Lamborghini would rather go down the path of hybrid powertrains to maintain the emotional appeal of its engine noise, rather than following everyone else with their turbocharged V8s.
Speaking to the CarAdvice at the Geneva motor show this week, Lamborghini chief technical officer, Maurizio Reggiani, admitted the company was forced to go turbo in the Urus, but said the Huracan and Aventador replacements will be naturally aspirated for as long as possible.
He also said the company would rather develop hybrid powertrains than give into turbo power, in an attempt to meet ever-tightening emissions regulations.
“We chose the best engine for the mission of the car,” Reggiani said of the turbocharged V8 engine in the Urus.
“If you think about the profile of the SUV, one of the basics is that the SUV must be able to take over obstacles that are normally not there – resistance in terms of aero and rolling resistance like sand, stone, gravel… and for this reason, if you want to be able to manage this kind of mission you need a huge quantity of torque at low RPM, and no other engine except a turbo can produce max torque at 2200rpm.”
According to Reggiani, the company dedicated lots of time to making the Volkswagen Group-sourced V8 in the Urus – which features in the Bentley Bentayga – deliver the emotional appeal you'd expect of a naturally-aspirated Lamborghini engine.
“Unfortunately, the turbo is an equaliser for the sound and spark plug of the engine. For this reason, we try to emphasise the special system for sound with a special muffler to recognise the cylinder… a mechanical muffler with a throttle inside that we use to bypass in some conditions.”
Be that as it may, its two super-sports cars are unlikely to go down the path of forced induction, regardless of how good Lamborghini can make turbos sound.
“Super-sports cars are a different mission and different profile. We are still convinced that naturally-aspirated is the best choice in terms of responsiveness in terms of sound and in terms of emotion, those are the main parameters that we want to have from a super sports car.
"In this case to get max torque at 5-6000rpm is super acceptable, move the torque up and power up. You don’t need to start in a normal road with a huge quantity of torque in normal RPM.
"I think the CO2 [requirements] will be attacked in the future with a hybrid machine, where we can leave the emotional naturally aspirated appeal but reduce dramatically the CO2 and fuel consumption using a hybrid.”
Reggiani nodded when asked if Lamborghini would rather go down a hybrid path than turbocharge the Aventador and Huracan replacements. Given Ferrari, McLaren and Aston Martin all use similar-sized turbocharged engines, Lamborghini is hoping this will help it stay unique.
“In the end, our cars, and the DNA of super sports car is emotion. I think everybody would be the same, mainstream 4.0-litre eight cylinder engine, same size, same sound, same power, no differentiation.”
As for how a hybrid powertrain could be packaged well enough to fit in a car like the Aventador, Reggiani joked that’s a “job of the future, otherwise it’s too easy”.
Turbos or hybrids? Which would you rather see from Lamborghini?