Lamborghini revives eighties poster-child Countach

New limited-edition Countach gets V12 hybrid power

If you were a teenage car-nut in the 1980s, you had a poster of one of these on your wall. Well, not one of these, specifically - you had a poster (I certainly did) of the 1980s Lamborghini Countach.

Most likely you had the one of the white LP500QV model, the one from The Wolf Of Wall Street, all vulgarised with a huge rear wing, extra air scoops, and a massive front bumper. It was acceptable in the eighties, I guess.

That is not the Countach that Lamborghini is reviving for a limited-run of 112 cars this year. The new Countach - technically the Countach LPI-800-4 - delves further back into Lamborghini’s cupboard of classic wonders, to the original 1974 Countach.

Back then, the Countach as designed by the great Marcello Gandini (who would also design Lambo's own Diablo, as well as the original BMW 5 Series, and even the Renault 5 Turbo) was clean, lean, almost a perfect wedge shape with delicate detailing around the rear lights and a sense of lightness to its look. None of the heavy-weight eighties add-ons here.


The new Countach references that Gandini original very closely. There are no big wings, and the air intakes for the mighty V12 engine are subtle, perhaps with the exception of the big, black, carbon-fibre vent that cuts into the doors. There are no pop-up headlights this time around, sadly, but there are delicate brake lights, picked out in LED strips, at the rear, set into the concave black panel that makes up the rear of the car.

Unquestioned beauty

It's a pretty stunning thing - yes, retro design only gets you so far, really, but this is unquestionably a beautiful car, and one more beautiful than most of what Lamborghini has been creating of late. "The Countach is one of the most significant and exciting cars in automotive history as well as in Lamborghini's heritage," says Mitja Borkert, Lamborghini's head of design.

“The Countach LPI 800- 4 project is an incomparable design opportunity: to take a car so important and continue its evolution into a new era is a unique privilege. The Countach was provocative and polarising, it made people smile and stare, but its infamous recognisability demonstrates the purity of its design legacy: the Countach LPI 800-4 elevates that clarity to a new level, celebrated in an exclusive limited edition to take its place in motoring history.”

Underneath, the Countach uses carbon-fibre for its chassis as well as all body panels, keeping its weight down to 1,595kg (dry weight). Power - all 814hp of it - comes from the big V12 engine (which delivers 780hp) and the hybrid system (which delivers the other 34hp).

Hybrid Lambo

The hybrid bit is lifted from the recent limited-run Sian supercar, which instead of conventional lithium-ion batteries uses super-capacitors. They’re lighter, and faster-reacting than conventional batteries, but sadly can’t hold as much of a charge for as long. This will be the last time Lambo uses them, in fact - the next-generation of big Lamborghini supercar will use a plugin-hybrid V12.

The Countach is making sure that the super-capacitor tech goes out on a high, though. Thanks to four-wheel drive, the V12 can shove it from 0-100km/h in just 2.8 seconds, and on to a top speed (legality allowing) of 335km/h.

The new Countach will be shown off to the public at the upcoming The Quail: A Motorsports Gathering, which is part of the big-money Monterey classic car event in California.

"The Countach LPI 800-4 is a visionary car of the moment, just as its forerunner was," says Lamborghini president and chief executive Stephan Winkelmann. "One of the most important automotive icons, the Countach not only embodies the design and engineering tenet of Lamborghini but represents our philosophy of reinventing boundaries, achieving the unexpected and extraordinary and, most importantly, being the 'stuff of dreams'.

“The Countach LPI 800-4 pays homage to this Lamborghini legacy but it is not retrospective: it imagines how the iconic Countach of the seventies and eighties might have evolved into an elite super sports model of this decade. It upholds the Lamborghini tradition of looking forward, of exploring new design and technology avenues while celebrating the DNA of our brand. It is a Lamborghini that innately expresses the marque’s enduring and emotive power: always inspirational and thrilling to see, hear and most of all drive.”

Might have to clear some space on the old bedroom wall for this one…

Neil Briscoe

Neil Briscoe

Neil Briscoe, a contributor to The Irish Times, specialises in motoring