Lamborghini will adopt performance hybrid powertrains as this decade unfolds, previewed with the ultra-low-volume Sián coupe and roadster of 2019, which employed supercapacitors and a small electric motor built into the transmission to bolster the V12 with a swirl of instant-on torque at speeds up to 80 mph.
The 2021 Aventador LP780-4 Ultimae is the last of its breed, the last naturally aspirated Lamborghini V12 not part of a hybrid system. A collectible piece, with a run limited to 350 coupes and 250 roadsters.
Ultimae places a massaged version of the Super Veloce Jota (SVJ) version of the 6.5-liter V12 into a chassis and bodywork more closely related to the Aventador S. The result is ultimate V12 power in a chassis relaxed enough to cover a 100- or 200-mile drive up the California coast for a long weekend.
Lamborghini pipped an additional 10 horsepower out of the engine at the very top of the rev band, producing 780 compared to the SVJ’s 770. It’s more an issue of bragging rights than any significant difference in performance, though Ultimae should post 0-60 mph numbers in the 2.8 range.
More importantly, the extra horsepower demanded no price in torque, which remains identical with SVJ: 531 lb. ft. at 6750. Ultimae should be happy enough cruising boulevards with the gearbox placed in fully automatic mode, woofling along on a sea of torque.
Miles I’ve logged in an SVJ roadster and both Aventador S coupe and roadster assure me this engine will have that characteristic Lamborghini scream from perhaps 5000 to the 8500 rpm redline, and a Can-Am big block basso profundo in the low- and mid-range. On the move, Aventador S and SVJ proved fully capable of doubling highway speeds in a matter of seconds. Ultimae should be no different.
In the rarefied world of high-performance V12 engines, the Lamborghini 6.5-liter has sound, power delivery and character like no other. Working this engine aggressively through the gears is a unique and satisfying experience, the Sant’ Agata Symphony Orchestra’s finest performance to date.
Aventador Ultimae Roadster embodies what I seek in an exotic. First and foremost, the hottest engine is placed in a multi-dimensional chassis with a broad range of calibrations to select by simply clicking the controller. Second, the top comes off for moonlight drives or the refreshing bite of cold air on a dawn patrol. Third, there’s a certain purity of design, without the outrageous aero addenda of track-oriented specials like Super Veloce Jota. And the interior is luxurious, not sparse, not a carbon-fiber pseudo-racecar.