Lamborghini Revuelto: 1001bhp flagship sold out for two years
The V12-powered Revuelto is Lamborghini's first-ever plug-in hybrid, and order books are already filling up...
Launched as Lamborghini’s first plug-in hybrid, and its first series-production hybrid at that, the Revuelto marks the beginning of a new era for Sant’Agata. Following its dynamic debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed and the start of full-scale production, Lamborghini has announced that the model has already sold out for two years, with buyers now set to wait until at least 2025 for fulfilment of a new order. Pricing is yet to be confirmed, but the Revuelto is expected to cost from £450k.
Next year Lamborghini will begin to hybridise its entire product range, with a target of a 50 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions by 2025 and more than 80 per cent by the end of the decade. The Revuelto is planned to continue into the early ’30s, before which the first all-electric Lambos are expected to have been revealed. In the meantime, the new model celebrates the V12 with gusto. To the extent that it’s entirely exposed in the centre of the Revuelto’s coverless rear deck. ‘We don’t know if we can have the V12 engine again, so we decided to celebrate this piece of art,’ smiles senior designer Manuele Amprimo. ‘All of the shapes at the rear of the car celebrate the engine.’
‘This car has to reposition the brand for the next decade,’ Winkelmann announces. ‘We decided on the naturally aspirated V12 and plug-in hybrid powertrain: if you look back in history, this was the engine that made the template for us. But things change, the world is developing, so we have to adapt.’
Leaked patent images gave some of the design game away before the Revuelto’s unveiling, but it’s far more impactful in person than 2D drawings could foretell. The ypsilon theme of the front running light graphics (first used on 2017’s Terzo Millennio concept and subsequently on the Sián) is echoed at the rear, on the sides, and inside the cockpit too. ‘The idea of the Y shape was there from the beginning,’ Mitja Borkert explains. ‘I understood this is a signature of Lamborghini and I need to use it in a very bold way.’ The headlights are hidden in a deep, colour-break recess, inspired partly by motorcycle design, and while there are deliberate nods to Countach, Diablo and Murciélago in the overall shape and scissor doors, the Revuelto has its own personality.
The new car is the product of ‘the biggest design ideation we’ve ever done,’ Borkert continues. ‘We filled up this room with third-scale models. The idea of the hexagon exhaust pipe – when I saw that in one of the models I said, “This is the one.” The boldest visualisation of the engine and the exhaust. At that time I was also thinking, “When all cars are becoming electric, is the exhaust some kind of dinosaur theme?” But in the end we decided to celebrate the engine and those exposed exhaust pipes.’
Engine and drivetrain
Said engine is still naturally aspirated, revving all the way to a no-doubt heavenly sounding 9500rpm. Rouven Mohr says the team has ‘improved the sound character’ over the Aventador, not exactly a dull-sounding car. He adds: ‘It was important to us that we didn’t want a “downsizing” hybrid approach.’ Hence it’s still a 6.5-litre engine, and the lightest and most powerful Lamborghini production V12 yet, weighing 218kg (17kg less than the Aventador’s) and generating 814bhp at 9250rpm. As a benchmark, the final, most powerful Aventador iteration, the Ultimae, punched out 769bhp at 8500rpm (and 531lb ft of torque to the Revuelto’s 535lb ft, both at 6750rpm). Combine this new peak with the Revuelto’s trio of electric motors and total output comes to 1001bhp.
The V12 has its design roots in that of the Aventador but it’s had to go through a thorough re-engineering with new castings, camshafts, exhaust routing, valvegear and many more revisions besides. Not least because it’s been rotated through 180 degrees compared with the Aventador and its post-Miura forebears to meet a new in-house-developed double-clutch eight-speed transmission, mounted transversely behind the V12. Directly above the gearbox is one of the car’s three electric motors; the other two comprise the front e-axle. The rear motor has three jobs: starting the engine, driving the rear wheels when required, and acting as a generator to feed charge back into the battery. Although you can plug the Revuelto in (the charging port is concealed in the front boot), owners will rarely need to in reality: the V12 can top up the battery in a matter of minutes.
Powertrain engineer Davide Bizzarri tells evo the motor also allows much finer traction control: ‘Rather than cut the spark to the engine, we use the rear motor to work against the engine, intervening in around 5 milliseconds. And the beauty of this is that it also charges the battery…’ He freely admits that the Aventador’s single-clutch automated gearbox was an Achilles’ heel for that car; the new ‘E-DCT’ set-up promises to be both silkier and swifter.
The torque vectoring potential of the front e-axle could be the Revuelto’s secret weapon. ‘It’s real torque vectoring, not by brakes,’ says Mohr, the system only dragging a brake to aid turning or stability when it absolutely has to. Each oil-cooled front motor weighs 18.5kg and generates 258lb ft of torque. The Revuelto is considered a truly four-wheel-drive car, even in reverse. There’s no physical link between the engine and the front wheels but the only time the Revuelto becomes two-wheel drive is in all-electric Cittá (city) mode, when the front e-axle moves the car largely on its own, the rear motor chiming in on demand. There’s rear-wheel steering, too, with up to three degrees of movement in each direction.
Interior and technology
The different driving modes are toggled from a new steering wheel within a cockpit that’s a similar step-change for Lamborghini. Entry has been eased, with much of the sill mass moving to the door and the aperture made larger at the B-pillar. And for larger drivers or helmet-wearers on track, there’s more space once you are ensconced. The Revuelto is 24mm taller than the Aventador, with a 3mm drop in hip point (actually made possible by deleting the carpet from beneath the seat). The distinctive valley-shaped roof helps with headroom (as well as channelling air to the active rear wing), and even drivers in the upper percentiles are said to be able to find a comfortable driving position. Not necessarily the case in the Aventador. Under the front bootlid at the front there’s enough space for two trolley bags, and in the cabin there’s provision for phone, wallet, sunglasses and two cups, with room behind the seat for small bags.
Quality feels a big step on, from both the Aventador and the Huracán and – praise be – there are volume and stereo controls on the back of the steering wheel. No more eyes-off-the-road faffing, as per the Huracán Evo. The 8.4-inch central touchscreen is one of three screens: there’s a 12.3-inch instrument panel in front of the driver, and a 9.1-inch tertiary display in front of the passenger, who can input info, such as a postcode for navigation, and swipe it across to the driver’s display; likewise the driver can bat content over to the passenger. Stationary, in isolation, everything looks and feels slick.
There are four rotary controllers on the new wheel. Bottom left clicks through settings for the adaptive dampers and activates the nose-lift system with a push. Bottom right is a ‘show-off’ button to open and close the active rear wing, which lies flush with the rear bodywork when not activated. Top right is for electric modes: Recharge, Hybrid and Performance. Top left activates launch control with a push, or clicks through further drive modes: Strada for everyday driving, V12 always on; Sport to unlock up to 895bhp and a more rear-biased torque balance, faster gearchanges and firmer damping; and Corsa for the full 1001bhp, with chassis and stability settings for neat, fast lap times and punchy gearshifts. Counting all the permutations, there are 13 drive mode combinations in total.
‘We’ve dramatically increased the breadth of the driving character,’ Mohr says. ‘On one hand, it’s easier to drive than ever; on the other, it has the sharpest handling of any V12 we have ever put on the street.’ Plus, he promises, it’s a car that will be playful and controllable: ‘The old car was not easy on the limit. The rear tyre width has gone down from 355mm to 345, for balance. It’s so easy to drift this car, if you consider the class of car it is.
‘It would be unbelievable some years ago. If you have a sideways moment in a Diablo, you don’t feel very happy,’ Mohr adds with enjoyable understatement. ‘In this car, we want it to give a positive feeling, for it to feel really natural. After two laps on a circuit, you’ll feel you want to drift it. If you want it to feel like a rear-wheel-drive car, go [for the] Sport [mode]; if you want it to feel like drifting a 4WD car, you have to switch everything off. And then you must know what you’re doing: it’s 1001bhp.’
Performance and 0-62mph
Performance is as rapid as the power output suggests: 2.5sec to 62mph, less than seven seconds to 124mph, and a top speed above 217mph. Although it’s necessarily a bigger car than the Aventador – it has to be, to contain the new drivetrain and battery, with a 79mm longer wheelbase – painstaking and innovative engineering has kept the weight down. A total of 1772kg dry is the claim; for comparison, the Ultimae was 1550kg dry.
The Revuelto is built around a composite chassis Lamborghini dubs monofuselage. At 188kg it’s 10 per cent lighter than the Aventador’s structure but is 25 per cent more torsionally stiff, the better for precise suspension tuning. It’s a carbonfibre monocoque again, but here the front subframe is also crafted from composite, including the crash structure, said to be able to absorb double the energy of the Aventador’s metal crash structure while saving weight. (Even the remarkable Rimac Nevera’s carbon chassis uses aluminium for crash absorption.) An aluminium alloy rear subframe cradles the V12 and transmission, with hollow castings for the suspension towers.
Inside the production facility at Sant’Agata, pre-production Revueltos are already rolling down the line, which has been reconfigured as part of a nine-figure investment. The monofuselage and all composite components are created in-house, at Lamborghini’s revamped carbonfibre plant, which has had to increase in size from 9900 to 16,200 square metres. The workforce will grow from 250 to 340 when production begins in earnest soon. Creating the body-in-white takes 290 hours; fitting the interior takes 48 hours.
Price and availability
Given the extra technical and production complexity, it’s reasonable to expect the Revuelto to retail for quite a lot more than the Aventador, which bowed out with the £345k Ultimae. Think closer to £450k than £350k. Even so, ‘if forecasts translate, we think more than two years [of the production run] could be sold out already,’ Winkelmann says.
It’s easy to understand what those eager early customers see in the Revuelto. All the visual drama of its predecessors, but with the ingredients to make this not only the easiest V12 Lamborghini yet to drive but also, perhaps, the most exhilarating. Mohr suggests it will still be an analogue-feeling driving experience in the classic Lamborghini mould: ‘I am really proud that it’s the fastest V12, the most emotional V12, and all the [electronic] magic is in the background.’
In best Lambo tradition, the Revuelto is named after a ‘very wild’ fighting bull. ‘The closest translation in English is “mixed up”,’ says Winkelmann, referencing the car’s two power sources and dual brief of sustainability versus performance and emotion: 30 per cent more power, 30 per cent reduced emissions.
Rather than hybridisation stealing some of the soul from the V12 supercar, the way Lamborghini’s engineers have intelligently applied the technology may not only prolong its life but make it more thrilling than ever. Supernaturally aspirated, if you like. Which might just ensure the Revuelto remains a goosebump-worthy experience, long after the day the covers came off.