Lamborghini is getting ready to replace the Aventador in 2020 and is set to adopt a hybrid variant of its iconic V12 engine. The next-gen Aventador replacement will be one of two 2020 series-production Lamborghinis expected to use electrification; the second will be a plug-in hybrid Urus SUV.
A low-volume, £2 million hypercar (codename: LB48H) is due to be revealed next year and is expected to preview the final production-ready Aventador successor. This limited-run hypercar was shown to prospective buyers in model form this past June. The biggest new information about the hypercar is its powertrain – it features a naturally aspirated V12 engine mated to an electric motor to boost performance and efficiency. This will serve as a prelude for the next Aventador’s set-up.
At the launch of the Aventador SVJ earlier this year, chief technical officer Maurizio Reggiani threw more light on what to expect when the new car arrives in 2020 in a conversation with our sister publication, Autocar UK. He indicated that the car's hybridisation is a result of necessity, rather than choice. “The law will determine what level of pure-electric driving you need,” said Reggiani. “There are several discussions ongoing. Some say 20km, some say 30km and China is suggesting 50km – and normally we only develop one car, worldwide.”
Using a hybrid system will make the car heavier. Lamborghini is considering using a split-hybrid system with an electrically powered front axle rather than a blended set-up with electrical power sent through a conventional transmission.
Reggiani estimated that even a lightweight solution will add 150-200kg to the car's kerb weight. Even if weight is saved elsewhere, the next-generation car is still likely to be heavier than the current-gen model, overall. “I always say that I prefer to have 10kg less rather than 1hp more, even if the power-to-weight ratio remains the same,” he said. “But I imagine the starting point of the car will be heavier, no doubt. What will be the end game? We don’t know. Improvements will happen.”
“My personal idea is that this is the best concept, to give the best control and management of the chassis,” he said. “It would be easy to have full torque vectoring at the front, to help compensate again for the increase in weight with more agility.”
A side-effect of switching to hybrid powertrains is that Nürburgring Nordschleife records will become substantially harder to beat. Reggiani thinks the Aventador SVJ’s 6min 44.97sec lap record could stand for some time.
The challenge with direct electric drive is that it becomes less effective as speeds increase – a clear problem for a Lamborghini – but Reggiani admits that using a transmission (as BMW has done with the i8) is a workable solution. “I think yes, you could have a gearbox in the front. This is my vision,” he said. “It can be much more manageable to have an electric motor in the front because you don’t need any kind of propeller shaft. I think it can be the best solution.”
The naturally aspirated hybrid powertrain will give the Aventador an edge over rivals that have achieved similar performance through turbocharging or downsizing. “For me, turbo engines have a reduction of emotion,” Reggiani said.
It is not yet clear what this hybrid replacement for Aventador will be named – although a bull-related name for each new model is the Lamborghini norm. What is known is that there will be another leap in straight-line pace, the four-wheel drive shall be retained, and the hypercar is expected to see a dramatic change in body design.