There are many ways I could start the story about driving the most technically complex and fastest Lamborghini road car of all time. But one perfectly demonstrates the scale of the change that has been made between the Revuelto and its immediate predecessor. I’m driving the new car onto the main straight of Porsche’s hugely fast Nardó handling track in Italy chasing an Aventador SVJ, the company’s previous high watermark for V12 performance and the car that set the outright Nurburgring Nordschliefe lap record as recently as 2018.
Lamborghini’s chief test driver Mario Fasanetto is in the SVJ. He has used his talents to pull out a gap of several car lengths around the tight left-hander that leads to the kilometre-long main straight, and there is no doubt that he is giving the Aventador everything - I can see puffs of grey smoke from its exhaust on every upshift. But as soon as the Reveulto’s throttle is pinned the generational difference becomes obvious, the gap diminishing at a rate that seems impossible given the potency of the Aventador. Well before getting halfway down the long straight I’m having to back off to avoid making an unsanctioned pass. The Revuelto is in a different league.
We’ve already told you plenty about the tech behind Lamborghini’s first plug-in hybrid and its clever three-motor system. This combines a naturally aspirated V12 which can rev to a dizzying 9,500rpm thanks to motorbike-style finger followers in the valvetrain, and makes 814hp in its own right. This has been turned 180 degrees compared to the Aventador, with a new eight-speed double-clutch gearbox now hung behind it. This is assisted by three electric motors, one at the back and two at the front, which are capable of adding up to 187hp of assistance. That’s a total of 1,001hp, in what will almost certainly be the least powerful version of the car. Small wonder that, on Lamborghini’s numbers, the Revuelto’s 7.0-second-0-124mph time is just 0.5 seconds shy of the Bugatti Chiron’s time over the same benchmark.
But the really impressive thing about spending a day with the Revuelto at Nardó is the way that all this technical complexity and digital brainpower work together to deliver what feels like an amazingly natural feeling driving experience. The electrification isn’t just here to add performance, it has also allowed the Reveulto’s engineering team to create a car that feels much nimbler and more agile than its predecessor most of the time, despite weighing in excess of 200kg more.
Previously Lamborghini has limited media events at Nardó to prototype models – it’s where I drove not-quite-finished versions of the Urus Performante, Huracan Tecnica and Huracan STO for the first time. Doing that is a lower-risk strategy in terms of critical opinion, but although my first drive in the Revuelto was entirely limited to the proving ground it was also in a finished, customer-spec car - the dorky little EV warning stickers you can see in the pictures are a Porsche requirement for anything driving there with high voltage on board.
Lamborghini’s Chief Technology Officer, Rouven Mohr, is predictably bubbling with enthusiasm when introducing the new car. But he and his team have defined it with a simple philosophy: “we asked, what can electrification add? Not just in terms of performance and the ability to have this zero emissions mode, but more importantly excitement.”
The EV-only Città mode he referenced can be covered off quickly. As in the other part-electric supercars with similar modes – Ferrari’s SF90 and 296GTB and the McLaren Artura – it is a neat party trick rather than something most owners are likely to make extensive use of. Select it and the Revuelto motors away silently but slowly – and the EV-only range from the battery is just six miles. It’s best thought of as a stealth mode to avoid disturbing the neighbours. (For those Revuelto owners who actually have neighbours they care about.) Having ticked the box with brief experience in the pitlane I don’t feel the need to experience it again. And although the Revuelto’s Hybrid powertrain mode will start and stop the engine, the vast majority of my drive is with the V12 running.
Next comes the chance to confirm the scale of the change that has been made to the Reveulto’s cabin compared to the Aventador’s. There are plusher materials and more tech, with a new passenger-side display screen to display shock-and-awe statistics to a co-pilot. But the biggest and most obvious difference is space, with much more headroom and shoulder room; I can wear a helmet without it touching the roof over bumps for the first time in a Lambo sports car. There’s much more oddments storage as well (as in ‘some’) and even a pair of pop-out cupholders which appear to be identical to Porsche ones.
The V12 is the starring feature, providing the bulk of the huge levels of thrust and sounding spectacular while it does so. Even on a wide, empty track it takes a while to build up to maximum attack; my brain is telling my finger to grab the upshift paddle well before the rendered rev counter gets anywhere near the 9,500rpm limiter. But as faith builds it soon proves that it pulls harder and harder all the way to the redline. It’s a clear and immediate point of distinction over the turbocharged competition. The new gearbox is also a transformation. The Aventador’s automated single clutch was always as savage as it was fast, the Revuelto’s twin-clutch feels both quicker and less snappy, although with a deliberate torque bump added to full-throttle upshifts.
While the hybrid system doesn’t shout about it, it is clearly working hard. The Aventador’s V12 was one of the glories of the late combustion era, but it always lacked the basement torque of turbocharged rivals. The Revuelto uses electrical assistance as an effective substitute for forced induction, one that gives huge, lag-free punch at any speed. The immediacy of the throttle response is comparable to the reaction speed of a snappy EV – and even with the gearbox left in its automatic mode the car can start to accelerate before the transmission has delivered a kickdown. The fact that electric power is being delivered to both axles means there is no lack of traction as the electrons begin to flow.
Not that it is short on drama. Lamborghini has created two different launch control systems. There is a conventional one – seemingly intended to harvest road-test numbers – which carefully matches surge to traction to give the best possible acceleration. The other is effectively a show-off mode; easily accessed by the simple expedient of a hard brake input when stationary and then flooring the throttle and releasing the brake. This deliberately allows an exciting amount of wheelspin from the rear, while still sending power forwards to maintain order.
As with other modern Lamborghinis, the different dynamic modes bring out radically different parts of the Reveulto’s character. While the softest Strada setting doesn’t turn it into a plush GT, it smooths out the gearshift, slackens the sharpness of the throttle response and gives a pliancy to the damping that is noticeable even over Nardó’s mostly smooth surfaces. (It also limits peak power to 873hp, although this is a limitation most owners are unlikely to detect in the real world.)
The Sport mode brings much more drama to the powertrain’s sound and fury, and increases the combined power output slightly to 895hp. It also clamps down the suspension and brings much more permissive stability control settings – of which more later. This is the mode the company reckons that most owners will drive most often. Lamborghini says it takes the punchiest Corsa setting to unleash the full 1001hp, but this also tries to maximise traction over drama for ultimate track performance: more go, less show.
The best way to talk about the new tech is, once again, to compare it to old. That came with the chance to also drive the Revuelto and Aventador SVJ back-to-back at Nardó. The Aventador is still as exciting as any car named after a fighting bull should be, and middle age has definitely not wearied Lamborghini’s own cherished example. But it is also a car with a limited tolerance for liberties or mistakes, with optimistic entry speeds into Nardó’s tighter corners tipping it into understeer. Easing the throttle in the wrong place when the chassis is loaded up creates the unmistakable sensation of the mass at the rear working to shifting the back of the car and the stability control intervening hard.
The Revuelto is much more forgiving, to the extent you often don’t notice how hard it is working to deliver real-time absolution. The sense of connection through the steering to the front tyres is just as strong, although the amount of effort needed to turn the wheel has been reduced slightly. But the combination of rear steering and a torque-biasing rear axle means it feels keener to turn in and find apexes, but also much more stable as power is applied.
As with other PHEV supercars, Lamborghini can use regeneration as a form of traction control, quelling incipient slides without needing to cut power from the engine – with the separate electric front motors also able to provide a stabilising input to stop the car from sliding. Or, in Sport mode, allowing a carefully curated angle of drift providing the driver keeps sufficient accelerator input and commitment. Plus there’s the additional option to turn stability and traction fully off, and wrestle with the full 1,000hp mano a mano.
In the Aventador there is a necessary gap between turning in and getting hard onto the power as the car’s mass settles into the turn. In the Revuelto this has been compressed to the point where it sometimes barely seems to be there at all. Don’t worry, space is still obviously being left for the harder-cored versions. The Revuelto has plenty of chassis adjustability out of the box, but lacks the scintillating ability to trade grip between front and rear axles of the Huracan STO, and it’s hard not to imagine that Lamborghini won’t choose to engineer back in some of the rawness that has been carefully engineered from the base car when the time comes for a turned-up version.
Yet even as launched the Reveulto feels like a completely new chapter for Lamborghini – one that combines the glory of the company’s V12 heritage with the promise of a part-electric future. The fact it is already sold out for the first two years of production proves how excited potential owners are. While it’s hard to imagine that Lamborghini will be able to find even more performance and excitement after experiencing the Revuelto in full flight, it is also a nailed-on certainty that the company will.
SPECIFICATION | LAMBORGHINI REVUELTO
Engine: 6498cc V12, triple motor hybrid assistance
Transmission: Eight-speed twin-clutch, rear-wheel drive plus twin motor electric front axle
Power: 1,001hp (total system peak) @ 9,250rpm
Torque: 535 lb-ft (combustion) @ 6,750rpm (total system TBC)
Top speed: >218mph
Weight: 1772kg ‘dry’
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