Lamborghini’s have always had a V12 in their range, all the way back to their first car, the 350GT, all the way to Miura of the 1960s to today’s Aventador. And, according to new Lambo boss and former Scuderia Ferrari F1 team principal, Stefano Domenicali, it’s not going anywhere.
It’s a core ingredient to any flagship Lambo that, even with many supercars being offered with a hybrid component and electrification together with the rise of stricter emissions regulations, they aren’t willing to give up until the absolutely have to.
This was revealed when Domenicali sat down for a chat with Autocar UK, revealing that through every channel of feedback – be it customer or dealer – the consensus when concerning their powertrain package is a very clear: “Please do not touch the V12.”
Lamborghini is only too happy to oblige with their fastest model, the Aventador, sporting an all-new twelve-cylinder engine developed specifically for it. Hence it would be a shame to have to change their tune, literally, after pouring time and resources to develop it.
However, this stance can’t stand up to scrutiny for other manufacturers. BMW and Mercedes-Benz are slowly having to weaken their grip on the V12 in favour of smaller engines, fewer cylinders, and turbocharging.
Even Aston Martin, much like Lamborghini as a long proponent of the naturally aspirated V12, will be launching a replacement for what is arguably their most important model with a smaller turbocharged engine. Luckily, though, it’s still a V12.
On the possibility of Lamborghini taking a leaf out of Ferrari and Porsche’s playbook, pairing a naturally aspirated engine with electric motors, and possibly throwing a monkey wrench into their engine plans as loved by their fans and buyers, Domenicali said:
"In the short term, there is still a lot of development potential in the V12. Of course, we need to understand what the market is doing in terms of emissions and legislation, but I don't see that will be a problem. We are always very open to how the market might evolve,”
"We cannot be disconnected to the world of the future but we want to be balanced. We need to make sure that as soon as the technology of electrification is relevant to our car at a cost level, and will add value, we are flexible to shift in that direction."
It is possible that the Audi-owned supercar maker will have more electrification built into their cars beyond powering the infotainment and air conditioning, but all indication points to Lamborghini sticking with a sole mid-mounted V12 for their top tier model. Even if it means being at a performance disadvantage to, say, a LaFerrari.
Such comparisons are futile, one could argue, as the Maranello hybrid hypercar sells for much more than Sant’Agata’s priciest offering, the Aventador LP750-SV. However, because Lamborghini is ultimately under the Volkswagen Group, the future of an electrified supercar is near-inevitable.
Volkswagen, after all, is planning an ambitious push toward all electric cars across all of its divisions. Lamborghini might not be worried about unwelcome electrification now, leaning as it has been on its niche status, but it might be forced into that corner whether it likes it or not, either due to pressure from VW or legislation, or both.
Finally, Domenicali was asked about the possibility of Lamborghini embracing autonomous vehicle development and self-driving cars, correctly pointing out how the technology was not really relevant to the kind of people who buy their cars and what they use them for.
He stated: "If you own a Lamborghini, you want to have the passion of driving it and we need to keep that. But new technology could have some relevance to the driver. For example, if you are on a race track, you could have a head-up display which shows you how to maximize your performance [around a corner], using the telemetry we have now. That's an approach where I see that technology could be very useful for our customer."