Lamborghini and the opposition

As with anything competition is inevitable, and especially if you’re a supercar company, it’s a must. Having competition is healthy and leads to a progression within the brand. Being Lamborghini has its benefits, and disadvantages, and so needs to do everything it can to stay ahead of the competition.

The entire brand itself started with a decent dose of competition in fact, and as the well-known story goes, the formation of Automobili Lamborghini was formed with some disagreements between Ferruccio Lamborghini and Enzo Ferrari. Stories with varied specifics form the story of the two automotive greats getting into an argument, and conclude to Lamborghini not being happy with Ferrari, because of customer service, and lack of attention to quality, and thus, Ferruccio decided to form Lamborghini to rival Ferrari. (Lambocars 2000-2013)

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This fact puts Ferrari as one of the main rivals to Lamborghini even to this day, although the numbers of worthy competitors are constantly on the rise. For reference of comparison I will use the power lap times from Top Gear, to make relevant comparisons to other vehicles in the same range, although, current times available do not show most of the compared cars. Of course price also makes a large part of a proper comparison and so I will list those as well, although rounded off, according to the 2014 selling prices.

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The three cars Lamborghini produces at the moment are the Aventador, the Aventador Roadster and the Hurican. The Aventador accelerates from 0-62mph (100km/h) in 2.9 seconds, the roadster in three seconds, and both have a top speed of 217 mph (349km/h). The hard-top costs £265 000, while the Roadster version sits at 294,000.The baby Lambo has a 3.2 second acceleration time to 62mph (100km/h) and a top speed of 202 mph (325 km/h) and costs £182,000. (Topgear 2014) Unfortunatley, the Hurican hasn’t been tested on Top Gear yet, but the Top Gear Track time of the Aventador is 1:16:5 and places 6th on the powerlap times chart. (Fastestlaps 2006-2015)

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The most well known competitors for these three cars come in a lot of forms. Audi with the R8, Ferrari with the 458 Italia, Speciale, Spyder, F12, FF, and Laferrari. The £1,140,000 Bugatti Veyron is out of the Aventador’s league in terms of top speed at 252mph (406km/h) (Topgear 2014)  but on the test track the SS version of the Veyron, placed 7th, one after the Aventador, so with that in mind the Lambo is a colossal bargain. (Fastestlaps 2006-2015)

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In fact the only 2 cars that came ahead of the Aventador were the McLaren MP4-12c and the Pagani Huayra. As the Pagani costs a whopping £990,000, its safe to say, it’s not a direct competitor, however the McLaren is a truly a force to be reckoned with. Another contender would be the Noble M600, at £200,000 with a top speed of 225mph (362km/h) and 0-62 time of 3.0 seconds, it takes the prize in every department. The only issue with such small manufacturers is of course reliability, and Lamborghinis quality, under the control of VW, is second none. The new Ferrari Laferrari, Porsche 918, and McLaren P1 hypercars cost between £660,000 and £ 1 Million, so comparing them to the Aventador would be unrealistic; and even then, the only one of the three with a higher top speed is the LaFerrari with 3 mph (5km/h) over the Lambo. (Topgear 2014)

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A good competitor to the Hurican is the Audi R8, and although is 0.6 seconds and 4mph (6km/h) slower, the car also costs 55 to 80 grand less. The best competitor, and even closer to the Hurican is the Ferrari 458 Italia, and with 3 versions available, is also more versatile. Prices vary between £180, 000 and £208,000, which also sets it right into Hurican territory. 0-62 is taken care of in 3.0 seconds in the Speciale and 3,4 seconds in the standard trim and the Spyder. Top speed is set at 198 mph (319km/h), while the £20,000 more expensive Speciale matches the Hurican’s top speed. (Topgear 2014)

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Another massive competitor for the Aventador is also, naturally, a Ferrari. The F12 is the fastest Ferrari to come into production yet, although, still doesn’t manage to keep up to the top speed of the Aventador. It reaches 211mph (340km/h) and reaches 62mph (100km/h) one second slower. The price however is also 20 grand lower than the Lambo though. (Topgear 2014)

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This means Lamborghini is placed very well in the scale for sales, however still have another car to fear which they cannot compete with in the market. Yes, another Ferrari; all the cars mentioned above have been 2-seater supercars, but Ferrari still is a step ahead of Lamborghini with their 4-seater FF model. Although taking a slower 3.4 seconds to get to 62mph, and reaching “only” 198mph (319 km/h), it does so at £227,000. (Topgear 2014) Yes, it is more expensive than the Huracan, but if you have a family, what are the options in the super-saloon market? The Estoque was Lamborghini’s answer to that, it’s just a pity it never managed to happen.

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Reflecting on all this, one thing has to be made clear though, Lamborghini is not in the Formula 1 series. Ferrari and McLaren are. This means then, that while the two competitor brands develop their racecars, they also develop their technology; and thus they have the funds available, and the technology available to apply into their standard product range. Lamborghini only has the one-make Super Trofeo series which began in 2009, (Lambocars 2000-2013) and consists of only Lamborghini Gallardos. This means the progression of Lamborghini consists of concept and production cars with no external influence from the World of motorsports. This in turn, is a massive drawback and a great obstacle, but Lamborghini have still managed to stay ahead of the pack and have done a truly magnificent job at that.

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In the shadows, however lurks a different kind of beast though; evolution. With the eventual change to alternative energy sources for cars, the electric game is changing the world of supercars, and cars as a whole. In order to stay ahead of the competition, Lamborghini has to start implementing the future of hybrid and electric cars. The Asterion is a marvel of achievement and is set to bring glory to the future of the Raging Bull, but until then, electricity seems to want to be the new boss in town.

Tesla Model S P85D vs Lamborghini Aventador Race (Rego Apps 2014)

 

Tesla Model S P85D vs Lamborghini LP570-4 Super Trofeo Stradale Drag Racing. (DragTimes 2015)

 

Tesla Model S P85D vs Ferrari 458 Italia(Rego Apps 2014)

 

References:

Fastestlaps.com (2006-2015) Top Gear Track, Great Britain (2820 m) [online]. available from <http://fastestlaps.com/tracks/top_gear_track.html>

Lambocars (2000-2013) Ferriccio Lamborghini, a bibliography – the STORY [online]. available from <http://www.lambocars.com/lambonews/ferruccio_lamborghini_a_biography.html>

Topgear magazine (2014) ‘Data’. TopGear (261), 163-180

Topgear.com (2015)Lap Times [online]. available from <http://www.topgear.com/uk/track-guide?LapType=Power-Laps>

 

Electronic Visual references:

DragTimes (2015) Tesla Model S P85D vs Lamborghini LP570-4 Super Trofeo Stradale Drag Racing. [online] available from < https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0e-jquwHKtI > [4 January 2015]

Rego Apps (2014) Tesla Model S P85D vs Lamborghini Aventador Race. [online] available from < https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0e-jquwHKtI > [23 December 2014]

Rego Apps (2014) Tesla Model S P85D vs Ferrari 458 Italia. [online] available from < https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9cA1doO_9h8> [27 december 2014]

 

Image references:

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Commons.wikipedia.org (2015) available from <http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/cc/Ferrari_FF_-_Flickr_-_Alexandre_Pr%C3%A9vot_(3).jpg>

Digitaltrends (2015) available from <http://icdn4.digitaltrends.com/image/track11-1278259808-1280×853.jpg?ver=1> [11 April 2013]

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Toplowridersites.com (2014) available from < http://www.hdwallpaperstock.in/walls/yellow_ferrari_f12_novitec-wide.jpg>

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The alternative Lambo

Lamborghini is synonymous with the supercar and hypercar worlds. They have long been the pioneers in aesthetics combined with cutting edge technology to provide the world with exquisite examples of work. It is however not the only territory Lamborghini has explored over the years, and with good reason too.

Lamborghini started experimenting with alternative ranges and additions to their super-sports car only portfolio quite while back. The first occourence of this explanatory voyage started in 1976, with the Cheetah. The car was the first attempt at potentially providing the United States military with off-road vehicles. Lambo was after some much needed cash to keep the company afloat, however after many complications the entire project was scrapped. (Lambocars 2000-2013) After a few updates and improvement over following the years, the LM002 came to fruition in 1986, and was the last example of Lamborghini’s detour for decades to come. (Lambocars 2000-2013)

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For the next 22 years, the company continued producing sports and supercars only, and had no intensions of broadening their customer base until the year 2008. On the 1st of October the company revealed their brand new idea, and stepping away from the norm, a 4-door saloon. This car was the impressive looking Lamborghini Estoque. (Lambocars 2000-2013)

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The design aesthetics and styling followed the fundamental elements of a true raging bull. Although this was the pre-Aventador era, and the car got a lot of its styling and use of lines from the Murcielago and the Gallardo, it also made a lot of innovative changes to carry the aesthetic characteristics into future Lamborghinis. The car featured a crisp look, utilising the signature geometric intakes and included features such as the Y-shaped headlights, and taillamps, which were implemented into the later released Aventador.

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The car was initially designed to use Audi’s modular-longitudinal platform, which were a basis for cars such as the Audi A4, A6, A7, A8 and VW Phaeton. This was an obvious choice as Lamborghini is owned by the Volkswagen group, and therefore, platform sharing would mean less production costs for such an extreme 4-door saloon. (Caranddriver 2015) The Estoque was going to be at the top-end of the 4-door saloon market, and was set out to challenge the likes of Porsche with their Panamera, which was under development at the same time, as well as Audi’s new top-of-the line Audi A7, S7, the Mercedes-Benz CLS and the Aston Martine Rapide. (Caranddriver 2015)

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In terms of power and speed this was going to be no challenge at all, as the Estoque housed a colossal 5.2 litre V10 engine, taken straight from the production Gallardo LP560-4, meaning 560bhp was on tap to propel the extravagant family supercar. (Lambocars 2000-2013) The drivetrain was naturally going to be a 4-wheel drive and so the car was going to hold its own all the way up to its’ limited top speed of 186mph (299km/h). (Autocar 2014) This was accompanied by prospects to possibly use a turbo diesel engine as well as a hybrid V8.

Lamborghini had had very high hopes with the Estoque, and projected sales figured said that a production of about 1500-2000 models would be an annual goal. The expected launch for public purchase had been placed at the year 2012, and entering showrooms as early as the end of year 2011. (Autocar 2014)

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Unfortunately 2009 brought with it an economic downturn, and Lambo put the idea of introducing a 3rd product into their range on hold. Lamborghini had not taken any decisions on production, (Topgear 2015) and the project was therefore halted as it was to be an unstable venture at the time. After that, the idea of a high-end family car has not been explored again, and it really is a pity as a 4-door super saloon would have been a great addition to the Lambo line-up.

The ventures did not stop there however, as in an unpredictable turn of events, Lambo brought to reality the Urus; and unveiled it at the 2012 Beijing Auto Show.

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The Urus is Lamborghini’s modern take on an SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle), intended to carry a family of four, on an everyday basis. (Topgear 2015) The car is set to be a threat against the most luxurious of SUV’s in the market such as the Porsche Cayenne, Mercedes G-Class, Range Rover Sport and the 2016 Bentley SUV. The price was to sit at around £150,000 which sets it right between the Aventador and all new Huracàn. (Topgear 2015)

“SUVs make up one of the most successful market segments worldwide, and the Urus is the most extreme interpretation of the SUV idea: it is the Lamborghini of SUVs.” ( Stephen Winkelmann, Lamborghini CEO cited in Topgear 2012)

It is said to use an evolution of Audi’s LBM platform, and will share it with the also VW owned, Porsche Cayenne, VW Touareg and Audi Q7 platforms. (Autocar 2014) If this venture is successful, then Lamborghini will surely be capturing the high-end SUV market with force. In terms of engine, the car is planned to make use of a plug-in hybrid, an Audi derived V8 or even a diesel powerhouse making about 600bhp. (Digitaltrends 2015)

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The styling makes use of Lamborghini’s classic linework, and takes a lot of cues from the Estoque 4-door saloon supercar. The Urus features large geometric intakes in the front, coupled with an adjustable front spoiler, (Topgear 2015) It also integrates the new aesthetic language of Lambo lights, as in, it uses a Y-shaped lighting solution in both the front and rear of the vehicle. Crisp lines, mixed with large muscular fenders, give the car a powerful stance and a strong presence, which surely will be intimidating to see in your rear-view mirror.

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Currently the Urus is set to have its official production launch in 2017, although with never ending turmoil in the Middle East, and uncertainty from Audi’s point of view, the Urus production might still be affected. Lamborghini, likes to set out on unknown ventures, and so, I wouldn’t put money on it, although, the Cayenne worked brilliantly for Porsche, and with Bentley releasing their own SUV in 2017 as well, (Digitaltrends 2015) I would say positive prospects were high.

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A 4-door alternative to Lamborghini’s line-up would be a brilliant step forward into the future, and could even reinvent the name. This combined with the Asterion’s positive introduction of a plug-in hybrid system, could bring with it an extremely prosperous future for Lamborghini.

 

References:

Autocar.co.uk (2015) Lamborghini Estoque: Full Details [online]. available from <http://www.autocar.co.uk/car-news/new-cars/lamborghini-estoque-full-details>

Caranddriver.com (2015) Lamborghini Estoque to Share Platform with Audi A7 [online]. available from < http://www.caranddriver.com/news/lamborghini-estoque-to-share-platform-with-audi-a7-car-news> [November 2008]

Caranddriver.com (2015) Lamborghini Estoque Still Years from Launch [online]. available from <http://www.caranddriver.com/news/lamborghini-estoque-still-years-from-launch-car-news>[October 2008]

Digitaltrends.com (2015) Lamborghini’s Ludicruos off-roader SUV, the Urus, Confirmed for 2017 production Date [online]. available from <http://www.digitaltrends.com/cars/lamborghini-urus-confirmed-2017/

Digitaltrends.com (2015) Lamborghini still wants the Urus SUV, But Audi Doesn’t Think customers will [online]. available from <http://www.digitaltrends.com/cars/lamborghini-urus-suv-scrutinized-by-audi/

Lambocars.com (2000 – 2013) Lamborghini – TIMEline [online]. available from <http://www.lambocars.com/timeline.html>

Lambocars.com (2000 – 2013) LM002 – the STORY [online]. available from <http://www.lambocars.com/off_road/lm002.html

Lambocars (2000-2013) Cheetah – the STORY [online]. available from <http://www.lambocars.com/off_road/cheetah.html>

Topgear.com (2015) Estoque: Dead or Alive? [online]. available from <http://www.topgear.com/uk/car-news/Lamborghini-Estoque-2009-03-25>[25 March 2009]

Topgear.com (2015) Lamborghini’s new SUV: this is the Urus [online]. available from < http://www.topgear.com/uk/car-news/lamborghini-urus-suv-revealed-2012-04-22>

 

Image references:

Searchpp.com (2014) available from <http://tinoto.vn/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Lamborghini-Urus.2.jpg>

Searchpp.com (2014) available from <http://www.nettekeyif.net/data/media/56/2012-lamborghini-urus-concept-2.jpg>

Tuningnews.net (2003-2014) available from <http://www.tuningnews.net/news/081001/lamborghini-estoque-concept-hr-01.jpg>

Tuningnews.net (2003-2014) available from < http://www.tuningnews.net/news/081001/lamborghini-estoque-concept-hr-02.jpg>

Tuningnews.net (2003-2014) available from < http://www.tuningnews.net/news/081001/lamborghini-estoque-concept-hr-03.jpg>

Tuningnews.net (2003-2014) available from <http://www.tuningnews.net/news/081001/lamborghini-estoque-concept-hr-04.jpg>

Wallpcars.com (2013) available from <http://wallpcars.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/2015-lamborghini-urus-gallery–2017-lamborghini-urus-concept-by-jordan-shiraki.jpg>

Wallpaperofcar.com (2014) available from < http://wallpaperofcar.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/lamborghini%20urus-pSOxu-1025×683.jpg>

 

 

A Hybrid future for Lamborghini?

A new era has dawned on the automotive industry in the last decade. It is commonly known, that the World is changing, and there are climate shifts occouring. Eventually, although probably in the very distant future, fossil fuels will become depleted, and the inevitable rise in the prices of fuels to a ridiculous level are sure to accompany the fact. These are further strengthened with the constant social unrest in the Middle-East and their effect on fuel supplies.

Alongside these factors, we have a major issue; pollution and sustainability; people are aware of the negative implications of industries and manufacturing, and thus industries need to find solutions to these problems. One leading ideology about pollution and its’ widespread, is that cars cause the problem; and this is especially true in highly congested areas with a concentration of population, such as cities and town centres. To transcend towards a sustainable future, technologies are changing, and are being developed to brighten the prospects for humanity.

In the last two decades we have seen the envisioning of plug-in hybrids brought to life with cars such as the Toyota Prius, which combined with Toyota alternative energy vehicles, by the end of 2013 had already sold more than 6 million units. (Corporatenews 2014)  It has adapted to our environment, held its own and it feels right at home on our roads filled with standard ICE (internal combustion engine) cars; with customers, with the population and with industry. The popularity of the cars as well as legislations regarding EVs (Electric Vehicles) and Hybrid cars, blossomed into other manufactures jumping on the bandwagon as well. In 2010, a legislation was released that by 2050 the UK is to cut greenhouse emissions by 80%. Obviously with legislations come incentives, although it is projected that EVs won’t be expected to make a major contribution to emission reductions until 2020. (Parliament 2010)

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This means only five years to go until that expected massive shift towards EV manufacture; by most car companies anyway; and starts to outweigh the productions and carbon emissions of current levels and fossil fuel powered cars. Manufacturers from all corners of the Globe have had an early start and started adapting their manufacturing methods and their model line-ups, although there is concern about the energy taken to produce battery powered vehicles, as well as the disposal of said batteries and vehicles. The manufacture of these batteries is pricy and offer relatively low range for vehicles; however new technologies such as lithium batteries are being developed and implemented to improve the overall performance and range, and to lower manufacturing stresses. (ft 2015)

There are quite a few examples of EVs and hybrids on the market today, such as Nissan with their all electric Leaf, Mitsubishi with their i-Miev, as well as adaptions of existing ranges such as VW’s E-Golf, and the Audi E-Tron just to mention a few. (Plugincars 2015) Even smaller production manufacturers have become involved, and not only have risen to the challenge, but are now leading innovators. Tesla is a prime example of that, and have managed to concoct a solution of luxury, performance and electric technology. Although, sales figures suggest that the Tesla Model S’s were only modest compared to large OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturing) companies last year, the Model S has been hitting records sales.(Ibtimes 2015) This, combined with tax incentive solutions by countries such as Norway, and the release of the all new Tesla S P85D, resonate undoubted success to the future of EVs in not only the largest, but smaller companies as well.

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This of course means changes are to come, and will inevitable have to also affect sports, and supercars. BMW stumped the World when they announced their initial concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2009, (Wikipedia 2015) the BMW Vision Efficient Dynamics Concept. It was a proposition of a BMW Plug-in Hybrid vehicle in the form of a 4-seater sports car featuring a brand new design language. It was not only radical in aesthetics but in nature; a proposal of a hybrid sports car was still doubted as the brilliant 2008 Tesla Roadster was still in its very early stages of sales. This car of course has since then blossomed into the currently available BMW i8, and it’s baby sister the BMW i3. A rapidly climbing amount of examples can be seen cruising the streets of cities and towns, especially in the UK and throughout Europe.

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Sportscars, are usually followed by the niche markets, and therefore, supercars. 2014 saw the release of three very special cars to join the Hybrid plug-in category. This truly gave a new meaning to hybrids, and combined conventional petrol engines, with electric engines, not only to decrease emissions, but to also increase performance levels. These new prodigies of the hypercar market came in the form of the Ferrari Laferrari, McLaren P1, and the Porsche 918. These cars truly show the best of both worlds, and demonstrate the effectiveness and sheer power you can get from joining the positive attributes of both the ICE and the electric world.

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An obvious question raises; if this is where the future is heading, how long until all companies are manufacturing EV’s and Hybrid vehicles? Well, it seems, probably not that long at all; and one of these companies happens to be Lamborghini. Although with having to uphold such a lavish name and brand, Lambo needed to follow suit and keep with the times, and so, had to take the inevitable step forward and introduced their first ever plug-in hybrid vehicle.

Lamborghini Asterion at Mondial de l’Automobile 2014 – Press Conference (Lamborghini 2014)

Stephan Winkelmann, the boss of Lamborghini, was quite hesitant and not very interested at first,  but he knew what had to be done. “Even if we might be granted an exemption as a small manufacturer, there is the issue of social acceptance. Things are changing. People are more aware, more sensitive…” (Stephan Winkelmann 2014 cited in Top Gear 2014)

The Asterion is a GT car, and rather than being the signature supercar range that Lamborghini is so renowned for, the design shifts its purpose from being the competitor of the Laferrari, McLaren, or the Porsche to more of an everyday plug-in hybrid super sports car. (Autocar 2014) This takes the company right to the forefront of lavish luxury everyday cruising, and challenges the likes of the BMW i8, and the upcoming Audi R8 EV and plug-in hybrid ranges, (Carmagazine 2015) which happen to be owned by the same parent company; Volkswagen.

Although the Asterion is only in concept form at the moment, designed to be a “technology demonstrator”, (Autocar 2014) prospects of making a production model are looking up. This car would evolve Lamborghini’s portfolio into a new age and widen the horizons, as well as help form a new image to the brand. It was based on the Aventador’s and the Hurican’s monocoque chassis, and the hybrid unit had been tested in an Aventador for the past few years, while it was under development.

The combination of both petrol and electric engines have resulted in a massive 910bhp power output, the highest any Lamborghini has ever injected into any of it’s raging bulls, and skyrockets the car from zero to 60 in just three seconds. It makes use of a V10 petrol engine for normal road driving and combined with a dual-clutch automatic transmission system, coupled with a recovery system. Similar to a KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System), whereby batteries are charged by the kinetic energy forces caused during braking, this system also helps charge the batteries although does so by making use of a motor in the transmission while the car is in normal driving mode. (Autocar 2014)

The car makes use of two electrical motors for each front wheel, and is purely a front-wheel drive car in full electric mode, while being able to reach a top speed of 78mph (126 km/h) in EV mode. The motors also assist the car with torque vectoring and allow the wheels to apply different torques, which also assist the handling as well as the output and efficiency of the normal engine. (Autocar 2014)

How Lamborghini’s Asterion LPI 910-4 technology works (Lamborghini 2014)

It seems then, that Lamborghini has paid careful attention to the world around us, have changed with the times, and progressed into a new way of thinking. However, as with previous, potentially successful endeavours, one can never know with Lamborghini until the day of release arrives. Needless to say though, a hybrid Lambo will be inevitable at some stage in the future, and the Asterion makes a brilliant and impactful introduction.

 

 

References :

 

Autocar.co.uk (2014) Lamborghini Asterion could make production – plus exclusive studio pics [online]. Available from <http://www.autocar.co.uk/car-news/paris-motor-show/lamborghini-asterion-could-make-production-plus-exclusive-studio-pics>

Carmagazine.co.uk (2015) Audi R8 (2015): tech chief confirms plug-in hybrid and EV [online]. Available from < http://www.carmagazine.co.uk/Secret-new-cars/Search-Results/Spyshots/Audi-R8-2015-tech-chief-confirms-plug-in-hybrid-and-EV/>

Corporatenews.pressroom.toyota.com (2014) Worldwide Sales of Toyota Hybrids Top 6 Million Units [online]. available from <http://corporatenews.pressroom.toyota.com/releases/worldwide+toyota+hybrid+sales+top+6+million.htm>

En.wikipedia.org (2015) BMW i8 [online]. Available from < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BMW_i8>

ft.com (2015) September New battery aims to transform electric cars [online]. available from < http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/01b47ecc-6126-11e4-b935-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3OCJyJ0bV> [2 November 2014]

Ibtimes.com (2015) September 2014 Tesla Model S Sales: CEO Elon Musk Says Global Sales Hit a Record [online]. available from < http://www.ibtimes.com/september-2014-tesla-model-s-sales-ceo-elon-musk-says-global-sales-hit-record-1714929> [28 October 2014]

Parliament.uk (2010) Postnote – Electric Vehicles [online]. available from<http://www.parliament.uk/documents/post/postpn365_electricvehicles.pdf>

Plugincars.com (2015) Cars [online]. available from <http://www.plugincars.com/cars>

Topgear.com (2015) Meet Lamborghini’s big boss – Topgear [online]. Available from <http://www.topgear.com/uk/car-news/tg-chats-lambo-boss-2014-12-10> [10 December 2014]

 

Electronic Visual references:

Auto News (2014) Lamborghini Asterion LPI910-4 Premiere. [online] available from < https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3iaPXSTE_U> [4 October 2014]

Lamborghini (2014) How Lamborghin’si Asterion LPI910-4 technology works. [online] available from < https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agaYcay0Dro>

 

Image references:

Dailytech.com (2015) available from <http://images.dailytech.com/nimage/model-s-photo-gallery-08.jpg> [9 October 2014]

Gopixpic.com (n.d) available from <http://www.ausmotive.com/images/BMW-Vision-EfficientDynamics-01.jpg>

Phys.org (2003-2015) available from <http://cdn.phys.org/newman/gfx/news/hires/2012/toyotaprius.jpg> [28 August 2013]

Planete-gt.com (2014) available from <http://www.planete-gt.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/laferrari-mclaren-p1-porsche-918-comparo-top-gear-2.jpg> [12 November 2014]

The new era of Lamborghini

Lamborghini had gained a new status after the release of the ever successful Murciélago and Gallardo models. The house of the Raging Bull had been combined with the precision and expertise of German engineering, which amounted to better overall cars. This was by far the best direction for the brand; as it expanded the customer base and provided quality and reliability to the superiority and prowess of Lamborghini. Unfortunately, as usual, all good things must come to an end; although as nature would have it, this can only be followed by progression and evolution.

By 2011, the Murciélago name was celebrating its’ 10 year reign at the top of the supercar food chain, and the release of the new chief Lambo was impending on the World. On the other hand though, the descendant to the baby Lambo was only forthcoming two years down the line, meaning, manufacture and indeed progressive models and releases of the current range were still churning out at a massive rate.

The latter comprised of five model releases of Gallardo. Namely, the two-tone Gallardo LP560-4 Bicolore, the LP570-4 Singapore Limited Edition, as well as the Gallardo Tricolore, celebrating Italy’s 150 years of unification. All of them were limited editions in their own respects, and furthermore also included the LP570-4 Super Trofeo Stradale, a hard-core street legal version of the Super Trofeo race car. (Lambocars 2000-2013) Finally, a proper production model, the Gallardo 550-2 Spyder was also announced. The embodiment of true open top super car driving pleasure, came in the form of a rear-wheel drive V10, providing 550bhp to the rear wheels, and catapulting the car to 60mph (+-100kph) in a mere 4.2 seconds. Capable of reaching 198mph (319km/h) with the top down no less, this was one exhilarating car to expand the Gallardo range. (Lambocars 2000-2013)

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As good as all this might seem, all of this candy was only frosting on the cake, as the new king of the streets; the new big Lambo was unveiled. The car in question is the potent Lamborghini Aventador, and perfect successor to the Murciélago. Immediately one can see that this car is unmistakably a Lamborghini. It features crisp lines with geometric influences from the likes of the Reventón and the Asterion, while rapidly accelerating the visual feel and stance of the Murciélago. It makes use of some chiselled edges, especially in the detailing such as the headlights, air intakes, outlets, and the glass engine cover. It also integrates the signature “Lambo doors”, as well as a 3-stage variable rear wing which is blended into the body. (Automobili Lamborghini 2014)

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This is not all just for show either, as the Aventador makes no compromise in the performance department. Through a monocoque chassis, the car collaborates a brand new V12 engine, producing 700bhp, as well as a 4-wheel drive transmission all bolted through a dry double plate clutch system. It will skyrocket from a standstill to 60mph (+-100km/h) in just 2.9 seconds and keep going all the way up to a ridiculous 217mph (350km/h) (Automobili Lamborghini 2014) This car is a true benchmark for Lamborghini and a revolution in terms of design and execution, and sets a very positive outlook for the future of the model range and the company as a whole.

By next year, the 2012 Geneva Show was coming up, and thus Lambo wanted to create a true wonder. Keeping with tradition, and seeing as limited edition cars are a natural development, the new year brought along with it an outrageous speedster astonishment.

The Aventador J; the lowest ever Lamborghini, and by far one of the rarest. The Reventón was limited to just 20 units, the Sesto Elemento has only three examples in existence, but the Aventador J (Jota) is truly one of a kind. (Topgear 2014) The styling is very similar to the standard Aventador and does use the same headlights, and front and rear fenders, but the rest is all new and unique. The main obvious physical change is the roof, or rather the lack thereof; and the rather noticeable changes to the rear treatment on the engine deck, air intakes, outlets and exhausts. The aesthetic is further encompassed by using a lot of dry carbon fibre elements on the car, creating a fierce graphic to the overall design, carrying the historic Jota name heritage exquisitely to the modern age.

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The interesting cars didn’t just end there, however, as the year also gave birth to Lamborghini’s first undertaking into the SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle) market. Now, you might notice, that this is indeed not the first example of an off-road Lambroghini, as that spot was filled by the 1976 Cheetah, its’ development variations, and lastly the 1986 LM002. This though is not just an off roader, it only takes a quick glace to see it’s a true Lamborghini at heart. It uses the new geometric crisp styling and transforms the Cayenne/Touareg/Q7 platform (Ford, ‘et al.’ 2012) into a future vision for Lamborghini; although prospects for production are only in 2016, and it was the same case with the Estoque, but nothing came of it, so we will have to wait and see.

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The year further continued with a vast array of limited editions and adaptations and enhancements of the Gallardo, furthering the ferocity of the range. As ever, special editions were in a plethora with the release of cars such as the Gallardo LP550-2 Malaysia Limited Edition – MLE, LP560-4 Gold Limited Edition, LP550-2 Hong Kong 20th Anniversary, LP560-4 Bianco Rosso, LP560-4 Noctis, LP550-2 GZ8 Edizione Limitata, LP 570-4 Edizione Technica, the LP570-4 Super Trofeo, and lastly, the production version LP 560-4. (Lambocars 2000-2013) This production version was the last evolution for the Gallardo, which featured a modified design language, and would later remotely translate into its’ successor. It made use of very sharp angular air vent intakes using trapezoidal and triangular geometry in both the front and the rear end treatment of the car. (Lambocars 2000-2013)

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It seems as ever, Lamborghini are quite reluctant to just up and end a series, and want to make sure the history of a range of their cars has a solid ending. This as you guessed it, means the Gallardo saw further limited editions and fine-tuning refinements before the now current replacement was announced. These last cars were to mark the end of an era, and allowed the Gallardo to come to a graceful end. The range extended to the Gallardo LP550-2 Indonesia Limited Edition, LP560-2 50 Anniversario, the LP550-2 India Limited Edition, and the Gallardo LP570-4 Squadra Corse.  (Lambocars 2000-2013)

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Traditionally, after the release of a new Lamborghini or indeed a specific car in a range, the company tends to release an open top version. This was the case with the Jalpa Spyder, Diablo Roadster, Diablo VT-R roadster, Diablo SV Roadster, the Murciélago Roadster, the Murciélago LP640 and 650 Roadster as well as the Gallardo Spyder, Gallardo LP560-4 Spyder, and the Reventón Roadster; you get the point, basically, Lamborghini loves to make an open top variant. (Lambocars 2000-2013) Of course, with the 2012 release of the Aventador, it was only a matter of time before the arrival of the Aventador LP700-4 Roadster in 2013. This was in essence the same car as the coupé, which had been turned into a top-less version; and even featured its own special version release in the same year. (Lambocars 2000-2013)

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The standard Aventador received the LP720-4 50 Anniversario as a limited edition update, which made use of a more aggressive approach in styling, and also added twenty extra horsepower over the standard 700. This of course also blossomed into an open top version, the LP720-4 Roadster 50 Anniversario Edition. (Lambocars 2000-2013)

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The year was far from over though, because as you can tell, the Aventadors mentioned a moment ago had the wording 50 Anniversario in the name. This is by no coincidence, as Automobili Lamborghini SpA was celebrating its’ 50th anniversary on the 11th of May. (Lambocars 2000-2013)

This would indeed amount to an extremely special year at Lamborghini, and more and more surprises were ready to take the World by storm and leave everyone in their wake absolutely breathless. It promptly started this notion with its’ brand new limited edition poison at the Geneva Auto show.

Poison, however, is not only a perfect metaphor for this insane new car, but its entire embodiment and Spanish derived name; Veneno. The Veneno, is based on an Aventador chassis, but is a completely new car in other terms. Three cars were made and sold, one red, one white, and one green, representing the colours of the Italian national flag. A fourth one was made in a metallic grey, which is just for the auto shows, and for Lamborghini’s developments. The car features a 750bhp engine, 4-wheel drive and a 2.8 second 0-60mph (+-100km/h) time, but it’s the looks that give this car such a unique feel. (Lambocars 2000-2013)

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The entire car is designed to act as a large aerofoil, increasing downforce for it’s 220mph (355km/h) top speed. (Lambocars 2000-2013)  The design is revolutionary and takes Lambo to the forefront of the exotic car market. It features large intakes on the front, dressed in dry carbon, which follow the car through the side skirts, into the side intakes, and over the rear deck. Another epic innovation for this car is that massive rear spoiler, with its upright struts, and that long aeroplane-like fin in the middle, running all the way from the roofline into the geometric design of the wing. As crazy as it seems, the Veneno, although is hypercar royalty, actually got a counterpart, in the form of the Veneno Roadster. Yes, it seems Lambo cannot resist a good open top, and thus the Veneno Roadster is limited to nine units, and costs an exorbitant €3.5 Million. (Lambocars 2000-2013)

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Still in 2013, the 50 year anniversary was far from over, and in front of 1000 VIP members, and at the gala dinner at the Sant’Agata factory, Lamborghini wheeled out its brand new prototype. Designed by Walter De Silva, head of design at VW, Alessandro Dambrosio, and Stefan Sielaff; the main event of the night was the absolutely fantastical Egoista Concept car. The car is made from carbon fibre and aluminium, and the body panels as well as the wheels are made from anti-radar material finished in a matt grey colour. The canopy is made out of anti-glare glass, and cocoons the single passenger in a jet like cab, accessed by opening the canopy, and sitting on the side, and putting your legs in first, like a formula one car. (Lambocars 2000-2013) The design sets forward the benchmark for all supercar concepts, and concretes the evidence that Lamborghini think as far outside the box as is possible. The ultra geometric design of the Egoista, with its use of wedgy, faceted panels, combined with an array of integrated lights, give the car the feeling of a jet fighter from the future.

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During all the exciting events of the year, the focus on the production models, was of course of huge importance, and the Gallardo replacement was also going out for it’s practice laps, in prototype form of course. This then, brings us to this current year, 2014, although, only a few more days are left.

The year started fresh with the long awaited replacement for the Gallardo. The new, affordable entry level baby Lambo, the Huracàn. More precisely the Lamborghini Huracàn LP610-4, from which you will have deduced that it makes use of a 610bhp powerhouse, and delivers its power on all fours. (Automobili Lamborghini 2014) Aesthetically, it makes use of very simple lines, and a much softer approach to the usual hard geometric design language of Lamborghini. The design is overall very nicely balanced and integrated, although at first glance, people including myself thought that it’s too controlled, and very understated for the Lamborghini brand; especially when put next to their current flagship model, the Aventador.

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With this in mind, over the last year, I have grown to rather like the aesthetics of this new car. It’s really well refined, and as routine with Lamborghini, I am quite certain sometime this coming year we can expect to see a Spyder version. This will no doubt further enhance the visuals, and the likelihood of a Superleggera and perhaps even an SV model in the forthcoming years would be customary. Even in standard trim though, it looks great in the Italian Police force, custom built by Lambo. (Lambocars 2000-2013)

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Another, rather intriguing addition to the one-off deck in the house of the Raging Bull was the 5-95 Zagato. As with a few previous endeavours, the design was done in-house by Zagato, and is a one-off, for collector Alber Spiess. (Lambocars 2000-2013) The design is questionable, and rather unfamiliar for Lamborghini, as the front makes a use of a few different flavours, combining the aesthetic characteristics of a Spyker, a Lotus Evora, and the intakes of an Aston Martin one-77. The side view features a characteristical Lamborghini flow, and the rear features a once again, quite unlike; round design for the taillamps. It is definitely a unique look, but as its been designed at an external studio, the idea of its’ adaptation into production models is dubious at best.

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Lastly on the trailing edge of the year, a new GT concept car came into existence, known as the Asterion LPI910-4. This is the newest of the new, in terms of design and tech, deriving from the gates at Sant’Agata. Although it is only a concept car for now, it makes use of a hybrid engine, (Automobili Lamborghini 2014) and brings light to the idea of creating a production hybrid Lamborghini. This is not a new idea for the supercar segment, as we see this with the already available production versions of the McLaren P1, Porsche 918, and LaFerrari.

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In the styling department, the car is a little bit different from the usual, as the overall design is in the form of a luxury GT (Gran Turismo), although carries the Lamborghini aesthetic rather well. We can see influences from previous models, such as the Urus, in the front bumper area, the Miura Concept, in the DLO (Daylight opening, a.k.a, the shape of the windows, from the side), while the side intake and the long taillamps are an adaptation from the ones seen on the Veneno. Although different, the Asterion depicts a valid point as to what the future might hold for the brand; but as we’ve seen before with cars such as the Estoque and the Urus (so far), not all great concept Lambos make the final cut.

This then, concludes the year as it comes to an end, and already in the pipeline for next year we have the Huracàn LP620-2 Super Trofeo, the Reiter Gallardo Extenso, the Pirelli Edition Aventador, and if my guess is correct, and only on a speculation basis, a Huracàn Spyder.

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