Meet the Lanzador, the first Lamborghini without an engine...
Lamborghini CEO Stephan Winkelmann is a cool cat. Wearing very shiny shoes and tailored suits of unimaginable value, he moves and speaks with the kind of unhurried composure reserved for the supremely confident.
In interviews he is unflappable. Unless – as many have over the last couple of years – you ask him how and when Lamborghini will embrace electrification. Then a slightly pained expression would flash across his face and, slightly bored of facing the same questions for the hundredth time, he’d explain that Lamborghini – the brand perhaps synonymous with the noise and wild performance of the internal-combustion engine like no other – was in no hurry.
The recently unveiled Revuelto hypercar, successor to the Aventador, is Lamborghini’s first plug-in hybrid. It combines a raging V12 with a modest battery and three electric motors. And that, we thought, was as electric as Lamborghini is willing to go for now. As chief technical officer Rouven Mohr explains: ‘At the moment, in the supersport segment, the full electric car is still not the best nor the first choice from my point of view.’
But now we have the fully electric Lanzador, the first engine-less car in Lamborghini history, though it is neither a sports car nor due in dealerships any time soon. Officially a concept at this stage, a production version won’t arrive until late this decade. When it does go on sale it’ll likely use a version of the VW Group’s SSP electric car platform, with air suspension and rear-wheel steering to help what’ll be a big and heavy car drive at least a little like a Lamborghini.
Its design pushes few boundaries, blending a Huracan-inspired body shape with the proportions of a lower, leaner Urus. Why so high? Because crossovers are popular in every segment (Winkelmann masterminded the development of the Urus during his first stint at Lamborghini) and they’re practical. Plus, it’s easier to package a big battery beneath the cabin in a taller car.
And that big battery, together with two electric motors, one on each axle, will make for spectacular acceleration. Lamborghini’s talking about in excess of 1340bhp, though in the electric age of 1020bhp Model S Teslas and 2000bhp Rimac Neveras, is that enough for a car wearing raging bull badges?
With no V10 or V12 engine to redline through the gears, the silence will be deafening, surely? Right now, Lamborghini’s not giving much away. Where some makers, like Hyundai, are going for synthetic noise and artificial gearshifts on their fast electric cars to increase the sense of drama, Lambo top brass isn’t sold on such artificiality.
Perhaps instead the Lanzador is best considered as a new kind of Lamborghini, one it’ll be socially acceptable to drive in the highly regulated cities of tomorrow. A more comfortable, quieter and more practical alternative to your plug-in hybrid V12 ‘proper’ Lamborghini. All of which is fine, just so long as we continue to get proper Lamborghinis.