Automobili Lamborghini SpA's Aventador LP 700-4 sports car is bringing a new style of carbon fiber to the auto industry, but it won't come cheap.
Priced at nearly $380,000 when it hits the U.S. marketplace late this summer, the Aventador is not a new-technology showpiece car for the mainstream, but the Italian carmaker continues to stress its use of breakthrough production processes in its new flagship car.
Introduced for the International Geneva Motor Show, March 3-13, the Aventador squeezes out speed by decreasing weight, with carbon fiber and other advanced composites. The monocoque, which includes the passenger cell, roof and flooring, weighs in at 324.5 pounds.
Lamborghini has been working with top engineers from other industries, including Boeing Co., to develop new production techniques for carbon fiber that will speed production while still decreasing weight. The Aventador debuts the Italian carmaker's version of resin transfer molding, which it calls RTM-Lambo, using low-pressure injection production.
RTM-Lambo also uses carbon fiber for the molds, rather than steel, which will allow Lamborghini to process its composite body faster and at lower costs than traditional systems, the Sant'Agata Bolognese-based company said in a Feb. 23 news release.
While Lamborghini may have the higher profile, it is not the only auto industry veteran using composites in new lightweight car bodies on display at the Geneva Motor Show.
Auto supplier Magna International Inc. is there showing off its Magna Innovative Lightweight Automobile, developed by its Magna Steyr unit.
The MILA Aerolight is a four-passenger compact car that weighs in at 1,543 pounds and would run on compact natural gas.
Magna said the concept car would have a plastic body shell, along with structural composites and lightweight metals.
The Aurora, Ontario-based company said it could produce the car on its own flexible manufacturing lines.