Sexy, sleek, and growling seductively, a Lamborghini will turn heads faster and further than any other supercar. From the original, iconic, 1963 350 GT to the outrageous twin-turbo V8 engined Urus SUV, owning a Lamborghini has been a statement of style of sophisticated power.
A modern Lamborghini is fitted with every modern convenience, including air conditioning. A Lamborghini’s air conditioning system creates a climate-controlled cockpit that is clean, and free from odors and pollution.
There are many myths surrounding the legend that is Lamborghini, and one of them is that the Italian supercar does not come with air conditioning. However, even though comfort is not the first thing you think of when you see or drive a Lamborghini, air conditioning has in fact been a feature on all but the very first Lamborghini.
What is air conditioning?
Air conditioning is a mechanical system that uses power from the engine to cool the inside of the car when the weather is hot. Air conditioning, as part of the heating and ventilation system, also cleans the air and removes humidity.
Air conditioning has been around a lot longer than most people think. The first system was developed by Packard Motor Company in the United States in 1939. It took a long time for air conditioning to catch on, probably because it was relatively expensive.
However, by the 1970s half of new cars had air conditioning and of course, nowadays it’s hard to find a car that doesn’t have it installed as standard equipment.
Three components are needed to make air conditioning work: a compressor, a condenser, and the evaporator. Refrigerant, a special chemical, is pumped in a loop of expansion and compression which absorbs heat and creates cold air which is blown into the car.
Why not have air conditioning?
There are a few reasons a driver might choose not to have air conditioning, even though the benefits to the comfort of the driver and passenger are undeniable.
Many cars in Europe didn’t have air conditioning because of the drain on the engine. Smaller engines have smaller electrical systems and they simply could not power the compressor and evaporator.
Cost is another factor in choosing not to have air conditioning. Not only is it a fairly expensive option to choose, but the system also uses more fuel – an important concern for money and carbon-conscious drivers.
Supercars like the Lamborghini often don’t have air conditioning because the system adds weight to the car, and weight is the enemy of high-performance acceleration. The McLaren Senna, for example, does not have air conditioning as an option – or much of anything else that won’t make it go faster.
It’s also undeniably true that the Lamborghini has always been the macho supercar for the hairy-chested alpha male who is much more interested in AWD handling and aggressive acceleration than measly comfort. As a result, while Lamborghini’s are built with air conditioning, their terrible reliability meant that it would often soon stop working.
Why Do Lamborghinis Have Air Conditioning?
If Lamborghinis are supercars and built for speed and performance, why do they have air conditioning at all?
There is no doubt that the Lamborghini went through a rebellious teenage phase in the 1970s and 1980s and in these cars creature comforts were definitely not the point. Cars like the iconic Countach and devastatingly cool Diablo were a schoolboy fantasy of air scoops and spoilers.
Ultimately, though, the Lamborghini is a grand tourer and is designed for cruising Italy’s Tuscan hills or California’s Pacific coast highway. Driver and passenger alike would rather arrive at their hotel ready to visit the bar for a cocktail than head to the shower after a hot and sweaty journey.
Even though Lamborghini’s first car, the sleek 350 GT, didn’t actually have air conditioning, every car since then has. Since Lamborghini passed into German ownership as part of Audi, the air conditioning has been excellent and even reliable.
Is comfort the way forward for Lamborghini?
Turning off the air conditioning and winding down the window to listen to the gorgeous growl of a Lamborghini engine is surely one of the delights of supercar ownership.
But as emissions controls tighten and competitors like Ferrari produce hybrid electric supercars, carbon crunching engine noise might be a thing of the past.
Lamborghini’s newest car, and likely their first hybrid vehicle, is the SUV every soccer mom will lust after, the Lamborghini Ursa. This Lamborghini will have comfort fitted as standard to keep the driver and the planet nice and cool.