Lamborghini Aventador successor to keep V12 but add hybrid punch

Lamborghini is gearing up to launch the long-awaited replacement for the Aventador in 2022 – and the new V12 supercar will, unlike its predecessor, feature a hybrid powertrain as one of the first steps the brand is taking to ‘reinvent’ itself for the electric age.

The new flagship machine from the Sant’Agata manufacturer is due to be revealed this year and will go on sale shortly after the arrival of a plug-in hybrid version of the Urus SUV. It is set to be the final series-production Lamborghini supercar to use the firm’s fabled 6.5-litre V12, with the subsequent generation likely to adopt electric power.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, Lamborghini posted the second-best financial results in its history in 2020 and company boss Stephan Winkelmann, who recently rejoined Lamborghini after spells at Audi Sport and Bugatti, told Autocar that 2021 is a “moment of stabilisation” before it “starts pushing for the next level” in 2022.

Beyond that, Winkelmann said a key priority is to develop “a clear vision” of what electrification means for the brand.

“We have to do this so that we remain Lamborghini by reinventing Lamborghini – to change everything not to change anything,” he said.

Aventador successor to feature Sián hybrid tech

Winkelmann said the initial focus this year is the market launch of the Huracán Super Trofeo Omologato, but he hinted that two new V12 machines will be revealed in 2021.

Although Winkelmann would not be drawn on specific details about these models, sources suggest one is a final Aventador-based special using similar supercapacitor technology to the 808bhp Sián FKP 37 hypercar – and it is possible that the other will be the first glimpse at the Aventador’s replacement.

The next-generation V12 flagship has been delayed several times, in part because of the impact of the coronavirus but mainly because of Lamborghini’s push to develop hybrid technology that will suit the needs and character of its supercar.

“The challenge is how to match the requests of the legislators while not diluting the expectations of customers in the coming years,” said Winkelmann. “This is what we are working on right now.”

Lamborghini technical boss Maurizio Reggiani has previously confirmed that the Aventador successor will retain a naturally aspirated V12, with a hybrid element used to add extra power and efficiency and forego the need for a turbocharger. Reggiani also hinted that the firm was considering a four-wheel drive system similar to the Ferrari SF90’s, with the V12 driving the rear axle and an electric motor on the front wheels and torque vectoring used to balance the power.

The extra weight of an expansive hybrid system and its resulting impact on a supercar’s performance remains a concern for Lamborghini and it is thought the firm is working on a system pairing a lithium ion battery with a supercapacitor for boosting.

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Volkswagen Group boss Herbert Diess has confirmed plans to spin off Bugatti into a joint venture between Porsche and EV specialist Rimac – but he has denied reports that it could sell the brand outright.

There had been reports that the German giant would sell a controlling interest in the French hypercar maker to Rimac as part of a financial deal that involved Porsche increasing its investment in the Croatian firm. Porsche recently increased its stake in Rimac from 15.5% to 24% in a deal worth £60.4 million.

Diess said responsibility for Bugatti is currently being transferred to Porsche, which will then discuss a possible joint venture with Rimac. Stephan Winkelmann remains in charge of Bugatti, alongside his new role at Lamborghini.

“Transferring [Bugatti] to Rimac isn’t true,” said Diess. “Porsche is currently preparing a partnership that’s going to be under discussion with Rimac, and Porsche will be taking care of that.

“The whole thing isn’t yet finalised. What we want to do is transition responsibility of Bugatti to Porsche, and Porsche in all probability will establish a joint venture with Rimac, with a minority share of Porsche.”

It’s not clear whether any potential Bugatti joint venture would involve Porsche and Rimac taking an equal share.

Speaking before Diess confirmed the joint venture, Winkelmann told Autocar that plans for Bugatti to add an electric vehicle as a second model line had been put on indefinite hold.

He said: “The idea was solid and we had a business case, but then came Covid, so at the start of last year we stopped the approach and analysis of the second model. We don’t rewind or have anything in the plans, which is a pity because I’m sure this could be a success.”