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Lambo Gallardo successor takes shape

New bull: In line with Lamborghini tradition, the Gallardo replacement will get a new bull-derived nameplate.

Lamborghini’s next entry model to use Sesto Elemento tech, drop manual gearbox

23 Oct 2012

A SUCCESSOR to the ageing Lamborghini Gallardo will take technologies from the Sesto Elemento that made a surprise Australian debut at Sydney, according to the Italian company’s commercial director, Fintan Knight.

Mr Knight confirmed the Gallardo replacement will lack a manual transmission and suggested it will continue to use naturally aspirated engines – but ruled out hybrid drive.

He singled out the lightweight ‘forged carbon’ material used for the seats and interior skeleton of the Sesto Elemento and more recent Urus SUV concept – and said the new entry-level Lambo will receive a new bull-inspired nameplate.

“It has been the custom for Lamborghini to use the impressive name of a bull for a generation of a car and then to change it for the next generation of the car,” Mr Knight said at last week’s Sydney motor show.

“There are some lessons from that car (Sesto Elemento) that you will see in the pipeline from Lamborghini for sure.

“Not just in the Urus (SUV) concept... the forged composite of the seat structure and interior skeleton of the car is one interesting application.”

51 center imageFrom top: Lamborghini Sesto Elemento Urus.

Mr Knight gave assurances that the Gallardo replacement will remain true to the Lamborghini ethos, pushing the boundaries of performance in the face of increasingly stringent legislation.

“The recipe for a Lamborghini will remain the same.

“Sesto Elemento for us is a little bit of a shift in thinking around the relative importance of top speed versus handling, G-force, acceleration and braking. Within that context the (Gallardo replacement) drivetrain would definitely evolve. There are some alternatives.

“We also have extended CO2 regimes in many regions we have to take more and more into account and the emotional quality of the car.” Mr Knight would not be drawn on a launch date for the Gallardo successor but ruled out hybrid drive for Lamborghini’s sportscars in the foreseeable future, citing the company’s small size and referring to current electrified drivetrains as “experimentation”.

“We are a weight and power brand. I don’t think that you could see a durable supercar-oriented solution at the moment on the market. I know there are lots of concepts out there.” He did not specifically rule out the use of forced-induction – Lamborghini owner Audi has moved away from Lambo V10s in its high-end RS6 and S8 in favour of a new twin-turbo V8 – but stated an ongoing preference for naturally aspirated engines.

“We love naturally aspirated engines. With the V12 we have proved that for 350 grams (of CO2 per kilometre) you can get 700 horsepower out of a naturally aspirated engine, so power is not an issue.

“What we are looking for in terms of performance is responsiveness and engine sound.” While retaining traditional atmospheric engines, Lamborghini will drop manual transmissions from its line-up for good.

“When I drove in the car with (Lamborghini test driver and GT3 champion) Giorgio Asana he said manual transmissions make no sense because the G-forces are so high you have no chance to change the gears fast enough,” said Mr Knight.

“So I think for the (Gallardo) replacement the manual transmission won’t continue.” Mr Knight said Lamborghini is unlikely to produce a sub-Gallardo sportscar, which he said would cause the company to “quickly get out of the luxury segment”.

“Below us you tend to get things like the 911 and Corvette, which are not really supercar territory.

“I think the logical model expansion for us is in the direction of the Urus.” A decision has not yet been made to produce an SUV based on the Urus concept that debuted at the Beijing show in April, and Lamborghini “is not under pressure to make the final decision”.

Urus is the most likely Lamborghini model to get hybrid power, but Mr Knight said the power of the base engine will be considered before the company thinks about “adding electric boost”.

“Lamborghini has some real competence that can improve the current shape of the SUV segment.

Being a carbon-fibre manufacturer, we have got strength and we have got light weight.

“What is the problem with SUVs? They wobble around like crazy and are too heavy. We can solve that problem.

“Also, from a handling point of view, if you look what we can do with suspension on an Aventador, our engineers are very, very good at suspension.

“We can bring supercar competence to the SUV segment and be the supercar of the SUV segment – that is our aim.”

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