Lamborghini’s all-new Sián is a whiff of pure oxygen in the rarefied world of the hypercar. The outrageous hybrid from Bologna boasts 808bhp, races to an astonishing 218mph and costs a cool £2.5 million.
Not enough to completely blow the bonus? Lamborghini also offers the ultimate road-sea combo – a matching speedboat built by Tecnomar that’s powered by two V12 engines (capable of producing 4,000bhp) and finished in the same paintwork as the Sián.
So let’s get down to it: the test drive. Bedfordshire in late February is not the place for a breezy topless car, or a speedboat for that matter. Instead, I’m holding the keys to the new Sián coupe. All of the 63 build slots are already accounted for, as are the 19 roofless roadsters that are being made, meaning that your best chance of seeing a Sián is to wait outside Harrods for a Saudi sheikh to rock-up in one. As a result, this is Lamborghini’s one-and-only demonstration car.
It’s here on a flying visit for a couple of US and Asian journalists to enjoy but I’ve managed to jump the queue. Once it’s left UK shores, this particular car is destined to return to Italy and Lamborghini’s own museum.
There it will take centre stage alongside other bonkers cars from Lamborghini’s 58-year timeline, including the LM002 truck. Acclaimed as the first super-SUV, the ‘Rambo Lambo’ was launched in 1986, pre-Urus, when the world wasn’t ready for a supercar on stilts.
You expect Lamborghinis to look a little different, of course. Alongside the LM002 at the company’s museum is the breathtaking Miura and the madcap Reventon Roadster. Nothing of recent years, however, prepares you for the Sián.
Take, for example, those backlight clusters. Or the aerodynamic air-streamers on top of those enormous rear wings. Hexagon shapes are sprinkled everywhere, from the twin exhaust pipes and door mirrors, to the rear lights and instrument binnacle. I can spot more than a hint of iconic Countach design from the 1970s, too. This Lambo really is madness from every angle. The Sián is a modern-day Batmobile. Futuristic and aerodynamically trimmed to the bone, it’s a supercar for a new era.
Let’s get the name out of the way. Sián is Bolognese for ‘lightning’ and, naturally enough, seems a good moniker for such a dazzling automobile. The production run of 19 convertibles and 63 coupes is a nod to the year in which Lamborghini was born.
“With this car, we set ourselves the challenge of creating the best hybrid solution for a Lamborghini super sportscar,” says chief technical officer Maurizio Reggiani. “Lamborghini is inherently a rule breaker, a challenger, always pushing what is possible to find a better solution. With the Sián we are setting new rules in new technologies – instead of just following existing methods.”
The Sián’s frontend is dominated by a carbon-fibre front splitter and Y-shaped front headlights – a feature that was originally designed for the all-electric Terzo Millennio concept car in 2017. The Countach-style Y pops up again for the air inlets on the doors, while in the roof, a ‘Periscopio’ tunnel – a feature originally installed in the Countach because of its appalling rear visibility – links with the slats of the rear engine cover.
Under that cover sits an upgraded, and utterly ferocious, 6.5-litre engine borrowed from the Aventador. The Sián, however, has the added benefit of a 48-volt e-motor. Together, they deliver a staggering 808bhp.
The motor is mounted in the gearbox and energy is produced via a ‘supercapacitor’, which dispenses with the need for a heavy lithium-ion battery and can discharge and recharge energy at the same rate. The supercapacitor is located in the bulkhead, between the cockpit and engine of the Sián, helping to ensure perfect weight distribution.
The Sián isn’t a plug-in hybrid and can only use electric power for low-speed parking, which is a shame because it would be a real talking point hooking up in the high street. A hybrid only on paper then, perhaps, but Lambo’s newest plaything really wasn’t created to win over any environmentalists.
Thanks to the use of lightweight materials, the Sián’s power-to-weight ratio is better than the range-topping Aventador SVJ. As Lamborghini’s first foray into hybrid propulsion, it’s quite a statement.
And while the innovative powertrain and titanium intake valves are genuine talking points, the Sián is all about performance (and astonishing styling cues). It doesn’t matter that the car remains totally impractical, that’s it’s too fast to fully appreciate on public roads and that it’s definitely not suited to northern European climates. This is quite simply automotive art for automotive art’s sake.
I’m test driving the car around Millbrook Proving Ground, the motor industry’s favoured test centre near the M1. Staff here are used to ogling hypercar exotica but it’s clear that the Sián is causing quite a stir. The camera on my phone has been disabled so I can’t take photographs. Instead, I have to follow Lamborghini’s tame racing driver, Jack Bartholomew, on a carefully orchestrated route.
The fastest accelerating Lamborghini ever doesn’t need much coaxing. It flies to 62mph in 2.8 seconds and on the banked, bowl circuit sits at 130mph like it was purring up the motorway in the slow lane. The sound is still pure Lambo, despite the e-motor.
Playing catch up with Bartholomew on Millbrook’s demanding hill route, the Sián returns incredible traction for such a wide car. Its energy storage system is fully charged every time the vehicle brakes. That energy is instantly available as a power boost, allowing me to draw on increased torque when accelerating. It’s a key difference between the Sián and the V12-powered Aventador.
Inside, the cabin is similar to the Aventador SVJ: rock-hard seats, Lamborghini’s trademark, flip-top start button, and some typically well-hidden indicator and windscreen buttons.
The Sián might have sold out, but a few are bound to appear at auction with an inflated price tag soon enough. If this is the start of Lamborghini’s future in hybrid and electric propulsion, then the manufacturer is certainly staying loyal to its madcap roots.
Lamborghini Sián coupe
Price: £2.5 millionEngine size: 6.5-litreBattery: 48-voltCylinders: 12Power: 808bhpPerformance: 0-62mph in 2.8 secsMax speed: 218mph