Believe it or not, only two V-12 engine designs have powered Lamborghini supercars for 60 years. Having recently built its last non-hybrid V-12 road car, the automaker takes a look back at both of these landmark engines.
The first engine was introduced in 1963 in Lamborghini’s first production car – the 350 GT – and remained in production until 2010. During its long life this engine underwent many modifications, growing from 3.5 liters in the 350 GT to 6.5 liters in later versions of the Murciélago, the last Lamborghini to use it.
Lamborghini’s first V-12 began with a front engine configuration in the 350 GT and received the same installation in the later 400 GT and Espada. The Lamborghini Miura switched to a transverse mid-engine configuration before moving to a longitudinal mid-engine configuration on the Countach, Diablo and Murciélago.
Lamborghini 350 GT from 1964
This engine was also used in the Lamborghini LM002, the automaker’s first SUV. A one-off LM002 was built using a 7.2 liter version of the V-12 developed for offshore powerboat racing, producing 700 hp.
Introduced with an aluminum crankcase, cylinder heads and pistons for weight reduction, and dual overhead camshafts, the V-12 switched from carburetors to electronic fuel injection in 1986 to meet tighter US emissions standards. With the goal of improving throttle response, Lamborghini then introduced individual throttle bodies for each cylinder with the 1998 Diablo GT.
Now under Audi’s leadership, Lamborghini introduced a 6.2-liter, 580 hp version in the Murciélago for that model’s debut in 2001. In a recent update, the engine was later enlarged to 6.5 liters and the power increased to 670 hp.
Lamborghini Aventador LP 780-4 Ultimate
After 47 years of production, the original V-12 was finally replaced with a clean-sheet design. Introduced in the Aventador in 2011, the second V-12 initially produced 690 hp from 6.5 liters. Although it didn’t last nearly as long as the original V-12, this engine was used extensively to power numerous Aventador variants and limited edition special models, including the Aventador Superveloce and SVJ, and the track-only Essenza SCV12.
Launched in 2021, the Lamborghini Aventador LP780-4 Ultimae is the automaker’s last production car to be powered solely by a V-12 with no electric assist. In this application, the 6.5-liter V-12 produces 769 hp and 531 lb-ft of torque, with peak power coming in at a screaming 8,500 rpm.
With the delivery of the last Aventadors, an era at Lamborghini comes to an end. An Aventador successor is expected soon with a V-12, but now as part of a hybrid powertrain. Lamborghini CEO Stephan Winkelmann confirmed in 2021 that the V-12 will be all-new, making it only the third V-12 in Lamborghini history.