What’s Coming From Lamborghini: More Aventadors, return of the Sesto Elemento, new Gallardo, Urus crossover

Automobile Staff
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Lamborghini lost money in 2009, 2010 and 2011, but the outlook for 2012 is a little brighter thanks to booming markets like China and thanks to the Aventador, which is a runaway success. It’s too bad that production is still only running at about 50 percent of capacity due to slower-than-expected assembly processes and more extensive quality control measures. Nonetheless, Lamborghini is readying new Aventador offerings—plus a whole lot more.

Aventador roadster and GT

At the Detroit auto show in January, we should see the Aventador roadster. Unlike the open-top Murcielago, which was bedeviled by an infuriatingly complex removable top, Lamborghini’s next attempt is allegedly much more straightforward, with a pair of easily removable panels.

A few months later, at Geneva 2013, the Italian sports car maker is planning to show a roomier and slightly softer-edged Aventador GT. This top-secret new coupe may feature an extended wheelbase, two small rear jump seats, and a different door concept, probably with short rear suicide panels. Details are still sketchy, but it is clear that a GT would have to be shaped less aggressively than the mid-engine two-seater it’s based on. At this point, it’s unclear whether and when the GT will evolve from show car to production model. It’s not a question of feasibility but more of an investment and marketing issue.

The most extreme Aventador is the SV (Superveloce), due in 2014. Its 6.5-liter V-12 delivers 750 horsepower instead of 700. After the mid-cycle update due in late 2015, the output jumps to an even more awesome 770 hp, which corresponds to a very muscular power-to-weight ratio of 4.2 pounds/hp. In all, the Aventador is expected to enjoy a life cycle of eight years, whereas its predecessor, the Murcielago, was on the market for over nine years.

Ultra-rare and ultra-expensive Sesto Elemento

Also expected in 2013 is the return of the Sesto Elemento, which will be priced at just under two million Euro ($2.5 million). Although all 20 units are already spoken for, public sightings will likely be scarce since the car is not street legal. Tipping the scales at a mere 2202 pounds (999 kilograms), the black, bespoilered beauty fuses Lamboghini’s carbon-fiber know-how with the Supertrofeo racing pedigree. Like all future products from Sant’Agata Bolognese, the V-10-engined supercar was designed by Filippo Perini and his team. The high-tech crowd-stopper is expected to be able to accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in 2.5 seconds and will top 219 mph (350 kph)—that’s F1 performance wrapped in a two-seater body.

Gearing up for the next Gallardo

Launched in 2003, the aging Gallardo is not doing too well anymore. A minor facelift due at this fall’s Paris auto show, however, may give the car a short-term boost. The new, third-generation Gallardo is expected to be revealed at the 2013 Frankfurt auto show. The next Gallardo will again be twinned with the Audi R8. Speaking of the R8, the new, second-generation R8 won’t arrive before mid 2014. Since it will almost certainly be offered only in V-10 guise (no V-8 next time), it moves dangerously close to its Italian sister model, the maximum difference in power output being a scant 55 hp.

Both cars are based on Audi’s brand-new modular sports car system (MSS). This architecture will last only for a single product cycle before being superseded by the new modular sports car architecture (MSA) under development at Porsche that will serve the entire Volkswagen group. The next-generation Gallardo loses 66 pounds, will accelerate in 3.4 seconds from 0 to 62 mph, tops 203 mph, and sees a 15 percent improvement in fuel economy. One year after the Gallardo coupe, the Gallardo Spyder arrives. For late 2015, insiders are predicting a Superleggera, with 590 hp. After the mid-cycle facelift scheduled for 2017, we can brace ourselves for the 600-plus-hp Performante.

Lambo crossover to be least expensive model

Assuming it gets the nod for production, the least expensive Lamborghini will soon be the Urus crossover first shown at Bejing this spring. The target price for the new CUV is in the area of 170,000 Euro ($215,000), which is about 20,000 Euro ($25,000) less than the new Gallardo should command. The potential annual sales volume is pegged at 3000 units, which means that the Urus would instantly triple the brand’s presence in the marketplace. Obviously influenced by the much-acclaimed four-door Estoque design exercise, the sporty four-door crossover is based on the same architecture as the next Audi Q7, Porsche Cayenne/Volkswagen Touareg, and upcoming Bentley SUV. Likely to be launched in late 2016, the aluminum-intensive Urus should comfortably undercut the two-ton weight threshold. Although a hybrid drivetrain (co-developed with Porsche and Audi) is a distinct possibility, the mainstay engine will be a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 rated at 600 hp and 488 pound-feet of torque. If everything goes to plan, the Lamborghini CUV should be profitable enough to fund a fourth model range. How about a sporty front-engine, 2+2-seater along the lines of the 400GT, the Espada, the Islero, and the Jarama?

-Georg Kacher

Renderings by AUTO BILD /A. AVARVARII.

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