Countach returns after three decades of slumber with hybrid power and retro flash
Lamborghini is usually all about looking ahead, pushing forward with the most outrageous performance it can muster. Only rarely does the company indulge in nostalgia. Apparently 2021 is one of those moments, and the return of the Countach nameplate is perhaps the biggest news to come out of this year’s festivities at Monterey Car Week. Our early verdict? This reborn version of the seminal ’70s supercar looks downright outstanding.
Before we get too deep into design, however, let’s start with the mechanicals. The Countach LPI 800-4 is in many ways a reskinned expression of the limited-run, $3M Lamborghini Sián. It rides on the same modified Aventador architecture, which combines the firm’s 6.5-liter V-12 with a supercapacitor-based 48-volt mild-hybrid system. What does that actually mean? A supercapacitor is an energy storage and delivery system that is highly efficient and lighter-weight than comparable lithium-ion batteries. In this case it is stored in the rear bulkhead, where it powers an electric motor mounted directly on the gearbox.
The Aventador’s V-12 in this application makes 769 hp at 8500 rpm, which is 5 ponies fewer than it does in the Sián. Combined with a 34-hp electric motor, total output for the Countach is 803 horses and 531 lb-ft of torque. The same single-clutch automated manual transmission sends that power to all four wheels by way of a Haldex IV permanent all-wheel drive system. It’s here where the electric motor and its position on the gearbox is most useful, providing instantaneous torque to help smooth shifts. If all this sounds way too high-tech, take solace in the fact that this apex predator of Italian engineering has hydraulic-assisted steering. Hurrah!
Performance from the Countach, as you might expect, is tantalizing. The sprint from 0 to 62 mph is over in a mere 2.8 seconds, 124 mph in 8.6 seconds, all on the way to a top speed of 220.58 mph. The monocoque and body are both made of carbon fiber, as is the rear diffuser, helping keep weight down to 4630 pounds with all fluids. An electronically controlled and deployable spoiler helps manage downforce with three stages of functionality. Carbon-ceramic brakes are standard, bringing this hypercar to a halt from 62 mph in 98.4 feet (30 meters) by way of six-piston front and four-piston rear calipers. Independent, aluminum double-wishbone suspension sits at all four corners, along with adaptive magnetorheological dampers. All that is nestled behind 20-inch front and 21-inch rear wheels, shod in Pirelli P Zero Corsa rubber. Rear-wheel steering is standard and adjustable depending on the selected driving mode.
According to Lamborghini CEO Stefan Winkelmann, the new Countach “imagines how the iconic Countach of the ’70s and ’80s might have evolved into an elite super sports model of this decade.” In that respect, the styling of this car most certainly succeeds. Though the Aventador’s shape and some of the Sián’s design elements, such as the triple taillamps, are unmistakable, the Countach’s slab-faced front end is a convincing reinterpretation of the 1970s original. Lamborghini says that the nose’s look primarily drew upon the QV model of the mid-1980s, combining elements from other variants such as the Periscopio-style roofline that evokes the NACA duct on the original. We’ll leave the detailed design analysis to the talented Sajeev Mehta, but suffice to say for now that this Lamborghini is recognizably a Countach without being annoyingly retro.
Fun detail: The color shown here, Bianco Siderale, apparently has a blue pearlescent hue to it as an homage to Ferruccio Lamborghini’s own Countach LP 400 S. Other colors will include the more classic yellow, pure white, and green, but more “contemporary” (read: outlandish) purple and blue metallic paints will also be available. Realistically though, at this price point a customer can get just about any paint on the color wheel—provided they are willing to pay for it.
Inside the Countach’s cabin you’ll find an 8.4-inch touchscreen complete with Apple CarPlay. Lamborghini says that the car’s interior contains several nods to the original car, with “geometric stitching on the specially designed comfort seats and dashboard, sporting a square motif referencing the bold style and optimism of 1970s design and technology.”
No doubt the new Countach has much to live up to, but so far we’re wholly impressed. A price tag similar to that of the Sián would make sense, and Lamborghini indicates that it will build 112 examples as a reflection of the internal “LP 112” designation used on the original 1970s car. That will make the Sián a rarer beast, with 69 coupes and 13 roadsters built for a total of 82 examples. Countach deliveries are currently slated for the first quarter of 2022. After a debut like this at Monterey Car Week, those slots are sure to fill up fast.