Lamborghini Lanzador concept review: a sneak peek at Lambo's electric future Reviews 2023 | Top Gear
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Thursday 28th September
First Drive

Lamborghini Lanzador concept review: a sneak peek at Lambo's electric future

Published: 08 Sep 2023

A concept car drive… what’s the point in that?

I know, I know, driving concepts is usually an enormous waste of time, but this is Lambo’s first full EV – so we thought hey, why the hell not. It’s called the Lamborghini Landazor – sounds like a boozy holiday spot in the Canary Islands, or a faithful retriever, is actually… well, we’re not entirely sure. An SUV? A supercar on stilts? Nope, it’s something new, says Lambo, an all-electric 2+2 ‘Ultra-GT’ designed to draw a link between the Urus and its supercar line-up.

It’s the fabled fourth model that will join Revuelto, Urus and the Huracan replacement (all of which will be plug-in hybrids by the end of 2024) in showrooms in 2028, which is a hell of a wait. But CEO Stephan Winkelmann definitely isn’t umming and ahhing on this one, it’s locked in, a “concrete preview of the production vehicle.”

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Surely it’ll be unrecognisable when it makes production?

Apparently not, the styling is pretty much oven-ready. For all those still mourning the Estoque super-saloon concept from 2008, sorry, it’s a declining segment, says Winklemann. GTs and SUVs are where it’s at so why not smash them together into something that tickles the supercar faithful, while extending a hand to a new generation of younger, tech-obsessed, SUV-loving customers? You’ve got to admit, it makes solid business sense.

Does it work in person?

If you’d described the idea to me before I saw it up close, I’d have wrinkled my nose and sighed, but stand next to it and it’s all drama. More stretched-Revuelto-in-high-heels than a squashed Urus, hence why we thought photographing it on the move, on a real road, might help convey the proportions better. Bit of bird muck on the windscreen, crisp-packet stuck to the front grille – that’s how we relate to these lumps of unobtanium.

Also, the seating position, the view out and the interior architecture are all fresh starts for Lambo… so why not experience them first hand, with some highly agreeable scenery rushing past plus Lamborghini’s Chief Technical Officer, Rouven Mohr, sitting in the passenger seat, and the Head of Design, Mitja Borkert, perched in the back?

Go on then, how does it drive?

There’s the obvious concepty stuff – enormous 23-inch wheels rubbing against the arches if you apply too much lock, so a turning circle that makes a cruise ship look like a London cab. It’s certainly not fast – I’m told to go no more than 30km/h, I immediately hit 50km/h, maniac – the brakes appear to be taken from a child’s bike, there’s oodles of play in the steering and every grain of sand flicked into the arches reverberates around the cabin as if a wheel’s fallen off… but there is something to be gleaned.

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The sense of light and space from the slightly elevated seating position, the three glass panels above your head and the IMAX windscreen is wonderful, the visibility excellent. Inside, too, the floating dash and the fresh air beneath it creates space to move and breathe… and put your stuff.

The interior is perhaps the most radical part. There’s no central screen, instead dual displays for the driver behind the wheel and the passenger in the dash, that can both flip down and disappear – a nod to the Countach’s pop-up lights. The pilot control unit is a dial that looks like a BMW iDrive unit rotated by 90 degrees, and works better than it sounds. The back seats have less space than an Urus, but enough for adults to sit behind adults and the boot floor – which can rise up electrically to match the height of the folded rear seats – is ‘lifestyle’ ready. Sigh.

Any technical details for the production car?

Surprisingly, yes. It’ll have two e-motors, one on each axle, and produce ‘over a megawatt of power’, circa 1,350bhp in old money. It’ll deploy rear-wheel steering, air-suspension and a “new generation high-performance battery, which also ensures a long range,” says the press release. Exactly how long isn’t clear: we suspect 350 to 400 miles will be the minimum requirement five years from now.

The entirely new platform will be shared with other high-end VW Group EVs, but tuned by Lambo, which opens up a world of possibilities says Mohr: “We are taking Lamborghini integrated driving dynamics control to a whole new level, which has not been possible for production sports cars before," he says, referring to the newly-developed Lamborghini Dinamica Veicolo Integrata (LDVI) driving dynamics control.

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Translated into non-engineer: there are more sensors and actuators than ever working overtime and talking to each other faster to ensure fine control of the car’s handling. The system can vary torque between the front and rear axles in milliseconds, while ‘active e-torque’ can shuffle it between the two rear wheels.

Any other tricks up its sleeve?

Many. One of four drive-mode dials on the wheel controls ‘intelligent pilot’, a new way of thinking about traction, ESC and slip angle control. It’s not just about limiting or allowing a certain amount of slip, you can dictate exactly how much you want your wheel to over rotate, making drift kings out of even the least talented drivers. Then there’s the paddles behind the wheel, which can be set up to control torque vectoring on the fly. Enter a corner with too much understeer, and with a couple of clicks you can flip that to neutral or oversteer in real time. Long story short, it should grip, shift and handle better than its inevitably-hefty kerbweight has any right to.

Any active aero?

Yup, smuggled away under the surface at both ends, boosting downforce in quick corners and bleeding it off for minimum resistance and more range at high speeds. A moveable front splitter, extendable rear diffuser, fins that emerge from the side of the rear screen and a bridge spoiler that can let air under it for greater efficiency, or block that path for more downforce when required, smacks of show-car razzle-dazzle. But it’s all bound for production sooner or later, we’re promised.

What about the elephant in the room: noise, or lack of it?

Honestly, that’s the stuff Lambo’s giving itself five years to figure out – the Lanzador will make noise, but what type of noise, and from where? Whatever happens, it won’t be obvious: “Some brands try to imitate combustion with an electric car, but we have to go in another direction, to find other steps, to convince people with different attributes,” Mohr explains.

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