Bologna - 6 January 2015 - Marcello Maccaferri
The Minotaur is one of those mythological figures who is difficult to forget even when your schoolbooks are a worn and dusty. It might be because of the vaguely romantic story between Theseus and Ariadne or the tales of her thread but almost certainly it the Minotaur that sticks in your mind. Mention the word “Minotaur” and everyone is well aware of “who” or rather “what” you are talking about.
It is clear that Lamborghini have not forgotten him either, and this legendary figure, half man, half bull has been the inspiration behind the latest supercar prototype, the Asterion, with the very first plugin hybrid engine to come out of the workshops at Sant’Agata Bolognese.
Asterion is the Greek name for the Minotaur and this vehicle has DNA that sets out to recreate its essence: a fusion of the strength and the instinct of the bull, delivered by its thermic motor, combined with human rationality represented by hybrid technology. This new jewel from Lamborghini was designed as a concept car to show off technological prowess rather than for production. However, rumours are already circulating, especially after its official debut at the beginning of October at the Paris Automobile Salon. And it’s not difficult to understand why. Hidden under its coupe body, which reminds us of the historic Miura, this new hyper-car from Lamborghini holds an authentic novelty for the “Bull” marque: a naturally aspirated engine that is combined with PHEV technology.
This new jewel from Lamborghini was designed as a concept car to show off technological prowess rather than for production. However, rumours are already circulating, especially after its official debut at the beginning of October at the Paris Automobile Salon. And it’s not difficult to understand why. Hidden under its coupe body, which reminds us of the historic Miura, this new hyper-car from Lamborghini holds an authentic novelty for the “Bull” marque: a naturally aspirated engine that is combined with PHEV technology.
This is pure innovation for such a powerful high-quality car, exploring territory that was unthinkable just a short time ago: respect for the environment and reducing consumption. But this is the road that Lamborghini designers have taken with the Asterian, showing how it is possible to combine power and technology that makes you blink, along with consideration for ecology.
The hybrid system employed in the Asterian uses a 610 CV aspirated V10 5.2 litre motor borrowed from its “sister” Huracan combined with three electric motors that give another 300 CV of power. So the entire power unit of the vehicle reaches a total maximum power of 910 CV. This means the driver can decide whether to use either pure electric power or the aspirated motor or a combination of both by simply selecting a button on the steering wheel. The possibility of using pure electric power is a complete novelty in this type of supercar. In pure electric mode the Asterian has a range of 50 km and a maximum speed of 125 km an hour. The hybrid system on the other hand only uses two of the rear electric motors up to speeds of 50 km an hour, which is ideal for driving in the city. When you go over this limit the aspirated motor kicks into action and the two electric front wheels are joined by those of the rear. A hybrid system allows you to make the most of the fuel system reaching the maximum total power of 910 CV and offers the world-famous Lamborghini standards: 0-100 km/h in 3.0s and a top speed of 320 km/h.
Usually when we talk about cars of this level, fuel consumption and the question of CO2 emissions are considered insignificant factors, however, in this case Lamborghini have worked hard to make sure they are not. The Asterian’s hybrid system results in 4.11/100 km combined fuel consumption and 98g/km CO2 emissions, practically like a normal economy car. With stacks of innovative technology under the bonnet the Asterion is extremely attractive and “light”.
It is in the traditional Lamborghini style and owes something to the famous Miura: careful design, classic outward opening doors, with plenty of carbon fibre monocoque making the body extremely light. The elegant interior seats two passengers in true grand tour style, abandoning, for once, the usual extreme empty cabin of vehicles dedicated exclusively to performance that we are used to seeing from Lamborghini.
Considering the success of the car’s unveiling in Paris Lamborghini admirers are asking themselves if the Asterion will be produced perhaps in a limited addition, so it will never be forgotten and perhaps one day will become a myth just like our beloved Minotaur.