PARIS: LAMBORGHINI SESTO ELEMENTO
Exotic concept showcases all-new material - 'forged carbon'
The Sesto Elemento is Lamborghini's answer to the 'how do you create a supercar that weighs as much as a 1980s supermini?' question.
It weighs in at 999kg and, being as it's based on the running gear of a Gallardo Superleggera, that gives it a power-to-weight ratio of nigh-on 570bhp per tonne (a Ferrari 458 Italia manages 'just' 370bhp per tonne). Performance is therefore pretty stellar, with 62mph reached in a claimed 2.5secs - Bugatti territory, but with half the power.
Although the Sesto Elemento is a concept, its light-equals-rapid premise points very firmly to Lamborghini's future; from now on Sant'Agata's supercars will get their pace through low weight and hi-tech engineering as much as through brute force.
Crucially, however, the extraordinarily light kerb weight also comes from making most of the Sesto Elemento's body, tub, interior and even some suspension components from a brand-new material called 'forged carbon'.
Lamborghini has developed this new material in conjunction with the University of Washington and aviation giant Boeing. Forged carbon, reckons Lamborghini, is as light and very nearly as strong as resin-based carbon fibre and yet takes far less time and money to produce.
You might not be able to go out and buy the Sesto Elemento right now, but don't go thinking this is pure fantasy stuff. Forged carbon looks likely to make an appearance in a Lamborghini dealer near you very soon, probably with the new Gallardo, which is due out in a couple of years time.
And the name? It's Italian for the 'sixth element' of the periodic table (that's, er, carbon, by the way).