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Lamborghini's 330km/h supercar is no bull

Going fast: Lamborghini is confident it can sell 400 Murciélago's annually.

After 12 years, Diablo's successor is revealed

12 Sep 2001

AFTER an 11-year wait Lamborghini has pulled the wraps off its successor to the Diablo supercar, the 330km/h-plus Murciélago.

Revealed just before the Frankfurt motor show, the Murciélago is named after a legendary fighting bull of the 19th century that had its life spared in the ring in recognition of its extraordinary courage. The bull is also the symbol of Lamborghini.

The Murciélago is the first product from the small Italian specialist supercar manufacturer since Audi took over in 1998, and it believes it can sell more than 400 worldwide per annum.

There are some obvious Lamborghini signatures, like the gull-wing doors, mid-engine drivetrain and permanent central viscous-coupled four-wheel drive.

The Murciélago is powered by a new 6.2-litre, all-alloy V12 engine that produces 426kW at 7500rpm and 650Nm of torque at 5400rpm.

Lamborghini is promising astounding performance, saying it should accelerate to 100km/h from a standing start in just 3.8 seconds.

The engine includes a variable-geometry intake system, variable valve timing on both inlet and exhaust camshafts and "drive-by-wire" electronic throttle control, which provides reduced emissions, improved idle speed control and improved driveability.

The rear of the car features two "active" air intakes for the engine cooling air that can be raised and lowered depending upon the driving conditions. The angle of the rear spoiler also adjusts depending on car speed, including a "beyond 220km/h setting".

The spoiler setting also varies the aerodynamic Cd of the car from an ordinary 0.33 to a downright disappointing 0.36.

The engine is mated to an all-new six-speed gearbox that, as per Lamborghini tradition, is mounted in front of the engine with the rear differential integrated into the engine unit.

Lamborghini has used this layout for more than 30 years and claims it affords an optimal weight distribution (42 per cent front and 58 per cent rear) with advantages for traction, braking and handling.

Lamborghini claims the Murciélago's chassis - which is a steel tube frame - has also been stiffened considerably to improve torsional rigidity.

The suspension design (independent double wishbones) is also in keeping with Lamborghini tradition.

The external bodywork panels are made from carbon-fibre, with the exception of the steel roof and door panels.

Naturally, equipment levels are high with sophisticated traction control and anti-lock braking systems standard, trip computer, leather interior, climate control and a tailored audio system.

Lamborghini is claiming the Murciélago is a much more comfortable car than the notoriously cramped and ergonomically challenging Diablo.

The door opening angle has been widened by five degrees and the chassis side member directly under the door has been lowered by 25mm.

More room is now available for both the driver and the passenger, achieved by redesigning the side members of the roof and increasing the size of the footwell.

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