Automobili Lamborghini president and CEO Stefan Winkelmann insists there is still plenty of life left in the brand’s V10 and V12 engines, despite a broader push towards downsized turbocharged engines amid stricter emissions regulations.
In his only interview with Australian media at the 2014 Geneva motor show, Winkelmann said the two engines - the smaller of which is fitted to the new Huracan while the larger sits in the range-topping Aventador - still offer room for gains in both efficiency and power.
“I think that the natural aspirated engine – the V10 and the V12 – they have a lot of opportunities,” he said.
Winkelmann said that offering naturally aspirated engines is part of the brand’s heritage, and something he’d prefer not to change at this point in time.
“It’s part of our DNA,” he said. “We are investing a lot in the latest technologies. But there are some things which are belonging really to the heart, the core of the brand. And here we need to look into the evolution more than into always something completely different. Because this is really part of what made Lamborghini strong,” he said.
However, Winkelmann admitted in a roundabout way that the brand’s hand may be forced if it can’t meet ever-tightening emissions regulations with its V10 and V12 engines.
“I strongly believe that there might be a day where, I don’t know, emission regulations are forcing us to do something different,” he said. “But now we still think that these engines are very good, they still have space for improvement, and on top of that our customers, unlike others, they are not driving the extra mile with those cars.
“The average mileage is very low, and with more than 170 million cars registered on a yearly base, about 2000 of them are Lamborghinis,” he said.
Winkelmann admitted the brand needs to keep the broader market context in mind, though.
“Even though we are very committed, we have an ethical responsibility, and we’re doing everything in the factory and in our offices to reduce the emissions and our carbon footprint, we have to see that we are only producing a bit more than 2000 cars.
“These guys are not driving from A to B on a daily basis. Therefore we have to really balance it,” he said.
The new Huracan’s 5.2-litre V10 engine produces 449kW at 8250rpm and 560Nm at 6500rpm, and features engine stop-start and a new common rail dual direct injection system (Iniezione Diretta Stratificata) that increases power and helps burn fuel more cleanly for lower consumption. As a result, it uses a claimed 12.5L/100km and achieves Euro 6 level emissions standards, yet can still hit 100km/h from standstill in just 3.2 seconds, or 0-200km/h in a claimed 9.9 seconds.
Those figures mean it has seven per cent more power than the most potent 419kW Gallardo LP 570-4, and that car used about 10 per cent more fuel.
Lamborghini has a history of constantly updating its cars over their lifespan – the Gallardo, for example, saw nine model adjustments and half a dozen special edition versions over its decade-long tenure.
Winkelmann suggested the Huracan will follow suit.
“Now we are very proud of our naturally aspirated engines, and there are still opportunities, and we will catch them,” he said
When asked if there is more to be offered from the new V10, he coyly answered: “The future will tell us.”