The EV era is upon us, like it or not, and some familiar features are heading off into the sunset – like Lamborghini’s V-12 engines. With the Italian automaker among those planning to shift to hybrids and all-electric models over the coming decade, the new Aventador LP- 780-4 Ultimae is set to become its last new model offered with a 12-cylinder powertrain.
The Ultimae is set to make its debut during this week’s Goodwood Festival of Speed a couple hours outside London. Only 600 of them will be produced: 350 coupes and another 250 roadsters.
“The Aventador LP 780-4 denotes the final, purest, timeless naturally-aspirated production V-12 Lamborghini,” said Lambo’s President and CEO Stephan Winkelmann. Though the V-12 delivers “the most emotive driving experience,” said Winkelmann, the Aventador Ultimae “is the last of its kind.”
A long history
Lamborghini has been building V-12s for six decades, its first debuting in 1963, to be precise. The original model displaced 3.5 liters and was a critical part of founder Ferruccio Lamborghini’s campaign to tackle his cross-town rival Ferrari. In its earliest form, it made a once-impressive 280 horsepower and 240 pound-feet of torque.
The latest 12-cylinder package now displaces 6.5 liters and, under the hood of the LP 780-4 Ultimae punches out 769 hp and 531 lb-ft of torque. That makes it the most powerful Aventador ever, delivering 39 ponies more than the S model, and 10 more than the Aventador SVJ. Equally impressive, it comes in just 39 hp short of the Lamborghini Sian hypercar with its supercapacitor hybrid drive system.
Power is directed through a seven-speed single-clutch ISR transmission. Power then gets directed to all four wheels. That helps maximize grip, allowing the Ultimae to launch from 0-100 kmh (62 mph) in just 2.8 seconds. It will hit 200 kmh, or 160 mph, in 8.7 seconds. And it tops out at 220 mph.
Not just the last, but the ultimate
While most manufacturers consciously design in understeer for safety, the final Aventador special edition pushes most of its torque to the rear wheels under normal circumstances. That increases oversteer, though Lambo says it has done that in a “sporty but safe” way.
Translated into English, Ultimae picks up two meanings: “last,” and “ultimate.” To live up to both terms, Lamborghini designers and engineers pulled out all the stops.
The LP 780-4 Ultimae picks up on the rear-wheel-steer system launched with the Aventador S, both enhancing high-speed cornering and making steering response time much quicker.
The supercar weighs in at just 3,417 pounds thanks to the use of its monocoque design and extensive use of carbon fiber and other lightweight materials. That’s 55 pounds lighter than the Aventador S.
The Ultimae also gets a three-position rear wing that changes positions automatically depending on the selected drive mode and vehicle speed.
Plenty of options
For those looking to log track time, there’s even an available telemetry system.
There will be 18 standard color options – and 300 customized special paint alternatives. Also available: a custom carbon fiber kit, as well as both 20 and 21-inch forged alloy wheels. All versions come with Pirelli Zero Corsa tires.
The Ultimae will help us bid goodbye to both the Aventador and to Lamborghini’s familiar V-12. Some big changes will follow. The good news for Lambo fans is that parent VW has gone on the record promising the brand is not for sale.
In May, the company announced a new electrification program, known in Italian as “Direzione Cor Tauri.” It will be backed by the largest investment program in Lamborghini history, at 1.5 billion euros, or $1.8 billion, over four years. It will play out in three steps, with pure gasoline models first giving way to hybrids. By late this decade, the Italian automaker said, it plans to bring four all-electric vehicles to market.
The strategy, CEO Winkelmann said at the time, “is necessary in the context of a radically-changing world.”
And Lamborghini isn’t alone. Ferrari, Aston Martin, McLaren and pretty much anyone playing in the exotic market is shifting over to electrified propulsion. Just this week, Lambo parent Volkswagen AG announced a deal that will effectively transfer its Bugatti brand to Croatian EV upstart Rimac.
For those who have the cash and the desire to get the ultimate, er, Ultimae version of the Lamborghini Aventador, expect to stroke a big check. While pricing hasn’t been revealed, the Aventador S starts at $421,321, the SVJ at $517,770.