Is the Lamborghini V12 dead? Iconic engine could go to cut costs
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The days of Lamborghini's storied and much loved V12 engine could be numbered, according to fresh reports.
Monstrous 12-cylinder engines have long been part of the Italian manufacturer's DNA; from the quad-cam 60 degree V12 that sat in the beautiful Miura, cutting-edge Countach, and more modern Diablo and Murcielago — to the second-generation 6.5-litre V12 that debuted in the Aventador.
Now, as the Aventador prepares to bow out of production after an eight-year run, the V12 is rumoured to be possibly following suit.
American publication Automobile has reported that Lamborghini's parent company, Volkswagen AG, are looking to push back future developments — including the Aventador's replacement — in order to cut costs in the push to bridge the profit gap to Ferrari (Lamborghini boasted a €1.42b turnover in 2018, compared to Ferrari's net revenue of €3.4b). And, according to the outlet's sources, part of the move will involve discontinuing the V12.
"The German owners are reportedly reluctant to spend the money required to update the Aventador’s ancient V12 to the EU7 emission standard," says Automobile.
"Instead, they would rather use hybridized, high-performance V8 engines for both models, refusing to acknowledge that without the iconic V12, the Aventador is little more than a token gesture."
There are numerous avenues Lamborghini could take to get the V12 engine closer to Euro 7 emission standards. These include reducing the capacity and making up the difference with some form of forced induction. Alternatively a hybrid system could be attached, both to improve emissions and to fill voids in the torque curve.
But, both elements would theoretically compromise the iconic sound and feel of an engine that's been lauded for generations because of its naturally aspirated format.
It's been reported that those within Lamborghini, including chief technical officer Maurizio Reggiani, are fighting for the V12 engine's future. As recently as March, Reggiani was telling media that the V12 could be made compliant to Euro 7 emissions regulations — but, with difficulty.
"The future will be Euro 7, a real tough game changer," he told Wheels at the time. "Maybe 2023, 2025. It will have real significant impacts in terms of output and performance."
Something that will count heavily against the desires to keep the V12 engine in the line-up is the wild success of Lamborghini's Urus SUV. Launching last year, the Urus has since been an unequivocal sales success for the brand. Lamborghini's sales figures increased by 51 per cent in 2018, with almost two out of every five Lamborghini sales being Urus models.
Closer to home, it was confirmed in April that the first 20 Urus' in New Zealand had been sold out, and the next 20 had all been pre-sold. Those are big figures for a vehicle with a starting price of $339,000.
This is a blow to those wanting the V12 to continue because the Urus comes equipped with an Audi–sourced twin-turbo V8 engine. The widespread success of a Lamborghini equipped with a 'foreign' engine will only encourage those at Volkswagen AG focused on making the next generation of Lamborghini supercars more profitable.