Lamborghini recently unveiled the Lanzador, a wild-looking concept car that previews its first EV.
The real deal won't go on sale until 2028, but I was invited for an (extremely) early test drive.
The Lanzador is a wild-looking, two-door four-seater with a spaceship-like interior.
I never thought I could have much fun driving a Lamborghini at 15 miles per hour. After all, Lambos are fire-breathing beasts made for laying down rubber and frightening small children — not idly bumbling between antique shops.
But getting behind the wheel of a futuristic, one-of-a-kind prototype that won't actually go into production for another five years, well, that changes your expectations.
Lamborghini invited Insider to drive the Lanzador, a spaceship-inspired concept car that's meant to give the world a taste of what its first all-electric model will be like when it hits the road in 2028. It was slow, squeaky, hard to steer, and not at all representative of how the real car will behave.
But that's to be expected for a mere show car. And besides, driving wasn't really the point.
Spending some time in the Lanzador's 3D-printed driver's seat — albeit while traveling at granny speeds — showed me firsthand what engine-less Lamborghinis of tomorrow will look and feel like. From the cockpit of this road-going UFO, that future looked stunning.
SUV meets supercar
The production version of the Lanzador will join Lamborghini's lineup as a new kind of blend between the brand's aggressive supercars and its more spacious Urus SUV. Sporting two doors, four seats, a decent-sized trunk area, and enough ground clearance to tackle speed bumps and potholes, the Lanzador is envisioned as a practical daily driver.
A lifted, two-door, SUV-supercar-type-thing sounds like a confused mess on paper — and it could've easily come out looking that way. But I think Lambo pulled it off.
That may be because although the Lanzador is a totally new vehicle type, it draws on some of the most unmistakable design language on the planet. Its shark-like nose, crisp edges, and muscley contours mean you can tell who made it from a mile away.
Some of the most striking parts of the Lanzador are its active aerodynamic components, including fins at the car's rear that electronically extend to reduce drag and boost driving range. A slew of similar features can manipulate the air passing over the Lanzador to optimize either efficiency or on-track performance.
Plus, they just look plain cool to see in action, Rouven Mohr, Lamborghini's chief technical officer, told me ahead of my test drive.
"You can have a little bit of 'Transformers' in the car," he said.
Some details will change between now and production — for example, the Lanzador will need wipers and side mirrors — but in general, the concept is close to what buyers will get, Mohr said.
A spacious spaceship
Lambo's "spaceship-inspired" lingo took on new meaning once I sat inside the Lanzador's cockpit. Every corner of the concept gives the impression that it's from another planet — or at least another decade. What's especially exciting is that, unlike some concept cars, the interior doesn't come off so far-fetched that it couldn't possibly make production.
A pair of symmetrical displays — one for the driver and another for the front passenger — rotate upward out of the dashboard when called upon. Instead of side mirrors, the Lanzador is equipped with rear-facing cameras and screens. The seats get their squish from a 3D-printed rubber structure that Mohr hopes will someday replace conventional foam.
A Y-shaped spine spans the gap between the center armrest and dashboard, framing a chunky, satisfying knob that Lamborghini labels the "pilot unit." Nearby sits a start button shielded by a dramatic red cover, a classic Lamborghini trait.
Even as it looks years ahead, the brand isn't ready to fully embrace touchscreens and give up on clicky, clacky switches.
"Touch is nice, but it's not fun to use," Mohr said.
Despite its squished silhouette, the Lanzador feels like a living room inside. The spindly design elements, super-sized glass roof, and unbroken sight lines throughout the cabin inject a sense of airiness.
Reimagining the Lambo experience
My brief test drive took me up and down a coastal stretch of road in Monterey, California. While it wasn't thrilling in the traditional sense, the combination of shoddy brakes and steering plus an irreplaceable vehicle certainly kept things interesting.
This is Lamborghini we're talking about, so rest assured that the golf cart-like performance is only temporary. The real deal's twin electric motors should produce around one megawatt of power, Lambo teased, the equivalent of about 1,300 horsepower or two of the firm's Huracan supercars put together.
But ferocious straight-line speed alone won't be enough to make Lamborghini stand out in this new electric world, where Teslas, BMWs, and Kias are all freakishly quick. A couple of simple electric motors can now do the job of a meticulously engineered 12-cylinder engine.
"If you have zero to 60 in 1.9 or 1.8, you cannot perceive the difference. It's a commodity," Mohr said. "We strongly believe that in the fully electric case, we have to redefine a little bit the Lambo driving experience."
To accomplish that, the automaker is inventing new ways to spice things up that wouldn't have been possible with a gasoline powertrain. It isn't spilling all the beans just yet, but Mohr mentioned that buttons on the steering wheel could give drivers minute control over how much a car's wheels slip through a turn, how it acts under braking, or how much power its motors send to the right side versus the left.
Car enthusiasts often lament the rise of electric cars as marking the death of entertaining, engaging vehicles. And they have a point; lots of today's EVs feel eerily similar to one another on a basic level. But Mohr is confident that, over time, EV technology will make driving more thrilling — not less.
"It's clear that the electric future will not be boring," he said.
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