Aerodynamica Lamborghini Attiva: A Mouthful of Downforce Share Comments Leave it to the Italians to make the coolest sounding feature names ever. Usually by turning something boring into something that sounds exquisite, like Quattroporte. Lamborghini’s latest is the Aerodynamica Lamborghini Attiva, which is just a fancy way of saying active aerodynamics. But it’s also a good system that allowed the Huracan Performante to claim a lap record on the ‘Ring last year. But how exactly does ALA let the Performante, um, perform? Learning how to shape the air was the first step to making cars that could truly go fast. Sometimes it was guesswork, other times lessons were written in blood. Either way, early aero efforts weren’t always successful. It wasn’t until engineers started to really get things together in the wind tunnel and in the textbook that things took off and it was usually just enough just to make a car that didn’t. Since then, we’ve gotten better and better at cheating the air. Look at the modern hypercars that are blasting toward 300 mph. But we can do more than just push through that air. We can make it do fun things. Like fart sounds. Or, more relevantly, how Formula 1 cars can manage to corner with a force of 6.5 times gravity. They use the air to push the car down. While race cars follow a set of rules that limit what the builder can do, road cars don’t have the same limitations. As long as it passes crash testing (and the beancounters) it’s good. Enter ALA. It starts with an active spoiler in the nose. The spoiler actually makes up the bottom of the grille opening. It’s quite wide and quite deep. The whole spoiler doesn’t move. Just a small flap in the middle. At the back, there’s a suitably massive rear wing. But it’s more than that. There’s actually a vent and a flap in the rear decklid. One on each side of the car. They control air coming from in front of the car and affect how that air exits toward the rear wing. With the front flap closed, air passes through the front intake, to the radiators, and then back out of the car. Passing the air through the nose adds downforce. That air pushing down on the car is better for high-speed cornering and stability. But it’s bad for drag which lowers the top speed. Open the nose flap, and more air is directed under the car. That reduces drag for better acceleration and a higher top speed. It does that by reducing the high-pressure area that builds up in the nose. Open the tail flap and more air is directed at the bottom of the wing. That disrupts the airflow passing around the wing. Disrupting the smooth flow around the wing reduces the amount of downforce and the amount of drag. Close the flap and the wing works like a wing and makes max downforce. So with all the flaps closed, the car makes lots of stick. That’s good for braking, cornering, and stability. Open the flaps and you get less downforce. That means higher acceleration, higher top speed, and probably higher fuel economy. Not that that last one is a concern. Lamborghini says the car produces 750% more downforce close than it does with them open. Where the system gets really interesting, though, is the aero vectoring. Because there are two rear valves (one on each side) the system can give a different amount of downforce to each rear corner. In a turn, weight transfers to the outside tire. There is less force pushing down on the inside tire. So instead of loading the outside rear even more, the ALA system can close slightly on the side of the car that’s on the inside of the corner. More downforce on that wheel can add cornering grip. Lamborghini says it’s a substantial increase. So much that you can use less steering angle. It could also help shorten braking distances and reduce lockup because the normally less grippy inside tire now has more grip. So does it work, or is it all Italian marketing trickery? Well, the Performante managed to beat the 45% more powerful and hybrid-powered Porsche 918 Spyder by about five seconds. And that one is hardly a slouch. So it sounds like Aerodynamica Lamborghini Attiva is doing something right.