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Frankfurt show: Lamborghini goes hybrid with Sian

Nothing mild about 350km/h mild-hybrid Lamborghini Sian limited edition

4 Sep 2019

LAMBORGHINI’S first electrified model will bristle with world-first technologies when the limited-run hybrid supercar is launched at the Frankfurt motor show next week.


Appropriately called Sian – meaning thunderbolt in the local dialect of the Bologna region of Italy, home to Lamborghini – the mid-engined coupe will also be the Italian car-maker’s most powerful and fastest model, packing 602kW of power and 760Nm of torque in the mild-hybrid powertrain.


The Sian combines a 577kW/720Nm version of the rampaging bull’s familiar normally aspirated 6.5-litre V12 with a 48-volt 25kW/40Nm electric motor embedded in the transmission.


This combined wallop is sufficient to blast the carbon-fibre-bodied Sian from zero to 100km/h in less than 2.8 seconds and beyond 350km/h.


Just 63 Sians will be built at a price to be disclosed, however none are destined for Australia.


Instead of a lithium-ion battery, electricity for the electric motor is stored in a supercapacitor in a world first for a production car. Lamborghini says the system is not only three times more powerful that a battery system of the same size, but also suffers no heat losses in charging under regenerative braking, meaning symmetrical charge and discharge.


In another claimed world first, the electric motor drives the wheels directly, rather than indirectly through the transmission like other hybrid systems.


Lamborghini says the electric drive continues deliver torque to the wheels when the transmission is changing gears, helping to cut acceleration times by 10 per cent over a conventional petrol drivetrain.


The system works instantaneously up to 130km/h, whenever extra grunt is required.


While most manufacturers make a virtue of hybrid powertrains by talking up fuel savings, there was no mention of the Sian’s fuel consumption figures in the publicity materials.


Despite the extra electric components, the Sian has a power-to-weight ratio superior to that of Lamborghini’s current champion, the 556kW/720Nm Aventador SVJ – the current Nurburgring lap record holder.


Lamborghini is claiming another first for Sian in the rear cooling vents that, unlike some others, use thermal distortion from the rising heat of the big V12 to vent more air, rather than rely on weighty electric motors. The company chalks this system up to its advanced materials research.


Speaking of advanced, Lamborghini has used 3D printing to produce some components for the first time.


And while the Sian’s engineering is futuristic, its design harks back to Lamborghini’s past by borrowing design cues from the classic Countach.


This includes the so-called Gandini line shape employed on the 1974 Countach by legendary Italian designer Marcello Gandini.


The twin hexagonal exhaust tailpipes and LED taillights with three hexagonal shapes on either side are also inspired by Countach.


More modern features include a big rear wing that rises automatically as speed increases, plus an electrochromatic roof to let the sun shine in.


The front body treatment was influenced by Lamborghini’s Terzo Millenio concept, and induces big Y-shaped daytime driving lights and a low and wide splitter.

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