2022 Lamborghini Countach review | Top of the line
Now come on, you know this one. The Wedgy Seventies supercar, a watershed moment in automotive design that defined the era, helped define the mid-engined supercar model that has remained true to this day, some 50 years later. The one, only, Lamborghini Countach.
Mark II. So let’s start with the main problem here. Lamborghini claims this is what the Countach would look like if it had evolved. But the original was about revolution, not evolution – if there had been more Countach, each one should have been a radical new departure. It shouldn’t be a reincarnated Sian, which in turn is a remade Aventador. On this, Lamborghini and TopGear will have to agree to disagree.
Here’s what I want to know first – how do you pronounce it?
Koon-tatch. That second syllable must be hard, apparently. The most accurate translation is “it’s a miracle!” »
But this one isn’t really a miracle, is it?
There’s less romance and a more hardline business decision about this one, that’s for sure. But you can see the reason for doing it – taking 112 old Aventador chassis and turning them into £224m? Stroke of genius. Sufficient funds to develop new cars and no long-term damage to the image of the original Countach, as people will directly see this one for what it is and realize its place.
It’s retro done… singularly. Most companies have gone entirely true to the original (all those lost VIN number cars) or overdone/perfected the old timer (Singer 911, Alfaholics GTA-R, GTO Engineering 250 SWB).
Fewer took a new car and gave it an old kit to wear. Ferrari recently gave us the Daytona SP3 which is somewhat in that vein, as is the Porsche 935. Neither, arguably, is as successful as Aston’s mighty Victor – not a strict, yet brilliant recreation to evoke a sense of time, place and British brutality.
The problem for Lambo is that too much of the Sian is still visible, hinting at the fact that it was done on a relatively tight budget, retaining the hard points, underpinnings and much of the interior .
What’s going on?
The Sian was the first production Lamborghini to be electrified. It was based on the Aventador, but added a 33 hp electric motor to the 770 hp 6.5-liter V12. This drew charge not from a battery, but from a lightweight, power-dense supercapacitor. The electric motor couldn’t drive the car, but was there to help fill in the torque when changing gears. A big job, considering the Aventador’s ISR sequential manual gearbox has never been the smoothest, quickest shifter around.
Lamborghini made 63 Sian coupes and 19 roadsters, each costing £2.5million plus tax. And now he’s built 112 more, each costing £2million (again plus tax) but sporting a different body.
The underside of the Countach is largely identical to the Sian. Yes, there are new stitching patterns in the interior, a Stile mode on the center display that shows you around the car, different badging and a few other little trinkets, but mechanically it’s the same car: a outgoing, carbon-tube, high-flow 4WD capable of 0-62mph in 2.8 seconds, 124mph in 8.6sec and 221mph flat. At the other end of the scale, 14.5 mpg and 440 g/km of CO2. So no, that electric motor doesn’t contribute much.
What do we think of its appearance?
Make up your own mind about this. Obviously the designer of the original, Marcello Gandini, said he wasn’t in favor, and for our money it should have been even bolder and more extravagant, with sharper creases and a flatter surface. – almost a caricature of the original. We would also have pushed the wing of the LP5000.
But from a low front three-quarter angle, it’s suitably striking and true to the original. Perhaps don’t venture too far to the back, where the Sian cues are rather obvious.
Can you guess it drives a bit like the Sian too?
It does. The driving experience is one area where the Countach is – at least by modern standards – quite faithful to the original. The large-capacity, free-breathing V12 dominates any conversation you have with the car. It’s a gorgeous motor, fairly tractable low, but still giving you reason to hold that gear and push it further. Horsepower and rpm trump torque.
The standard carbon ceramic brakes are firm and responsive, the steering is nuanced and pleasing, but the chassis is a little dull. Where most modern supercars and hypercars move with relative grace and fluidity, it stalls.
Where did you drive him?
I thought you would never ask. We took him to the most famous mountain pass in the world, the Stelvio Pass in northern Italy, before it opened for the season. So we had it to ourselves. Yes really. Full article about it in this month’s magazine (issue 362) and upcoming movie on YouTube.
Were they a match made in heaven?
Pay attention to the other stories, but for now suffice it to say that each had a lot in common with the other. As an observation deck, the Countach takes a beating, especially with a blood-red cabin and windshield that slopes so far back it’s more like a skylight. Tends to lend the outside world a certain drama. And that’s before you take into account the noise, the driving position, the clunky gearbox, etc. Let’s just say that driving the Countach is an event, best experienced on a proper stage.
You choose which side of the Countach fence you sit on: either you love it for bringing home a notorious badge and powering it with a V12 that’s now twice as powerful as what it was fitted with 50 years ago, or you disdain it for not going any further, for not being as radical and revolutionary as the original, for being a Countach in name and dress only.
We can’t help but feel that a car so important in supercar history, so instrumental in its development, deserved a more fitting tribute. It’s not the idea of a reinvented Countach that we’re challenging, but its execution. That said, turned on in third gear, V12 rumbling in your ears, it might be closer to the Countach’s drama than we think.