When the new car finally appeared in the spotlight, it took a few seconds for those in the audience to realise that this GT car was the new Lamborghini. And although it doesn’t look it, the Asterion actually has quite a degree in common with the Aventador and Huracán.
Described by Lamborghini as a “technology demonstrator”, the Asterion combines the Huracán’s 5.2-litre V10 with a new seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, a lithium ion battery pack (in the space normally occupied by the Huracán’s forward-driving propshaft) and two electric motors on the front axle.
The main Aventador connection is the lower part of the carbonfibre monocoque, which the Asterion shares with the range-topping
model. The front and rear subframes are most likely based on those of
Work on the concept “started a couple of years ago”, according to Maurizio Reggiani, Lamborghini’s head of research and development. “We began with an installation [of the prototype] hybrid drivetrain in a standard Aventador, so we wouldn’t gain any attention,” he says. “The idea was that we could have [internal] discussions on what type of hybrid would be suitable for Lamborghini. We needed to conduct an investigation of the behaviour of a plug-in system and the mix of the battery electric engine and [internal combustion] engine. We needed to test and exercise it. You can’t judge such a thing in a better way.”
Having settled on the exact recipe for the plug-in transmission, Reggiani says the idea for the actual concept car could be “refined”. He says: “We wanted under 100g/km and an autonomy [battery-only] range of 50km. In the future, we are sure in many cities when you drive downtown, you will need to travel fully electrically.”
Reggiani describes the somewhat unexpected Asterion package – which is mid-engined but looks rather like a classic, long-nosed, front-engined GT car – as a “plug-in with good handling. It offers more comfort in the interior and the exterior is less edgy”.
Although the lower part of the Asterion’s carbonfibre monocoque is shared with the Aventador, the upper part is new, allowing the car to have more upright windscreen pillars. This and the modified rocker moulding are intended to make it easier to get in and out of the cabin compared with Lamborghini’s more hardcore models.
Even so, the final transmission recipe is in the very hottest road category. Running solo, the V10 engine produces 602bhp and 413lb ft
The dual-clutch automatic gearbox also has an electric motor integrated into it. This can drive the rear wheels but seems to have a more important role in energy recuperation, helping to recharge
the lithium ion battery pack when the car is in motion. The extra hybrid technology adds 250kg to the transmission’s overall weight.
Along with the twin motors on the front axle, the total output from electrical sources is a significant 296bhp. That makes a theoretical 898bhp combined.
Lamborghini has never confirmed what the total output might be, although it would probably have to be limited to a degree to prevent the tyres’ grip from being overwhelmed. Indeed, at full tilt, the Asterion is claimed to be capable of hitting 62mph in just three seconds before running on to 199mph.
Reggiani says using electric motors on the front axle allows a maximum speed of 78mph. If the primary motor was in the transmission, it would have a much tougher job driving the gearbox, which, in turn, would have to drive the rear wheels.