Lamborghini will unleash its latest creation to the public at the 76th annual Geneva Motor Show in the form of the Murciélago LP640 - but we can reveal the stunning super car to you right now.
Based on the Murciélago, the new model has been upgraded in many ways, from the engine unit to the chassis components, and to complement its newfound power the LP640 features a subtle-but-menacing new bodykit.
First and foremost, the LP640 gets a bigger engine, making it significantly quicker in all acceleration benchmarks. The latest evolution of the Lamborghini Murciélago coupe features a larger and more powerful V12 engine, which replaces the previous 6.2-litre 12-cylinder mill.
As Lamborghini explains, the engine of the new Murciélago LP640 has undergone radical modification, with an increased bore and longer stroke increasing overall capacity to 6.5-litres. The 6,496cc 60° V12 boosts power from 426kW (580hp) to an impressive peak of 471kW (640hp) @ 8000rpm.
The 12-cylinder engine creates a maximum torque of 660Nm @ 6000rpm, up from 650Nm @ 5400rpm, while complying with every European and North American law governing exhaust fumes.
Lamborghini says that this “evolutionary leap forward” has been possible thanks to a coherent review of every engine component: the cylinder head and the entire intake system have been completely reworked, and the crankshaft, camshafts and exhaust system have also undergone changes.
Such a hike in peak power output naturally determines an increase in performance. The excellent performance of the Murciélago LP640 means it can now accelerate from 0 to 100km/h in 3.4 seconds (0.4 seconds faster than the previous model).
The Lamborghini engineers also concentrated on improving torque development, and while the torque increase of 10Nm isn't quite as brutal as the increase in peak power, the company claims that “drivability” of the engine is enhanced by a continuous variable timing system (intake and exhaust side) and a drive-by-wire engine management system.
To meet the thermal requirements of the engine, the engineers have foreseen a considerably larger oil radiator and subsequently, the air intake on the left side of the vehicle has been enlarged. The liquid cooling system, characterised by the Lamborghini VACS system (variable geometry air inlet system) remains the same and the electronically managed air intakes flanking the rear engine bay open depending on the outdoor temperature and the need for cooling air, ensuring maximum aerodynamic efficiency.
To match the increased grunt of the 6.5-litre engine, Lamborghini modified the six ratio, four-wheel drive gearbox as well as fitting a more durable rear differential and new axle shafts. On request, the e-gear automatic gearbox is also available equipped with the new dedicated “Thrust” (acceleration programme) mode.
In terms of design, there's no denying the Murciélago's visual appeal, whose original appearance based on sharp angles and triangular shapes will stand the test of time far better than its Ferrari rivals, which feature curves and round shapes more predominantly.
In their reinterpretation of the Murciélago LP640, the designers at the Lamborghini Style Centre have remained true to the traditional Lamborghini principles of purism, sport and function, says the exotic marque, suggesting quite correctly that the Murciélago LP640 now appears even more aggressive, with the new front and rear bumpers contributing significantly to its appearance.
The exhaust system terminal has been incorporated in the diffuser on the rear bumper for a more integrated look and other innovations include the rear lights, which enhance the distinguishing features of the Murciélago LP640, making it unmistakable even at night. The design of the sides is also worth mentioning: while the area behind the air intake on the right side is practically closed, the left side features a vast aperture for cooling the oil radiator, creating an appealing asymmetrical design.
For the well-off customers who want the world to know that they've got the 6.5-litre Murch - and not the 6.2-litre version - an engine hood made of transparent glass can be supplied on request. The rear view mirrors and the windscreen wipers have been modified to improve aerodynamics and new light metal wheel rims have been added.
The Italian super car maker confirms that, just like its predecessors, the Murciélago LP640 features permanent four-wheel drive, based on the reliable Lamborghini VT (Viscous Traction) system, expected to give the car unparalleled levels of cornering grip. The system is self-governing and does not feature any electronic controls, where under normal driving circumstances the drive force is usually divided between the front and rear axles in the ratio of 30 to 70. An independent control circuit adjusts the distribution of the drive force depending on dynamic oscillation, weight distribution and the relative friction factor in perfect synchronisation with the Visco clutch. In extreme cases, up to 100% of the drive force can be applied to a single axle.
With its exotic, angular image - the kind that time looks favourably upon - and low-slung profile, the new Murciélago LP640 also gets reworked suspension, exhaust system, brakes and electronics and even the interior has been upgraded to give the car a new look and feel.
Driving, handling and stability at high speed are enhanced by new springs and stabilisers, as well as by a redesigned electronically controlled damper to ensure body roll doesn't reduce grip levels. The "antidive" and "anti-squat" features on the axles, which prevent so-called "brake diving" and "squatting", have not been changed. The body of the Murciélago LP640 meanwhile, keeps its characteristic scissor doors is created from the union of sheet steel and honeycombed carbon fibre, glued and riveted together.
Lamborghini has revealed that new wheels also make the LP640 cut - new aluminium "Hermera" rims measuring 18-inches in diametre can be fitted with various sized Pirelli P Zero "Rosso" tyres. In standard form, the Murciélago LP640 features 245/35 ZR18 front tyres and ultra-wide 335/30 ZR18 rear tyres. For sports use, especially on racetracks, Lamborghini can tailor optional Pirelli P Zero “Corsa” (Race) tyres. Pirelli P “Sottozero” (Sub zero) winter tyres are currently being developed for those who live in colder climes.
Lamborghini's stunningly styled new super car gets a boost to its deceleration capabilities to match its bigger V12 powerplant, with the braking system now comprised of self-ventilating discs measuring 380mm x 34mm and 355mm x 32mm front and rear respectively. Furthermore, when particularly high braking performance is required, on request it is possible to equip the vehicle with 380mm x 36mm ceramic carbon composite brakes featuring six piston brake calipers. Both Porsche and Ferrari offer ceramic composite rotors on some of their models, so it was on;y natural for Lamborghini to offer them an option, albeit an expensive one. The brakes also considerably reduce weight and have a longer lifetime, not to mention a captivating graphic design.
Lamborghini also spent time developing the Murciélago LP640's safety systems in case things go wrong at 300km/h. Thanks to the two front airbags, the Murciélago LP640 complies with every international law in effect in terms of head-on and side crashes, impacts against posts, occupant safety, fuel supply integrity and flammability of materials. The luggage compartment also complies with childproof safety regulations.
Even the interior of the LP640 has been overhauled, starting with new graphics for the instrument panel lights in the cockpit of the strictly 2-seat vehicle. This is flanked by a new Kenwood car radio with a 6.5-inch widescreen monitor and DVD, MP3 and WMA player. The seats have undergone the most radical changes though; more spacious and equipped with redesigned head restraints, the seats now ensure better comfort, claims the Italian marque. The leather upholstery features lozenge-shaped stitching called "Q-citura". Lamborghini can also customise the interior of the rampaging LP640 to suit owners tastes, including a driver-orientated setup.
Lamborghini Automobili says that the first vehicles will be available in spring 2006 and that since the original Murciélago’s debut at the 2001 Frankfurt Motor Show, around 2,000 vehicles have left the car plant in Sant’ Agata Bolognese. At $600,000 a pop (Australian currency) that works out to a lot of cash, and this new model is expected to fetch slightly more than its forebear.