Lamborghini’s Aventador might seem to have reached its fullest and most terrifying potential with the 544kW S model, but there will be more variants to come from the old-school super car, according to Federico Foschini, the company’s chief commercial officer.
He also suggests we should ignore reports about the Aventador’s replacement going turbo, or offering a V12 hybrid with 1000 horsepower, because the company will be sticking with its gloriously loud naturally aspirated engines, “because it’s in our DNA, and it’s what the customers want”.
“The Aventador is an icon, I love it, and it is still surprising me every year, because it is a platform that is still giving us so many possibilities,” Foschini says of a car first launched in 2013 – and surely due for replacement.
“I don’t want Aventador to die, honestly. I love it. The time will have to come - let’s say it will be soon, but not too soon - and there are still a few more surprises to come with Aventador. But I can’t tell you any more or someone will kill me.”
Foschini has been told too many times to count over the past few years that his cars will have to go turbo to keep up with Ferrari and others, and you can tell just how much he, and his colleagues, enjoyed thumbing their noses at that theory when the Huracan Performante smashed the Nurburgring lap record recently, beating every turbocharged competitor out there (they prefer not to talk about the 911 GT2).
“In a world where everybody was switching to turbo because it’s the easiest way to get power and noise reduction, we were working very hard on the naturally aspirated engine, which, speaking with Australian customers, is what they want,” Foschini said, talking to CarAdvice at the end of the inaugural Lamborghini Oceania Giro in Melbourne at the weekend.
“For us, that Performante lap time proved that performance isn’t just about having the most number of horsepower, because we are still having the best acceleration, at 2.9 seconds, and we are the best around the Nurburgring. It’s a matter of aerodynamics, driving control, steering, driving dynamics and the light weight of the car.
“And the engine, of course, but the engine has to serve not just the highest number of horsepower, it’s about the torque, the responsiveness, because you don't have to have a hole in the torque at low rpm, because this is what disappoints you when you’re driving in a turbo.
“And an engine has to give you an emotion in terms of sound. This is the difference between us and the others at the moment.”
And that’s why, for the immediate future at least - and that includes the Aventador’s replacement, likely in 2020 - the company’s super sports cars will remain naturally aspirated, and hugely loud (its SUV Urus is “a different market” and will thus go turbo, however).
“In the future, you never say never about turbo, but I think in the next years we are staying with this technology, and with the V12,” Foschini adds.
“This is the engine that we are not going to change in the next generation.
“The V12 is the reason why people are buying these cars, because it is different. There is no car in this segment that has this layout and it comes from a heritage, it comes from all the cars we have made in the past; the Murcielago, the Diablo, the Countach.”
Ask Federico about the idea of Lambo EVs and he looks mildly ill, but mention the word “Tesla” and he coughs and splutters like you’ve offered him a pizza covered in pineapple.
“For sure, there will be discussions about electrification, but not because of Tesla, no, no! Absolutely not, Tesla is another thing, another business model, it is not in our competitors,” he says, waving his hands and swaying his head in full Italianate horror.
“Our talks about EV are ongoing, but it is mainly for hybridisation, always related to boost, to increase performance and to stay in tune with the technology.
“A full electric car is not giving of all the characteristics that you need in a super sports car. It’s too heavy, it’s not noisy enough, it’s not emotional, it has no handling.
“It’s also a matter of reliability of the battery. You do one lap of the Nurburgring to set a lap record and you’ll need to stop and recharge it.”
The other bit of madness that Lamborghini refuses to give up on, no matter how powerful its cars become, is rear-wheel- drive special editions, according to Andrea Baldi, general manager of Lambo for the Asia Pacific region.
While BMW made its latest M5 all-wheel drive, in a shift away from its traditional RWD layout caused by it being simply too powerful, Baldi laughs at such an idea.
“What we have shown with the Huracan is that we can deliver anything, from four-wheel drive to two-wheel drive, and those two-wheel- drive versions are for people who like less control, they want a car where it is your skills making the difference,” he explains.
“Our philosophy is mainly connected with four-wheel drive, for performance and safety, but with the right concept, we are not against rear-wheel- drive cars, and there are still people out there who want those cars.”
Those people are, of course, largely Italians.
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