MONTEREY, Calif. — It’s not every day that an automaker gives you the chance to drive a priceless, one-of-one concept car on regular roads. It’s not every day that the car is Lamborghini’s Lanzador concept, an EV that’s Lamborghini’s (VOW3.DE) vision of what an electric, Lamborghini hypercar will look and feel like, when it comes out in 2028 — a distant five years from now.
Yahoo Finance was one of only a handful of outlets allowed to drive the Lanzador. There are many rules in life, but when an automaker gives you the keys to a one-of-a-kind supercar — you take them.
'It looks like a spaceship'
Many industry experts were surprised that Lamborghini even debuted this car, a 2028 model, during last month's Monterey Car Week — let alone allow a few select journalists to drive it, but here we are.
At first blush, the Lanzador is unmistakably a Lamborghini. Industry watchers expected the car to be a GT-style sport touring car with two rows, or in this case a 2+2 seating design, but Lamborghini went with a two door coupe setup. We’ll see if this holds for the production model.
The Lanzador sits higher up, with extra ground clearance, giving the car an almost crossover look, though with a much lower roofline. The car has Lamborghini’s shark-like front and strong shoulder line, which flows into sporty, wide haunches and an extremely raked rear windshield housed in the rear hatch door. The car is all hard angles, no curves.
“The starting point is a super sports car proportion in a higher position, a pilot position,” said Lamborghini head of design Mitja Borkert to Yahoo Finance. “Lamborghini is always designed with this one single center line — this is our trademark — this is where you recognize a Lamborghini… So if I'm doing this and if I'm doing the sculpture already, you've got a beautiful Lamborghini because it looks like a spaceship, and something really innovative.”
Inside, the Lanzador is even more “concept car,” with a floating dash and center console, featuring sharp angles you might see in an alien starcraft. The seats sit low in the cabin, though higher than in a sports car, and feature impossibly thin cushions giving it a stark, futuristic look.
My first thought was, "Does the interior, with its amped up and dramatic vibe, give the EV the emotion it needs, given the fact an EV drivetrain usually subdued?"
Rouven Mohr, Lamborghini’s chief technology officer, thinks so. If you look at the interior from the engineering perspective, we make a lot of effort that you sit really like in one of our supercars because the sitting position is very low, even more lower than in [our cars] today,” he told Yahoo Finance. “You have the view. If you forget for one second that the car is elevated, you have the feeling that you are sitting in one of our super cars, and this was really explicitly engineered.“
Mohr said the company is working on the sound of the EV so that it doesn't sound artificial and relates to the driver’s “reaction” to the car — sounds that can illicit a reaction is one way to put it, as I soon found out behind the wheel.
Driving the Lanzador EV — an experiment on wheels
Having a couple Lamborghini engineers carefully open the car's doors to reveal the essentially handmade bespoke interior was dramatic, but necessary, given how fragile the Lanzador is at this stage. Nothing could be taken for chance, though I was given the chance to shut the door — with care.
Once nestled into the driver's seat, it’s apparent Lamborghini really is going for a singular presence here — that of being in a spaceship. The cabin “greenhouse” was exceptionally airy, highlighted by the floating glass roof, and it paired nicely with the swooping dash, with alien-like, organic-looking features and design, and a steering wheel taken out of a Formula E race car. Car concepts generally look far ahead into the future, with sometimes outlandish designs, but in this case, it seems some of this may translate into the finished product due to the Lanzador's "spaceship" design ethos, and nex-gen powertrain.
“It's really an honor for us that you are driving this car because it's a real show car,” Mohr said. “It was important to showcase our vision for the first full electric Lamborghini now.” Mohr also noted while the development process has started, the Lanzador concept isn’t fully related to the final production car, unsurprisingly.
Lamborghini says the production Lanzador is capable of “peak power of over one megawatt,” meaning the equivalent of around 1,340 horsepower. True Lambo-like power, but the concept here was not equipped to deliver that.
The one word I would use to describe my time behind the wheel of Lanzador was “raw,” in terms of the loud mechanical whir emanating from the motors, to the heavy steering, and an extremely firm brake pedal.
Sticking with driving performance, the production Lanzador will feature a dual motor setup, one on each axle, with the rear axle motor able to perform “torque-vectoring,” meaning the motor can split its power across both rear wheels.
“One of the central pillars you want to present with this car is a typical Lamborghini driving feeling, even in the full electric case, because I know that a lot of people ask, 'How will a full electric Lambo drive?' ” Mohr said. “We want to have a typical Lamborghini driving behavior, and I'm not talking about the acceleration times, you can be sure the car will be fast [as] hell.”
Mohr said acceleration and top-end speed will be a given, but the question many car enthusiasts want to know: "How will the Lanzador make you feel when you drive it around sweeping curves?"
Though we were not driving “fast as hell” on Pebble Beach’s famed 17-mile drive, even at slow speeds the Lanzador delivered an impression of what this “ultra GT” could evolve into. A bigger cabin than a sports car, wider track, and slightly raised seating position meant a more comfortable, though still sporty and commanding driving presence, though the sloping windshield and pitched hood hurt visibility.
But driving the Lanzador did suggest in some fashion what an Lamborghini EV would be like to pilot, and perhaps the engineers will keep more of a “raw” feel for the car, with louder motors, heavier steering, and a heavier brake or accelerator pedal. This might be Lamborghini’s way of keeping the Lanzador a sports-oriented vehicle— and maintaining an engaged driver experience.
It’s hard to say. Most EVs these days are extremely docile and easy to drive, with oodles of power on tap, soft braking, and over-boosted steering. I’m guessing Lamborghini may try to aim for somewhere in the middle—giving drivers the ease of something like its Urus SUV and the rawness of the Aventador, with its single-clutch transmission giving you a kick in the back on every gear change.
“You feel involved in a [Lamborghini], and this feeling we will also do in an electric vehicle; we will prove that it's possible, even to do it more extreme in the electric world,” Mohr says.
The Lanzador has a long way to go before it's the Lamborghini of EVs. But, at least at this concept car's early, raw stage, that the Italian automaker is on the right path with its torque-vectoring rear motor, 1000+ hp, and active aerodynamic elements aimed at delivering a spirited driving experience.
The big question, of course, will be whether its passionate and excitement-driven clientele will react with the same level of emotion to an electric motor, versus a screaming V12 engine.
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