The main act

LAMBORGHINI’S TECH GURU, MAURIZIO REGGIANI, ON THE URUS, THE ATMO V12 AND CARBONATED WATER

ANDY ENRIGHT

MAURIZIO REGGIANI, Lamborghini’s chief technical officer, is choosing which bottle of water to pour. “Sparkling every time,” he decides, notwithstanding the fact that the stuff tastes like TV static. “Costs the same and has gas inside,” he adds, before making possibly the most Lamborghini comment possible about carbonated water. “CO2 is marvellous,” he beams. “No-one is able to prove that CO2 is a pollution, eh? Remember this.”

We’re tucked away upstairs in Lamborghini’s suite at the Geneva International Motor Show and there to temper Reggiani’s natural bombast is Federico Foschini, the company’s chief commercial officer, keen to stress how well the Urus SUV is doing for Lamborghini.

“Seventy percent of Urus customers are new to the brand. We are seeing more women buying,” he says, but admits that the rise is only from four percent to six or seven percent. He also demurs when asked whether the success of Urus – targeting 5000 SUV sales next year out of Sant Agata’s total output of 8000 cars – builds pressure on Lamborghini to offer a smaller SUV.

“No, it’s not in our ideas. It’s a step don’t think we are going to do. The positioning of Urus was perfect. At the end of the day, it’s a super sports car that drives with an SUV design. So, there’s no Macan-like version. We are not working on anything like this,” says Foschini. “Too small,” snorts Reggiani.

He’s dismissive about pure electric vehicles, preferring to maintain a focus on an element of internal combustion, for the time being at least.

“To create a Lamborghini hybrid super sports car is really easy,” he says, with a dismissive wave. “The problem is solving the physics problems of weight and packaging. We also need to guarantee the emotion of Lamborghini and that emotion comes from sound, from engine responsiveness, from the number of cylinders,” he adds. “You need to play with what is offered in terms of electrification and then try to minimise the weight and packaging of these components. Taking experience from LDVI (Lamborghini Integrated Vehicle Dynamics system) that we apply to the Huracan Evo, the chassis controls give the perception to the customer that the car is much more agile. From a physics point of view, it’s like having a lighter car,” he says, highlighting how the company plans to make heavier hybrids feel light on their feet.

He then bats away the threat posed by upstart EV supercar manufacturers.

“There are some really fresh ideas. What they need to face is what would be their rule of the game in terms of homologation today,” he says. “There is a real difference between concept and a production car. There are cars being presented without any kind of entry for air,” he sits back and blows out his cheeks. “The battery needs a super-efficient cooling system, otherwise you have no functionality. From concept to production – you need an evolution of the revolution.” Cool your jets, in other words.

“The V12 must respect some homologation rules. We are able to guarantee that our V12 will be able to fulfil all Euro 6 rules. After that it comes down to questions of capacity and fuel consumption. What’s becoming clear is that if you want a super sports car, fuel consumption cannot be discounted. The future will be Euro 7, a real tough game changer. Maybe 2023, 2025. It will have real significant impacts in terms of output and performance,” he concedes, before claiming that he expected to be able to meet Euro 7 requirements with an atmo V12.

Reggiani admits to difficulties with the Urus’s speed-limit detection system, claiming that it reads German speed-limit signs perfectly but not Italian ones, a wry irony indeed. Its German genetics offer other advantages, though.

“In the Urus, it would be possible to benefit from hybridisation work done within the group. But when you take a super sports car, you perceive immediately that there are no cars within the group as extreme as the Aventador in terms of packaging and shape. If you think for a moment that it’s possible to have a floor-mounted battery, you understand immediately that the car lifts up so much that you will not be able to have an Aventador.” Reggiani worked with Ferruccio Lamborghini many years ago and it’s put to him which car in the current range the marque’s founder would have loved most. His eyes light up and he smiles.

“Aventador! He was a man who liked the sound and the perfection, and no other engine can be perfected like a V12. For Ferruccio it was all about engine and design.”

ANDY ENRIGHT