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The Lamborghini V12 refers to the flagship V12 engine used by Lamborghini. Lamborghini has had two generations of V12 engines through their history, both of which were developed in-house. The first-generation Lamborghini V12 was a sixty degree (60°) V12 petrol engine designed by Lamborghini,[1][2] and was the first internal combustion engine ever produced by the firm.

Lamborghini V12
Bizzarrini Lamborghini Dallara.jpg
From left to right: Giotto Bizzarrini, Ferruccio Lamborghini and Gian Paolo Dallara at Sant'Agata Bolognese in 1963, with a Lamborghini V12 engine prototype.
Configuration60° V12 petrol engine
Displacement3.5: 3,465 cc (211.4 cu in),
3.9: 3,929 cc (239.8 cu in),
4.8: 4,754 cc (290.1 cu in),
5.2: 5,167 cc (315.3 cu in),
5.7: 5,707 cc (348.3 cu in),
6.0: 5,992 cc (365.7 cu in),
6.2: 6,192 cc (377.9 cu in),
6.5: 6,496 cc (396.4 cu in),
2nd gen 6.5: 6,498 cc (396.5 cu in)
Cylinder bore3.5: 77.0 mm (3.03 in)
6.2: 87.0 mm (3.43 in)
6.5: 88.0 mm (3.46 in)
2nd gen 6.5: 95.0 mm (3.74 in)
Piston stroke3.5: 62.0 mm (2.44 in)
6.2: 86.8 mm (3.42 in)
6.5: 89.0 mm (3.50 in)
2nd gen 6.5: 76.4 mm (3.01 in)
Block materialCast aluminium alloy
Head materialCast aluminium alloy
Valvetraindouble overhead camshaft,
3.5/4.0/4.8: 2-valves per cyl,
5.2/5.7/6.0/6.2/6.5: 4-valves per cyl
Compression ratio6.2: 11.6:1
6.5: 11.1:1
2nd gen 6.5: 11.8:1
Fuel system3.5/3.9/4.8/5.2: 6 Weber carburettors,
5.7/6.0/6.2/6.5: electronic multi-point sequential fuel injection
Fuel typePetrol/Gasoline
Oil system3.5/3.9: wet sump,
6.2/6.5: dry sump
Cooling systemWater-cooled
Power output3.5: 273.7 PS (201.3 kW; 270.0 bhp)
6.2: 580 PS (427 kW; 572 bhp) at 7,500 rpm
6.5: 640 PS (471 kW; 631 bhp) at 7,500 rpm
2nd gen 6.5: 700 PS (515 kW; 690 bhp) at 8250 rpm
Specific power3.5: 79.1 PS (58.2 kW; 78.0 bhp) per litre
6.2: 93.7 PS (68.9 kW; 92.4 bhp) per litre
6.5: 98.5 PS (72.4 kW; 97.2 bhp) per litre
Torque output6.2: 650 N⋅m (479 lbf⋅ft) at 5,500 rpm
6.5: 660 N⋅m (487 lbf⋅ft) at 5,200 rpm
2nd gen 6.5: 690 N⋅m (509 lbf⋅ft) at 5,500 rpm
Dry weight253 kg (6.5 litres)/235 kg (2nd gen 6.5)
SuccessorLamborghini V12 L539

It first entered production in 1963 as a 3.5 litre displacing 3,465 cubic centimetres (211.4 cu in) fitted on Lamborghini's first car, the Lamborghini 350GT.[1][2] The engine remained in use for almost fifty years, the final version of 6.5 litre displacement was installed in the Lamborghini Murciélago. Lamborghini discontinued their first-generation V12 after the Murcielago, opting for a brand-new V12 that first saw use on the Lamborghini Aventador.[3]



An early Lamborghini V12 engine used in the Espada and Jarama

When Ferruccio Lamborghini set out to compete with Ferrari, he contracted Giotto Bizzarrini to design the engine for his car and, according to some accounts, paid him a bonus for every horsepower over what Ferrari's V12 could produce. The finished 3.5-litre (214 cu in) V12, with minor improvements, went on to become the 6.5 litre powering the Lamborghini Murciélago LP 640, and completed its service for Lamborghini with the final version of the Murciélago, the Murciélago LP 670-4 SuperVeloce.[4]

Technical overviewEdit

The engine was designed from the start to be a quad cam 60 degree V12 - as an intentional snub to Ferrari's single overhead camshaft per-bank design. When the 3,464-cubic-centimetre (211.4 cu in) prototype was tested in 1963, it was able to produce 370 brake horsepower (276 kW; 375 PS) at 9,000 (rpm), or almost 107 brake horsepower (80 kW; 108 PS) per litre. Bizzarrini insisted the engine was mechanically capable of reaching 400 brake horsepower (298 kW; 406 PS) at 11,000 rpm with an uprated fuel system, but the design was judged adequate, and when fitted with production carburettors, all the auxiliary systems, and detuned for road use, the engine still made 280 brake horsepower (209 kW; 284 PS).[5]

Over the years, this V12 engine has nearly doubled in displacement - first to 6,192 cubic centimetres (377.9 cu in), and later to 6,496 cubic centimetres (396.4 cu in). It has seen the modification of the cylinder heads to allow four valves per cylinder, the replacement of Weber carburettors with electronic fuel injection, and the re-engineering of the lubrication system from a wet to a dry sump design. However, the engine that powers the current Murciélago LP 640 can trace its lineage directly to the F1-inspired design of Bizzarrini and his team more than forty years ago.[5]

Audi ownership and V12 SuccessorEdit

The V12 engine used in the Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4

When Automobili Lamborghini was purchased in 1998 by the German Volkswagen Group subsidiary Audi AG, the V12 engine continued undergoing constant upgrades, growing its displacement from 5.7 litres (Diablo VT[6]) to the final displacement of 6.5 litres (Murciélago LP670-4 Superveloce[7]

It took years to decide that a new engine was needed to be built from scratch, finally an all-new engine codenamed L539 having a displacement of 6.5 litres for the 2011 Aventador was developed. The new engine has a maximum power output of 700 PS (515 kW; 690 hp),[3] is 18 kg lighter, is "over-square" (bore:95 mm - stroke:76,4 mm)[8] and has a different firing order: 1–12–4–9–2–11–6–7–3–10–5–8 instead of 1–7–4–10–2–8–6–12–3–9–5–11.[5] Since then, the new engine has undergone constant changes and power was increased to 720 PS (530 kW; 710 hp) for the Aventador Anniversario, 740 PS (544 kW; 730 hp) for the Aventador S, 750 PS (552 kW; 740 hp) for the Veneno and the Aventador SV and 770 PS (566 kW; 759 hp) for the Centenario.


First GenerationEdit

engine configuration — 3.5 & 3.9
[1][2] 60° V12 engine; wet sump lubrication system
engine configuration — 6.2 & 6.5
60° V12 engine; dry sump lubrication system
engine displacement etc.
3.5: 3,465 cc (211.4 cu in), bore x stroke: 77 mm × 62 mm (3.03 in × 2.44 in) (stroke ratio: 1.24:1 - 'oversquare/short-stroke engine'); 288.7 cc (17.6 cu in) per cylinder[2]
3.9: 3,929 cc (239.8 cu in), bore x stroke: 82 mm × 62 mm (3.23 in × 2.44 in)
4.8: displacement increase to 4,754 cc (290.1 cu in) by increasing both the bore and stroke.[9]
5.2: 5,167 cc (315.3 cu in), bore x stroke: 85.5 mm × 75 mm (3.37 in × 2.95 in), compression ratio 9.5:1 and downdraft 6X2 barrel Weber carburetors.[10]
5.7: 5,707 cc (348.3 cu in), bore x stroke: 87 mm × 80 mm (3.43 in × 3.15 in)
6.0: 5,992 cc (365.7 cu in), bore x stroke: 87 mm × 84 mm (3.43 in × 3.31 in)[11]
6.2: 6,192 cc (377.9 cu in), bore x stroke: 87 mm × 86.8 mm (3.43 in × 3.42 in) (stroke ratio: 1.00:1 - 'square engine'); 516 cc (31.5 cu in) per cylinder; compression ratio: 10.7:1
6.5: 6,496 cc (396.4 cu in), bore x stroke: 88 mm × 89 mm (3.46 in × 3.50 in) (stroke ratio: 0.99:1 - 'square engine'); 541.3 cc (33.0 cu in) per cylinder; compression ratio: 11.2:1
cylinder block & crankcase
[1] cast aluminium alloy; pressed-in cylinder liners
cylinder heads & valvetrain — 3.5 & 3.9
[1] cast aluminium alloy; two valves per cylinder, 24 valves total, chain-driven double overhead camshaft
cylinder heads & valvetrain — 6.2 & 6.5
cast aluminium alloy; 4 valves per cylinder, 48 valves total, chain-driven double overhead camshaft
aspiration, fuel system & ignition system — 3.5
[2] six twin-barrel side-draught 40 DCOE 2 Weber carburetors; one or two ignition distributors
aspiration, fuel system & ignition system — 3.98
six twin-barrel down-draught carburettors; one or two ignition distributors
aspiration, fuel system & ignition system — 6.2 & 6.5
two air filters, four cast alloy throttle bodies each with Magneti Marelli electronically controlled 'drive by wire' throttle butterfly valves, cast magnesium alloy intake manifold; two linked common rail fuel distributor rails, electronic sequential multi-point indirect fuel injection with intake manifold-sited fuel injectors; centrally positioned spark plugs, mapped direct ignition with 12 individual direct-acting single spark coils
exhaust system — 6.2 & 6.5
two 3-branch exhaust manifolds per cylinder bank, connected to dual-inlet catalytic converters, heated oxygen sensors (lambda) monitoring pre- and post-catalyst exhaust gasses
Displacement Power Torque Applications[1]
3.5 284 PS (209 kW; 280 bhp) at 6,500 rpm 325 N⋅m (240 lbf⋅ft) at 4,500 rpm 350GT
324 PS (238 kW; 320 bhp) at 7,000 rpm 350GT Veloce
3.9 385 PS (283 kW; 380 bhp) at 7,850 rpm 400 N⋅m (295 lbf⋅ft) at 5,750 rpm 400 GT, Miura P400 SV[12], Islero, Jarama, Espada and Countach LP400
4.8 375 PS (276 kW; 370 bhp) at 7,000 rpm 410 N⋅m (302 lbf⋅ft) at 4,500 rpm Countach LP500 S[9]
5.2 455 PS (335 kW; 449 bhp) at 7,000 rpm 500 N⋅m (369 lbf⋅ft) at 5,200 rpm Countach LP5000 Quattrovalvole[10] and LM002
5.7 510 PS (375 kW; 503 bhp) at 7,100 rpm 580 N⋅m (428 lbf⋅ft) at 5,200 rpm Diablo, Diablo VT[6] and Diablo SV[13]
6.0 557 PS (410 kW; 549 bhp) at 7,100 rpm 620 N⋅m (457 lbf⋅ft) at 5,500 rpm Diablo GT[11] and Diablo VT 6.0 SE[14]
6.2 580 PS (427 kW; 572 bhp) at 7,500 rpm 650 N⋅m (479 lbf⋅ft) at 4,000 rpm Murciélago[15]
6.5 640 PS (471 kW; 631 bhp) at 8,000 rpm 660 N⋅m (487 lbf⋅ft) at 6,000 rpm Murciélago LP 640 Coupé[16] and Roadster
650 PS (478 kW; 641 bhp) at 8,000 rpm Reventón[17] and Murciélago LP 650-4 Roadster
670 PS (493 kW; 661 bhp) at 8,000 rpm 660 N⋅m (487 lbf⋅ft) at 6,500 rpm Murciélago LP 670-4 SuperVeloce[7]

Second GenerationEdit

Type: 60° V12 fuel feed by Multi Point Fuel Injection
Displacement: 6,498 cc (6.5 L; 396.5 cu in)
Bore x stroke: 95 mm × 76.4 mm (3.74 in × 3.01 in)
Valvetrain: Variable valve timing electronically controlled
Compression ratio: 11.8 (± 0.2) : 1
Maximum power: 700 PS (690 bhp; 515 kW) at 8,250 rpm
Maximum torque: 690 N⋅m (509 lbf⋅ft) at 5,500 rpm
Emission class: Euro 6 – LEV 2
Emissions control system: Catalytic converters with lambda sensors
Cooling system: Water and oil cooling system in the rear with variable air inlets
Engine management system: Lamborghini Iniezione Elettronica (LIE) with Ion current analysis
Lubrication system: Dry sump[18]
Weight: 235 kg[19]

Formula OneEdit

Lamborghini's 3.5L V12 Formula One engine, the 3512, at the Lamborghini Museum.

Lamborghini made the move to Formula One in 1989 when the FIA outlawed turbocharged engines.[20] Former Scuderia Ferrari designer / engineer Mauro Forghieri was commissioned to design and build a new, 3.5 litre V12 engine for use by the French Larrousse team in 1989. Dubbed the Lamborghini LE3512,[21] (Lamborghini Engineering 3.5 liters 12 cylinders) the 3,493 cc (213.2 cu in), 80° V12 engine was reported to be the best sounding engine of the new 3.5L naturally aspirated formula. Lamborghini representatives stated at the engines début race, the 1989 Brazilian Grand Prix in Rio de Janeiro, that they chose a lower ranked team to join Formula One (Larrousse was in its third season using Lola chassis') as it was felt at the early stage of its development the 3512 would not be able to do justice to one of the teams usually closer to the front of the grid. Also, the front running teams already had existing engine suppliers in place (McLaren with Honda, Williams with Renault, Benetton with Ford, and Ferrari who made their own V12 engines).

The Lamborghini V12 did impress many in 1989 despite its unreliability, and the engines best result in its first year came thanks to fast but accident prone Larrousse driver Philippe Alliot when he qualified his Lola LC89 in 5th position for the Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez, only 1.417 seconds slower than the V10 McLaren-Honda of pole winner Ayrton Senna. Alliot then backed up that performance by scoring the engine's first point in Formula One by finishing 6th in the race and setting the 4th fastest race lap in the process. Unfortunately, Alliot's team mate for the second half of 1989, former Ferrari driver Michele Alboreto, never came to grips with either the Lola or the Lamborghini. In his eight races for Larrousse he recorded four DNF's, two failures to pre-qualify, one failure to qualify, and a single 11th-place finish in Portugal.

The Lamborghini V12's best finish came when Larrousse driver Aguri Suzuki finished 3rd in the infamous 1990 Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka. Its time in Formula One (1989-1993) would prove to be frustrating though as poor reliability became the norm for the engine, despite being used by Grand Prix winning teams such as Lotus and Ligier who could boast driving talent such as Derek Warwick (Lotus - 1990), and Thierry Boutsen (Ligier - 1991). In a 2014 interview, Warwick said of the 3512 that it was "All noise and no go".

In 1993 after four years in Formula One with only one significant result for the engine, Bob Lutz of Lamborghini's parent company Chrysler, did a hand-shake deal with McLaren boss Ron Dennis for the team to test the LE3512 to evaluate its potential as a race winner.[22][23] McLaren made a modified version of their 1993 race car, the McLaren MP4/8 dubbed the MP4/8B,[22] to test the engine (the test car took three months to modify to fit the longer and heavier V12[23]). Testing was completed by triple World Champion Ayrton Senna, and future dual World Champion Mika Häkkinen at both the Silverstone Circuit in England and the Estoril circuit in Portugal.[23] After his first drive of the car at Silverstone, Senna suggested certain changes to Forghieri (a less brutal 'top end' and a fatter mid-range),[23] and he complied with engine power increased from 710 bhp (529 kW; 720 PS) to approximately 750 bhp (559 kW; 760 PS) and both drivers were very impressed despite the engine still being somewhat unreliable (Häkkinen reported a massive engine blow up while testing at Silverstone,[23] though he did manage to lap the 5.226 km (3.260 mi) circuit some 1.4 seconds faster than the teams MP4/8 race car powered by a 680 bhp (507 kW; 689 PS) Ford V8 engine).[22] According to reports, Senna even wanted to race the engine at the Japanese Grand Prix[22] believing that while reliability might be a problem, at least he would be quicker than with the Ford powered race car[23] (ironically Senna would win in both Japan and the last race in Australia with the existing MP4/8). Despite this however, Ron Dennis decided to go with Peugeot V10 engines in 1994 due to a better commercial agreement that would give long term stability to the team and at the end of the 1993 season, the Lamborghini LE3512 was retired from Grand Prix racing[23] after the company was sold by Chrysler to an Indonesian investor group led by Tommy Suharto.[22]

The Lamborghini, which on all cars it powered carried the words "Chrysler powered by Lamborghini" (other than the McLaren MP4/8B which was all virgin white, though the test engines were badged as Chrysler), was one of only five V12 engines used in the naturally aspirated era from 1989-2013, the others being from Ferrari (1989-1995), Honda (1991-1992), Yamaha (1991-1992), and Porsche (1991). The only other 12 cylinder engines in Formula One during this time were disastrous efforts by Life Racing Engines with their W12 engine and Subaru who reintroduced the Flat 12 to the sport, both appearing in the first half of 1990.

LE3512 Power outputEdit

  • 1989 - 600 bhp (447 kW; 608 PS)
  • 1990 - 640 bhp (477 kW; 649 PS)
  • 1991 - 640 bhp (477 kW; 649 PS)
  • 1992 - 700 bhp (522 kW; 710 PS)
  • 1993 - 710 bhp (529 kW; 720 PS)
  • 1993 - 750 bhp (559 kW; 760 PS) (McLaren tests)

F1 Statistics 1989-1993Edit

See alsoEdit

applications of the V12 engine
list of Volkswagen Group petrol engines article


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Lamborghini - History - Masterpieces - 350 GT". Automobili Lamborghini Holding Spa. Archived from the original on 7 January 2010. Retrieved 9 January 2010.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Lamborghini 350, 400 & Islero". Retrieved 9 January 2010.
  3. ^ a b "Lamborghini unveils new V12 engine".
  4. ^ "Lighter Murcielago here in 2008". © Haymarket Media Group. 9 November 2007. Retrieved 4 January 2010.
  5. ^ a b c
  6. ^ a b "Diablo VT specifications".
  7. ^ a b "Murciélago LP 670-4 SuperVeloce specifications".
  8. ^ "Lamborghini: tutti i dettagli e i video del nuovo V12" (in Italian). 2010-11-17. Retrieved 2016-04-06.
  9. ^ a b "Countach LP500 S specifications". Retrieved 2018-09-01.
  10. ^ a b "Countach LP5000 Quattrovalvole specifications". Retrieved 2018-09-01.
  11. ^ a b "Diablo GT specifications".
  12. ^ "Miura P400 SV specifications". Retrieved 2018-09-01.
  13. ^ "Diablo SV specifications". Retrieved 2018-09-01.
  14. ^ "Diablo VT 6.0 Special Edition specifications". Retrieved 2018-09-01.
  15. ^ "Murciélago 6.2 specifications". Retrieved 2018-09-01.
  16. ^ "Murciélago LP 640 specifications". Retrieved 2018-09-01.
  17. ^ "Reventón specifications". Retrieved 2018-09-01.
  18. ^
  19. ^ "Lambo's new V12 in detail". Retrieved 2018-10-28.
  20. ^ Lamborghini 3512 Formula One V12 @ STATSF1
  21. ^ "Alcune applicazioni storiche - 1989/1993" [Some historical applications] (in Italian). Retrieved 2016-04-06.
  22. ^ a b c d e Rainer Nyberg (2001). "McLaren's brief flirtation with the Chrysler empire". Archived from the original on 2016-03-05. Retrieved 2016-04-08.
  23. ^ a b c d e f g "What if Senna had driven a McLaren-Lamborghini in 1994?". F1 Racing. 2011-04-04. Archived from the original on 2014-04-27. Retrieved 2016-04-08.

External linksEdit