They say grabbing a tiger by its tail is inviting danger. Seems no one told us that taking a raging bull by its horns was just as fraught! More so when it's on the Sepang Grand Prix circuit in Malaysia, natural habitat for thorougbred bulls to be given their head.... special drive session of the new LP640 Murcielago sportscar."
Automotive folklore of the stunning Miura and its creator fascinates no end for their bold initiative to take on the great Enzo Ferrari, reputation, history, tradition, engineering prowess, racing success and all. For a tractor maker to be this ambitious was straight out of Boys Own and even though Lamborghini didn't race, its sports cars were racy enough forgive them this lacuna.
LP640 Murcielago, LP stood for 'longitudinale posteriore' or rear-engined in a north-south placement of the glorious V12 motor with 640 being its power output. Thats what really constituted the genuine Lamborghini sportscar in its history and that had to be the Countach, not the Miura. The genes of the Countach run strong in the latest Murcielago.
A 'literal' spin in a supercar is what's the LP640 for you. A mad barking car that is docile when you have to in everyday driving on the street but direct and powerful if you like your motoring that way when you get a decent stretch of tarmac to plonk the right foot down. Get on to the ï¬‚ip side and it is like dancing on a razor's edge: one wrong move will have the car chew you and spit you off if you are lucky otherwise it will slice you in two without you even getting to cry out to the lord.
So what have the Lamborghini engineers done to make the LP640 the most audacious car ever from Sant' Agata? Well if you take in the sleek exterior first you will not notice a purer form than this Murcielago. Of course there is function which has decided the overall form so while
there are new design bumpers front and rear, it is the sides which throw up an interesting mix: the expanse behind the air intake on the right hand side is practically closed while that on the left has a vast gaping aperture for the cooling charge to hit the oil radiator. It may not be dramatic enough like the Diablo but then that is only measuring the extent of how far wild you can go with a Lamborghini. And the Murcielago is both, pretty and wild, rolled into one fine orgasmic whole.
Open the scissor door to inelegantly glide yourself down into the cockpit and you know that you are in a genuine honest to goodness fire breather. Lamborghini has laid out both right and left hand drive versions of the LP640 with both the six-speed close ratio manual gearbox as well as the brilliant e-gear auto 'box complete with its new dedicated acceleration mode (aptly termed "Thrust") built-into the system. And as always there are the permanent four wheel drive with the torque split normally set at 30:70 front to rear but with the ability to switch seamlessly after the electronics brains trust residing in the car takes in factors such as dynamic oscillation, weight transfer and also the relative friction factor in optimum synchronisation with the viscous clutch. In fact the Lamborghini boffins informs that if it were ever needed, in extreme cases one could find 100 per cent of the ample 660Nm of torque being fed to just one axle and this could even be the one at the front!
The magnificent naturally aspirated 60-degree V12 has been upped in capacity to 6.5 litres and this has helped bump up the power from 580bhp to 640bhp at 8000rpm. Torque is a battleship monstering 660Nm at 6000 rpm and you know that more is never enough in this league.
Imagine the performance capability of the LP640: it does zero to 100km/h in 3.4 secondsat in first gear! Only get to shift into second at around the 105km/h mark and from then on it is not the quickness of pace or the speedo and rev needles going crazy which impresses but the sheer planted feel as those mighty 18-inch Pirelli P Zeros get to work, laying down the power admirably well on this wide tracked ballerina. Yes this 1665kg car is fast (330km/h top speed), nimble where it has to be, taut when you allow it to be so and perfectly tractable when you are on the babe hunt run cruising down .
Hustling the Murcielago is an education at the highest levels. Praise the e-gear paddle shift system, you will like to play with the mechanical feel and direct engagement of the fantastic six-speed manual transmission. Getting to take the car through its peak torque point in each cog can be scary but fun as long as you knew when you had to roll it back with the simple expedient of lifting your right foot off the throttle pedal. While might be exaggerating a bit here, the huge 380mm dia ceramic Brembos are crushingly effective and you have to watch out, for they could turn from friend to foe in no time given your shenanigans at the wheel. Lack of ESP is great in that it lets you use your skills at the wheel to do the business while delivering that chill in the nape of your neck while you are modulating throttle, dancing on the brakes and working the cog lever as never before. Let me assure you this is more car than many can handle to its hilt and that's what makes it so enticing.