Lamborghini introduced a V12 in 1963 for the 350 GT, but it wasn't until 2011 that an all-new development debuted with the Aventador. The original twelve-cylinder mill was initially engineered as a race car engine before being toned down for street use. It was used for nearly half a century, initially mounted at the front with a 3.5-litre displacement. With aluminium cylinder heads, crankcase, and pistons, weight was kept down to 232 kg (511 lbs).
The eternally gorgeous Miura – billed by many as the very first supercar – had a rear mid-engine layout with the V12 rotated 90 degrees to a transverse orientation. Lamborghini's engineers rotated it another 90 degrees for the Countach to a longitudinal rear-mid position for improved weight distribution. It was also updated to accommodate an all-wheel-drive system for the 1993 Diablo VT. A 7.2-liter V12 used for offshore racing powerboats was adapted for a one-off LM 002 off-roader with a massive 700 bhp.
Lamborghini V12 engine history
Displacement for series production models eventually grew to 6.5 litres in the Murcielago. At that point, the house of Sant'Agata Bolognese knew it had to do something to cut weight. A new V12 was developed from scratch for the Aventador, originally making 690 bhp. Subsequent versions bumped output to 780 bhp for the Ultimae while the track-only Essenza had a colossal 830 bhp.
Lamborghini says it will unveil the Aventador successor in the first quarter of 2023, having already confirmed it's going to be fitted with an all-new V12. The combustion engine will be part of a hybrid powertrain and the Italian exotic marque intends to also partially electrify the Urus and Huracan replacement by 2024. A pure EV is scheduled to arrive later this decade with a 2+2 layout, two doors, and a raised suspension.