Fabled Italian supercar maker, Lamborghini, has taken the covers off its first PHEV (Plugin Hybrid Electric Vehicle) at the Paris Motor Show. Named “Asterion”, the car also gains this: LPI910-4. In Lamborghini speak it means “longitudinale posteriore” (location and direction of the engine) “Ibrido” for hybrid and 910-4 for total horsepower being punched out through the all wheel drive system.
There’s a 5.2L naturally aspirated V10 holding hands with three electric motors and seven speed automatic gearbox, contributing 669 kW (910 horespower), with a top speed of 320 km/h. On the way, the Lamborghini Asterion will see 100 km/h in just three seconds whilst disposing of emissions at just 98 grams per kilometre.
Helping the Asterion gain these numbers, along with an expected fuel economy figure of 4.12L per 100 kilometres (combined cycle), is a sweet, slinky body, evoking the Miura and Estoque supercar. It’s a full carbon fibre construction with a monocoque design; the front of the car is a single unit, with the double headlight cluster featuring forged carbon and titanium in the construction. A highlight is the look of the air intakes; it’s an active system with a double layered grid design, with metal and titanium embedded into one another.
One layer is shaped with a Y whilst the other is hexagonal, providing a three dimensional look and contrasting vividly with the distinctive Blue Elektra paintwork. It’s a sensual pleasure for the eyes, drawing the view along the flanks, over the engine’s air intakes abaft the doors to the pert rear.
It’s underneath this gorgeous body where the Asterion’s secret lies. The petrol engine is located in the traditional Lamborghini position, meeting up with the transaxle gearbox, allowing the lithium battery to be located in the tunnel where the transmission would normally reside. Not only does this provide better balance, it helps protect the battery should a collision occur.
Clever engineering comes into play with the three electric motors: one is placed between the engine and gearbox and incorporates the integrated starter motor and generator (ISG) with the other two joined up to the front wheels. There’s three driving modes: Zero for full electric (an expected fifty kilometres of range), I for Ibrido and T for Termico (thermal or petrol engine) motivation.
Stephan Winkelman, President and CEO at Automobili Lamborghini says: “Lamborghini is always looking ahead, investing in new technologies and setting new benchmarks, delivering the unexpected.”
He went on to say: “Lamborgini continies to focus on weight reduction as a means to reducing CO2, for example, through the investment in carbon fibre engineering, which also contributes to our quest for the best sports car handling and performance. To significntly 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 experience.
“Asterion is a pure two seater: there’s a mix of Bianco Celaeno and Marrone Attis (ivory and brown) upholstery, as well as forged carbon fibre black centre console/door and dash highlights.
It’s a stripped back yet elegant look; the Marrone Attis seat cushions and padding on the doors contrast nicely with the forged carbon fibre surrounds, as do the titanium highlights in the cabin, especially on the Miura inspired three spoke steering wheel.
The seats are set higher than other Lamborghinis, emphasising the intent that this car is not a hardcore performance and handling car, moreso a comfortable cruiser. Driver and passenger will be cooled or heated via air blown through vents that echo the air intakes at the front and side, whilst audio is punched through grilles of the same design. Entry and exit is via a pair of wide opening doors, with sloping A and B pillars in black engineered to provide a slightly more upright with windscreen and more interior space.
There’s a downside to being inside the car; not being able to admire a truly beautiful design at the rear. There’s a pair of laser red and scalpel thin tail lights, also in the Y shape permeating the design and bisected by the signature Lamborghini emblem. There’s a double pair of hexagonally designed exhaust tips, pushed to each corner.
Of note is the engine cover, an individual and unique design for the Asterion: it comprises three hexagonal glass panels that rotate according to which motive mode has been selected.
Pirelli continue their relationship with Lamborghini, providing the 20 and 21 inch, front and rear, tyres, wrapping stunning alloy wheels.
The Asterion is designed by Lamborghini’s inhouse studio, Lamborghini Centro Stile, combining the legendary Lamborghini DNA and its heritage, yet manages to be clearly different to existing models. There’s no doubt it’s a true Lamborghini, evoking an emotional response thanks to its stunning design and with the level of technology one expects from a supercar class leader.
Finally, the name. Lamborghini traditionally names their cars after something with a bull influence. Asterion is the name of the mythical Minotaur, a hybrid creation of man and bull, an apt name for Lamborghini’s first hybrid style vehicle. The Lamborghini Asterion, placing Lamborghini at the forefront of design and technology once again.