Speaking to CarAdvice at the launch of the new Lamborghini Huracan Performante (review 9am Friday) in Imola, Italy yesterday, the Italian brand’s CEO, Stefano Domenicali, admitted that Lamborghini will stick with natural aspiration for as long it possibly can, for it represents one of the pillars of the brand's DNA.
“For us, what is very, very interesting, is that the more there is this push towards electrification, with a lot of respect, the more we feel that we have to be current with our value (of naturally aspirated engines), to be different to the others,” Domenicali said.
Domenicali, who has previously been part of the Ferrari family since 1995 and was the brand’s Formula One team principal from 2008 until 2014, says that supercar marques that have switched to turbocharging and are working on hybridisation of their vehicles may think Lamborghini will be the loser, long-term, but the reality is rather different.
“I do believe that we are so strong in our niche… where there was some of the others who were thinking the ones that will stay with natural aspiration instead of a turbo will have a big issue," he said.
"I do believe it’s the other way around so far, so it’s a matter of how you prepare your customers to deal with that. It’s not a problem of first follower or second followers, it’s the way that from one side you prepare your technical solution and the other side you prepare your brand in terms of what is Lamborghini for the near future.”
Domenicali insists that while Lamborghini will invest heavily into maintaining its naturally aspirated engines for the Aventador, Huracan and their direct replacements, it will also be flexible enough to rapidly shift to alternate powertrain if the need arises.
“It's a big, big game to play and there is still a lot of attention, a lot of love with this kind of [naturally-aspirated engine] approach and this is why we are working flat-out in the short and medium term to extrapolate the maximum from this technology we have today with the powertrains, the V10, V12.”
The company will use the upcoming Lamborghini Urus SUV and its hybrid variant to help offset the emission requirements of its V10 and V12 powered supercars, in a similar vain to Porsche using its SUVs to offset its higher end naturally-aspirated GT models.
Nonetheless, Domenicali admits that at some point in the future, electrification and turbocharging of its vehicles will be a necessity.
“Without saying that of course in the future we are going to consider hybridisation and electrification, no doubt about it, but in our segment, we strongly believe the more that we are different, the more that we can show and stay with the core of our values, the more our brand will be very cool.”
Lamborghini aims to double its current global volume of around 3500 cars annually to 7000 with the introduction of the Urus later this year.