In order to prove to the world that electrification wasn’t just for drivers looking to go the extra mile, the “holy trinity” of supercars from ten years ago launched a new era of performance. Ferrari, Porsche, and McLaren all unveiled limited-edition hybrid models that year, paving the way for what each brand would soon adopt as at least one of its production vehicles’ powertrains.
Although the company has hinted at electrified possibilities over the years, Lamborghini has largely avoided the conversation about hybrid supercars and was content to let its V10 and V12 engines speak for themselves.
Ars got the opportunity to examine the Revuelto up close at the 2023 New York International Auto Show and speak with Lamborghini Chief Technical Officer Rouven Mohr about the development of the vehicle, its difficulties, and what to anticipate from Lamborghini going forward.
The Revuelto, Lamborghini’s flagship model, is a brand-new replacement for the venerable Aventador. The Aventador’s 6.5 L V12 engine can produce up to 770 horsepower (574 kW) in its ultimate form. With a brand-new V12 engine that is both lighter and more potent than the Aventador’s, the Revuelto replaces it.
The new 6.5 L naturally aspirated engine alone produces 814 horsepower (607 kW). This is coupled with the hybrid system, which consists of three electric motors and a 3.8 kWh battery. The Revuelto dissipates 1,001 horsepower (746 kW) and roughly 783 lb-ft (1,061 Nm) to all four axles in total.
Lamborghini immediately makes it plain that the flagship hypercar’s V12 engine is still its major attraction. According to Mohr, “We wanted to maintain and even enhance the emotions of our naturally aspirated V12.” This was the top priority.
The second is that we definitely want to upgrade the vehicle’s performance, he said. We currently have 6.5 litres, so a larger displacement doesn’t make sense. The charm of this car would be utterly lost if superchargers or turbochargers were used, thus that wasn’t an option.
How does Lamborghini describe this crucial V12 trait? Mohr stated, “There are two things.” The initial sound is the one that everyone enjoys. We put a lot of effort into improving the crescendo, especially when you reach incredibly high revs.
The lack of turbo lag or supercharger spooling, along with the e-motors, provide the Revuelto the hypercar performance that Aventador customers and fans would anticipate from a follow-up model from Lamborghini, continued Mohr.
Indeed, hybrid sports car manufacturers have recently been preaching this aspect as gospel. Although more recent models like the McLaren Artura and Ferrari 296 GTS have smaller engines to comply with global CO2 emissions regulations, the hybrid system continues to be a supplement to the preferred powerful combustion engine.
First things first, Mohr said, “We have chosen a battery that is as big as required for the performance increase but as tiny as feasible to avoid adding weight. “Choosing the best possible recovery is the second stage. In this instance, we use the electric motor to stop the engine while also regaining energy.
The third thing, according to Mohr, is having a sufficient energy-flow management system in the car. “You make sure that this car’s battery is essentially never low. Therefore, you cannot [fully] discharge the battery even while driving on the racecourse.
Naturally, there were difficulties to be addressed while creating a brand-new hybrid vehicle from the ground up. Along with the typical engineering challenges of creating a new monocoque, chassis, and gearbox, there are also new system additions with traditionally heavy components, as well as the development of a greatly revised engine. “[We] made every effort to prevent this kind of harmful weight impact. Because it’s physics, you can’t completely avoid it, said Mohr.
Additionally, Lamborghini wanted to avoid the mistakes it observed some of its competitors making. “Some people really underestimate the importance of having a clear, organic, and predictable character for the car,” said Mohr. “Because you might lose a lot of character in the application phase if you have this kind of freedom over your drivetrain and all of the chassis systems. Work on a lot of projects of this nature since I myself detest it. Additionally, this requires more work than using a standard.
Also obvious is the fact that all of this work is not in vain. The advantages, very literally, outweigh the drawbacks.
The lack of rapid torque is the main drawback of a normally aspirated engine, according to Mohr. And now [with the Revuelto], you can have the immediate torque of the modern components and, on top of that, you can have the emotionally explosive high-revving of a natural aspirated engine. And because of this, the drivetrain in this setup is very unique.
The added chance to have a free [power] distribution—really free entirely, from the back axle to the front axle—if you want to have snappy handling in a car this size, the torque distribution is a major advantage, he said.
We won’t be able to say for sure until we have some actual wheel time. The results seem positive on paper.
Big if true, to use the cliché.
Mohr thinks that the best approach to establish a standard for what the Revuelto implies for the rest of the Lamborghini lineup is to start at the top with Lamborghini’s flagship.
From my perspective, starting top-down is the best course of action because you start with your apex, and this [V12 model] has unquestionably been our pinnacle. It is not a derivation, nor is it the entry-level vehicle. Our flagship serves as a showcase for the benefits of this technology. This was our strategy, and if you consider the drivetrain’s technological complexity in the end, it’s really a hypercar.
This hypercar will probably be in customer driveways at the end of this year as a 2024 model. The first new Revueltos, which cost over $600,000, have already been purchased by Lambo devotees, largely without having been seen.