Industry Update: Gas Still Burning, Hybrids Rising

Huracán season ends, and more plug-ins are coming

Lamborghini is marking the end of a 10-year run for the Huracán, the most prolific model in the automaker’s 61-year history, with the Huracán STJ. But get this: Just 10 of these track-oriented specials will be made. That’s about 0.04 percent of the estimated 24,000 Huracáns built, so if you are one of the 10 people to get a Huracán STJ, you can be pretty sure you won’t see another one at Cars & Coffee. The Huracán’s predecessor, the Gallardo, sold just over 14,000 in its 10 years on the market.

Think of the Huracán STJ as an even more track-ready version of the Huracán STO. Like the STO, the STJ uses rear-wheel drive rather than the Huracan’s usual all-wheel drive, reducing weight and giving track drivers the ability to slide the car more easily through turns.

The 631-horsepower 5.2-liter V-10 engine and seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission are unchanged from the STO. The STJ gets a tweaked suspension system with four-way adjustable shocks, along with specially developed Bridgestone Potenza tires mounted on 20-inch center-lock wheels. Lamborghini also tweaked the STJ’s aerodynamics to increase downforce.

According to Lamborghini, the STJ cuts a half-second from the STO’s lap time on the company’s test track. If you already have a Huracán STO, you could probably live without that half-second difference, right?

Blue Lamborghini Huracán STJ studio image, front
The Lamborghini Huracán STJ marks the end of the 10-year run for the company’s most prolific model ever. (source: Lamborghini)
Blue Lamborghini Huracán STJ studio image, rear
Aerodynamic tweaks are among the Huracán STJ’s select modifications over the STO. (source: Lamborghini)

Ferrari Hybrids Climbing

Ferrari sold a record 13,663 new cars in 2023, and in at least one of that year’s quarters, just over half of those were plug-in hybrids. Britain’s Financial Times recently reported that the Ferrari’s two plug-in hybrids, the 296 and the SF90 Stradale, accounted for 51 percent of the automaker’s sales in the third quarter of 2023 compared to 43 percent for previous quarter.

Hybrid powertrains are proliferating through premium segments, and this sales performance confirms that Ferrari customers are onboard with that. The mid-engine 296 models, you may know, use a new 654-horsepower V-6 engine teamed with a single electric motor that kicks in another 164 hp and 232 lb-ft. of torque. This new model series replaced the mid-engine V-8 sports car branch of the family tree that began in the mid 1970s.

In published tests, the 296 GTB blew through the quarter-mile in a blazing 9.7 seconds at 150 mph. That is just 0.2-sec. off the pace of the SF90 Stradale, or an eyeblink.

Expect to see more hybrid-powered Ferraris, and, next year, the company will introduce its first ever battery electric vehicle. In a market where upstarts including the Rimac Nevera and Pininfarina Battista EVs have set the bar for blazing acceleration, Ferrari will be putting a lot on the line with its first EV.

Silver Ferrari 296 GTB front left view
The Ferrari 296 series PHEV replaced the V-8 sports car branch of the family tree. (source: Ferrari)
Gold Ferrari SF90 Spider, left side view
Ferrari’s first regular production PHEV, the SF90 Stradale (Spider version shown). (source: Ferrari)

Bentley Taps the Brakes on EVs, but Just a Bit

Did you know that Ferrari outsold Bentley by 106 cars in 2023? Bentley’s total was down 11 percent from its 15,170 record the year before. And, remember when Bentley said it would switch to an all-EV lineup by 2030? Well, that has changed a bit, too.

Bentley has slightly delayed its EV timeline. The first of those is due in 2026, but some plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) will likely continue for “a couple of years” past the original 2030 target, according to Bentley CEO Adrian Hallmark. The delay in the all-EV plan relates to software development, he said, not market conditions.

Bentley recently ended production of its renowned W-12 gas engine, and after this summer, its only V-8s will be in hybrid powertrains. The current Bentley Bentayga SUV and Flying Spur offer available plug-in hybrid powertrains using twin-turbo V-6 gas engines. The Flying Spur Hybrid delivers 536 horsepower and can reach 87 mph on purely electric power.

Bentley Bentayga and Flying Spur hybrids plugged in
Bentley currently offers PHEV versions of its Bentayga SUV and Flying Spur sedan. (source: Bentley)

The Most Powerful AMG GT is a Hybrid

Did you think that perhaps the 577-horsepower twin-turbo V-8 in the 2024 Mercedes-AMG GT was not enough? If so, then you may want to wait for the 2025 AMG GT 63S E model due later this year. How does 805 horsepower and 1,047 lb-ft. of torque from a hybrid powertrain grab you? It starts with a 603-horsepower version of the V-8, and those figures are for the maximum combined hybrid output possible.

The new hybrid version retains the AMG GT’s mechanical all-wheel drive system. It adds an electric motor to the rear axle that, in most driving, kicks in 94 horsepower through its own two-speed automatic transmission. For maximum acceleration, the electric motor can contribute 201 hp and 236 lb-ft. of torque.

This is a plug-in hybrid, but total electric-only range is likely to be low with the 6.1-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. Mercedes is claiming a 0-60 time of 2.7 seconds and a top track speed of 199 mph. (Mercedes, like other German automakers, usually cites conservative performance figures.) Pricing and other specs will be announced closer to the hybridized AMG GT’s official launch in the third quarter.

Orange Mercedes-AMG GT 63S E on road
From the front, the Mercedes-AMG GT 63S E doesn’t reveal its PHEV secret identity. (source: Mercedes-Benz)
Jim Koscs
Written by Jim Koscs, Audamotive Communications