Sign of the times
Tuned supercars are hitting the market more and more and there’s a simple reason why cars like the Hamann LP640 is on the market – not that we really needed one.
The bottom has dropped out of the 3 Series, A4 and mid-range tuning in general. Companies like Hamann, a specialist BMW tuner which branched out early to cover Porsches, Ferraris and now Lamborghinis, were feeling the pinch as the middle classes ran out of money to spend on their cars or simply didn’t want to pimp out their rides anymore. It’s a sign of the times and everyone is feeling the effects of a recession.
However, the truly rich are immune from such things as recession, they just don’t feel it. And with a millionaire seemingly springing up every minute in the Middle East, Russia and America there is a huge market for brash, flashy additions to top end cars so they can show off their wealth outside the nightclubs. These are the obscenely rich, looking for new ways to spend their money, there is so much that the only limit is their imagination and tuners like Hamann are waiting for this crowd with open arms.
Here they turned up to MediaTel’s gathering at Hockenheim with the pearlescent white LP640 that is way sexier than it sounded, although if it were my car then it would have to be black-on-black – the contrast is good for pictures but too extreme for everyday life.
The flip in the paint is perfect, the latent aggression of its stance and the brooding power of that 631bhp, 6.5-litre V12 engine lying under the engine cover was a mighty strong starting point in any case, and with a naked carbon-fibre contrasting viciously with the base car, this was a beast of a machine that has been taken to a near irrational extreme.
Hamann promised an even better engine note with the addition of those two pipes with five-inch twin exit pipes replacing the squared off single canon offered by Lamborghini. In truth I preferred the original, which was almost the calling card of the throwback Lamborghini, but then that car ranks alongside the world’s most beautiful offerings and it would take a lot to improve upon. The LP640 is a little hit and miss, but a few well chosen extras could take what was already the most aggressive supercar on the open market to new heights.
A new front splitter accentuates that glinting evil expression of the ultra-masculine LP640, tracing the square, violent edges of the swooping bodywork. Up top it comes with a new head-dress, a carbon-fibre airbox that leads nowhere and probably increases drag, but then it does hark back to the days of the Diablo GT-R and looks cool in its own testosterone dripping way. Restraint here, or at least a colour-coded finish, could separate a great car from an over-egged mess.
Then there’s the single-plane rear wing and carbon-fibre extensions to those already massive side intakes, a new diffuser and splitter and rear window spoiler. Hamann don’t worry about the wind-tunnel, if it looks right and feels right at speed then they simply go for it on the production front. And with the amount of time most owners will spend at truly high speeds where such things matter, they’ll never, ever feel the effects of Hamann’s components’. It’s all about the aesthetics and standing out from the crowd.
Inside an eight-piece carbon-fibre pack makes sure the relatively muted interior shines like a Lamborghini should – especially one that has gone through Hamann’s hands.
This is a firm that specialises in smash-mouthed, impact-oriented tuning with specials like the Las Vegas Wings, BMW M6 Race Edition with its widebody kit and now the luminescent orange and black vinyl-covered F430 Matte Brilliant. So the LP640 wasn’t going to come with a delicate touch.
It’s interesting they haven’t gone for more power for its own sake, having given the LP640 those racing touches on the visual front. But the V12 is wound up as hard as most dare take it and melting a Lamborghini engine can prove hugely problematic when it comes to who pays. So Hamann might be well advised to leave the mechanicals alone. Let’s face it, nobody was really complaining that the LP640 was too slow anyway.
Even Lamborghini calls this car the Devil of the line-up, whereas the Gallardo is the ‘lady’. It’s a beautifully apt description and Lamborghini lost six out of 10 press demonstrators as this four-wheel-drive leviathan blew them off the road. It’s a difficult animal with as many horses as the four-wheel drive can cope with, then a few more.
It’s price makes it a performance bargain when compared to the Porsche Carrera GT and Ferrari Enzo and it’s just as fast as either one. In short, it’s the most violent, aggressive fun you can have without meeting a Judge.
So Hamann contented themselves with fitting new wheels, forged, three-piece light-alloys with a black centre in a Y-spoke design. Titanium nuts and a high polished flange help complete the look. Ask how much they cost and you’ll probably faint, as Hamann thinks nothing of a €7000 set of wheels. But here the 8.5x20 fronts and 13x20 rears seem almost worth it in the flesh.
It’s an imposing car, although you’d have to think long and hard if you’re the kind of person that wants this kind of attention. Some purists will hate it, and you have to be a footballer or plain extrovert to get away with it.
But the kind of person with the money to indulge in this kind of car is rarely held back by the niceties of taste and decorum. He will love the Hamann additions to the LP640 and will soon be boasting about a new testosterone-dripping toy with his friends. That’s all this conversion boils down to, and it’s a sign of the times that more of them are cropping up every day.