Lamborghini has been long suspected of humouring the idea of hybrid powertrains, though shying away from the notion of a fully electric model ever being part of their portfolio. And with the (regrettably digital) unveil of the Sián, the Sant’Agata supercar-maker has officially entered the electrification fray. Come on, Lambo, we need real-life pictures.
Actually, whether through pure Italian curiosity or corporate directive, the Audi-owned company did relent and allowed themselves the room to experiment with the concept of how an EV Lamborghini hypercar would turn out. The result was the very sci-fi Terzo Millennio, a Batmobile-like collection of active aerodynamics and razor sharp angularity.
A watchword that emerged from that study was ‘supercapacitor’, the plot McGuffin that would render most of Lamborghini’s qualms about fully electric propulsion moot, an energy storage medium that would be compact, lightweight, and energy dense - therefore unobtrusive - enough to retain a car’s character in the mix of the enormous performance potential.
The Aventador-based Sián, which translates to 'lightning flash' in the Bolognese dialect, does feature a front-mounted supercapacitor of relatively unknown origin, one that is three times as powerful as a lithium ion battery of the same weight and volume. This, in tandem with a 25kW electric motor (which operates up to 130km/h) and kinetic energy recovery system developed in-house and running on a 48V architecture, are the car’s key differentiators.
The supercapacitor enables a few crucial advantages over legacy lithium ion cells, one of which being its ability to be charged and discharged at the same rate. This symmetry, as Lamborghini claims, allows the Sián’s electric reserves to be fully charged every time the car brakes, meaning full and instant electric boost is available at all times.
Working together with an enhanced version of Lambo's 6.5-litre naturally aspirated V12 that now produces 577kW on its own, the power unit generates a combined output of 603kW. Peak torque was not disclosed, though it is claimed that the 100km/h sprint is now achieved in less than 2.8 seconds while top speed stands beyond 350km/h - beating, on both fronts, today’s most potent Aventador, the SVJ.
In fact, an even greater emphasis on lightweight materials and construction was present during the development of the Sián than on the Aventador SVJ - a car it is likely based on. This reduction offsets the added mass of the supercapacitor, electric motor, and other new components to yield a power-to-weight ratio even higher than the SVJ, a car that currently holds the production car lap record around the Nurburgring.
In addition to adopting styling cues from the aforementioned Terzo Millennio, Lamborghini says inspiration was drawn from the iconic Gandini-penned Countach. We admit to being fans of the Y-shaped headlights and straight-wedged angle of its front profile, but we struggle to find all too many nods to the 1980s supercar.
As you might have expected, the Sián is a limited edition model with only 63 examples planned to be produced, all of which have already been sold. These lucky owners will have plenty of headroom to personalise their own car ad nauseam at the Lamborghini Centro Stile in conjunction with their Ad Personam division. Sant’Agata’s first-ever hybrid will make its public debut at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show next week.