Sunday, May 12, 2013

Lamborghini Egoista: Sant’Agata’s Aviation-Inspired, Hot Wheels–Like Anniversary Special

Lamborghini Egoista: Sant’Agata’s Aviation-Inspired, Hot Wheels–Like Anniversary Special:

Those who appreciate the wildly styled Lamborghini Veneno are sure to take pleasure in Lamborghini’s next 50th birthday present to itself, the Egoista. As for the rest of us, and as far as the design community is concerned, it seems that the Sant’Agata operation just had its EXP 9 F moment, which is to say, a bit of an “oops.” Launched at a private event on occasion of the brand’s 50th anniversary, this one-seater supercar is nothing less than the automotive equivalent of a Mandelbrot set.
Endowed with more lines, angles, and edges than a fractal design poster hung in a college dorm, the Egoista displays a Formula 1–like nose despite the brand’s lack of recent involvement in the series; an orange-hued canopy worthy of placement in the most ludicrous of Hot Wheels offerings (Lamborghini prefers to invoke the appearance of an Apache helicopter); and a raised posterior with active flaps, positioned above a pair of comically large, rectangular exhaust outlets.

Few audible experiences match a V-10 being amplified through exhaust exits large enough to swallow small children.
There are LED lighting elements front and aft, orange-finished wheels, and electronically controlled air intakes positioned on the Egoista’s rear shoulders. The vehicle is crafted from aluminum and carbon fiber, and powered by a centrally mounted 600-hp, 5.2-liter V-10—the same engine that motivates Lamborghini’s Gallardo and the Audi R8. To keep people from stepping on its precious carbon-fiber elements, the Egoista features “no-walk zones, duly marked like on airliners,” Lamborghini says. But, by all means, feel free to walk all over any part of the car’s exterior that doesn’t explicitly tell you otherwise.
The interior is dominated by a racing seat with a four-point harness and a head-up display. Despite the racing-like restraint system that we would expect to keep the driver pinned to the seat in the unfortunate case of an accident, airbags are included as well. The press release from Sant’Agata describes getting in and out of the Egoista in painstaking detail, and rightfully so considering this process includes removing the steering wheel, popping open the canopy, standing up on the seat, climbing to rest on the car’s bodywork, and slinking to the ground. We must hand it to the brand, however, for focusing on the bright side of the ordeal: “The Lamborghini Egoista requires a pilot more than a driver, a real top gun.”

Described as “chaotic” and “inspired by Lego pieces” by Pforzheim, Germany–based transportation design professor Gernot Bracht, the Egoista’s styling language sends a troubling message about the future of Lamborghini design. It takes the provocative style of the Veneno—described by former Renault chief designer Patrick Le Quément as a “nightmare that I still try to forget” and is generally regarded as a low point in the brand’s history—to another level entirely.

Or is the Egoista, which seems to lack any powertrain innovations, simply intended to reduce the brand’s derailed design language to absurdity? Such a subversive approach would be both liberating and praiseworthy. Whatever the true motivation behind this wild one-seater, it will remain a solitary exercise; chances for an encounter on public roads will be exceedingly low.

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