This is the new 217mph, hybrid Lamborghini Revuelto hypercar
Lambo explores the bandwidth of electrification to deliver the ultimate driver’s hypercar... and 1,001bhp
Somewhere in Lamborghini’s library sits the bumper book of matadors and their nemeses. Its all-new hypercar is called Revuelto, a tribute to a fighting bull who was apparently quite the celebrity in the bullrings of Barcelona circa 1880. The closest English translation of the name is ‘mixed up’. "We thought it was a good way of explaining how we’ve blended the two souls of this car," Lamborghini CEO Stephan Winkelmann tells us, referring to the new car’s complex hybridised powertrain. Apparently, Revuelto is also a Spanish version of scrambled eggs, but we’ll let that pass.
A hybrid Lamborghini? It’s been on the cards for years, ever since 2014’s rather lovely Asterion concept (look it up if you don’t remember it), and the more recent limited run Sián. But this version of a hybrid isn’t for Uber drivers. Lamborghini insists on the abbreviation HPEV to describe the new car, for ‘high performance electrified vehicle’. Not that sexy, but it probably sounds better in Italian. Most things do. While there are definite efficiencies here, and a modest amount of pure electric running is available – around eight miles – this is Lamborghini exploring the bandwidth of electrification to deliver the ultimate driver’s hypercar rather than the world’s most exotic sledgehammer. Performance is up by 30 per cent, emissions reduced by the same amount.
More than ever, this is a Lamborghini that’s dominated by its powertrain. In a hellishly uncertain world, it’s good to know some things are inviolable. This time we’re talking naturally aspirated 6.5-litre V12, aided by three electric motors, two of which are mounted on the front axle, the third integrated into the new eight-speed dual-clutch transmission. For the first time, this sits behind the combustion engine and is positioned transversely. The central tunnel is where the gearbox used to live, but it’s now home to the 3.8kWh lithium ion battery pack. That consists of 108, water-cooled pouch cells. The car can be plugged in and fully juiced up in 30 minutes on a 7kW power supply, but it’s much more likely to be replenished under regenerative braking. Something about a Lamborghini connected to a power cable feels a bit off to us, but by the time the fourth and pure-electric model line arrives in a few years’ time we’ll have made peace with the idea.
Main photography: John Wycherley
Now back to the combustion engine. It makes 814bhp at 9,250rpm in the Revuelto, and 525lb ft of torque. It’s more powerful than the unit in the Aventador and can rev 1,000rpm higher. It’s also been turned 180° in the engine bay compared to the old car, in order to accommodate the new gearbox. At 218kg, it weighs 17kg less than before. The air intake ducts to the cylinders have been re-engineered to increase air flow to the combustion chamber, and there’s a new crank and valvetrain. The compression ratio has been increased (12.6:1 now), and the exhaust has been reworked to reduce back-pressure at high revs.
Lamborghini reckons that four-wheel drive is one of its key attributes, although that hasn’t always resulted in the sort of unadulterated driving dynamics you might expect from one of the world’s most extrovert car makers. Hybridisation is here to substantially sharpen things up. The two electric motors on the front axle are oil-cooled axial flux units, chosen because they’re more compact than a radial flux one and have a higher power and torque density. Each motor produces 110kW and weighs 18.5kg. Although they power the car when it’s being driven purely in electric mode, their main purpose is to enhance performance and more importantly, the high speed dynamics via torque vectoring. Proper torque vectoring, that is, and not the sort that relies on the brakes to function. Which brings us to the headline number: together with the third e-motor above the gearbox, the Revuelto is good for a total power output of 1,001bhp in maximum attack Corsa mode. Top speed is 217mph; zero to 62mph takes just 2.5 seconds.
As with rivals such as the Ferrari SF90, a vast amount of engineering and boffiny software effort has been poured into effectively disguising the Revuelto’s hybrid bits. Like an egotistical rock star in his or her pomp, the ICE commands centre stage.
"Everything started with the V12," Lamborghini’s chief technical officer Rouven Mohr tells TopGear.com. "We wanted a hybrid system that actually increases the perception of the V12. The mission was really to preserve the V12 identity. The hybrid is there to support you, to enable you to go faster, and most of all to improve the handling. You will not recognise that it’s a hybrid. On the move, it feels like a much faster naturally aspirated V12, you’re unaware of anything going on in the background. And it will feel like a car that’s 150kg lighter because of the torque vectoring. It feels so agile and precise."
Mohr is not your average German automotive engineer; he owns some very cool historic cars, and is known to enjoy drifting. Not something the Aventador would have indulged you in, but Mohr insists that the Revuelto’s complex new nervous system has been specifically calibrated to deliver more, how can we put this, interactivity on the limit. "Well, we haven’t actually called it drift mode," he says, "but go into Sport and there’s a more rear-drive bias and a greater slip angle. Or if you want more of a four-wheel slide go to ESC Corsa off. So yes, you can drift the car. The boundaries here really are on another level."
There have been aerodynamic improvements, too. The Revuelto’s body uses active aero to deliver 66 per cent more downforce overall than its predecessor. There’s a large front splitter and a highly distinctive roof design hustles the air to a pop-up rear wing. The old pushrod suspension has gone, liberating space at the front; there’s a double wishbone multi-link set up front and rear, with magnetic dampers and clever control software. The new car uses a recalibrated version of Lamborghini’s Dinamica Veicolo (LDVI) system; an army of sensors positioned at the car’s centre of gravity provide real-time monitoring of lateral, longitudinal and vertical loads, as well as body roll, pitch and yaw, but now also monitor torque vectoring, too.
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The Revuelto should be a big V12 hypercar with the agility and approachability of a much smaller car
The front and rear anti-roll bars are stiffer, and Bridgestone has developed bespoke new Potenza Sport rubber for the car. The brakes are new generation carbon ceramic, 410mm diameter at the front with 10 pistons, 390mm at the rear with four pistons. Under braking, the e-axle and rear e-motor contribute to the stopping process, allowing the friction brakes to recharge the battery more effectively.
Drive modes now total 13: Recharge, Hybrid and Performance are new and can be mixed and matched, while Città mode is for silent running in city centres, with maximum power limited to 180bhp. Corsa mode, as ever, is the one that serves up the full 1000-plus bhp, the e-axle primed for maximum torque vectoring and all-wheel drive. There’s an active rear axle, too. The upshot is that the Revuelto should be a big V12 hypercar with the agility and approachability of a much smaller car.
Including its integrated e-motor, the DCT weighs 193kg; it’s lighter, more space efficient and faster shifting than the system in the Huracán. A ‘continuous downshifting’ feature allows it to cycle through multiple gears during downshifting. This should be night and day different from the Aventador’s characterful but gnarly ISR transmission. The e-motor on the ’box acts as the starter motor and a generator, and also sends energy to the front axle. Depending on which drive mode is engaged, it acts independently of the gearbox and can help recharge the battery. Reverse gear is handled by the front e-motors, though the rear electric motor can get involved if necessary.
Lamborghini has long been a crusader for carbon fibre. The new car ramps things up even further. It refers to the Revuelto’s new chassis as a ‘monofuselage’, an aviation allusion and a reminder that the company had a research partnership with Boeing. It’s also about reducing weight wherever possible, to offset the extra kilos the e-motors and batteries incur, as well as improving structural rigidity. The final weight figure has yet to be confirmed, but the new chassis is 10 per cent lighter than the Aventador’s and, with a value of 40,000 NM per degree, 25 per cent stiffer. The company’s on site carbon fibre facility recently received a €65m investment and has been expanded; 340 people work there now. It takes 290 hours to manufacture the new monofuselage versus 170 for the old car.
The Revuelto uses forged carbon in its front crash cones, which are half the weight of the Aventador’s aluminium impact structure while delivering twice the energy absorption. The roof is made of pre-preg carbon fibre, labour intensively hand laid-up and laminated, vacuum-packed, then cooked in a huge autoclave. It’s not as sustainable a process as forging the composite, but it’s the best way to ensure the quality of finish in the car’s visible areas. And that matters on a vehicle whose price is likely to nudge the half a million quid mark.
Which brings us to the new car’s design. Concept cars like 2017’s Terzo Millennio and 2020’s limited run Sián have paved the way, and although Lamborghini’s brilliant design boss Mitja Borkert mentions the word ‘spaceship’ while he shows me round the car, the Revuelto isn’t a quantum leap into the unknown. But it’s cleverly executed, not least because although longer and taller, it doesn’t look it. The Revuelto expertly manages the extra 79mm it gains in its wheelbase, the black zig-zag element on the side there partly to distract the eye. Buttresses connect the roof to the rear wheelarches, an interlocking series of panels hustling air into the rear brakes and engine in an eye-poppingly geometric way. The Y-shaped front light motif is well established, the car’s nose simpler, the twin front cameras cheekily modelled on missile launchers. Which leaves the rear to deliver most of the drama, from the complex diffuser to the high-mounted hexagonal exhaust, and most of all the open engine bay. Viewed from above, the Revuelto’s rear three-quarters really are mesmerising.
"This is the result of the biggest design ideation ever done at Lamborghini," Borkert explains. "We did more than 17 third-scale models. All the lines on the car are embracing the monocoque, they’re embracing the engine. There’s more space inside but it’s only 2.5cm higher than the Aventador. A lot of focus was placed on the entry into the car, on the drama of getting in. The doors open six degrees further out now than before."
Borkert likens the visible engine to a motorbike, and says that it was an approach the late Ferdinand Piëch (who masterminded VW’s purchase of Lamborghini in 1998) appreciated when had an early preview. "He always said that designers never cared about the engine, so he really liked this. We’re really celebrating it."
The cockpit is superb. A new steering wheel with a thinner rim groups the ‘drive mode’ button on the top left of the spar, with an EV button on the right. They’re little anodised switches and they feel great under your thumb. Ahead lies the configurable instrument screen, housed in a slender binnacle. The graphics are fabulous. An air vent that resembles an angry space invader sits at the top of the central display, which floats above a usefully sized storage space. At last, somewhere to put your phone. Screen content can be swiped across to a display for the passenger. Physical buttons co-exist with the stuff on the touchscreen; the hazard warning light, fuel tank switch and flip-up starter button live in little bezels. There are 360 degree cameras to ease the perennial challenge of reverse-parking a big Lamborghini. And it all feels tactile and high quality, as it should at this stratospheric level.
Mixed up it may be, but the Revuelto’s mission statement is pleasingly clear: to deliver maximum entertainment. We can’t wait to find out more.