Lamborghini to focus on specials over retro cars

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99 lamborghini sterrato spies 2022 leadLamborghini CEO Stephan Winkelmann has hinted that the firm will launch an off-road-oriented version of the Huracán after an unusual prototype was spotted testing last week.

Asked if the test mule is being used to develop a road-going version of 2019’s Sterrato concept, Winkelmann told Automotive Daily’s exclusive partner Autocar: “It’s a bit early to talk about it, but be surprised. Lamborghini is always unexpected. We have to play out of the normal field, and I think we have a great opportunity to do something special in the super-sports car business which hasn’t been seen so far.”

His comments suggest a production-specification Sterrato – which would be essentially unrivalled as a high-riding, off-road-ready supercar – is one of the four new products that Lamborghini has confirmed for launch during 2022.

98 lamborghini sterrato spies 2022 sideAsked if ‘unexpected’ cars such as this are more interesting for him than retro-inspired creations like the Countach LPI 800-4, Winkelmann said: “For sure. Retro cars are good from time to time. I think the Countach was a great thing. But our brand has to look forward. We have to have a big windscreen and small rear-view mirrors.

“It’s important to understand the history, to look into what happened in the past, but the projection has to be that we have to be innovative; we have to be disruptive and always unexpected.”

93 lamborghini sterrato spies 2022 nose

Winkelmann’s indifference to heritage-inspired one-offs and limited editions is well documented. At the unveiling of the Countach last year, shortly after beginning his second term at the helm of Lamborghini, he told Autocar: “I left the company with the idea that we were never going to make a retro car, never ever. So I came back and said ‘why are we doing this now?’ But when we looked at the car and talked about it, I was happy to do it.”

The Sterrato (Italian for ‘dirt road’) was first revealed in concept form in 2019 as a more rugged version of the Lamborghini Huracán Evo. At the time, a Lamborghini spokesman said that despite at least one functioning car having been built, there were no plans to put the model into production. However, one-off cars and concepts aren’t traditionally subjected to winter testing, suggesting that such a car could be headed to dealerships.

96 lamborghini sterrato spies 2022 frontVisually, the Sterrato has a far higher ground clearance than the Huracán. It has been fitted with an air intake on the roof, as well as a set of roof rails. The front bumper has also been reinforced with a stone guard, while an LED light bar is fitted to the bonnet. It doesn’t yet feature the concept’s extended wheel arches, which Lamborghini previously hinted could be 3D-printed were the car to enter production.

The Sterrato concept was powered by the same 5.2-litre naturally aspirated V10 as the Huracán Evo, producing 631bhp and sending power to both axles via a seven-speed automatic gearbox. It’s expected that a customer version of the Sterrato would retain the Huracán’s rear-wheel-steering set-up but gain an adapted version of the Lamborghini Dinamica Veicolo Integrata (LDVI) driving-mode system that’s more effective at finding grip on low-traction surfaces.

97 lamborghini sterrato spies 2022 rearLamborghini isn’t the only firm experimenting with off-road versions of its sports cars. Porsche has been spotted testing a high-riding ‘Safari’ version of the 911 and Morgan has committed to building eight Plus Four CX-Ts.

It’s currently unclear if the Sterrato will be a one-off project, like the Aventador J and SC20 roadster, or built in greater numbers as a limited-run series, similar to the Sián FKP 37.

Tom Morgan-Freelander

 

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