Lamborghini says its 910-horsepower Asterion plug-in hybrid concept is built with off-the-shelf components meaning theoretically it could put its “hyper cruiser” into production today.
Plans for now are to show it in Paris, and it’s believed this is a precursor for an AWD car to follow the lead of Ferrari, McLaren, and Porsche who all have their plug-in supercars with double the horsepower of supercars of yesteryear and a whole lot more sophistication too.
Like the others, the Lamborghini is an ultimate for the 21st century. It can run on its 5.2-liter V10 engine, or electric motor up to 30 miles, or in mixed hybrid mode. The company claims 56 mpg on the liberal Euro test cycle but this is undoubtedly with its on-board battery charged so the engine does not need to use so much gas, and when the extra electricity depletes, mpg will be less.
Zero-to-60 time is estimated at 3 seconds, about the same as the present V12 Aventador, and top speed is no doubt north of 200 mph. (And if a driver chooses to exercise these options, mpg will be even less – but the idea is a full spectrum car that can drive placidly in zero emission zones or anywhere with limited emissions when desired.)
Weight is kept low, but not yet specified, with a carbon fiber monocoque body.
As a “hyper cruiser,” Lamborghini is however not positioning it as an ultimate track-day special like the other European super cars, or hyper cars, or what ever they are calling them these days.
Price is not divulged either, but you know what they say: If you have to ask, you can’t afford it. Seriously, our guess is it will be limited production, and well-heeled folks will come out of the woodwork to buy up all of them just as the other ubercar makers are experiencing.
Then maybe they can follow up with a limited-limited version with extra tweaks here and there for triple the price, as is also the fashion – or actually, brilliant marketing that works for all its audaciousness.
It’s a sign of the times, as is the need for passing legislated CO2 and mpg hurdles and electric motors are giving these ultimate vehicles a new lease on life. The same principles that let a plug-in hybrid like a Prius PHEV or Volt yield super frugal results is making for super results of a different order for not just sports cars, but luxury sedans, such as by Mercedes-Benz, and soon enough Rolls, Bentley, more.
Desirable and impressive they are, but whether such vehicles are truly green is in serious question. More accurately, they are capable of being green with discretion but leave open the possibility of profligate emissions and fuel consumption just the same as it ever was.
So perhaps they should label these with the same disclaimers they do for fine whiskey? When they market these cars, a big orange sticker could say “drink responsibly” – but don’t assume these in any way curb your ability to get completely hammered.