The Aventador SVJ was hardly a car for shrinking violets, and therefore the perfect donor when Lamborghini tore up its rulebook and plumped for the first-ever hybrid raging bull. The Sián FKP 37 sits on the identical floorplan and is powered by the same glorious naturally aspirated V12 engine, but it gets bespoke bodywork and pioneering technology in the form of a supercapacitor hybrid system. Despite a £2,2 million price tag (R45 million), the entire 63-car run for the coupé has already been sold, as have the 19 roadsters to follow.
While the 48V electric element may win attention, the 6.5-litre V12 remains the headline act. This is essentially the same engine that powers the mighty Aventador SVJ, with a slight boost in output, taking peak power to a claimed 578 kW at 8 500 r/min; the highest yet for a road-going Lamborghini.
The supercapacitor plays only a supporting role but it’s an important one. It can add 25 kW at speeds up to 120 km/h through an electric motor integrated into the gearbox. Unlike its plug-in hybrid rival – the Ferrari SF90 Stradale – the Sián can’t run under electric power alone, although its supercapacitor is much more powerful than a conventional battery.
Lamborghini says the bulkhead-mounted power pack and motor collectively add just 34 kg of weight, with the system’s 600 A peak flow rates allowing it to add instant motive force. We’re told the Sián’s in-gear times are up to 10% quicker than those of the Aventador SVJ. An equally important role is using electric-motor torque to fill some of the gaps in the automated single-clutch transmission’s shifts.
The design of the Sián is jaw-slackening … a virtual rendering come to life. The combination of width and wedge-ness pays obvious homage to Marcello Gandini’s Countach of 1974, as do details such as the louvred engine cover. The front features Y-shaped daytime-running lights inspired by those of the 2017 Terzo Millennio concept.
The rear is dominated by the huge rear track and vast 335-profile P Zero tyres, overhanging the aerodynamic elements positioned above them and flanking an enormous diffuser (a powered rear wing hides away at lower speeds). Six hexagonal taillight elements seem to hang in mid-air surrounded by space and, above them, the rear deck incorporates active cooling flaps that automatically open and close.
Lamborghini’s planned presentation in one of the more scenic parts of Italy was stymied by pandemic-related restrictions, so our drive was in the considerably less exotic Bedfordshire’s Millbrook Proving Ground on a rainy afternoon. Not that the Sián needs a glamorous background to feel special. Its cabin shares most of the Aventador’s architecture but has plusher materials and a new portrait-oriented central touchscreen. It also shares its sister’s marked shortage of headroom; the limited space beneath the Alcantara headlining thanks to the fixed buckets made me glad I was not wearing a helmet.
Start the engine and the Sián immediately turns angry. This isn’t one of those new-age hybrid supercars capable of silent start-up and low-speed running; rather it lives to celebrate the savagery of its rev-happy V12. The Sián starts rolling less snappily than the Aventador and its electric motor smooths out clutch engagement. Once it’s moving, though, the cabin is always noisy and filled with buzzy vibrations.
Performance is predictably huge. Slight electrical help can be detected in higher gears and at lower revs but giving the V12 a boot full of throttle removes any sense of the motor assisting. The Sián sounds magnificent: louder and rowdier than even the Aventador SVJ, with an exhaust note that truly harmonises within the last few hundred revs before the cut-off at redline and a fusillade of pops and bangs on the overrun. Being limited to just 230 km/h in the wet on Millbrook’s 3,2 km banked bowl felt cruelly slow.
When asked to deal with multiple laps of the tight, cresty Hill Route (a not-quite simulacrum of Nürburgring Nordschleife and the real world), the Sián felt much less at home. The combination of huge width and poor visibility would make a much bigger road feel impossibly narrow and although the Sián proved to have copious grip, there was little chance to push hard in the sodden conditions. There was also the very un-hypercar sensation of understeer in the slower corners, where the challenge of turning the Sián’s mass was obvious, even with the help of standard rear-wheel steering.
Millbrook’s few opportunities for higher speeds suited the Sián far better, with the light steering delivering increased feedback as aero loads increased. And the chassis proved impressively disciplined over the Hill Route’s many crests, regardless of the dynamic mode chosen. Even the infamous spot that claimed James Bond’s Aston Martin DBS in Casino Royale didn’t faze it.
Dynamically, the Sián feels like a rawer car than the Aventador but on the admittedly limited basis of this first impression, not a better one, certainly when compared with the impressively focused SVJ. Yet, that’s not really the point of what is effectively a motor show concept brought to life; and as a visceral experience, almost nothing else gets close. The Sián’s price is ridiculous, of course, its styling outrageous and its underpinnings are pensionable by hypercar standards; however, its appeal is unarguable.
Price:Around R45 million overseas (not available in SA)
Engine:6,5-litre, V12, petrol + electric motor
Power:578 kW @ 8 500 r/min (engine), 25 kW (electric motor)
Torque:720 N.m @ 6 750 r/min (engine), 36 N.m (electric motor)
0-100 km/h:2,8 seconds (claimed)
Top Speed:350 km/h (claimed)
Fuel Consumption:16,20 L/100 km (claimed)