cars (refuelling or parking) he says it’s not his and he’s just borrowed it from this rich bastard he works for. Early on he got a lot of hate, so he’s had to develop this as a way to avoid it. It’s the downside of buying things that make him happy.
Some supercar owners are dicks, but not all of them are flexing on the poor, and some of them are actually nice.
Also I’ve borrowed most of his cars as daily drivers, and none of them have been less practical than an MR2.
All that said: he’s not buying a Lambo because he doesn’t want the attention.
Jeez, trypophobia warning on the Invecible.
The Autentica though, *chef’s kiss*. The gray and yellow helps, I love how it looks.
“It’s easy to feel numb to supercars”
You can say that again, I always seemed to overlook Italian Lane at C&C. Ferraris and Lamborghinis built since the 90s all look alike to me. It’s like 47 subtle variations of the same damn car over and over again.
But dude! This is one of one with blue brake calipers and matching stitching inside the glove compartment!