Traditionally Lamborghini’s were unhinged, terrifying machines which threatened your livelihood on every rainy interstate off-ramp. No more; today, the Aventador and Huracan feature intricate all-wheel-drive systems, traction and stability control, and dual-clutch transmissions. Mind you the 740hp Aventador LP750-4 is sure to terrify both you and your passengers alike on a daily basis, but many argue that the lack of a manual transmission in modern Lamborghinis kills the fun.
Two weeks ago at the Frankfurt Autoshow, Road and Track Magazine sat down with Maurizio Reggiani, the Director of Research and Development at Lamborghini to ask the important question: is the manual transmission Lamborghini dead?
“Unfortunately I must say yes,” he said. “All the systems that are integrated in the car need to have a dialog with one another. The clutch is one of the fuses of the system, whether you’re engaging or disengaging the torque. This creates a hole in the communication between what the engine is able to provide and how the car reacts to the power of the engine. For this reason, unfortunately, I must say I am sure that in a premium supersports car like [the Aventador], we will only do a semiautomatic.”
Essentially, modern Lamborghini’s have gotten so technologically advanced and sophisticated, that having a human change gears would slow the car down, as a human can’t shift with the speed and precision demanded by a 740hp all-wheel drive car. He also made a point of reminding enthusiasts that modern manual transmissions are not quite as pure as one may think. This is because clutch pedals use servos to make them easier to operate. The servo, he argues, disconnects the driver from the machine. Therefore, in order to drive a pure manual car, you need to drive something from several decades ago as modern manuals don’t provide that sort of mechanical intimacy.
In the Lamborghini Diablo, everyday is leg day.
Then comes the problem; when the Lamborghini Diablo came out, it featured an un-servo’d clutch pedal that required 40kg of force to depress. This was a car that made 450NM of torque. The modern LP750-4 makes 690NM of torque. His point is that basically, if the Aventador was to have an unservo’d clutch for a true mechanical experience, the amount of effort required to operate it would be impractical. Not to mention that an inexperienced driver would burn out the poor Lambo’s clutch in 5000kms.
Long story short, if you want a hypercar that produces 740hp and sends it to all four wheels, you’re going to have to a settle with a transmission that can do the job better than you. Personally, I’d take a manual transmission Lamborghini whether or not the clutch pedal uses servos, but alas.