Part 57 Lamborghini Today – Fast and Sinister
The History of the Italian Automobile
Part 57 Lamborghini Today – Fast and Sinister
By David Cavaliere
When you take a look at the Lamborghini models from the past ten years, there is a certain look to the cars that can be best described as aggressive. The cars use sophisticated manufacturing techniques, exotic materials, state-of-the-art active aerodynamics, advanced electronics and the latest in electro-mechanical systems. No wonder the Aventador LP 700-4 is Batman’s latest ride. In the automotive world, Lamborghini stands defiant – a world leader in engineering, design and performance and it continues to push the boundaries with each successive car. Most would describe the Lamborghini’s of today as bold, some might even describe their looks as sinister. Each pulses with the heart of a bull. They are not simply fast, they are brutally fast.
The limited production Lamborghini Sesto Elemento (Sixth Element) debuted at the 2010 Paris Motor Show. The Sesto Elemento’s name is a reference to the atomic number of carbon – in recognition of the car’s extensive use of carbon fiber. The Sesto Elemento is equipped with a 6-speed semi-automatic transmission with paddle shifting, an all-wheel drive system and is powered by a 5.2 liter V10 engine borrowed from the Gallardo. The chassis, body, drive shaft and suspension components are made of carbon fiber, keeping the cars weight to 2,202 lbs. For reference, that is 100 pounds lighter than the sub-compact 105 hp Toyota Yaris. The Sesto Elemento is meant to be an expensive track day car, so it lacks most creature comforts, and while the Yaris is inexpensive and non-descript, the Sesto Elemento is too fast to be driven legally in the U.S. It reaches 0 to 62 in 2.5 seconds and has a top speed of about 210. Only 20 were produced. One sold earlier this year for $2.9 million.
The long-awaited replacement for the Murciélago was unveiled in Sant’Agata Bolognese in late 2010 – the Aventador LP 700-4. It has proven to be a brisk seller in Lamborghini terms, reaching sales of 5,000 cars in its first five years. The Aventador continued the body theme set by the Reventón. It uses Lamborghini’s new 690 hp, 6.5 liter 60° V12 engine. It is Lamborghini’s fourth in-house engine and second V12 design. It was the first all-new V12 since the 3.5 liter Bizzarrini power plant first used in the 350GT. The car has a 0-60 time of less than 3 seconds. The official top speed is listed as 220 mph, but Sport Auto Magazine tested one that reached 230. As has become the practice of the company since the days of the Diablo, an open-top version – the Aventador LP 700-4 Roadster – was made available in 2013.
The Lamborghini Aventador LP 750-4 Superveloce was announced at the March 2015 Geneva Motor Show, featuring an additional 50 hp and a weight reduction of 110 lbs. The car also features improved aerodynamics, changes to the front splitter, rear diffuser and the addition of a rear wing, increased downforce by 170% to 480 lbs. at 174 mph. Revised electronic steering (for better high speed maneuverability) and magnetic pushrod suspension boosted the car’s handling to an extraordinary level. It was followed a year later by the Aventador LP 750-4 SuperVeloce Roadster.
At Geneva in March 2013, the Veneno was introduced. It was designed as a very limited edition for the 50th Anniversary of Automobili Lamborghini. Designed like an aerodynamic carbon fiber wing, the car has extensive venting to dissipate heat from its 740hp V12 engine and carbon-ceramic brake discs. It contains all manner of complex air inlets and a wing/tail configuration that looks as though it has come directly from the prototype racers of today. Carbon fiber abounds on the Veneno, giving it a dry weight that is 275 lbs. lighter than the Aventador. The Veneno has an electronically limited top speed of 220 mph and can go from 0–60 mph in 2.8 seconds. Its prowess in corners is remarkable, capable of sticking 1.41 Gs on the skidpad. Only five Venenos were built; one for testing, one retained by Lamborghini’s museum and three additional units, which were sold for $3,915,300 each, plus tax.
The newest production model is the Lamborghini Huracán, introduced in 2014 as a replacement for the Lamborghini’s top selling model – the Gallardo. The Huracán LP 610-4 was so named based on its horsepower (610) and four-wheel drive. There are a host of changes that have been made, ranging from LED lighting to fine Nappa leather; it has a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission and carbon-ceramic brakes. A Spyder (convertible) version soon followed in 2014.
The Huracán LP 580-2 is a lower cost derivative that differs by having its V10 detuned (to a paltry 572 hp) driving only the rear wheels, but it costs $40,000 less that the LP 610-4. At the other end of the spectrum is the Performante. The 5.2-liter V10 puts out 631 hp and the weight has been reduced by 88 pounds, thanks primarily to the use of a forged aluminum and carbon fiber body. For increased downforce, the new rear spoiler, front splitter and rear diffuser are all electro-mechanically powered. The car is electronically limited to 202 mph.
In 2016, to commemorate Ferruccio Lamborghini’s 100th birthday, Lamborghini released a limited-edition supercar based on the Aventador – the Centenario. Forty cars (20 coupes and 20 roadsters) were produced, all of which have been sold. Contrary to the rest of Lamborghini’s lineup, the Centenario’s design was not as extreme as the latest wedge-shaped supercars. Power comes from a tuned version of the Aventador’s 6.5-litre V12 producing 759 hp, but rumors of a future hybrid powertrain continue to circulate. The future has never been brighter for this illustrious manufacturer.
Next week, I’ll pause before beginning a multi-part feature on Lancia. The Mille Miglia will begin on May 18th, marking 90 years since the start of this race through the villages, towns and cities of central Italy. We look back at the history of the race and some of the machines that contested this grueling and often dangerous race though public streets and mountain roads. Please send comments to Dave@ItalianTribune.com.
On May 8, 2013, as part of Lamborghini’s 50th Anniversary, a running of the bulls took place in Italy. Beginning in Milan, a two-mile convoy of 350 Lamborghinis traveled to Lombardy, Umbria, Forte dei Marmi, Rome and San Giustino Valdarno, eventually making their way to the Lamborghini factory/museum in Sant’Agata Bolognese. The three-day event was capped by the introduction of the jet fighter-styled Egoista. Only one was built, but the fully functioning car is based on the Gallardo. It features a 5.2 L V10 engine producing 600 hp in the single seat car. When viewed from the side, the unique exterior of the Egoista is meant to resemble a bull ready to charge. The bodywork consists of active aerodynamic panels that raise and lower for optimum downforce and stability. It was designed as tribute to spirit of the company; a spirit that has imbued its cars with the ferocity of a Raging Bull.