Few automobiles possess the required machismo to stop a person dead in their tracks, pull out a camera and take a multitude of pictures. The Lamborghini Murciélago LP640 Roadster is capable of causing such a reaction with not just one person, but a complete crowd. Spending two days behind the wheel of this incredible supercar in Bologna, Italy recently, I was impressed anew at the rock star status the Italian bull enjoys.
|1. The LP640 Roadster generates 640-hp and 468 ft-lbs of torque from a 6.5L V12.
2. Lamborghini claims a 0-60 mph time of 3.4 seconds and a top speed of 201 mph.
3. Pricing is set at a lofty $382,400.
4. Recently Lamborghini unveiled its most hard-core Murciélago variant, a light-weight 670-hp LP670 SuperVeloce model.
Elongated scissor doors open wide to reveal a passenger cabin certain to make women swoon and grown men giddy with anticipation. In our test vehicle, a stylized black leather dash and center console housed the necessary equipment to unleash the massive power within. Carbon fiber wrapped the HVAC and navigation panel as well as switches for traction control, power windows, mirrors and the fuel filler release.
Ensuring optimum driver and passenger comfort is the work of sculpted, one-piece sport seats. Complimenting the rest of the interior, our supercar featured black leather trim with red center inserts. Tight side bolsters restrict movement, but given the performance potential of the Murciélago and their excellent design, the amount of support provided was superb.
Power for the LP640 Roadster comes in the form of a 12-cylinder 6.5-liter engine that produces a whopping 640-hp at 8000 rpm and 486 ft-lbs of torque at 6000 rpm. Performance numbers are extraordinary. Zero to 60 mph is reached in 3.4 seconds. Top speed is listed at 201 mph, but I have every reason to believe the Murciélago LP640 Roadster could indeed go significantly faster.
Fuel economy suffers as a result of the high power numbers, achieving a combined average of 16-mpg.
Two water-radiators plus twin oil-coolers keep engine temperatures from soaring into the stratosphere. Heat is an issue with so much horsepower available. I noticed this on several occasions while driving at speed; vapors blurring the image in my rearview mirror.
Drive-by-wire technology offers the advantage of direct communication between driver and engine. Press the pedal and the response of power is certain to push you back in your seat.
The visceral experience of engaging a 12-cylinder powertrain is heightened by the wind blowing through your hair and the aria of so much power concentrated solely on the task of acceleration. Grabbing hold of the Alcantara steering wheel with the intention to drive fast is a task not to be taken lightly.
Dramatic stopping power is provided by massive aluminum alloy calipers with 8-piston front and 4-piston rear brakes. Carbon ceramic brakes are optional, as are colored brake calipers and the Alcantara steering wheel found on our test vehicle.
Permanent 4-wheel drive and a viscous traction system with electronic traction control assures the road ahead will be met with authority no matter the environment. Over the course of two days we experienced a broad range of road and weather conditions.
Driving in bright sunshine, mist or the occasional late summer shower, the Murciélago LP640 Roadster never stepped out of line. Even on the sometimes-slippery tight two-lane roads in and around Bologna, it showed complete confidence and was surprisingly easy to control.
Cobblestone streets have a way of upsetting the ride quality of even the best luxury automobiles, but to my surprise the Murciélago felt right at home. Perhaps it was the Italian heritage, but most likely the result of a tubular frame made from high-strength steel alloy and carbon fiber. Power-assisted rack and pinion steering allowed for quick maneuvering of the Pirelli P-Zero shod 18-inch aluminum wheels.
To aid in overall handling and performance, a two-stage rear spoiler deploys as speed builds. Step one takes place between 80 and 110-mph. Step two occurs at around 135 mph and retracts as speeds reduce to around 110.
Leaving the city of Bologna behind, we headed northwest on highway E45 toward the Lamborghini Museum in Sant'Agata Bolognese. An hour later we arrived at our destination.
A tour of the Automobili Lamborghini assembly facility, which included a look at how the Murciélago is built, left us breathless with enthusiasm. Our guide walked us through the assembly line process, taking time to explain in detail the craftsmanship involved with each Lamborghini built. It requires several days to complete a vehicle with this unique DNA, much of it by hand. Here we saw men and women assembling parts, stitching seats, building dash panels and piecing together some of the finest and most exclusive automobiles to be built anywhere in the world.
Later that day as we drove back to Bologna at speeds exceeding 150 mph, I was impressed anew at just how unusual the Lamborghini Murciélago LP640 Roadster is in today’s market.
With so much focus being paid to carbon-copy automobiles, each one looking similar to the next, there is still something to be said for individuality and excess power when it comes to the supercar as a whole. On the open road with wind blowing through a sun drenched passenger compartment and plenty of horsepower underfoot; well it just doesn’t get any better than this.
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