Bull shift. Lamborghini is embracing hybrid power for its future models. The 808bhp Sian is the first.
Hybridisation was always the plan according to Lamborghini boss Stefano Domenicali, but the negative effects on lightness have thus far seen the technology kept on the back-burner. That’s about to change, though, because the company has turned to lightweight supercapacitor technology for Its first crack at hybridisation in a new, limited-production flagship model.
It’s called the Sian, and rather than being a direct replacement for the Aventador, it previews what’s to come from Lamborghini’s next generation of series production models, much as the Reventon of 2007 paved the way for the Avantador to follow the Murcielago.
The Sian’s hybrid system combines an updated, 774bhp version of the naturally aspirated 6.5-litre V12 found in the Aventador SVJ with a 34bhp electric motor, giving a peak combined power figure of 808bhp at 8500rpm, The electric motor receives its energy from the aforementioned supercapacitor, which works differently to a conventional battery thanks to its core chemistry and is considerably more efficient at both deploying and recuperating large amounts of electrical energy very quickly.
The supercapacitor itself is mounted on the bulkhead between the carbonflbre-tub cockpit and V12 engine. Its relative lack of weight compared with a traditional battery was the key attribute for Its use by Lamborghini. There is an inherent compromise, though, In that a supercapacitor is unable to effectively store energy over a long period of time. But such is the electric useage pattern of the Sian, the supercapacitor’s ability to absorb, briefly hold and then expel large amounts of energy so quickly makes It an Ideal replacement for a lithium-ion battery pack.
The system is fed via a new regenerative braking system, which can recharge the supercapacitor to full from just one braking Input. Put your foot down on the accelerator and the supercapacitor will release all of its energy at once, giving you a KERS-like kick. A 0-62mph time of 2.8sec is claimed, which is identical to the SVJ’s figure, but Lamborghini claims the Sian’s performance advantage can be felt in-gear, with the 40-70mph time 1.2sec quicker. The electric motor also torque-fills during gear-changes – the transmission itself remains an automated single-clutch type, as in the Aventador – while also assisting in low- speed manoeuvring and reversing.
Lamborghini says that the Sign’s design has been Inspired by that of the original Countach LP400 and Incorporates a contemporary take on classical elements such as the side- mounted NACA ducts and even the LP400’s ‘periscopio’ roof tunnel, but the overall aesthetic Is nothing like as pure as Marcello Gandini’s 1970s original. The vertical fins that you can see protruding from the car’s flanks form two floating endplates when the rear wing is deployed.
Each of the 63 Sians will be finished to the individual owner’s specification, and Lamborghini is remaining coy about the price, but expect a generous bump on the SVJ’s £360,000. Oh, and they’re all already sold.