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Lamborghini Has A New V12 Problem

Supercar / 29 Comments

Apparently its German patrons are looking to cut costs... and cylinders.

Though it also uses V10 and even turbocharged V8 engines, Lamborghini is all about V12s, and has been ever since it first entered the super-sports-car market with the 350 GT way back in 1964. But it could be forced to put its twelve-cylinder engine out to pasture – if it can't convince the bean-counters at its German parent company that the big engine is worth investing in.

The problem, according to Automobile mag's well-sourced European correspondent Georg Kacher, are the upcoming EU7 emissions standards, and the potentially enormous cost associated with updating the V12 to meet them.

Audi reportedly estimates that it'd cost a massive $900 million to update the V12 and fund the replacements for both the Aventador and Huracan. Lamborghini, however, says it could do it all for less than half that amount – about $400 million – with the V12-update process taking "only" $55 million. Just where the enormous discrepancy lies, we couldn't say, but Stefano Domenicali and his team will surely face a difficult battle in convincing their bosses in Ingolstadt and Wolfsburg that they can do it cheaper, and that the sum required will be worth investing.

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For its part, Audi reportedly wants to replace both the Huracan's V10 and the Aventador's V12 with a hybrid V8, based on the next-generation 4.0-liter unit being developed by Porsche. It does not appear to be terribly concerned at what that would mean for the Raging Bull's brand image, or the justification for producing both models. But its German patrons want Lamborghini, which is projected to contribute "upwards of 15 percent" to the VW group's revenues, to further its profitability to match that of rival Ferrari, which has become a highly lucrative merchandizing powerhouse. And it apparently believes that cutting costs will help it get there.