Lamborghini, the brand that started making supercars to compete with Ferrari 60 years ago, is starting a new era. Steeped in a history of loud and powerful V8, V10, and V12 engines, the Raging Bull has launched its first “high performance electrified vehicle,” a hybrid called Revuelto.
While watered-down performance may be a possibility for some mass-produced cars, that’s not going to fly for Lamborghini. Instead of backing down to a smaller engine and tacking on an electric motor, the brand opted to attach two motors to the front and one to the back and matched them to a new V12, the lightest one the automaker has ever built. Then Lamborghini whipped up a recipe for a battery that regenerates so quickly that it never gets all the way down to zero, and added a plug-in port for good measure.
All in, the system adds up to an astonishing total of 1,001 horsepower and more than 800 pound-feet of torque. That officially makes it the most powerful plug-in hybrid on the market. Lamborghini started from the ground up for this car, fashioning a new carbon fiber structure (picture a Lego base plate upon which brick houses are built) made to be as light as possible. And then it went to work making sure the Revuelto was as technologically advanced as it could be with its electronics.
To top it off, the Revuelto is also registering a significant emissions reduction, which Lamborghini says tops 30 percent over its predecessor, the Aventador. For a supercar, this is a big deal. The Revuelto is capable of about 6 miles in all-electric range, which loud-engine-averse neighbors will appreciate as the car pulls away in silence.
Can the Revuelto still carry the brand’s name with pride, even as a hybrid? Here’s what we think after driving it on the Autodromo Vallelunga track in Rome, Italy.
Melding design and engineering
Hybrids are hot right now, as are EVs. But Lamborghini has not gone soft and bent to the market, says the brand’s chief technical officer, Rouven Mohr. The small-batch automaker has created a hybrid that harnesses electric power without diluting the car’s core power, and that’s no small feat.
“To us, hybrid doesn’t mean sacrificing performance,” Mohr says.
Mohr, along with his team and the stylings of head of design Mitja Borkert, started with the V12 engine as a centerpiece. Lamborghini fans equate the sound of its iconic powerplant with the full experience, and erasing that part of the brand’s DNA wasn’t an option, Mohr emphasizes.
Borkert also went to work creating a body shape that evokes ghosts of models past. After commissioning 17 exploratory models that filled up his studio, Borkert took inspiration from Lamborghini’s Countach and Diablo, along with elements from fighter jets and Ducati superbikes. He raised the roof and added more legroom than the Avendator, the Revuelto’s predecessor, making it easier to get in and out.
Along with a riot of Y-shaped designs repeated throughout the car on the headlamps and on the dash, Borkert suggested an opening that leaves the engine bay exposed. Not only does it look cool, he says, it serves an important purpose: natural engine cooling. Lamborghini also opted to implement a long, skinny battery that is easily cooled from the outside to the center; heat management is a key factor for performance.
Tire-maker Bridgestone contributed to the Revuelto by creating bespoke performance Potenza Sport tires with wide footprints and grippy tread, especially the top-level option that is equally capable on the road as they are on the track.
“It’s not an easy car to fit tires,” Mohr says. “It weighs more [than the Aventador] and the power profile is huge.”
Lamborghini zooms in on technology
Lamborghini may have been seen more for its muscle and brawn than its brains in the past, but that’s changing, as well. The new Revuelto features intelligent torque distribution that balances the weight precisely from side to side and front to back so that cornering feels planted.
Aventador enthusiasts may say the Revuelto loses the raw edge of its older sibling, but after a day on the track, I say the new setup polishes the diamond. Even hurling the car toward the corner after a breathtaking straightaway, I never felt as though I could lose control. The massive carbon ceramic brakes gave the hybrid the stopping power it needed and gave me the confidence to push it.
Plus, the infotainment system upgrade is the best I’ve seen in a Lamborghini, equipped with Alexa connectivity and a set of widgets on the modest screen that can be rearranged and shared with the passenger on their own screen.
The real test is on the road and the track. While Lamborghini says it isn’t pursuing the crown for the fastest car on the planet (Mohr wryly says the race for best lap times in the supercar world is a “little bit crowdy” at the moment), it’s still lightning quick. But the best part is the feel of the drivetrain, which is completely seamless between the V12 and its electric helpers. Pressing the accelerator down in Corsa (track) mode and getting to 150 miles per hour on a straightaway is ridiculously smooth and quick. Top speed in the new supercar is 350 kilometers per hour (about 218 miles per hour).
Lamborghini is looking toward the future with the Revuelto, and it’s looking very good. The brand has been logging record sales, and with an all-electric concept—the Lanzador—on the table and a plug-in Urus SUV confirmed, it’s not looking back.