The Italian supercar maker has taken the wraps off a new, more environmentally friendly concept at the Paris motorshow, which it claims creates an entirely new category of dream car.
Lamborghini is calling the car a Hyper Cruiser because it's too fast to be a GT car and too spacious and borderline practical to be a supercar or hypercar. Whatever the company wants to call it, one thing is clear, even though it is a concept, it is aesthetically flawless, from its curved nose that evokes memories of the Miura and 400GT to its three-section rear engine panel and rear light cluster that ties it into the company's current design language and the lines of its current flagship Aventador V12, the platform of which was the starting point for the Asterion.
But as well as attempting to coin a new category, the car's drivetrain is also a first, for Lamborghini anyway, because it is a hybrid. Up front there are two electric engines, one powering each of the front wheels, while power to the rear wheels is derived from a naturally aspirated 5.2-liter V10. When running in unison the result is 910hp. That means a 0-100km/h time of 3.0 seconds and a top speed of 320kmh. But it can also drive on electric power alone --for 50km anyway and at speeds of up to 125km/h.
As such, it is the last of the dream car builders to adopt hybrid power. At last year's Geneva Motor Show the supercar stars were all hybrid -- the McLaren P1, the Ferrari LaFerrari, and the Porsche 918 Spyder.
However, even though the company has finally joined the party, Lamborghini believes that hybrids aren't the answer to keeping both the supercar industry and the Earth alive. It thinks that continuing to cut weight and using turbochargers is the way forward.
"Lamborghini continues to focus on weight reduction as a means to reducing CO2, for example through the investment in carbon fiber engineering, which also contributes to our quest for the best super sports car handling and performance. To significantly reduce emissions on a car in this moment however, plug-in electrification is the best option for us, because for Lamborghini such a car must still provide a truly emotional driving experience," said Stephan Winkelmann, President and CEO of Automobili Lamborghini as the car was unveiled to the world's media on Wednesday evening.
In the past the company has called for special dispensation for supercars, saying that they shouldn't have to meet the same emissions and environmental legislation that normal cars have to, because they're ‘special'.
Even now, as beautiful as the Asterion LPI 910-4 - LP (to give it its full name) is, it's something of a compromise: it's bigger and roomier because the powertrain takes up more space and that larger, more spacious cabin changes the car's driving dynamics. Hence calling it a Hyper Cruiser.