If there’s one single element that defines Lamborghini’s DNA, it’s a high-revving, naturally aspirated V12 engine. This power-train layout has characterised every Raging Bull flagship since the 350 GTV prototype made its debut back in 1963.
The once-in-a-decade occasion when Lamborghini rolls out an all-new V12 model is a seminal moment for the brand, which explains my bubbling sense of anticipation when presented with the opportunity to flog the latest iteration of the lineage: the Revuelto, which goes on sale in 2024.
Lamborghini hasn’t played it safe in creating this supercar. This is the company’s first plug-in hybrid and it debuts a new carbon-fibre chassis, eight-speed dual-clutch transmission and a new user interface. A state-of-the-art production line was also created specifically for it.
The Revuelto’s raw numbers are mind-numbing. Propulsion comes via a V12, which is in itself a cause for celebration, but even more so because it pushes out Herculean outputs of 825hp and 725Nm. The engine is supplemented by a trio of electric motors to eke out combined outputs of 1,015hp and maximum torque approaching 1,500Nm.
Top speed is quoted at 350kph-plus, while the 0-100kph split is demolished in 2.5 seconds. On paper, that may not seem like much of an improvement over the Revuelto’s Aventador predecessor, but this is one of those instances where numbers really don’t convey the whole picture.
Now for the sobering part: the ex-factory price tag is pegged at €422,340 (Dh1.6m) plus duties and taxes, so expect UAE pricing to start at well over Dh2m (and that’s before on-road costs and customisation).
Enough of the nitty-gritty. Let’s cut to the chase, which in today's case will take place around the dipping, diving 6.22km Nardo Handling Track in the southeastern tip of Italy. This circuit has been dubbed the “mini-Nurburgring” with good reason, as its combination of fast corners and blind crests means you need commitment – and track knowledge – to go quick around here.
Sliding under the vertically opening scissor doors of the Revuelto, the contrast with its Aventador forerunner is immediately evident. Cabin space is almost cavernous by comparison, and even the act of sliding in and out requires less strenuous gymnastics.
The engine also fires up with far less drama, which may come as a disappointment for poseurs who enjoyed the attention-grabbing bark of the Aventador’s pyrotechnic start-up. As before, there are Strada, Sport and Corsa drive modes, but new for the Revuelto is a “Citta” EV-only mode that enables the car to enter zero-emission zones.
Given that we are on a racetrack today, the obvious choice is to slot the drive mode selector into Corsa before trickling out on to the circuit behind the pace car, steered by Lamborghini Squadra Corse chief instructor Filippo Zadotti.
Gassing up the V12 once we’re on to the front straight, my eardrums aren’t battered to anywhere near the same degree as in the brutish Aventador. There’s still plenty of decibels – and they’re all good – but the Revuelto’s soundtrack is noticeably more restrained and civilised than the Aventador’s.
The hybrid power train is so smooth and seamless that, from behind the wheel, it’s impossible to discern that three electric motors (two at the front axle and one at the rear) are also contributing to the prodigious forward thrust. What’s more, the V12 spins up to 9,500rpm with such ridiculous ease that you need to keep an eye on the tacho to avoid bouncing off the rev limiter.
Adding to the Revuelto’s suave demeanour is the silky-smooth eight-speed dual-clutch transmission, which is in a different universe to the spine-jarring ISR sequential gearbox that served the Aventador for its entire life cycle. Super-fast and intuitive, the dual-clutch ’box responds virtually instantly to tugs on the elongated carbon-fibre flappy paddles.
Did I mention the Revuelto is mind-bogglingly fast? The Lambo effortlessly clocks up 300kph-plus down Nardo’s front straight, and every other non-bendy section of the track is also pulverised by the power-train.
Stopping power is just as superlative. Where the Aventador squirrels around under heavy braking, the Revuelto stays beautifully composed when you stomp on the brake pedal. Some hybrid cars skimp on the braking package as decelerative energy is funnelled into recharging the battery pack, but that’s not the case in the Revuelto as it’s fitted with huge carbon-ceramic discs.
Raw pace is one thing, but the reality is that most owners will spend the majority of their time pootling around in traffic or in motorway cruise mode. There’s good news here, too, as the enlarged cabin means even occupants who are 1.9 metres-plus tall will be able to sit in comfort and not have their heads rubbing against the roof lining.
The new carbon-fibre “monofuselage” chassis provides 84mm more legroom, as well as leaving space behind the seats for some soft luggage or a small golf bag. In addition, there’s a storage compartment under the front bonnet that can accommodate two aircraft cabin bags, as well as cubbyholes in the cabin in which to place your phone, keys, sunnies, spare change, et al.
So, the verdict: has Lamborghini nailed its crucial new halo car? There’s not a whole lot to fault in the Revuelto. Apart from being electrifyingly rapid, it titillates all the senses in a way that few others in its genre can – the magic of an operatic V12 is not something that’s replicated elsewhere.
The comfortable and spacious Revuelto is vastly more daily driveable and dynamically accessible than the Aventador, but there might be those who lament it has lost the raw, unruly charm of its predecessor. Personally, I think Lamborghini has got the balance right with its new spearhead, and it would be no surprise if it tops the Aventador’s total sales tally (11,465 units) over the course of its life cycle.