Lamborghini Countach: Supercar wedge with a new edge
The Lamborghini Countach, known for its literal cutting "edge" design, debuted as the LP500 concept car 50 years ago. Now it's been reborn for the 21st Century as the LPI 800-4 -- a bigger and badder mid-engine supercar that sports both a naturally aspirated V12 and an electric motor to deliver a 0-to-62 time of 2.8 sec and a top speed of 220 mph.
The first-generation rear-mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive Countach (pronounced "Coon-tach") was produced from 1974 to 1990 and went through several iterations. Its distinctive silhouette with the essential line running from front to rear, sharp angles and lines, wide and low stance, and can't-miss wedge shape became a staple of modern super sports car design. Trapezoid shapes were a major theme, and its giant air scoops pumped up the cool factor.
The 370-hp V12 LP400 in 1974 was the first production car to feature scissor doors, among many other technical and stylistic innovations. With its V12 engine mounted longways at the rear and its forward-cabin layout, the original Countach featured side-mounted radiators from Formula One, a forward-facing gearbox, and tubular spaceframe technology.
The new Countach LPI 800-4 is still instantly recognizable. Lamborghini says it carries the expression of the characteristic lines of the Countach's five previous models over nearly 20 years. It will be produced as a limited edition of 112 units. It is more refined and imposing -- and certainly more powerful -- but it still retains the Countach's core design DNA.
The outline is pure and uncluttered, with references to the first LP 500 concept and LP 400 production version. The front features a long, low rectangular grille and squinty headlights. The wheel arches feature a hexagonal theme. The greenhouse has a sharp incline and straight lines reminiscent of the original Countach. There is no fixed rear wing, and the airscoops are integrated fluidly in the strong shoulders of the car, embellished with the distinctive Countach slatted gills.
The iconic NACA air intakes cut into the side and doors, while the distinctive Periscopio lines run through the roof to the rear of the car, which together present as particularly noticeable features when viewed from above.
The rear of the Countach LPI 800-4 is immediately recognizable by its inverted wedge shape, with the rear bumper featuring a lower, sleeker line, and the "hexagonita" design shaping the three-unit rear light clusters. The LPI 800-4 sports the four-strong exhaust tail pipes of the Countach family, connected within the carbon fiber rear diffuser. The signature scissor doors add to the sharp design.
The car's Longitudinale Posteriore (the LP in its name) mounted powerplant is combined with the hybrid (I) technology developed for the Sián, which was Lamborghini's first super sports car powered by a 6.5-L V12 engine that also utilized hybrid technology based on supercapacitors. It gets 769 hp from the main engine and another 33 hp from the 48-V e-motor mounted directly on the gearbox, for a total available horsepower of 802. Engine speed max is 8,700 rpm. It sports a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission, with the e-motor installed on the rear wheels.
The e-motor is powered by a supercapacitor that Lamborghini says provides three times more power compared to a lithium-ion battery of the same weight. According to Car and Driver, "The motor and capacitor add just 75 pounds to the powertrain's mass, but the system doesn't have enough juice for pure electric operation."
The monocoque chassis and all the body panels are in carbon fiber, which provides the optimum lightweight solution as well as exceptional torsional stiffness. It has an aluminum double-wishbone, fully independent front and rear suspension. Visible exterior carbon fiber features are available in the front splitter, around the front window and wing mirrors, engine cover air intakes and rocker panel, and in many interior details.
Movable air vents produced by state-of-the-art 3D-printing tech and a photochromatic roof that changes from solid to transparent at the push of a button are contemporary details that firmly place the LPI 800-4 as a car of the 2020s. This Countach is not just a simple retro redo. It is the car design all grown up for today's discerning owner.
Other features include hydraulic assisted power steering with three different servotronic
characteristics coupled with Lamborghini Dynamic Steering (LDS) and Rear Wheel Steering (RWS) managed by drive select mode, rear electronically operated spoiler with 3 positions, carbon-ceramic brakes with fixed monoblock calipers in aluminum with six pistons up front and four in the rear. It comes with throwback "telephone-dial-style" 20-in. wheels in the front and 21-in. wheels in the back, which look pretty cool, and wears Pirelli P Zero tires.
The interior takes some subtle design cues from the original Countach, but totally within the context of a modern car. There is not a lot of purposeful, retro styling. The classic and luxurious leather features geometric stitching on the specially designed comfort seats and dashboard, sporting a square motif.
Owners can choose from a range of heritage exterior paint options, mostly in solid colors, such as the iconic Impact White, Giallo Countach, and Verde Medio. Otherwise, the contemporary palette offers modern choices, mostly metallic colors such as Viola Pasifae or Blu Uranus.
An 8.4-in. HDMI center touchscreen unique to the LPI 800-4 manages car controls, including Connectivity and Apple CarPlay.