Lambo's way ahead
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Maurizio Reggiani is Lamborghini's head of Research and Development and has been with the company for 22 years, with previous experience at Bugatti and Maserati.
He told Driven that when he goes home from the Valencia launch of the Aventador S he is excited to start on the next project - the super sports SUV Urus. He's been hands-on with testing of the car, and a camouflaged one is his current work car.
He says the next 12 months will be a revolution for the company as it expands, but first it's time to concentrate on the company's halo coupe.
Maurizio Reggiani. Photo/Liz Dobson
How important is the Aventador S for Lamborghini?
A lot, it is the flag of Lamborghini, it is the car that defines the top of our brand, and our value.
For us, the V12 naturally aspirated engine is the only engine in terms of responsiveness, in terms of sound and also in terms of it being a masterpiece of engineering.
In the drive modes, there is the EGO setting, and you used it in your media campaign for the Aventador S. Why the word EGO?
In Italian if you are "egoista", you are centre of everything. For this reason, when our customers sit in the car, they find EGO, the car is at your disposal and is able to satisfy your ego.
What was the main objective for the update?
We decided in the Aventador S not to only do a cosmetic refresh but also technical changes.
We changed the brain and the muscle of the car and we gave the car different dynamics, changes that are not just technical but perceivable to everyone.
It took two years for the Aventador S redesign; but in that time you had new CEO [Stefano Domenicali] and new designer [former Porche designer Mitja Borkert]. Did that change the look of the Aventador S?
When we scouted for a new designer we wanted a fit with the Lamborghini DNA. Mitja is in love with the brand, he is in love with the sports car, he is super enthusiastic, and he is suited to Lamborghini.
Mitja Borkert. Photo/Supplied
Did Borkert make any changes to the Aventador S?
We must consider him a father of Aventador S. He defined all the criteria for the front of the car, for the side view and the graphics of the instrument cluster; he was also central to the new [three pipe] exhaust. It is a new way to approach the rear of car.
How are you feeling about the Urus SUV?
It will change the way to develop a car because we are moving into a new field. We already have long experience in the super sport car market and with Urus, we start to play in a different field.
The big challenge, for me, and my people, it was to redefine what is the DNA of an SUV. We are clear about the DNA of a super sports car, Lamborghini DNA, but to redefine Lamborghini DNA of the SUV was a little bit challenging.
We checked the competition and found where we wanted to be.
I think Urus will be the best super sport in terms of SUV. In terms in handling, it is capable of being best in class for off-road capability and the amazing design is unique. Urus will be the only Lamborghini to have a turbo engine for one simple reason; if you are off-road, turbo is mandatory to have high level of torque otherwise you are stuck in the sand.
What about autonomous driving? and Lamborghini?
I expect in the future is that Lamborghini customers will want some aid support but not autonomous driving.
CEO driven by emotion
Stefano Domenicali. Photo/Supplied
In a group interview with new Lamborghini chief executive, former Ferrari F1 boss Stefano Domenicali, we were allowed only two questions each. Driven nipped in first and asked: You have been in the job nearly a year, what have you achieved? Unlike his predecessor, the debonair but slightly aloof Stefan Winkelman, the personable Domenicali is outgoing and vocal. Here is his answer:
I looked at the targets, and the results, in terms of changing and getting ready as our company faces the future. There is the new SUV (the Urus); the numbers we are going to reach in 2018 will be double what they are now. We have to prepare people, dealers and cars to achieve this result.
We have to get out of our comfort zone because we are going to attack a market (SUV) that we don't know. We know that all the big manufacturers are in it, but we believe we have the potential to do a good job.
It is very important to have a base for the second step of Lamborghini. This new segment will give us the opportunity to consolidate our business and achieve stability. We have to keep working on the cars of today and make sure the other part of the business is healthy.
That is why we are having the launch, to show this is a never-ending story. When the Aventador was launched, no one expected it to be such a success. We are here today to remind you of that success, and we are already working on what will follow the Aventador S. We see potential in our V12. It is an engine that is inspiring a lot of people. When I hear the engine passing on the race track I feel a little special.
I see a future for Lamborghini because emotion will always be part of our life. You buy a Lamborghini, not because you want a car to commute only (and that will be possible with the new SUV) but you want something unique. You are part of an exclusive world; this car mixes driving with emotion.
Our homework is challenging and we will attack it with the passion that is needed to be successful in this environment.
Driven asked a second question: What are your thoughts on a hybrid powertrain for the Urus?
I think in that segment it is a natural evolution of the powertrain. It will be the first hybrid and, in the future, there will be another one for Lamborghini. It will be a great experience, a great experiment for us.
It will be vital for us to position that car in the hybrid segment; consider the competitors, in terms of pricing, in terms of what the car is supposed to have.
The hybrid engine in the Urus will come as the second powertrain choice, and that should come before 2020.