The Difference Between a Ferrari & a Lamborghini

by John Willis

The histories of Ferrari and Lamborghini are inextricably entwined. Feruccio Lamborghini, an Italian tractor-maker, founded his car company after Enzo Ferrari offended him after Feruccio offered Enzo a suggestion. The two have been in competition in the exotic care market ever since. While they have many things in common and share much history, there are fundamental differences. Each company has made many cars. However, there are some general differences that generally apply between a Ferrari and Lamborghini.

Racing Heritage

Both companies make exotic, street-legal sports cars. Ferrari, however, has always been, first and foremost, a race car company. Lamborghini, has always been, first and foremost, a street car company. Ferrari's street cars are often said to have been made, primarily, to finance and expand Ferrari's very active racing program. Lamborghini has always remained focused on street-going sports cars.


Ferrari will forever be known for very complex, fairly small-displacement, high-revving V-12 engines. Ferrari engines usually reflect Ferrari's racing heritage. While Lamborghini has also been one of the few car markets to regularly go to a V-12 engine, they did it for a different reason. Ferrari's street cars followed their race cars. Lamborghini's street cars where built to impress a customer who would otherwise buy a Ferrari. Lamborghinis have traditionally had larger, less complicated, but more powerful engines than Ferrari.

Mid-Engine Heritage

Each of these ultra-exotic brands are known for mid-engined cars where the engine is mounted behind the driver, but in front of the rear-drive assembly. But the mid-engined street heritage really belongs to Lamborghini. Lamborghini wasn't the first maker to employ the mid-engine layout for the street. They were, however, the first to make a mid-engined supercar in the Miura, which debuted in 1966. Ferrari has a long list of famous front-engined coupes, which they returned to in the 1990s. Lamborghini remains almost synonymous with the mid-engine layout; Ferrari makes many models in both front- and mid-engine design.


Here again, racing heritage is evident. Ferraris, in spirit, began on a race track. Although a Ferrari cockpit is not ugly, it is not appointed in the same way luxury cars where appointed when Lamborghini got into the car market, which was one of Feruccio's criticisms of the Ferrari. From the beginning, Lamborghini set out to make a sportsman's car -- an ultimate grand tourer, which included a well-appointed interior. Ferrari, on the other hand, essentially dressed up their race cars. Today's Ferraris and Lamborghinis are probably considered beautiful and luxurious by most. However, Ferraris are a little more spartan and pay less attention to comfort than Lamborghinis.

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