This has been a long time coming, even though enthusiasts have been hoping against hope that it won’t happen. The tree-huggers and the EV brigade are getting their way, and most manufacturers are saying goodbye to their more powerful engines. Emission norms and stricter regulations are making it tough for manufacturers to keep building these legendary engines, and with it, the marquee cars that were powered by them. Whether it is Lamborghini, who gave us an iconic V12, Aston Martin or Mercedes, all these manufacturers have announced the final editions of their epic engines. We raise our glasses to these greats, as they say goodbye in spectacular style.
LAMBORGHINI AVENTADOR ULTIMAE
Since it was first launched in 1964, Lamborghini’s iconic V12s have had enthusiasts swooning. The formula has been pretty simple: a maniacal 12-cylinder engine whose sound drowned everything in the vicinity, with an almost unstoppable capacity and lust for speed. The first one was the 350 GT, which most won’t remember but the names Miura, Countach, Diablo, Murcielago, and now Aventador will live on forever. Or until EVs completely rule the earth, which I hope isn’t soon. There will be only 600 units, 350 coupés, and 250 roadsters, and yes, all of them are sold out. Lamborghini India unveiled the Ultimae Roadster in India recently, and seeing the car in person was an experience in itself. The Ultimae, true to its name, features the most powerful version of the 6.5-litre V12, and makes 780hp without any hybrid or turbo assistance. The way V12s used to be and should be, pure and naturally aspirated.
There is a new palette of options for exterior and interior, specially created for the Ultimae, offering a refined yet dynamic, elegant yet distinctive representation of the last Aventador. The new collection of tone-on-tone colors are elegant, while recalling the Aventador’s powerful original design cues taken from the world of aeronautics. Offered as standard are 18 colours, with an unprecedented range of options and more than 300 colours available through Lamborghini Ad Personam, allowing owners to create their own, unique piece of Lamborghini V12 motoring history. There is an optional laser cut ‘Y’ repeat motif with contrast backing color on seats and dashboard, which distinguishes the Ultimae; a dynamic, stylistic feature offered for the first time.
The LP 780-4’s comfort seat is taken from the Aventador S, with the ‘Ultimae’ name embroidered into the seat bolster, while the A-pillar driver dashboard area carries the 001 of 350/250 reference to the limited edition. There will be an Aventador replacement and one hopes it will have a version of the V12, most likely a hybrid like the Sían, but this is the end of an era and the Ultimae is a fitting way to say goodbye to an iconic engine and a legendary car. I wish I could take solace in wise sayings like “change is the only constant” or “all good things come to an end”, however the truth is cars like the Aventador, the Vantage, and the E 63 S have been game changers in their own right, and it is sad to see them go. The only consolation is the fact I got a chance to drive all three over the years, not in their final avatars sadly, and I will hold on to those memories. The future may be electric, but the past was definitely glorious.
It Is not just Lamborghini who is bidding farewell to the V12, British marque Aston Martin has also announced a final edition of the V12 Vantage after a successful run of 15 years. The final V12 Vantage features the most powerful version of Aston Martin’s 5.2-liter twin-turbocharged V-12, delivering 690 hp and 750Nm of torque, a 0-100 time of 3.4 seconds and a top speed of 320km/h. The V12 Vantage gets a bespoke hood and new aero elements, most of the new body is made from carbon fiber, to help save weight. The unique center mounted exhaust looks quite cool and should deliver notes that match the car’s performance.
The interiors aren’t as special as one would have liked on the final edition, but it is all about the engine on this one, I guess. The current design language continues on the inside but there are new carbon fibre seats, with an option to choose standard seats as well. Only 333 units of the V12 Vantage will be built and just like the Lamborghini Ultimae, all are sold out. Buyers will have a number of graphics packages for the exterior available via the Q by Aston Martin personalisation department.
Didn’t someone say bad news always comes in threes? Well, they were right, as it is not just the V12s that are disappearing, but even V8s are under threat. The geniuses at Affalterbach have announced the E63 S Final Edition as the last V8 E-class to be manufactured by AMG. Finished in matte graphite grey with a high-gloss black splitter and exterior elements, the Final Edition E 63 S looks special for sure. There are black chrome twin exhaust pipes at the rear and the dark theme continues with tinted rear windows. More than one AMG badges remind you, and others on the road, of the pedigree and capability of this car.
On the inside, it is the AMG Performance seats that offer lateral support for ‘dynamic driving manoeuvres’ — read as drift mode on — that are the highlight. These heated and electrically-adjustable chairs are upholstered in luxurious Nappa leather with titanium and yellow stitching. Puddle lighting and black AMG brushed stainless steel door sill trims display exclusive yellow illuminated ‘AMG’ lettering. ‘AMG Final Edition’ and ‘1 of 999’ badges proudly sit on the centre console as a reminder of the car’s exclusivity. We drove the E63 S recently and it did blow our mind, so this goodbye feels a little more personal.