The appearance of the Lamborghini Sian is not a surprise. Rumours of a limited-edition supercar-codenamed LB48H - destined for the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show have been flying around for months.
The fact that the Sian is a hybrid is also not a surprise. Lamborghini has been forthcoming about the need to embrace electrification if it is to keep its monster naturally-aspirated engines alive and it previewed the technology with the Asterion concept in 2014.
No, the big surprise is how Lamborghini has applied hybrid technology to its flagship supercar, for there is not a battery in sight. Instead of the traditional (heavy) lithium-ion battery, the Sian - roughly translated as flash or lightning - uses a supercapacitor to store and discharge energy.
Lamborghini claims the supercapacitor is three times more powerful than a battery of the same weight and three times lighter than a battery producing the same power.
That said, it doesn’t need to store much power, as the Sian’s only electrification is the use of a 25kW 48-volt electric motor incorporated into the gearbox.
MOTOR feature: Driving Lamborghini's hybrid future - the Asterion
In combination with the 577kW 6.5-litre V12, the total system output is 602kW, resulting in 0-100km/h in 2.8sec and a top speed of 350km/h. The supercapacitor is charged by the regenerative braking system, the energy stored then available as an instant power boost.
Lamborghini says the motor’s true benefit is in low speed in-gear acceleration, improving it by 10-20 per cent over the Aventador SVJ up to 130km/h, at which speed the motor disconnects.
The motor provides other benefits, including taking over reversing duties and providing torque-fill during gearshifts. Lamborghini claims the feeling of “uncomfortable jerking movements” during gearchanges is eliminated, which will be music to the ears of anyone who has ever driven an Aventador.
Just 63 Sians will be produced for Lamborghini’s favoured clients, each individually styled through Lamborghini’s Ad Personam personalisation program. No price tag has been attached, but it doesn’t matter because all 63 are spoken for.
The Sian will make its first public debut at next week’s Frankfurt Motor Show.