February 24th, 2006


Lamborghini Murciélago

Exclusive pics: new Lambo Murciélago

Lamborghini has turned the dial up to 11 for its latest show-stopper, the Murciélago LP640.

Unlike the Miura concept shown at Detroit in January, the LP640 is very much for real and creates the ultimate road-going version of the company's flagship model.

The LP640 will be unveiled at the Geneva motor show next week, but here we have an exclusive preview of the fastest production Lambo ever built.

A 6.5-litre V12 engine lies at the heart of the LP640, where LP stands for 'longitudinale posteriore', which refers to the V12 unit mounted lengthways behind the cockpit.

With deeper and wider cylinder bores than the previous 6.2-litre V12, the new 6.5 ups power to an imperious 631bhp at 8,000 good-for-the-soul revs per minute.

Coupled to a new six-speed gearbox, which can also be ordered with Lambo's e-gear sequential paddle shift, the LP640 howls from 0-62mph in 3.4 seconds - 0.4 seconds quicker than the 6.2-litre model.

And it's helped on its way by an electronic launch-control device called, rather brilliantly, Thrust.

Lambo has yet to announce a top speed, but word is that the LP640 will top 210mph, while low-speed driving is improved with variable valve timing and an aircraft-style drive-by-wire throttle.

Helping it to achieve this colossal speed and remain stable are plenty of aerodynamic changes for the LP.

Reshaped front and rear bumpers direct air more efficiently, while the exhaust is now incorporated into the rear diffuser to help cancel out aerodynamic lift at high speeds.

Lamborghini has also created a larger air intake on the left side to feed the oil cooler.

For those wishing to show off the LP's 6.5-litre V12 to full effect, a glass engine cover can be ordered.

Under the steel and carbon fibre skin, revised suspension copes with the increased performance, while ceramic brakes are an option to help bring things to a halt more swiftly and efficiently.

There's also a four-wheel-drive system that normally splits 70 per cent of the torque to the back, but can allocate up to 100 per cent to each end depending on where the grip is running out.

There are also new 18-inch Hermera alloy wheels running huge 335/30 tyres at the rear, but one thing that hasn't changed with the LP640 is the Murciélago's signature scissor-opening doors.

Inside, there are reshaped seats for improved comfort and greater headroom, while a revised instrument panel is flanked by a new stereo system.

Lamborghini will announce prices in Geneva, but expect to pay a £15,000 premium over the 6.2-litre model's £170,000 price tag.

See more pictures and read the full story on Lamborghini's Murciélago LP640 in the new issue of Top Gear magazine - on sale March 1.

"Murciélago" translates to "bat" in English, and to Me, this makes for quite a worthy Satanic-looking car.
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