Speaking with Maurizio Reggiani, the director of research and development at Lamborghini, Car and Driver discovered some of Lamborghini’s future plans, including abandoning manual gearboxes.
When I heard that particular bit, a part of me died. Lamborghini, the company known around the world for being ever so crazy, is saying good-bye to the good old manual. I’ve always been a fan of Lamborghini, but that particular bit of news is making me lose faith in the company. Luckily though, Reggiani said it was “likely”, not certain, and he was quite defensive of their current manual units, but he does say that less than five percent of all cars are fitted with them, a tiny percentage, especially considering the production figures of a company such as Lamborghini. Lamborghini’s neighbours, Ferrari, have already confirmed they will be getting rid of manual transmissions, with the last manual Ferrari destined to be the California, but as a car enthusiast, every bit of me is hoping Lamborghini doesn’t follow their lead.
Anyways, the other plans Reggiani mentioned included making lighter, more efficient cars, and not using forced induction. To make their cars light, Lamborghini will be making extensive use of carbon fibre, not that they already don’t. They predict that carbon fibre prices will fall significantly by 2012-2014, costing no more than aluminum, which will enable them to use loads of it. The weight loss will contribute to both their goal of added efficiency, and improved performance.
Speaking of efficiency, they plan to use plenty of technologies to increase the fuel efficiency of their cars. These technologies include direct injection (Which has been confirmed for the upcoming Murcielago replacement), stop-start systems, cylinder deactivation, E85 compatibility and possibly a hybrid (Hopefully not). They have said that forced induction will not be used to increase fuel efficiency. While they acknowledge that it is a good method, they don’t want to ruin the engine’s linearity or fantastic noise.
The car industry is really changing. 10-20 years ago, maybe even less, nobody would’ve thought that Lamborghini would even consider increasing efficiency, making a hybrid and getting rid of manual gearboxes. Now, it’s all dangerously close to becoming a reality.