Lamborghini’s eight-digit Aventador replacement keeps its V12 and adds three electric motors. Welcome to the future of fast writes Gautam Sharma after getting behind the wheel of the Revuelto in Italy.
There are defining moments in the timeline of every carmaker and for Lamborghini, it’s the once-in-a-decade occasions when the V12 baton is passed from one generation to the next. It’s such a sacred moment that I’m almost inclined to observe a minute of reverential silence.
Lamborghini Revuelto Fast Facts
- Price: R10-million+ (est)
- Engine: 6.5-litre, V12 + three electric motors
- Transmission: 8-speed, dual-clutch automatic
- Power: 607 kW at 9 250 r/min
- Torque: 725 N.m at 6 750 r/min
- Hybrid system: 3.8 kWh lithium-ion battery, rear e-motor and front e-axle
- Power: 110 kW at 10 000 r/min
- Power: 220 kW at 3 500 r/min
- Total power: 746 kW
- 0-100 km/h: 2.5 seconds
- Top speed: 350+ km/h
- Length: 4 947 mm
- Width: 2 033 mm
- Height: 1 160 mm
- Wheelbase: 2 779 mm
- Dry weight: 1 772 kg
- Weight distribution: 44:56 (front/rear)
- Rivals: Ferrari SF90 Stradale
The sun is blazing at the Nardo Handling Track in the southeastern tip of Italy. Hunkered down a few metres from me are the wheeled embodiments of Lamborghini’s past and future. Closest to me is a luminescent green Aventador SVJ, the fastest and angriest iteration of the brutish V12 supercar that has spearheaded the Raging Bull’s line-up since 2011. Somewhat symbolically, parked directly ahead of it is a dayglow orange Revuelto, the long-awaited successor to the Aventador. Given how much the automotive scene has transformed in the dozen years that have elapsed since its rambunctious predecessor was unleashed, the Revuelto needed to make a significant leap in every domain. And it does, introducing more cutting-edge tech than any previous Lambo.
The company hasn’t played it safe in creating the Revuelto; it’s the company’s first-ever plug-in hybrid model, debuts a brand-new carbon-fibre chassis and eight-speed dual-clutch transmission, as well as an all-new Human Machine Interface (HMI) system. It’s also built on a state-of-the-art production line that’s been created specifically for this latest flagship model. True to form, the Revuelto’s raw numbers are gobsmacking. Propulsion comes via a naturally aspirated V12 engine – which in itself is a cause for celebration, but even more so because it pushes out Everest-dwarfing outputs of 607 kW and 725 N.m while revving to 9 500 r/min (courtesy of new pistons, cylinder heads and a higher compression ratio). The V12 is supplemented by a trio of electric motors to generate a combined output of 746 kW and maximum torque approaching 1 500 N.m.
Top speed is quoted at 350+ km/h, while the 0-100 km/h sprint is demolished in 2.5 seconds. On paper, that may not seem like much of an improvement over the Aventador, but this is one of those instances where numbers really don’t convey the whole picture. Significantly, the pair of axial flux e-motors at the front axle deliver what’s claimed to be the most sophisticated form of torque vectoring in any road car to date, individually doling out micro-perfect doses of torque to each of the front wheels to enable faster, more drama-free cornering.
Now for the sobering part: the Revuelto will be the most expensive series production Lamborghini ever – by some margin – when it arrives on our shores. The ex-factory pricetag is pegged at €422 340 plus duties and taxes, so expect South African pricing to start around R10-million (and that’s before you start ticking options). Regardless of that cardiac-arresting price, Lamborghini has already secured an order bank stretching more than two years for the hyper-hybrid.
An operatic V12 motor has always been the talismanic element in any Lamborghini flagship, and that’s no less the case in the Revuelto: it’s a mighty powerplant. The 6.5-litre unit has been spun around by 180 degrees, enabling the new eight-speed dual-clutch transmission to sit transversely behind it; and packaged in unison with the gearbox is a 110kW e-motor that supplements the V12 in sending drive to the rear wheels.
With no longitudinal driveshaft hogging the transmission tunnel, the hybrid powertrain’s 3.8kWh battery pack moves into that space. But why such a tiny battery pack? Simple: its job isn’t to reduce CO2 emissions or provide a meaningful electric-only range. Rather, the battery’s function is to provide the trio of electric motors with short, sharp bursts of energy. It’s quickly recharged on the go, so there’s almost never a situation where it’s fully depleted. We established this first-hand.
The Revuelto’s front axle is driven by a pair of axial flux electric motors that crank out 350 N.m each. With a combined output of 220 kW, they provide true torque vectoring to help get the car turned in on corner entry, keep it balanced in mid-corner and fire out of the exit. As with the latter versions of the Aventador, four-wheel-steer is retained as a standard feature, further boosting agility.
Lamborghini has binned pretty much every component that went into the Aventador; and the foundation of the Revuelto is its brand-new full carbon-fibre monocoque chassis, front crash structure and bodywork. The only exception is the aluminium doors. Lamborghini CTO Rouven Mohr says the carbon “monofuselage”, which uses a mix of forged and pre-pregnated carbonfibre, reduces weight by 10 percent and increases stiffness by 25 percent compared to the already rigid Aventador.
Also consigned to the dustbin is the Aventador’s racecar-style pushrod suspension, which makes way for double wishbones at the front and rear, supplemented by the latest Magneride adaptive dampers. Apart from enabling more efficient packaging and a reduction in weight, Mohr says the new suspension setup also makes for much better “vertical control” (ride quality, in other words).
With the Aventador and Revuelto parked line astern, it’s easy to witness the latter’s dimensional stretch. This is partly to accommodate the hybrid powertrain, and partly to liberate much-needed cabin space. Measuring 4 947 mm from end to end and 2 033 mm across its bows, the Lambo has a sizable footprint on the tarmac. It’s no lightweight either, tipping the scales at 1 772 kg – and this is dry weight, so expect a figure of 1 900+ kg with a full tank of fuel and all fluids on board.
Much work has gone into the Revuelto’s aero package, which includes an active rear wing with three pre-set positions. It’s one of the contributors to 30 percent more downforce than the Aventador and 60 percent greater aero efficiency, says Mohr. The standard wheel package comprises of 20-inch rims at the front and 21-inches at the rear, but most buyers are likely to specify the optional bigger rims, which add an extra inch at either end. Bridgestone Potenza Sport rubber is standard issue, but only on the smaller rims.
Enough of the nitty-gritty. Let’s cut to the chase, which in today’s case will take place around the dipping, diving 6.22 km-long Nardo Handling Track. This circuit has been dubbed the “mini-Nürburgring” with good reason, as its combination of fast corners and blind crests means you need commitment – and track knowledge – to go quick around here.
Handily, Lamborghini’s events team has brought along the Aventador SVJ alluded to earlier to first provide some reference points on a sighter lap or two before leaping into the cockpit of the Revuelto. Raw and uncompromising, the Aventador SVJ pummels all your senses – and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. There are those who expect nothing less of an apex supercar. But this also means the Aventador is not something you’d ever consider using for the daily drag to the office and back.
Sliding under the vertically opening scissor door of the Revuelto shortly after a brief on-track stint in the SVJ, the contrast is immediately evident. Cabin space is almost cavernous by comparison with its predecessor, and the act of sliding in and out requires less strenuous contortion. The V12 also fires up with far less drama, which may come as a disappointment for poseurs who enjoyed the attention-grabbing bark of the Aventador’s pyrotechnic start-up. As before, there are Strada, Sport and Corsa drive modes, but new for the Revuelto is an EV-only Citta mode that enables the car to enter zero-emission zones. However, this only yields about 10 km of pure-electric range, so pandering to tree huggers is clearly not this car’s key focus.
Given that we’re on a racetrack today, the obvious choice is to slot the drive mode selector into Corsa before trickling out onto the circuit behind the pace car, steered by Lamborghini Squadra Corse chief instructor Filippo Zadotti. Gassing up the V12 once we’re onto the front straight, my eardrums aren’t battered to anywhere near the same degree as in the Aventador SVJ. There are still plenty of decibels – and they’re all good – but the Revuelto’s soundtrack is noticeably more restrained and civilised than the SVJ’s.
The hybrid powertrain is so smooth and seamless that, from behind the wheel, it’s impossible to discern that three electric motors are also contributing to the prodigious forward thrust. What’s more, the V12 spins up to 9 500 r/min with such ridiculous ease that you need to keep an eye on the tacho to avoid bouncing off the rev limiter. Adding to the Revuelto’s suave demeanour is the silky smooth eight-speed dual-clutch transmission, which is in a different universe to the spine-jarring ISR sequential gearbox that served the Aventador for its entire lifecycle. Super-fast and intuitive, the dual-clutch ’box responds virtually instantly to tugs of the elongated carbon-fibre shift paddles.
Did I mention the Revuelto is mind-bogglingly fast? The Lambo effortlessly clocks up 300+ km/h down Nardo’s front straight, and every other non-bendy section of the track is also pulverised by the V12 hybrid powertrain. Stopping power is just as superlative. Where the Aventador SVJ squirrels around under heavy braking, the Revuelto stays beautifully composed when you stand on the anchors. Some hybrid cars skimp on the braking package as decelerative energy is funnelled into recharging the battery pack. That’s not the case here, as its mighty carbon-ceramic discs (410 mm x 38 mm at the front and 390 mm x 32 mm at the rear) are squeezed by 10-piston calipers at the front and four-piston units at the rear. Adding to confidence levels is a brake pedal that has shorter travel and more weight and bite than the Aventador SVJ’s spongy equivalent.
As counter-intuitive as it may sound, the 746 kW Revuelto is far easier to handle than the significantly less potent SVJ; and less demanding to punt hard than even the V10-powered Huracan STO and Tecnica. That said, the Revuelto piles on speed so rapidly that you still need to stay focused on a track that’s replete with blind crests, corners that disappear out of sight, and even a jump that gets the car airborne at 225 km/h.
Where the Aventador requires a skilful pilot to tap into the last 20 percent of its dynamic envelope, the Revuelto’s inherent balance and superbly calibrated chassis-control software allows even those less experienced in track driving to enjoy a large chunk of its repertoire. For now, we can’t offer an emphatic assessment of ride quality, but the Nardo Handling Track has its fair share of bumps, dips and crests. The seat of my pants tells me the Revuelto is far more supple-riding than the bone-jarring Aventador. To put the Revuelto’s pace in perspective, Lamborghini CTO Rouven Mohr says it’s about 2.5 seconds faster per lap than the Aventador SVJ on the same tyres around the Nardo Handling Track.
Raw pace is one thing, but the reality is that the majority of owners will spend most of their time in the car pootling around in traffic or in highway cruise mode. There’s good news here, too, as the enlarged cabin means even occupants who are 1.9+ metres tall will be able to sit in comfort and not have their noggins rubbing against the roof lining. The new monofuselage chassis also provides 84 mm more legroom, as well as leaving space behind the seats for some soft luggage or a small golf bag. In addition, there’s a storage compartment under the front bonnet that can accommodate two aircraft cabin-sized bags.
Annoyingly in the Aventador, there was no place for occupants to keep phones, keys and other loose bits and bobs. That’s been addressed in the Revuelto as there are storage cubby holes in the centre console, as well as a cupholder on the passenger side dashboard. Another much-needed improvement is the new HMI setup, which features a 12.3-inch digitised instrument cluster, 8.4-inch vertical infotainment screen and a 9.1-inch passenger-side display panel with a digital speedo readout with no other purpose than to terrify the passenger.
Our test vehicle was equipped with the so-called “comfort” seats, but two-piece sports seats (unlike the fixed-back sports pews in the Aventador SVJ) will also be on the menu. Upholstery options include not just fine leathers, but also the newly introduced Corsa-Tex fabric in Dinamica microfibre, which is made of recycled polyester. It’s also possible for customers to specify a balanced mix of leather and Corsa-Tex.
So, the verdict: has Lamborghini nailed its crucial new halo car? There’s not a whole lot to fault in the Revuelto. Apart from being electrifyingly rapid, it titillates all the senses in a way that few others in its genre can – the magic of a Pavarotti-silencing V12 that revs to 9 500 r/min is not something that can be easily replicated elsewhere.
The fact that the comfortable and relatively spacious Revuelto is vastly more daily driveable and dynamically accessible than the Aventador only adds to its appeal. That said, there might be those who lament it’s lost the raw, unruly charm of its predecessor. My take? I think Lamborghini has got the balance right with the Revuelto, and it would be no surprise if it tops the Aventador’s sales tally (11 465 units) over the course of its lifecycle.