Speaking to Autocar, Lamborghini CEO Stephan Winkelmann has provided information on future models.
The Lamborghini Asterion concept, unveiled at the 2014 Paris Motor Show, garnered a lot of interest due to its hybrid powertrain and beautiful design. The Miura-inspired model made many think that the company’s taking a detour in design and styling.
Sadly for those wishing for the concept to go into production, there’s bad news. Winkelmann confirmed that the concept is not likely to go into production now. It took over three years to convince parent company Volkswagen Group to approve the Urus crossover for production and the project will require heavy investment for factory expansion, enlargement of the R&D department and building new facilities including a new production line.
So the Group obviously won’t release funds for a new major project in the near future, especially for a niche product that would retail at a price tag of around £350,000. The concept was a confidence booster for the company that it is capable of making non-extreme, elegant supercars that are focused more on luxury and less on lap times, and electrified powertrains – that appeal to its target market.
Work on the Asterion concept “started a couple of years ago”, said Maurizio Reggiani, R&D Director at the company. The hybrid powertrain was initially tested in a standard Aventador to avoid gaining any unwanted attention (from spy photographers, of course).
The plug-in hybrid powertrain comprises a naturally aspirated V10 engine and 3 electric motors, all together making a system output of 669 kW (898 hp). A 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox channels the power to all four wheels. Lamborghini claims a 0-62 mph time of 3.0 seconds and a top speed of 320 km/h. Pure electric range is marked at 50 km, while the fuel economy figure stands at an impressive 24.39 km/l and so does the 98 g/km CO2 emissions figure.
“The motors work with the plug-in to assist the engine, but also support the dynamics with torque vectoring on the front wheels,” says Mr. Reggiani. “The motors can run at different speeds and with different torque levels, improving the agility of the car through the speed at which you can enter and exit a corner.”
When asked about the possibility of the future Lamborghinis going in for downsized, turbocharged engines, Mr. Reggiani said that the company will need to offer naturally aspirated engines to maintain the DNA of sports cars but maybe one day downsized turbocharged engines will have to be offered due to the CO2 emission norms becoming more stringent. “But I think plug-in is the right solution”, he added.
On the idea of offering a plug-in hybrid powertrain on the Aventador, the R&D Director denied this possibility in the near future. He says that the batteries are too big and too heavy now. Putting in batteries at the cost of performance for which the car is ultimately meant, is not sensible, especially considering the prices at which they sell.
The Italian carmaker may consider plug-in hybrid powertrain in the future when the costs and weight of batteries go down, so as of now, there won’t be a plug-in hybrid Aventador “within the next five years”.