The Murciélago is 2-seater, 2-door coupé (with the now familiar gull-wing doors) based on the traditional Lamborghini layout: mid-mounted V12 engine, typical Lamborghini transmission with the gearbox mounted in front of the engine and the rear differential integrated into the engine unit, permanent four-wheel drive with central viscous coupler.
This layout, successfully employed by Lamborghini for more than 30 years, affords an optimal weight distribution (58% rear and 42% front) with conspicuous advantages for traction, braking and handling. The suspension design (independent double wishbones) represents the best possible solution for a high-performance GT and, again, is in keeping with Lamborghini tradition.
The “mission” was to design a worthy successor to the Lamborghini Diablo: the new car had to be exciting, unmistakable, but also safe and ergonomic. Lamborghini's brief to the designer was simple: “We'll make the engine, you design the body to fit”. The result is a creation in steel and carbon fibre precisely tailored to suit the engine, that enhances the performance of its twelve cylinders.
The central concepts of the design are purity of line, muscularity, aeronautical influence, efficiency and "made to measure”. Certainly the lines of the Murciélago do justice to its illustrious heritage and echo the styling features of some of the most significant icons to be produced by the marque. In its lines can be seen the wedge shape of the Countach, the sensual tension of the Miura and the dramatic proportions of the Diablo, with its futuristic cabin.
The Murciélago's engine which complies with the strictest emission standards in the world, including those of the United States, Japan and Europe is a 12-cylinder 60° V with a displacement of 6192 cc, made entirely from aluminium alloy and designed for unleaded fuel, producing 580 CV (426 kW) at 7500 rpm and 650 Nm torque at 5400 rpm.
Torque delivery is optimised across the entire engine operating band (even at engine speeds relatively low for a sports car) thanks to the adoption of a variable-geometry intake system (VIS), variable valve timing (VVT) on both inlet and exhaust camshafts, and the “drive-by- wire” electronic throttle control, which makes for reduced emissions, improved idle speed control and improved driveability. Particularly noteworthy is the fact that at just 2000 rpm, the Murciélago produces more torque than maximum value attained by the majority of Granturismo cars in today's market.
Unlike its predecessor, the Murciélago has a dry sump lubrication system that allows the engine to be positioned 50 mm lower, with a consequent lowering of the centre of gravity. The variable intake system, which essentially alters the geometry of the intake system upstream of the primary intake passages, provides three different operating modes obtained by the opening and closing of two butterfly valves (one on the plenum chamber and one on the by- pass pipe), the operation of which is entrusted to the Lamborghini LIE engine control units.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in August 2009 at the Portola Hotel & Spa and Monterey Conference Center, Monterey, California.
Source: Lamborghini press; RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Darin Schnabel