Historically speaking, Lamborghini has always been more than apt at competing with its exotic supercar brethren, namely Ferrari, McLaren, and Porsche. Its Aventador competes with the F12 Berlinetta, 650S, and 911 Turbo S respectively. But when the latest crop of hybrid hyper cars was released upon the world — the LaFerrari, P1, and 918 — Lamborghini suddenly found itself shut out of a market that has come to define automotive super-performance.
No longer, however. With the introduction of the Asterion, Lamborghini is tossing itself into the fray with its own 910 horsepower, hybrid drivetrain super car. Let’s be clear — this is akin to a Prius in the same way that wine is akin to a Four Loko — both are alcoholic, but the execution is seriously different.
The electric powertrain, as McLaren, Ferrari, and Porsche have found, is ideal for delivering instantaneous torque from zero RPM. The electric motors — there are three of them — produce about 300 horsepower, and Lamborghini’s ubiquitous 5.2 liter V10 fills in the remaining 610. With its powers combined, Lamborghini pegs a zero to 60 time of 3 seconds flat, a top speed of 199 miles per per hour — and here’s the kicker — can travel on electric power alone for 31 miles.
“Lamborghini is always looking ahead, investing in new technologies and setting new benchmarks, delivering the unexpected,” President and CEO of Automobili Lamborghini Stephan Winkelmann said in the company’s press statement. “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.”
With major advancements made in lightweight material engineering and application, automakers now have more room to play with battery cells, which are heavier and more cumbersome. The move to carbon fiber also helps handling, which is emphazised by the Asterion’s all-wheel drive capabilities.
Lamborghini is calling the Asterion a “hyper cruiser,” implying that the Asterion will be meant more for casual backroads touring than track attacks. However, looking at the vehicle, we can see that this is apparent in its styling; while the LaFerrari, 918, and P1 look insanely fast and over the top, the Lambo is more subdued and clean-cut. Apart from some gaping side vents and intakes up front, it actually looks pretty docile, effectively disguising the 910 horsepower it carries beneath.
Docile is obviously a relative term here. But the point is that the Asterion is less of a street-legal race car and is instead more aimed at the Rolls Royce Wraith or Aston Martin crowd, who pride driving comfort and smoothness over brash display of muscle highlighted by stiff, tuned suspension and an unforgiving, do-as-I-say demeanor.
This is a different play by Lamborghini — and I can’t believe I’m saying this — to appeal to the more sensible exotic car aficionados (have you ever seen the terms ‘Lamborghini’ and ‘sensible’ in a sentence together? Me neither). I’ll explain — The P1 et al are dependent on their owners’ access to a track to really use to their full potential. The Lamborghini is too, but not as much — it’s more oriented for driver comfort with performance on the side, making it more approachable as a daily driver than the others.
But then, you know, you have 910 horsepower on tap, just in case.