It's weight-saving taken to the extreme.
The Lamborghini Sian isn't like other cars. It isn't even like other Lamborghinis, considering this is the Italian marque's first production hybrid. A couple of days ago, the Sian Roadster arrived with the same 819-horsepower powertrain as the coupe and even more attention-grabbing looks. Now that both the coupe and roadster have been shown, Lamborghini is delving into the bits and pieces of the Sian that make it so special. The piece of technology shared by Lamborghini this week is called the Smart Material System, and it works to improve the car's thermal performance under a variety of conditions.
The system works by utilizing a shape memory alloy which automatically activates four flaps above the engine when the underhood temperature rises above a certain point. The metal is said to have a thermal memory so that its chemical structure changes based on the temperature. But why use what sounds like a needlessly complex system? "It helps save weight because it doesn't need hydraulic, electric, or mechanical actuation," explains Ugo Riccio, Head of the Aerodynamics of the Sian Coupe and Roadster. "This system is completely autonomous without the use of electronics."
Despite the advanced nature of the technology, Lamborghini plans to expand its use to other vehicle components in the future. "These materials will be further integrated in both passive and active mode to other new and unpredictable functions which will be revealed in time," said Project Leader Paolo Mazzelli. Of course, optimal engine cooling is necessary in a car like the Sian that can hurtle to 62 mph in well under three seconds. Besides its functionality, the tech is just plain cool, and seems perfectly suited to an extreme machine like the Sian. It's also not the first piece of tech that is likely to filter down from the Sian into other Lamborghinis lower in the range.