Lamborghini Murcielago ~ 2001-10
As Audi gained control of Lamborghini’s future in 1998, a replacement for the Diablo was needed. The actual replacement project was well on its way but Audi’s executives starting by Ferdinand Piech didn’t like Zagato’s Canto concept and asked Zagato to go back to the drawing board. Zagato wasn’t the only one anymore in the race to produce the next Bull, but now Bertone, as well as Audi’s design team, lead by Belgium Luc Donckerwolke who will produce the retained design were also part of the challenge. The new car was unveiled in a very Italian and dramatic fashion in 2001 Sicily on the Mount Etna and was given the name Murcielago after a famous and unwilling to die fighting bull in 1897.
Luc Donckerwolke’s team succeeded in creating an aggressive successor of the Diablo even if the new "Toro" didn’t have curvaceous and sensual line as the ones found on the Diablo or the Miura. The Murcielago, aside from the steel roof and a few aluminium elements, was made with carbon fiber panels and was fitted on a steel tubular frame reinforced by carbon fiber as well. The Murcielago's front was more angular with trapezoidal covered headlights and hood lid. The front-end, which could be raised by 1.77 in (45 mm) to pass over speed bumps had a large angular air intake at each corner and looked well proportionate within the bumper. The 18 inches five holes alloy wheels with 335 mm Pirelli P Zeros at the back told the all story as well as the massive air channel doorsills that lead to an air intake just before the rear wheel arches. As now part of the Lamborghini madness since the Countach, the Murcielago adorned scissor doors and beautiful black slim dual stem side mirrors. A small three quarter side rear window gave a better side rear view than the ones on the Diablo and were fallowed by a Variable Air Flow Cooling System (VACS) on each side, or more simply, an air intakes with variable opening which were flushed to the body when not needed and could raised itself automatically or manually by posers up to 20˚ when the engine needed more cooling. Intended or not the VACS looked like the side air intakes on the Silhouette when opened with their black internal finish. The Murcielago's rear window was as in the Miura, covered by black slats and all the way at the back was a rear spoiler with variable aperture that was close at speed up to 81 mph (130 km/h) then raised itself by 50˚ until reaching 137 mph (220 km/h) where a 70˚ angle help kept the back planted without having to opted for the optional and disgraceful humongous wing found at the back of the Countachs and Diablos. All this ingenious system of variable air intakes and rear spoiler was operated by the car’s Power Motor Control (PMC) and changed the Murcielago’s drag coefficient from 0.33 cx to 0.36 when the spoiler and two side air intakes were wide open. As mentioned the design was more angular than the Diablo, almost “Bertonesque”, but it also was more straightforward and less busy than the Countach, with a rear that almost evoked the De Tomaso Mangusta. Unlike the traditional Italian quad-exhaust pipes, the Murcielago had the same two colossal center exhaust pipes found on the last Diablos 6.0 VT and SE, and to match the front-end air intakes two air-vents below the trapezoidal tail lights were fitted as well as a thin horizontal meshed vent between the rear lights.
Due to Audi’s ownership the interior’s fit and finish was an improvement over the previous models as well as the ergonomics. All dials were regrouped under a binnacle, and a center console armed with a passenger hand holder, as in the Miuras made you wonder how much of a brut this Murcielago could be? For once and from the start on a new model the AC from Audi actually did its job, stereo was installed as well as airbags but the navigation was optional.
The Murcielago's dry-sump, quad-cam mid-rear longitudinal V12 engine was now enlarge to 6.2 L (378 cu in) and developed 580 PS / 572 hp at 7500 rpm. A whole new management system was adopted with variable valve timing (VVT) and a variable intake system (VIS) giving silky smooth power and torque curve delivery. All this power was mated to Lamborghini’s first 6 speed manual transmission, while later on a sequential 6 speed E-Gear transmission with steering wheel paddle shifter could be had. Now pressing your foot on the drive by wire throttle meant that the Murcielago could get to 60 mph from a standstill in 3.8 seconds. As for the top speed a staggering 205 mph (330 km/h) put our top predator for Sant’Agata on top of the Supercar pack.
To put this power to the ground all Murcielagos had central viscous coupler “VT”, meaning that they all had four wheel drive and traction control (TCS) as well. To stop you from crashing, the Brembo ABS brakes system had Dynamic Rear Proportioning (DRP), which distributed braking power from front to the rear when needed for optimal stopping power.
In 2003, Lamborghini celebrated its 40th birthday with a special run of 50?! Anniversary edition. All were painted in a metallic blue called “Jade Green” and adorned “faux” carbon fiber (boo!) trim between the rear quarter windows and Active side air intakes. To finish our outside details, the wheels were smoked and a performance exhaust was fitted. Inside, all 40th Anniversary edition received black and light grey leather, an Alpine stereo system and a numbered plaque behind the rear quarter window which made the owner of our Anniversary model feel a little more special.
The Murcielago Roadster came in 2004, and for this ultimate playboy machine, the engine lid was reworked in a chiseled way with four longitudinal meshed air vents. In the engine bay, two intricate carbon fiber engine braces where here to add rigidity to our chopped Supercar. After this plastic surgery, the side rear quarter windows were old news, the side windows were more rakish and the five spoke wheels set looked modern at best. For safety measures an extendable metal piece behind each seats was ready to pop-up in case of rollover. As for coverage in case of downpour… well the Murcielago Roadster wasn’t really meant for everyday use, and if you got caught under the rain, a simplistic fabric top with a separate frame could painfully be placed on as long as you remembered your “Lego years”. The only thing to keep in mind then was to stay under a maximum speed of 99 mph (160 km/h) if you didn’t want your roof to fly away.
The big change came in 2006 with the second evolution was introduced, the Murcielago LP 640. The LP 640 for “Longitudinale Posteriore” which stand for the engine positioning “Rear Longitudinal” and 640 for the horsepower (in PS), had many body retouches that allowed you to identify this refreshed bull. For a start the nose and its large air intakes grew even wider with a more pronounced lower lip forming a little wing. The air intake on the doorsills received a wider entry scoop. Ceramic brakes could now be added and the wheels set got replaced by a very attractive five dual-spoke set including a series of straight spoke while the second one forming a propeller blade like design interlaced onto the first one. The back-end also was slightly revised with new tail lights internals, while a lower lattice work under the massive rear side air-vents could be seen as well as the new a rear diffuser fitted in between. As for the two central exhausts they became a single unit making it the biggest exhaust pipe in the history of production car and also the oddest. But if you wanted beauty on this new Murcielago LP 640, the optional glass engine slats was all you needed to match your designer sunglasses.
The V12 also received some attention and was enlarged to 6.5 liter (396 cu in) to now developed 640 PS / 631 hp at 8000 rpm. When used with the launch control you could catapult the LP 640 from 0 to 60 mph in blistering 3.4 seconds while the top speed increased to 211 mph (340 km/h). But aside from numbers on a piece of paper, it was the Murcielago LP 640 aptitude to pound you against your seat at any rev range that impressed the most!
Later on in 2006 at the LA Auto Show the Murcielago LP 640 Roadster was introduced and received the same treatment as the original Murcielago Roadster with its chopped roof, chiseled engine lid and afterthought fabric top still supplied with a separate frame.
In late 2006, the limited “Versace” edition was introduced with only 20 cars produced. All Versace editions were finished in pastel white with Versace Greek key motifs on the doorsills and had black finished wheel set. The Versace Greek motif didn’t stop here and was also over-used in the black and white Napa leather interior starting from the door panels, armrest, seat and also roof lining. With every Versace Murcielagos came a luggage set adorning a metal plaque quoting “Lamborghini LP 640 Versace” as well. Again that same year, another 20 Versace limited edition Murcielago were produced, this time as a Roadster version. All received the same treatment as the coupe aside from the chopped roof which allowed you to have an overview of the engine through its glass panel. All “Versace” produced were created by Lamborghini’s new department “Ad Personam” which allow any customer to tailor his Lamborghini the way they desire.
In 2009 another limited edition of 50 cars was introduced with the Murcielago LP 650-4. As the nomenclature mention it, the horsepower grew to 10 horses for a total of 650 PS / 641 hp at 8000 rpm and as for the “4” it designated the fact that the car had four wheel drives but this was the case for all Murcielagos produced anyway. All LP 650-4 were finished in grey (Grigio Telesto) with orange (Arancio) accents on the front spoiler lip, door sills, front engine lid surroundings and top rear diffuser. The wheels were blacked-out, and the orange “LP 650-4” designation was placed on each active rear side air intakes and front side bumper. The interior was a mix of carbon fiber, grey leather and Alcantara (faux suede), while the orange accents continued with the stitching on the door panels, dashboard, steering wheel and carpet piping. Also finished in orange were the paddle shifter and trim around the Sport and Traction Control buttons on the tunnel console.
The last and meanest evolution of our Murcielago came in 2009 under the form of a Super Veloce (super fast) bull, or LP 670-4 SV. The Murcielago SV went through a weight saving program that helped saving 220 lb (100 kg) by the extensive use of carbon fiber. The front splitter was inspired by the 2008 Reventon and was deep and low at best. The front fenders received an extra brake air-vent at their top by the windshield and the doorsills air scoops were now made from carbon fiber, while the “SV” logo was placed on the doors. The new blacked-out dual-spoke wheels were fitted with Pirelli P Zero Corsa (race) instead of the usual P Zero Rosso for maximum grip. At the back thing got busy with a new carbon fiber engine cover housing three hexagonal transparent polymer pieces. Still at the back two choices of rear wings were available. One being a rear spoiler that fitted between the tail lights, and the other one being a massive rear wing called the Aeropack which was supported by two industrial looking brackets and was as wide as the SV back-end. This last wing offered more downforce but a lesser top end speed. For maximum engine hot air extraction the all width under the tail lights was now a long three piece meshed screen with just underneath at the center the single exhaust pipe that grew wider than before and looked more appropriate in the middle of the new and all carbon fiber dual rear diffuser than it is on the LP 640 brother.
Inside carbon fiber and Alcantara were everywhere, as well as the “SV” badges found on the door panels and heavily bucketed racing seats.
Again as the badge mentioned it the horsepower was in the rise with 670 PS / 661 hp still produced at 8000 rpm. This was made possible with the help of a reworked intake system and valves timing, while the more sporty exhaust pipe not only helped producing more power but also a fierce sound. With this new found power and lightness, the Murcielago SV could sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds with the standard E-Gear, but you still could opted for the six speed manual transmission at no cost. As for the top speed, it depended on your rear wing choice, and could vary from 209 mph (337 km/h) with the Aeropack, to 212 mph (342 km/h) with the small wing, which created less downforce and thus also less grip in the corners.
To stop this speeding bullet, a six pots piston caliper braking system replaced the previous four pistons unit, and was biting on carbon ceramic disc. With this and a reworked space frame steel chassis that was now 12% stiffer, the Murcielago SV gave you a definite sense of reassurance something also reinforced by the steering which was tuned for high speed sensitivity. If the LP 670-4 Super Veloce wasn’t special enough for you, and if you were a Chinese resident, a special limited edition of 10 cars was available for you. Based on a LP 670-4 SV, the “China” edition took everything that a Super Veloce was and added a central orange and black stripe, and a big orange “SV” logo on the rear quarter panel, while a little numbered plaque, like it is often do on limited edition gave not only the car’s number but also specified the owner's name.
After nine years of loyal services and 3983 cars built, aside from the 2006 retake on the Miura built on a Murcielago platform, the first Lamborghini born under Audi’s wand gave its goodbye in 2010 only to be replaced by the next insanity from Sant’Agata…
LP 650-4 Roadster
LP 670-4 SV
|Engine Type||All alloy V12 @ 60˚
DOHC. 4V/48V (VVT + VIS)
|Capacity||6192 cc / 378 cu in||6496 cc / 396 cu in||6496 cc / 396 cu in||6496 cc / 396 cu in|
|Fuel Feed||Fuel Injected|
|Power||580 ps/575 hp @ 7500 rpm||640 ps/631 hp @ 7500 rpm||650 ps/641 hp @ 7500 rpm||670 ps/661 hp @ 7500 rpm|
|Torque||479 lb-ft/650 nm @ 5400 rpm||487 lb-ft/660 nm @ 6000 rpm||487 lb-ft/660 nm @ 6000 rpm||487 lb-ft/660 nm @ 6000 rpm|
|Transmission||6 speed - AWD
E-gear 6 Speed - AWD
|Top Speed||205 mph - 330 km/h||211 mph - 340 km/h||205 mph - 330 km/h||213 mph - 342 km/h
(with small rear wing)
209 mph - 337 km/h
(with std Aeropack wing)
|0-60 mph - 0-100 km/h
0-124 mph - 0-200 km/h
|3.8 sec||3.4 sec||3.4 sec||3.2 sec
|Weelbase||2665 mm / 104.9 in|
|Front Suspension||2 Wishbones, Coil Springs
Tube Shocks, Anti-roll Bar
Elect self adjust.
Front can be raised
|Rear Suspension||2 Wishbones, Coil Springs
Tube Shocks, Anti-roll Bar
|Brakes||Disc all around
ABS + DRP
4 Piston calipers
|Disc all around, 380 mm
ABS + DRP
6 Piston calipers
|Front Tires||245/35 ZR18
P Zero Rosso
|P Zero Corsa|
|Rear Tires||335/30 ZR18
P Zero Rosso
|P Zero Corsa|
|Steering||Rack & Pinion
|Weight||1650 lb / 3637 kg||1665 lb / 3671 kg||1665 lb / 3671 kg||1565 lb / 3450 kg|
|Country of Origin||Italy|
|Production Num.||50||186 SV - 3983 Total|