Lamborghini Aventador prototype

Lamborghini isn't presenting anything at the Detroit Auto Show because it doesn't even have a stand. But that doesn't mean that the Sant' Agata company had nothing to say. CEO Stephan Winkelmann and head of R&D Maurizio Reggiani spoke briefly about the Murciélago successor at a Sunday evening event outside of Cobo Hall, putting together a few more pieces of the Lamborghini 834 – otherwise known as the car many assume will be called the Aventador. Winkelmann said he wants it to be "the trendsetter of the next decade." The main points:
  • Cues: the 834 will have all the traditional modern Lamborghini cues, meaning all-wheel drive, scissor doors and prominent air intakes. Winkelmann said it would be revolutionary but recognizable, and that its inspiration has come from the military (not unlike the military-aircraft inspired Reventon)
  • Chassis: "Stiffness and lightness are the words to remember," said Winkelmann, and the company has planted its flag on the battleground known as "power-to-weight." The body-in-white is 229 kilograms, torsional stiffness is 35,000 Newton-Meters/degree and it has been homologated worldwide already. The entire monocoque cell is carbon fiber – the tub is a Lamborghini-developed process patented by the company as RTM (Resin Transfer Molded) Lambo, a slightly different process than standard RTM, the A- and B-Pillars and rocker panels are braided carbon fiber, and the roof is prepreg carbon fiber. The RTM Lambo process has been developed in conjunction with its work with Boeing and the University of Washington.
  • Engine: The new 6.5-liter V12 has 18 percent more power but emits 20 percent less CO2 – 398 g/km – than the 6.5-liter V12 in the now-discontinued Murciélago. It develops 700 horsepower at 8,450 rpm and 509 pound-feet at 5,500 rpm; although displacement is the same, the bore and stroke have been changed to provide better acceleration and smoother, more elastic power delivery in stop-and-go traffic.
  • Transmission: The 834 uses a seven-speed, single-clutch transmission developed and patented by Lamborghini as ISR (Independent Shifting Rod) and built by Graziano. A single clutch was chosen because it is 20 kilograms lighter than a dual clutch and, said Reggiani, "You have to have the drop in torque so you feel like you're shifting, to give the emotion." There will be five shift modes: Auto, Auto Strada ('strada' being for comfort), Strada, Sport and Corsa. The gearbox's syncros can disengage one gear as they're engaging the next, so shift times in Corsa will be 50 milliseconds (Formula 1 is about 40 ms), 150 ms in Sport, and 300 ms in Auto Strada.
  • Suspension: According to Lamborghini, the 834 will mark the first time a pushrod suspension with horizontal dampers appears on a production car. The setup will keep the wheel in perfect alignment throughout the range of suspension travel.
  • Brakes: There will be 400 mm carbon discs up front, 380 mm in back, and it will have an electronic parking brake.
  • Interior: There will, of course, be improved roominess all around, the driving position is now dead ahead and not skewed to the right, and the dash cluster is a single, large TFT screen.
  • Safety: The 834 will have passive pedestrian protection, four front airbags and two side airbags
One final note: Communications director Raffaello Porro confirmed that the company is still debating making both the Sesto Elemento and the Estoque. The Estoque is the natural way for the brand to grow (not an SUV), but if the Sesto Elemento is made it won't be homologated. A decision on the Sesto Elemento is expected in the first quarter of this year, while a decision on a third model will be made in the next 12 months.