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Lamborghinis New Countach LPI 800-4 Is Faithful to Its Famous Name

Lamborghinis New Countach LPI 800-4 Is Faithful to Its Famous Name
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  • Lamborghini's legendary Countach name has been revived after 31 years for the Countach LPI 800-4, which pays homage to the original early-1970s design.
  • Most of the new car's mechanicals are shared with the Sián, although its 6.5-liter V-12 and electric motor offer a total of 802 horsepower, slightly less than that other Lamborghini.
  • Only 112 Countach cars will be built, at a price yet to be named.

    Earlier this week, Lamborghini confirmed it was planning to bring back the famous Countach name. Now, after only the smallest of gaps between tease and please, we are seeing the reality. The Countach LPI 800-4 has just been revealed at The Quail Motorsport Gathering in California—a new version of a car the company last built 31 years ago.

    The new Countach isn’t a restomod or a "continuation" version of the original, and underneath sits a substantial amount of the existing Aventador. Yet, as these first images make clear, it pays very obvious homage to the design of the original Countach, which made its debut in prototype form at the 1971 Geneva auto show. The ambition, as Lamborghini puts it, is "to imagine how the iconic Countach of the '70s and '80s might have evolved into an elite super sports model of this decade."

    The original Countach was a pioneer. The use of a north-south V-12 engine behind its passenger compartment created the archetype for the modern supercar; the earlier Miura’s mid-mounted engine was fitted transversely. But while shocking when launched, with its name a mild expletive in the Piedmontese dialect, the first Countach lived until 1990, and the purity of Marcello Gandini's design became diluted with the arrival of bigger wings, spoilers, and plastic bodywork extensions over time.

    For the new car, Lamborghini design director Mitja Bokert has chosen to channel the spirit of the earlier versions of the original Countach, but has also integrated some references to later models. The LPI800-4's basic form incorporates the wedge-shaped frontal profile of the first LP400 production Countach, as well as the similarly clean taper from the passenger compartment to the rear end. It also lacks any fixed wing or visible aerodynamics (an active element sits hidden above the rear lights).

    There are some obvious and necessary differences, too. The new Countach's need for cooling air has seen it given sizable intakes integrated into the doors; the original had small NACA-style ducts. Yet the upper air intakes at the rear are actually smaller than the LP400's high-mounted scoops. All body panels are made from carbon fiber.

    Other elements of the 21st-century Countach have taken inspiration from the later Quattrovalvole version of the original, including the angular frontal design and trapezoidal hood and hexagonal wheel arches. Modern impact standards deprive the new car of pop-up headlights, sadly—but compact LED lighting units are similar in size to the first Countach's glass-covered daytime lights and turn signals. Scissor-opening doors are, of course, present; every Lamborghini supercar since the first Countach has featured them.

    The new Countach's interior is less retro, being obviously based closely on that of the Aventador. Both cars use the same carbon-fiber tub. Digital instruments and an 8.0-inch portrait central touchscreen are standard, although the latter incorporates a new function: selecting the Stile (or design) function will run an animation that explains the history of the Countach's styling.

    The rear of the new Countach shares the original's inverted wedge shape and four exhaust tailpipes, together with hexagonal triple-element light clusters at each side, plus a louvered engine cover. The alloy wheels, 20-inch at the front and 21-inch at the rear, have been designed to offer a modern take on the "telephone dial" alloys popular in the '80s. The view through these to vast carbon-ceramic brake discs front and rear is necessarily different from the original car's much smaller rotors.

    The new Countach concept at Pebble has been finished in pearlescent Bianco Siderale white. The color is similar to the one Ferruccio Lamborghini specified for his own Countach LP400 S, paired with a similarly period-appropriate red and black interior. New Countach buyers will be able to choose from a range of similarly retro exterior hues, including '70s-style solid green and yellow shades. (A full range of modern colors will also be offered for less daring buyers.)

    Most of the new Countach's mechanical package is shared with the even-more limited Sián, which we experienced earlier this year. This combines a 769-hp version of Lamborghini's long-serving 6.5-liter naturally aspirated V-12 with additional assistance from a 33-hp electrical motor, this drawing power from a supercapacitor which supports high energy flow rates but which is only able to store charge for brief periods. 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. Lamborghini claims a total system output of 802 horsepower, fractionally less than the 808-hp figure claimed for the Sián. But on Lamborghini's numbers the Countach's 3516-pound dry weight is 110 pounds less than the Sián, and the new car's combination of a claimed 2.8-second zero-to-62-mph time, 8.6-second zero-to-124-mph time and 221-mph top speed are well outside the frame of reference for any original Countach.

    As with the Aventador, the Countach uses both an automated single-clutch gearbox and all-wheel drive, with torque sent to the front axle through an electronically controlled central coupling. It also gets pushrod suspension all around and rear-wheel steering. A front lift system will also be standard. Although the relationship between both is clear, this Countach is also a much larger car than the original. The new car is 29 inches longer, 14.9 inches wider, and 2.8 inches higher—and it sits on a 106.3-inch wheelbase, identical to that of the Aventador, which is 10 inches bigger.

    Just 112 of the new Countach will be built, a number chosen to correspond to the LP112 project name of the original car. Lamborghini hasn't released any pricing, but as it says the entire allocation has been sold before the car's official launch, it has clearly judged demand for this new version of its most iconic model perfectly.

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    Source:caranddriver.com