Advertisement
BBC TopGear
BBC TopGear
Subscribe to Top Gear magazine
Sign up to our Top Gear Magazine
Subscribe
Car Review

Lamborghini Revuelto review

£446,742
910
Published: 03 Oct 2023
Advertisement
Possibly the best Lambo since the Miura, Lamborghini’s first hybrid combines technology with drama to great effect

Good stuff

More nuanced handling, zero compromise V12 drama, much improved cabin ergonomics and comfort

Bad stuff

Tiny battery means tiny electric range, doesn’t do anything others haven’t done already

Overview

What is it?

A revolutionary Raging Bull. Lamborghini has often felt like the last dinosaur, roaring forlornly in the face of electric’s meteoric impact. No more. The Revuelto has adapted to this new climate. The Aventador replacement, Lamborghini’s biggest beast, is now a plug-in hybrid. It features three electric motors. There is no reverse gear, that’s done electrically. There’s no clumsiness either: the handling is far more sophisticated, so too the electrical integration. The gearbox no longer thrashes your head back and forth like a metaller in a mosh pit. There’s more space in the cabin and – ‘alleluja – the seats are no longer as pious as a church pew, but instead embrace and coddle.

So you didn’t like the Aventador and all its progeny?

We did, but it was a rolling anachronism. It did drama brilliantly, but at the expense of ability. It was the rock band that had the look, the volume and the attitude, but the harmony was lacking. Albeit not from the V12. The closest Lambo got to nodding at the future was the limited edition Sian which threw in a super-capacitor to provide some electrical thrust to smooth out the gearchanges.

Advertisement - Page continues below

The looks haven’t moved the game on much, have they?

We’re with you as far as shape and profile go. The Revuelto could only be a Lamborghini and when we first saw it, it didn’t exactly surprise or shock us. We also remain unconvinced by the sheer amount of open black space at the front – depending on the colour it looks like panels are missing. However, get up close and the detailing brightens the picture considerably. This is a car you’ll happily pore over for hours. The integration of aero elements and cooling necessities is neat and the proportions have changed slightly so it no longer looks so tail heavy.

Is that down to some technical changes underneath?

You are on the ball today. Occupants now have 84mm more cabin length to play with because the gearbox, which has been longitudinally mounted on the front of the longitudinal V12 (nosing between the passengers basically) ever since the transverse-engined Miura, has now been bolted on the back of the engine and mounted transversely.

More importantly, it’s no longer the dreadful ISR single shaft gearbox that felt old even when the Aventador was launched back in 2011, but a brand new eight-speed twin clutch. And there’s an electric motor in there, nestled between engine and gearbox.

Just the one electric motor?

No, there are two more, one for each front wheel. They draw power from a 3.8kWh battery pack (yes, that’s tiny, half the size of the packs fitted to the Ferrari 296 GTB or McLaren Artura) that nestles where the gearbox used to be. That takes half an hour to charge on a 7kW domestic supply. It doesn’t support fast charging, because that needs a DC power inverter which adds weight. The battery also recharges from regen braking or the V12: either of those can have it full in only six minutes, which should buy you 6-8 miles of range. Electric-only front wheels means no bulky 4WD mechanical connection and diffs, just cables and pure torque vectoring. Each motor weighs 18.5kg and delivers 148bhp.

Advertisement - Page continues below

Hang on, so that’s nearly 450bhp of electric! How much does the V12 develop on top?

Doesn’t quite work like that: the battery can’t supply enough instantaneous electricity, but in total the motors can provide 187bhp of help to the 6.5-litre V12.

The L545 engine is the lightest, most powerful 12 cylinder ever made by Lamborghini. And, at 218kg, it’s 17kg lighter than in the final Aventador. It’s been rotated through 180 degrees thanks to the repositioned gearbox (which weighs 193kg – both lighter and faster than the seven-speed transmission in the Huracan), and the headline figures for this nat asp monster are 814bhp at 9,250rpm and 534lb ft at 6,750rpm. Fact: it has fractionally better power density than the Ferrari 812 Competizione at 125bhp/litre.

Lots of figures coming at me. Where’s the emozione?

Um, does 0-62mph in 2.5 seconds and a top speed of over 218mph paint enough of a picture? Yes, we answered your question with yet more figures. So let’s give you a bit more. It’s deeply fast, uses the electric to provide instant initial thrust out of corners – more of a leap, really – but hands over to the V12 as soon as it can.

At no stage does the electric do anything other than support the main event. Well, unless you choose a bit of silent running. There’s no corruption of the main aim here, which is to put the V12 on a pedestal and worship it. It remains the absolute star of the show.  

What’s new is how much more fluent and sophisticated the biggest Lamborghini is to drive. The Aventador didn’t have brilliant chassis finesse - its 4WD system was comparatively crude – we worried about how Lamborghini would cope with the integration and complexity of engineering that a plug-in hybrid requires. Well, as you can read in the Driving section, that’s where the transformational leap has come.

Right, geek me up buddy! Hit me with some factoids.

Back to tech and stats, eh? Let’s keep it dense. The Revuelto is underpinned by what Lambo terms a ‘Monofuselage’ – basically a carbon tub that’s 10 per cent lighter than the Aventador’s, yet 25 per cent stiffer, with torsional rigidity rated to 40,000Nm per degree. There’s also a carbon front sub frame which has double the Aventador’s energy absorption, while the rear frame is aluminium, but now with fewer welds.

The chassis supports semi-active suspension, and braking is carbon ceramic with 10-piston front calipers grabbing 410mm discs, and four-piston rear calipers on 390mm discs. Plus there’s regenerative braking on top.

The aerodynamics include an active rear wing that can also be manually controlled by a knob on the steering wheel. The headline figures here are a 61 per cent improvement in drag efficiency over the Aventador, and 66 per cent more downforce. The steering wheel is better organised than ever before and includes tactile knobs on the steering wheel to switch between driving modes (City, Strada, Sport, Corsa) and EV settings (Recharge, Hybrid and Performance). Combine them and there are 13 different dynamic settings to choose from.

Lamborghini claims a dry weight of 1,772kg, which means around 1,900kg with fluids.

What rivals need to be looking over their shoulders?

We’ve mentioned the Artura and 296 GTB, but really they bat in the division below. The key opposition comes in the shape of the Ferrari SF90. Ferrari’s first proper hybrid arrived in 2020 and made the still-controversial decision to swap the V12 for a twin-turbo V8. A near identical 986bhp from a car with, yes, three electric motors, no mechanical reverse gear, 0-62mph in 2.5s, a small battery and some very clever torque vectoring. It was Ferrari proving it could make the tech work and although the 296 GTB has outshone it, it remains a force to be reckoned with. However, to drive, Prancing Horses have traditionally run rings around the Raging Bulls from down the road. We’re not sure that’s going to be the case any more.

Others to think about? McLaren has the 750S arriving soon, but that’s no more than a revitalised 720S – we’re still waiting to find out what happens in hybrid beyond the Artura. And although this fits in below the super-exclusive Paganis, Koenigseggs, GMAs and Bugattis of this world, it’s broadly as quick as any of them.

What's the verdict?

The Revuelto never feels anything less than natural to drive. And deeply exciting

Lamborghini has not only embraced the complexity of hybrid, but mastered it. The Revuelto never feels anything less than natural to drive. And deeply exciting. The noise and drama from the 6.5-litre V12 is undimmed, the hybrid is only there to support and encourage the best from that masterpiece of an engine.

There’s a level of refinement to the Revuelto that we haven’t previously seen from Lamborghini, it’s a more harmonious car, the suspension is smoother, it’s friendlier to drive. It’s also bigger inside, with better seats (finally!) and actual useful cubbies and load bays. It’s much more practical than an SF90.

Lamborghinis often seem to be looking backwards, pining for the glory days of yore. But here’s one that looks forwards and embraces the future with gusto. Yeah, it’s only got a small battery, electric range is limited, and it’s not doing anything that other brands haven’t already done. But it shines a light down the path for other Lamborghinis to follow. As well as proving that charisma doesn’t have to be dimmed by hybridity. Way to go, Lambo.

The Rivals

Subscribe to the Top Gear Newsletter

Get all the latest news, reviews and exclusives, direct to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, you agree to receive news, promotions and offers by email from Top Gear and BBC Studios. Your information will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

BBC TopGear

Try BBC Top Gear Magazine

subscribe