We knew from the start that 2021 was going to take some unexpected twists, but we never thought we’d be writing about the return of the Lamborghini Countach. But the supercar great that widened eyes and hastened heartbeats of children and wealthy businessmen throughout the 1980s is back, and not in a restored or restomodded way. The all-new Countach LPI 800-4 debuts at The Quail as a Countach reimagined for 2021, with modernized styling and a supercapacitor-driven V12 hybrid four-wheel drive. The coolest car of 1985 becomes the coolest car of 2021.
Lamborghini could have just done an anniversary-edition cosmetic package for the Aventador to recognize the 50 years that have passed since the Countach prototype debuted at the 1971 Geneva Motor Show. But it decided that celebrating a car so iconic and timeless demanded a little more fanfare. In the process, it reaffirms that the Countach’s unmistakable ultra-low, wedge-shaped lines still look great today.
“The first Countach has been present in our Centro Stile as a model for some years now,” explains Mitja Borkert, head of Centro Stile, Lamborghini’s design center. “This is an unnegotiable part of our DNA, the essence if you so will. The first Countach shaped the Lamborghini design DNA like no other car; the new Countach translates that unconventional and edgy character into the future.”
Centro Stile worked not from a single Countach but from all five major models that wore the nameplate between 1971 and 1990. The clean, uncluttered body shape most closely relates to the LP 500 prototype and LP 400 production car, while the face descends from the Quattrovalvole. The large hexagonal intakes, meanwhile, bridge the gap with modern Lambo styling.
Lamborghini further contemporizes the design with the single fixed headlamps (no flip-ups behind them) and broadened and deepened NACA side intakes. The glasshouse loses the straight lines at the A-pillars and side windows in favor of a modern curvature and window surrounds that absorb the gills of the haunch-top air scoops. The car’s profile edges aren’t quite as sharply drawn as in the past but certainly more so than on many a modern supercar.
The LPI 800-4 rear-end shows a more compact interpretation of the original’s paddle-like upper panel surrounding triple-light clusters, saving space below for a huge carbon diffuser with integrated quad-tip exhaust. The stepped engine venting on the rear deck flows seamlessly from the centered photochromic glass roof panel for a clean, smooth transition.
No one would expect to find a restored classic V12 in a modern recreation like this one, and instead Lamborghini goes the opposite direction. The company borrows the Sián’s cutting-edge hybrid set-up to ensure that the futuristic-retro Countach pushes the envelope like the original.
When firing on all cylinders, the longitudinally mounted 769-hp 6.5-liter V12 and supercapicator-powered 48-V electric boost motor mounted to the gearbox combine to send 804 hp out to all four wheels. The car sprints from stop to 62 mph (100 km/h) in 2.8 seconds and to 124 mph (200 km/h) in 8.6 seconds on its way to a 221-mph (355-km/h) top speed.
The interior behind the scissor doors masterfully combines the 2020s with the 1970s/80s, housing a digital cockpit in a heavily hooded instrument panel and seating an 8.4-in infotainment touchscreen within a divider wall-like plunging center console that also houses physical switches and dials. The seats don’t curve or drop quite as dramatically as in decades’ past, but they cushion driver and passenger with heritage-style square padding. The red and black color scheme is also a heritage cue, as is the pearlescent blue-tinged “Bianco Siderale” exterior paint, inspired by Ferruccio’s very own Countach LP 400 S.
Reinventing a company’s most iconic car in modern style must be a rather terrifying task to take on, but Centro Stile has handled it admirably, putting out a creation that will feel comfortable mingling among hypercar contemporaries at this weekend’s Pebble Beach festivities but still makes itself immediately known as Countach, even for those who miss the lettering on the front-end.
The LPI 800-4 seems like the quintessential one-off showpiece, but Lamborghini actually plans to build a limited run of 112 examples, with deliveries to begin in early 2022. Its announcement doesn’t include pricing information, but Bloomberg reports that the car’s combination of heritage styling and Sián hybridization will command a price of $2.64 million. We imagine getting on the exclusive reservations list will also require some pretty tight Lamborghini connections or up-to-date worldwide celebrity status.