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When Ferrari made the move to drop its iconic gated stick shift the Italian automaker boasted that its transmission technology had become so impressive that shifting your own gears was, at best, antiquated and at worst, robbing the car of its performance.
With the launch of the new Huracán and retirement of its Gallardo model, rival Lamborghini has now also sold its last stick shift. Their reason: no one cares.
The successor to the popular Lamborghini Gallardo model is expected to make its debut next year and is currently rumored to be named “Cabrera.”
The current Gallardo model has been on the market – with 12,000 built – since 2003 without any major changes to its exterior, showing just how well an appropriately wild design can age. Lambo is hoping to repeat this success with an all new design that will be a revolution, not an evolution, according to Lamborghini’s CEO.
In a recent interview with Car and Driver, CEO Stephan Winkelmann said that the new Cabrera will make a “clear cut” from the Gallardo: “We always say that design is not an evolution but a revolution, and this will be the philosophy of the follow-up to the Gallardo.”
The new Cabrera will replace the Gallardo as the entry-level Lambo and will be an all-wheel drive exotic sporting an upgraded version of the current V10 engine. Early estimates have the Cabrera achieving around 600-hp with a dual-clutch automatic transmission. Surprisingly, Lamborghini has confirmed in order for the new car to work seamlessly, the Cabrera will not have a manual transmission option.
In order to keep the price tag affordable and respectable, Lamborghini won’t be employing the excessive use of carbon fiber which was found in their Aventador model. With that said, Lamborghini is still aiming to have the successor weigh in less than the current-generation Gallardo.
We just hope that the new Cabrera will have more influences than not from the Sesto Elemento (seen above).
GALLERY: Lamborghini Sesto Elemento
The Lamborghini Estoque would seem to be headed to production. After debuting the 4-door Lambo at the Paris Auto Show back in 2008, company CEO Stephan Winkelmann has now confirmed a third model for the exotic Italian brand.
“It has to be an everyday car,” he said speaking at the Reuters Global Luxury and Fashion Summit. “We want to have a car which is able to be used on a daily basis.”
Winkelmann did, however, add that no decision has been made on what segment the car could fit in. In the past Lamborghini did manufacture and sell an SUV, although that seems unlikely. Instead, a four-seater sedan would be the most obvious choice, especially with Ferrari having just introduced its new FF model.
Winkelmann did say Lamborghini will look to find “synergies” within the Volkswagen Group of companies (which includes Audi, Porsche and Bentley) in order to bring to bring the new model to market.
The decision to move ahead and expand the Lamborghini brand to three models comes in part due to increased demand for high-end models in China. Winkelmann says Lamborghini expects the super sports car market to return to the 2007 highs by 2013, selling around 35,000 units a year compared to just 26,000 last year.
GALLERY: Lamborghini Estoque
Lamborghini head Stephan Winkelmann said that China will overtake the United States as its largest market in the very near future. Winklemann said that the exact sales numbers would depend largely on the new Aventador, and how many units it could deliver to China.
Q1 2011 sales outstripped those of 2010, even though Lamborghini was only selling the Gallardo, while it sold the Murcielago alongside it in 2010. Lamborghini plans on expanding its sales network from 14 dealerships to 20 by year’s end. China’s Lamborghini customer tends to be younger and female, two demographics which tend to display greater brand loyalty, qualities that Winkelmann obviously wants in a customer.
Rolls-Royce announced earlier in the month that it expects China to become the third largest market for its cars, while Ferrari is also anticipating the country to become an extremely important market in the near future.
Short of revealing the new Aventador LP700-4 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Lamborghini revealed a new selection of details about it’s upcoming supercar, which company CEO Stephan Winkelmann says will be the trendsetter of the next decade.
At a private event the night before the Detroit Auto Show, company execs confirmed that the successor to the Murcielago will keep the current cars DNA, retaining scissor doors, AWD and the current models massive air intakes. All the rest, however, will be new.
Winkelmann confirmed that the car will get a carbon fiber chassis; and not just a tub like the McLaren F1, but a complete shell including the roof. Plus carbon fiber will be used for the rocket panels as well. As rumored, the LP700-4 will get a pushrod suspension setup, similar to those found on race cars. “This will be the first time such a suspension is used on a normal production car,” said Winkelmann.
Lamborghini has already announced details of the car’s new engine, which will displace 6.5-liters and have 12-cylinders. Power will be rated at roughly 690-hp. It will be 18 percent more powerful than the Murcielago, while also emitting 20 percent fewer emissions says Lamborghini R&D boss Maurizio Reggiani . As for the transmission, Lamborghini will make use of its new ISR 7-speed transmission – the first use of a 7-speed with a V12 in the industry. With five gear settings, (auto strada, auto sport, strada, sport and corsa) the innovative transmission will be able to deliver shift times of just 50 ms in Corsa – which is almost as quick as a Formula 1 car.
Reggiani says that in Auto Strada mode shifts will be close to 300 to 400 ms to allow for a more comfortable drive, with 150 ms in the manual shift modes. As for the decision to not use a dual-clutch setup, Reggiani says it is for two reasons. “We decided to use a single clutch because first we want the customer to feel the emotion in shifting. Second we want to reduce weight.” Further explaining himself, Reggiani says that a dual-clutch setup would be 20 kg heavier and also less efficient, as in order for a dual-clutch to deliver the ‘shift-shock’ feeling of changing gears, it needs to interrupt the delivery of power. Not so with the ISR.
As for the rest of the car it will be more ergonomic than even the Gallardo, with space for larger drivers. The dash will feature a new TFC instrument cluster, meaning that it won’t have traditional physical gauges, but that all instrumentation will be displayed on a screen.
Previewing most everything but the shape of the actual car, unfortunately Lamborghini won’t be making the big reveal in Detroit. Instead, look for the car at the Geneva Auto Show in March.
Audi is reportedly planning to develop a new A9 model that would sit atop its current A8 flagship in the German luxury brand’s lineup. The coupe-styled luxury sedan would target the Porsche Panamera, as well as high-end coupes like the Mercedes CL.
An inside source at Audi, speaking to AutoCar, commented that, “The project isn’t officially confirmed for production, but work is progressing on the business case, both at an accountancy and engineering level.”
Developed off of the current A8′s platform, the modified chassis could then serve as the basis for a Lamborghini 4-door based off of the Estoque concept. Like with the product sharing between the Audi R8 and Lamborghini Gallardo, engineering similarities will be used to cut costs, but each vehicle would get its own unique engine.
Lamborghini CEO Stephan Winkelmann in speaking with AutoCar, made it clear that development of such a model would only be possible through shared resources with another VW Group brand.
It’s not everyday that you’re made Grand Officer in the Order of Merit of The Italian Republic. But as of November 29, Stephan Winkelmann, President and CEO of Automobili Lamborghini, can add that prestigious title to his resume.
Conferred this past Monday during a ceremony at Palazzo Chigi, the event was presided over by Gianni Letta, the Undersecretary to the Presidency of the Council of Ministers. Along with the award, Winkelmann also received the following statement signed by Giorgio Napolitano, the President of Italy, and countersigned by Silvio Berlusconi, the President of the Council of Ministers: “The President of the Republic – the Chief of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic – in consideration of special merits, upon proposal of the President of the Council of Ministers, and upon deliberation by the Council of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, with a decree dated 27 December 2009 has conferred the decoration of Grand Officer on Stephan Winkelmann, with the right to wear the relative insignia.”
The award follows Winkelmann’s efforts of relaunching the Italian luxury brand since he became the CEO in 2005. In his time as CEO, the growth of the company has been distinguished by one of the most highly esteemed turn-around programs in the automotive and luxury sectors.
On receiving the award, Winkelmann said, “It is with great satisfaction that I receive this prestigious decoration, which I would like to share with everyone at Lamborghini, whose devotion and hard work have helped turn this company into a model of Italian and international excellence in the super sports car sector.”
News that Lamborghini would send its Sesto Elemento concept into production surfaced several weeks ago, but new information indicates that even if Lambo does reproduce the car, we may never see it on the street.
Why you ask? Well, according to Lambo CEO Stephan Winkelmann, the car might be a track-only special, along the lines of the Ferrari 599XX.
“We are testing the Sesto Elemento at the moment and if it all goes well then we could look at a limited production run,” Winkelmann told AutoCar. “But it would not be homologated because there are complications with things like airbags. It would be for track use only.
Commenting that Lamborghini has no intention of just producing cars as museum pieces (obviously forgetting the recent Estoque sedan and Miura concept), Winkelmann hinted that were the car to get the official green light it would likely be even more rare than the Reventon, of which just 20 were produced.
GALLERY: Lamborghini Sesto Elemento
Lamborghini is embarking on a pragmatic approach to supercar building with its Murcielago successor, known as the Jota. Rather than focus on top speed, the Jota will emphasize weight reduction, handling and acceleration prowess over brute force.
Lamborghini released a teaser today, showing what appear to be velocity stack openings for a possibly V10 engine. While the Murcielago had a V12, the downsize in power could be part of Lamborghini’s rhetoric discussing the importance of power-to-weight ratios and the incoming use of carbon fiber in their cars.
“From the middle of the Eighties, the average weight of our cars has increased by 500 kg because of active and passive safety, comfort and emissions reduction issues, and this is something that we have to change,” the release stated, in a refreshingly honest critique of modern supercars.
The Jota is expected to debut at this years Paris Auto Show, and Autoguide will be on hand to cover the launch.
Hit the jump to see the official press release
With sales of its models slumping so far this year Lamborghini is reconsidering expanding its range of models, which could mean the Estoque concept is back on the drawing board. While no green light has yet been given to the project, Lambo CEO Stephan Winkelmann recently commented in an interview with Bloomberg that, “A third model would fit Lamborghini very well,” and that in an effort to expand the Italian automaker’s lineup, “A four-door car would be a very feasible approach.”
Seemingly a segment that’s too niche, four-door sports cars are becoming increasingly popular with the Maserati Quattroporte, Aston Martin Rapide and the successful Porsche Panamera – which has already sold 25,000 units.
Winkelmann commented that in order to make a third model feasible it would need to be a higher volume model with a “real leap” in sales. Based on numbers from Porsche, a four-door Lambo would seem like a definite cash cow, possibly doubling the automaker’s overall sales.
So far this year, Lamborghini has managed to move 674 units, down 18 percent from the year before. Interestingly, the brand is increasing sales in growth-markets like China where it saw dramatic growth. That just so happens to be a market where large luxury sedans (like a 4-door Lamborghini) sell well.
Plans to build the Estoque concept into a production model were reportedly shelved when the economy dropped off, but with a recovery in sight, Lambo may look to put the 4-door project back on track. Recently, rumors of an entry-level V8 model and even an SUV have also surfaced. Winkelman did not comment on either of those models.
GALLERY: Lamborghini Estoque
Like many high-end automakers displaying at this year’s Beijing Auto Show, Lamborghini has decided to unveil a special edition model exclusively for the Chinese market. Lambo chose its flagship model, the Murciélago LP670-4 SuperVeloce, dubbing it the “China Limited Edition” and has delivered it with a stunning new paint scheme and interior trim changes. Just 10 LP670-4 SV China Limited Edition models will be offered to a growing number of Lambo enthusiasts in the world’s most populous country.
Like the other 350 LP670-4 SV models, the Chinese Edition gets a massive 6.5-liter V12 engine with 670-hp and 487 ft-lbs of torque enabling a 0-62 mph sprint of just 3.2 seconds. It also gets the same lighter body, weighing 220 lbs less than the standard LP640.
Special “Chinese Edition” trim items include the orange stripe down the length of the gray-painted car, which Lambo says symbolizes an erupting volcano. In addition, every vehicle will get a numbered plaque with the badge of the owner engraved on it.
Lamborghini has already had considerable success in the Chinese marketplace and with limited edition models like this it is showing an increased enthusiasm for the future. “Last year, Automobili Lamborghini achieved 11 percent growth in China,” said CEO Stephan Winkelmann at a press conference for the debut of the LP670-4 SV Chinese Edition at the Beijing Auto Show. “At the beginning of this week on 20th of April, we have launched our seventh Automobili Lamborghini China dealership in Shenzhen. The inauguration of our eighth showroom in Xiamen will come soon. It is our pleasure that we can share our passion for Lamborghini with China’s super sports car drivers, collectors and fans.”
And in a nod to a bright future, Winkelman also commented on Automobili Lamborghini’s, “unwavering commitment to China and the development of a super sports car culture here.”
GALLERY: Lamborghini Murcélago LP670-4 SuperVeloce China Limited Edition
Official release after the jump:
Times might be tough in the world of exotic sports car sales, but Lamborghini continues to grow as an automaker announcing that the 4,000th Murciélago model has just rolled off the production line, destined for a customer in China.
Introduced back in 2001, the Murciélago has been a much larger success than its predecessor, the Diabo, which totaled 2,900 units over its 11 year production run. “The enthusiasm our products incite makes us proud and confirms that the company’s product strategy and model range are a winning combination, producing exceptionally desirable super sportscars,” said company President and CEO Stephan Winkelmann.
The 4,000th Murcie is no standard model either, but rather an ultra high performance LP670-4 SuperVeloce with 670-hp and significant weight reduction. Lamborghini claims a 0-62 mph time of 3.2 seconds and a top speed of 212 mph.
With 4,000 units now sold at a base price of at least $300,000 (most models costing much more than that), the company has moved at least $1.2 Billion worth of Murciélagos. Lambo’s more populist model, the Gallardo has been an even larger success with almost 10,000 units sold since 2003.
Official release after the jump:
Lamborghini has produced several models in recent years that have offered superior performance to their already exotic counterparts and they all had one thing in common – they weighed significantly less. Now Lambo is looking to bring that philosophy to the rest of the company’s lineup,
In an interview with AutoWeek, Lamborghini CEO Stephan Winkelmann and and top engineer Maurizio Reggiani outlined the company’s new focus on weight savings, commenting that the company already has all the horsepower it needs.
In reference to the new LP670-4 SuperVeloce, a hoped-up version of the LP640 with 30 more horsepower and 220-lbs of weight removed, Reggiani commented that, “No one can really tell 30 horsepower was added, but everyone can feel how much lighter the car is.”
Reggiani outlined a new plan for Lamborghini that will not only focus on weight reduction through the use of light weight components like carbon fiber, but a switch to aluminum chassis components from steel ones. After chasing top speed claims for decades, Lambo will now also look to increase acceleration – something it already does incredibly well at, with models like the LP670 SV clocked at 3.2 seconds to 60 mph.
Lambo engineers are also looking into aerodynamic improvements, as Reggiani points out how at ultra fast speeds a significant amount of power is needed to achieve just a slightly higher speed. That number can more easily be achieved through improved aero, rather than adding an extra 100-hp.
In addition, Lambo engineers are currently looking to create a start-stop system that will help improve fuel economy and reduce emissions significantly, by shutting off the engine when not needed.
We expect to see the first example of Lambo’s new engineering directon in the replacement for the Murciélago, due out in about a year.
Lamborghini has just confirmed that the Reventon Roadster will debut at the Frankfurt Auto Show tomorrow, but more importantly, it will come with the LP670 SV’s high-output 670hp engine. With full power at 8000 rpm, torque of 487 ft-lbs is available as of 6000 rm. When combined with Lamborghini’s all-wheel drive system the car blasts to 62 mph in 3.4 seconds and on to a top speed of 205 mph.
“The Reventón is the most extreme car in the history of the brand,” says Lambo CEO Stephan Winkelmann. “The new Roadster adds an extra emotional component to our combined technological expertise – it unites superior performance with the sensual fascination of open-top driving.”
The chassis of the car is made of steel and carbon fiber with the body made almost entirely of carbon fiber – with the exception of the doors, which are steel. Thanks to the use of light-weight components, the massive drop-top weights a reasonable 3,725 lbs – just 55 lbs more than the Coupe.
All that carbon fiber and steel is coated in a particular color of matte-gray, called Reventón Grey. (The matte-gray on the coupe model is a different color). The wheels on the roadster are mostly glossy with matte-colored crescent shapes, that work to cool the ceramic brakes.
And along with the already wild exterior, the Roadster features a rear spoiler that deploys at 80 mph and then folds up to an even steeper angle at speeds above 136 mph.
Other highlights include the use of LCD screens in the cockpit, instead of traditional gauges.
Lamborghini says the less than 20 Reventón Roadsters will be made, with an asking price of 1.1 Million Euros ($1.46 million) with deliveries starting in October.
Be sure to check back tomorrow for our live coverage of the Frankfurt Auto Show and the Lamborghini Reventón Roadster.
GALLERY: Lamborghini Reventón Roadster
Official release after the jump:
In an ambitions new emissions reduction strategy Lamborghini has just unveiled, the Italian exotic car maker says it will look to hybrid powertrains (among other things) to cut vehicle emissions by 30 percent by 2015. The company has already made a significant step in that direction with the launch of the LP560-4. Due to the use of direct-injection, that new vehicle emits 18 percent less CO2.
As for the other engineering initiatives Lamborghini will make to hit its target, the company said in a press release that it will also look at biofuels. This shouldn’t be too difficult considering Bentley (which, like Lamborghini, is owned by Volkswagen) has already made significant progress in this field.
Start-stop systems, which turn off the engine when at a light or in traffic, are also a possibility and would no doubt be a part of any hybrid powertrain.
More conventional practices will also be employed, with the company promising to cut the weight of its vehicles while further enhancing aerodynamic efficiency.
The company also cites “improved combustion” in its list of green initiatives and we are no doubt likely to see direct-injection on the successor of the Murciélago – if not sooner.
But Lamborghini’s green plan isn’t just limited to its cars. The company aims to reduce CO2 emissions by 30 percent at its factory.
To do this it will transform the roof of its factory in Sant’Agata Bolognese, Italy into an energy generator using solar panels. The company says the system will produce 20 percent of the power the factory uses. At the same time, the roof will undergo a massive overhaul with better insulation, lighting and heating that will reduce energy consumption by an additional 10 percent.
“Despite the difficult situation in today’s global economy, Lamborghini is committed to its policy of environmental management, since we are well aware of the great opportunities that derive from it,” said Lamborghini CEO Stephan Winkelmann. “We have an objective to reduce CO2 emissions to the greatest possible degree. We have also set compulsory annual goals that are part of an integrated approach both considering the automobile as an element which is more considerate of the environment, in terms of emissions and the use of resources, to the accomplishment of a series of corresponding measures such as modifications to our factory. This is an important action for Lamborghini and a central opportunity for our long term corporate and product development.”
The move has been applauded by the European community, with Guido Sacconi, President of the European Commission on Climate Change saying the company was “on the right path.”
“We have been particularly satisfied with the actions it [Lamborghini] has taken thus far, because they illustrate this company’s desire to embrace a new industrial vision which combines competitiveness and performance with social responsibility,” Sacconi said.
Official release after the jump: