By on September 14, 2010

Several weeks back, Lamborghini CEO Stephan Winkelmann was hinting to Forbes that weight loss would be crucial to the Lambo future (he also revealed that the brand’s best-selling colors “are white, black and the grey tones”). As the hype builds towards the release of the new Murcielago-replacing Jota, Winkelmann has released a “manifesto” that he says will guide Lamborghini into a sustainable future.

Alternatively, it could also be seen as an after-the-fact justification for Lamborghini’s decision to ditch the V12. After all, the Jota teaser image released with the Winkelmann-ifesto hints very strongly at a ten-cylinder drivetrain… which means the era of V12-powered Lamborghini flagships is probably about to end. Can one little manifesto really explain that kind of brand-defying break with tradition? Hit the jump to judge for yourself.

Lamborghini stands for extreme and uncompromising supersportscars of the best Italian tradition. Tradition as a value however, lives at Lamborghini alongside innovation.We are redefining the future of our supersportscars around the two main reasons to buy: design and performance.

Regarding performance, until few years ago priorities were, in this order: top speed, acceleration and handling. In recent years this has been changing. Together with design, handling and acceleration are becoming more important. Speed is not as important anymore, because all supersportscars are exceeding 300km/h (186 mph) and this is a speed that you cannot reach even on a racetrack, let alone normal roads. We think it is time to make a shift and talk more about handling and acceleration.

The key factor in terms of better handling and acceleration, meaning more immediate pleasure in driving, is the power-to-weight ratio. This is not so much about top speed and so the future will not be so focused on increasing the power, even because CO2 emissions do play a role for supersportscars too. That means the key is in reducing the weight.

A crucial part of this is to understand how to reduce the weight. From the middle of the Eighties, the average weight of our cars has increased by 500 kg because of active and passive safety, comfort and emissions reduction issues, and this is something that we have to change. Since we cannot reduce safety or comfort in our cars, we have to reduce the weight by using new materials.

The magic word for this is “carbon fiber”. We started working with carbon fiber in Sant’Agata Bolognese over thirty years ago and today, with our two laboratories in Sant’Agata Bolognese and in Seattle, We are mastering a broad range of technologies which put us in a leadership position for low-volume production.

Every new Lamborghini will make the best use of carbon fiber to reduce weight.

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29 Comments on “The Lamborghini Manifesto: Why It’s Cool That We’re Ditching The V12...”


  • avatar
    Ingvar

    A top-liner Lamborghini without a V12 simply is wrong on so many levels. It’s like a V6-powered Corvette, or a V8 Porsche 911. No, this smells politics. Perhaps VW doesn’t want to develop a stand alone V12 for Lamborghini, as they already have a V10 for Audi, a V8 for Porsche, and a W12 for Volkswagen.

  • avatar
    441Zuke

    v10′s aren’t bad, this isn’t the same as a v12 in a Ferrari and yes this is totally the work of father v-dub going “hey we got a nice V10 how about using that”. the name though, jota, not a fan, reminds me to much of yoda or yoga. it is a soft j right like yota ?

    • 0 avatar
      akitadog

      If “Jota” in Italian is pronounced like it is in Spanish (ho-ta), then this new car is called the Lamborghini “J.”
      I’m not down with that lame name.

    • 0 avatar
      Ingvar

      “In 1970, Lamborghini development driver Bob Wallace used chassis #5084 to create a test mule that would conform to the FIA’s Appendix J racing regulations. The car was appropriately named the Miura Jota (the pronunciation of the letter ‘J’ in Spanish). Only one was ever built, which was eventually sold to a private buyer after extensive testing. In April 1971, the car crashed on the yet-unopened ring road around the city of Brescia, and burned to the ground.”

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lamborghini_Miura

  • avatar
    Dorian666

    Just NO !!! Lamborghini are supposed to be the over the top supercar company.  No V12 is a sign on the end of world.
    And stealing Jota name from Laverda motorcycles is another sign on the end of the world.
    The world is getting too PC for me…
    /rant off
     

  • avatar

    I prefer the way Lambo V10 sound. But that’s just me.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    “…even because CO2 emissions do play a role for supersportscars too. That means the key is in reducing the weight…”
     
    No, they don’t.  Lambos don’t sell in enough numbers to matter at all.  For mass produced vehicles this would be a different story.  Trimming CO2 from cars that sell in these numbers is like turning off the nightlight in an 8000 square foot McMansion and saying you see a difference in the summer electric bill.  There is something else at play here.  Too bad. No twelve is like a six cylinder Corvette.

    • 0 avatar
      colin42

      As part of VAG they come under their numbers (in Europe at least) so the emissions are important. The average have to be reduced to 130g/km http://ec.europa.eu/environment/air/transport/co2/co2_home.htm
      Independent manufactures such as Aston Martin do not have to achieve the same CO2 limit but still do have to achieve a higher CO2 limit than today

  • avatar
    Davekaybsc

    I have no problem with a V-10 flagship, as long as it’s Lamborghini’s engine. They are welcome to share it with Audi, but no engines should be shared up the ladder to Lamborghini. I would hate to see a Lamborghini powered by a W-12. Leave that to the suckers who pay $200K for a glorified Phaeton.

    Also, lest we forget, the Corvette WAS powered by a six cylinder at the beginning of its life.

  • avatar
    thalter

    Actually, there are six cylinder Corvettes.  For the first two years of its existence, the Corvette was available only with a six cylinder (and a slushbox, no less).  These (along with the 63 split window coupe) would be high on the wishlist for my hypothetical Corvette collection.

  • avatar

    A Lamborghini without THAT V12 — forget swapping in any other V12, the one they have goes back to the very founding of the company, and it’s perfect as-is — is just an Audi. Boring.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    This is not so much about top speed and so the future will not be so focused on increasing the power, even because CO2 emissions do play a role for supersportscars too

    No, they don’t.  Look, I’m as much of a pinko liberal commie as it gets and even I think this is a lame excuse.  Lamborghini sells in such small volumes and at such high prices that surcharges shouldn’t make a difference.

    This is VW cost cutting.  Possibly for good (they don’t need a V12 when they have tens, eights or whatever that can do the job) possibly for bad (it’s cheaper to just tune a corporate engine and the badge-buyers won’t care anyway), but the green angle is being raised as a lightning rod so that the government can take the heat for forcing poor little Lambo to use an Audi V10.

  • avatar
    Nick

    The price of used Muiras just skyrocketed.

  • avatar
    Dr Strangelove

    Well cylinders are being knocked off everywhere to save weight and fuel, so why not at Lamborghini also. They may be taking a gradual approach, with 10 in the next iteration, then 8, …
    People say, “fuel economy doesn’t matter in that price bracket anyway”. That may be the case strictly rationally speaking, however some buyers will feel better about themselves if they “make their contribution to saving the planet”, even if it is only symbolic.
    I like the predictable yet heartwarming “the end is nigh” statements though. Keep them coming.

    • 0 avatar
      Robstar

      I was just thinking this same thought.  I really don’t want my inline-4 sportbike to become an inline-3 or v-twin.  If everybody is knocking off 2 cyl’s, what happens to v-twins & thumpers?

  • avatar
    PeriSoft

    I’m holding out for a V13.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    Lotus is doing these things already – lightweight, acceleration, and handling.  Lamborghini is supposed to be different.

    This is a loser plan.

  • avatar
    niky

    Meh.
    Never really liked V10s. Still don’t like them.
    And as one of the six billion plus people on the planet who can’t afford a Lamborghini, this doesn’t make any difference to me.
    If they really wanted to, they could build a small V12… say 4 liters? They could still equip it with direct injection, a multi-valve head and have enough packaging space left over for the now-compulsory hybrid system. It would sound great. It would cost a mint. So VW isn’t going to do it.
     

  • avatar
    DearS

    V10 has been the smart choice for a long while. The Murcielago is a heavy bastard and back heavy at that. Same as the Astons and 599s. Its about time common sense trounced the status quo, yea right! it was competition that force Lambo to step things up with a more balanced ie. truer racing car. The status quo is just changing to post better track numbers (handling my ass) and a “superior cause I care about the environment” rich crowd. I was a Lambo fan cause they went 202mph in a 201mph (F40) world. That was as a kid, now I’m grown up and I want (to obsess about) a car with real dynamics. Also the Veyron is a Nissan GTR with a bigger engine and more weight. The Murcielago is GTR with better sound effects and an “exclusive” customer. The 458 is the smartest hypercar around, or something like it. . It could cost as much as a Veyron and still make more sense buying (once it stops catching fire).

  • avatar

    Doesn’t the Gallardo already outsell the Murci like 10:1?
    So the company that already sells so few cars they have basically no carbon footprint, is reducing the footprint of their lowest-selling model?
     
    Nightlight in an 8,000 square-foot house, indeed.


    8cyl Gallardo-successor next?…

  • avatar
    Ronman

    there is a case for a non V12 super lambo, but perhaps Lamborghini will reinstate a V12 option on the Jota, just like Audi did on the R8, V8 then V10…

  • avatar
    findude

    ” . . . the average weight of our cars has increased by 500 kg because of active and passive safety, comfort and emissions reduction issues . . . ”
    Let’s see. 500 kg is about 1,100 pounds. We’ve got seat belts, airbags, door reinforcements, catalytic converter, etc. etc.  It’s bogus to blame an 1,100 pound weight increase on safety and emissions, so there must be a lot of comfort in there.
    I’d love to see a breakdown of how much these things actually weigh. It really sounds like a scapegoat argument to me.

  • avatar
    Dr Lemming

    Any time there is a shift in social mores the traditionalists will complain . . . and then a few years later no one will remember what the argument was about.  I suspect that will happen here.  After all, how many buyers just have to have a V12?

    The carbon footprint issue might be better viewed at a corporate rather than a brand level.  A V12 Lambo can become a potent symbol of evil to the greenies.  If VW switches to a V10 and carbon fiber at least it can wrap itself in the flag of green innovation.


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