Lamborghini Revuelto

During a recent seven-hour arse-kicking flight to Europe, I watched M3gan, a Sci-Fi horror movie about a lifelike doll that gains sentience – and a slightly murderous protective streak – when paired with a young trustee (think Chucky, but with less voodoo incantations and flashier scenes of software development). It was pretty solid too. Decent action and atmosphere, post-Get out Allison Williams, a chilling break-out role for young Amie Donald, and the credits roll before the two-hour mark. Tick, tick and bonus tick.

My biggest bugbear, though, concerns a scene in which M3gan effortlessly ‘hot wires’ the standard movie d-bag’s McLaren 675 LT to hunt down our protagonists. Don’t get me wrong, the 675 LT is an excellent supercar, but surely the movie – in which both the perils and potential of artificial intelligence, and the burgeoning technologies therein – could have been more fittingly represented by a Porsche Taycan or an Audi E-Tron GT than with a limited-edition, twin-turbo V8-powered model that’s already seven years old.

Why go with the McLaren then? As a withering comment on digital technology’s advance over analogue? A subtle condemnation of ‘image’ and corporate, capitalist America? … hmm, perhaps. Clunky product placement? Almost certainly.

Well, that and a quiet distaste for full-EVs among a widespread audience, and not just in Hollywood. One that seems to be getting louder the nearer we get to an electrified automotive future.

In the days after M3gan for example, this particular scribe also watched the first of three official vignettes on Lamborghini’s “new paradigm in terms of performance, sportiness and driving pleasure.” A car that, in the words of chief technical officer Rouven Mohr, embraces the “transfer [of] the Lamborghini DNA into the electrified world”: the brand-new hybrid Revuelto. As well as being only the sixth Lamborghini flagship since 1957, and debuting 60 years after the birth of the Raging Bull, it’s no hyperbole to say that the first-ever plug-in hybrid Lamborghini – a follow up from the mild-hybrid Sian – is an epochal moment for the Italian brand.

Lamborghini Revuelto

Lamborghini Revuelto

So, it was a little surprising that, only seconds after praising the hybrid system as a key pillar for the Revuelto’s development, Mr Mohr’s focus had already turned to the supercar’s aerodynamics, the chassis and, of course, its V12 “heart.”

EV cynicism is not exactly virgin territory for Lamborghini. Back in 2016, CEO Stephan Winkelmann stated there were no plans for the Raging Bull to go fully-electric in the near future – a position to which he was still sticking in 2022 – while the idea of a hybrid Lamborghini only started to grudgingly gain traction when tighter emissions regulations began forcing its hand as well as that of parent company Volkswagen.

Read more: Lamborghini’s first EV arrives in 2028

In the supercar world, Sant’Agata Bolognese is not alone in this approach, either. Italian nemesis Ferrari has likewise stated that an EV is unlikely to arrive until absolutely necessary, such is the company’s commitment to the internal combustion engine: Enzo Ferrari’s fixation with his engines was legendary, and current CEO Louis Camilleri has strongly hinted the Prancing Horse won’t go fully EV in his lifetime. And after four years of development, Pagani last year opted to ditch electric propulsion to stick with “more emotional” V12s.

Again, why this apparent apathy by the supercar world’s biggest players for a concept that will, sooner rather than later, define the automotive world?

Read more: Ferrari’s first EV arrives in 2025,
but ICE development will continue

Performance certainly isn’t the issue. The fastest-accelerating production car on the planet – the all-electric Rimac Nevera – chucks out a scarcely comprehensible 1,888 hp from its four electric motors and hits 0-100 km/h in a NASA-like 1.85 seconds. Mercedes’ hybrid ‘One’ last year lowered the production lap record at the Nürburgring by a trouser-shattering EIGHT seconds. The Revuelto meanwhile, the most powerful Lamborghini to date, chucks out a combined, and sizeable, 1,001 hp courtesy of its 6.5-litre V12 and three electric motors. That’s enough for 0-100 km/h in 2.5 seconds and “more than 350 km/h.” Electric ‘efficiency’ then has not come at the cost of speed. Had the Revuelto been at M3gan’s disposal, chasing down Allison’s BMW i3 at full chat would have been child’s play (excuse the pun).

Rimac Nevera

Rimac Nevera

The still-untapped potential of hybrid powertrains over fully-electric propulsion similarly offers food for thought. Lamborghini, for example, is already looking to cut emissions in half by 2025, even though Winkelmann himself admitted during a media roundtable last July that “we don’t need to decide now” on an electric future, given that industry legislation can change a lot in five years. What better time, then, to discover how best a fiery V12 can perform with a little electric encouragement?

All that then leaves the time-honoured EV issue: character. To electrify a Lamborghini after all – the flashiest, most charismatic and, yes okay, ‘sexiest’ of supercar makers – with electrification was always going to split the combustion-engined purists from the more environmentally conscious like a sentient doll with a newly-sharpened paper-trimming blade. As Winkelmann himself explained, a hybrid Lamborghini would prove “acceptable and digestible” to both opposing factions.

There’s little doubting which side of this particular line in the sand the Raging Bull has clung, unsurprisingly: to fully distance itself from any ghastly Prius comparisons, the Revuelto has been marketed not as a ‘PHEV’, but instead a ‘High Performance Electrified Vehicle.’ Or HPEV. Not clunky or churlish at all …

Lamborghini Revuelto

Lamborghini Revuelto

There’s more. In ‘Hybrid’ or ‘Citta’ mode, an electric, aerospace-inspired sound has been designed to replace the EV silence with a more ethereal hum (M3gan roaring off in pursuit of our protagonists accompanied by a V8 roar is cinematically dramatic, but this would have been an intriguing, and even more chilling, alternative). Also, that ‘most powerful’ moniker is due mostly to the 814 hp produced by the most explosive example of a Lamborghini V12 to date. Be under no misapprehension, on this plug-in hybrid, the engine is the star.

Front-wheel drive – that most lamentable of configurations for performance driving – is catered to entirely by two electric motors, while the 3.8 kWh battery that powers them – now placed in the transmission tunnel as the gearbox is shunted behind the engine – offers only a paltry 10 km of range, developed as it was as an accelerator of additional power. Even the Revuelto’s design, as the vignette continues, “celebrates the engine,” with the double bubble roof feeding cooling air to the V12 bay. Hexagonal exhaust tips dominate the rear, and the EV charging cap has been hidden, like an unfortunately-timed zit, under the front hood.

Lamborghini Revuelto

Lamborghini Revuelto

Certainly the decision to foreground the ‘DNA’ of Lamborghini’s newest flagship more aggressively over its new electrical drivetrain, while understandable if a little too enthusiastically done, is unlikely to harm sales: even at £450,000 (around $750K), or £100K ($165K-plus) more than the Aventador Ultimae, two years worth of orders have already been taken. It’s unlikely interest will falter when Lamborghini’s next epochal moment – its first-ever EV – lands in 2028 either, and one does wonder how the Lamborghini DNA will be transferred into the fully-electric world when the heart has gone, replaced with ‘soulless’ software.

Maybe M3gan will get the last laugh, after all.

Top Stories

Featured in this story

2021 Mustang Mach-E

Starting at $50,495

2021 Mustang Mach-E BUILD & PRICE

Distance Driven: 2,412 km

Times charged: 6

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse a arcu et tellus iaculis laoreet. Nam eu tortor vitae nunc tempus llamcorper ac vel ipsum. Nulla accumsan nunc sem.