He doesn't mince his words.
Stephan Winkelmann recently assumed the dual role of CEO for both Bugatti and Lamborghini. He took the helm of Bugatti in 2018 after briefly running the Audi Sport division following an 11-year tenure as Lamborghini CEO. His return to Sant'Agata, Lamborghini's headquarters, is something of a homecoming and he will have two homes, one in France where Bugatti is based, and one in Italy.
He recently sat down with Top Gear and one of the biggest future issues naturally came up: the status of combustion engines. His goal is straightforward: to "maintain the combustion engine as long as possible." We already knew the successor to the Lamborghini Aventador will retain the naturally aspirated V12, but it will have hybrid assistance, similar to what's found in the Aventador-based Sian. The eventual Huracan successor will follow that model, except with an NA V10.
As the industry in general, including some supercar brands, adapt to full battery electrification, Winkelmann emphasized he's in no hurry to do the same. "I don't see BEVs for hypercars or super sports cars now or this decade. So neither for Bugatti nor for Lamborghini," he said. "We need to come to a point where we have a better understanding. We might test things out with our closest customers, but we have a constant discussion with them about future developments. I cannot rule it out but it's not for the time being."
What else is on Winkelmann's Lamborghini agenda, aside from the Aventador and Huracan successors? The next Urus. Launched for the 2018 model year, the Urus isn't expected to be on a ten-year product cycle like the two supercars because the competition won't allow this.
Bentley, for example, updated its Bentayga SUV for 2021 after being on the market for five years. Although he refused to provide a timeline, Winkelmann stressed the successors for all three Lamborghinis need to arrive without any delays.
As for Bugatti, development on a second, non-Chiron-based model, was about to get underway before the pandemic hit. Bugatti's parent company, VW Group, put out a directive to halt work; survival mode became the new focus. This mystery Bugatti was previously rumored to be a grand tourer similar to 2009's Galibier concept. Based on Winkelmann's comments, an all-electric Lamborghini or Bugatti could be several years out.