Lamborghini is to unveil the LP640, a new, faster version of the Murciélago, at the Geneva motor show this week. LP640 refers both to its engine position -- longitudinale posteriore -- and its 640bhp power output.
Lamborghini has improved the engine, suspension, gearbox, exhaust system, brakes and electronics, as well as the interior and exterior, making the LP640 even more extreme. The first vehicles will be available from official UK dealerships, Lamborghini London and Lamborghini Manchester, later this year. Since the original Murciélago’s debut at Frankfurt Motor Show in 2001, around 2,000 vehicles have left the car plant in Sant’Agata Bolognese.
The Murciélago LP640 looks even more aggressive, with new front and rear bumpers, new exhaust which has been incorporated into the diffuser and new rear lights.
The area behind the right-hand air intake on the right side is practically closed, while the left side features a big scoop for cooling the oil radiator.
One option is to fit an F430-style glass engine hood. The rear view mirrors and the windscreen wipers have been modified to improve aerodynamics and light metal rims have been added. The graphics of the instrument panel lights in the cockpit have been revamped. The interior upholstery also has a new stitching pattern.
The engine has undergone radical modification, with increased bore and longer stroke boosting displacement of the 60-degree V12 from 6.2 to 6.5-litres. Power is naturally up, from 580bhp to 640bhp at 8,000 rpm, and torque reaches a chunky 487lb-ft at 6,000 rpm. Performance is up too, of course, with 62mph coming up in 3.4 seconds, 0.4 seconds faster than the previous model, with a top speed of over 200mph.
The added power has been extracted via a new cylinder head and intake system using Lamborghini's variable geometry system, along with a new crankshaft, camshafts and exhaust system.
Lamborghini engineers have also concentrated on improving torque development. The drivability of the engine is enhanced by a continuous variable timing system (intake and exhaust side) and a drive-by-wire engine management system. To meet the thermal requirements of the engine, the engineers have included a considerably larger oil radiator and subsequently, the air intake on the left side of the vehicle has been enlarged. The liquid cooling system remains the same, with electronically controlled, moveable air scoops.
Gearbox and transmission
More power and higher torque demand a chunkier drivetrain so the LP640 gets a modified six-ratio gearbox, a tougher rear differential and new axle shafts. On request, the e-gear automatic gearbox is also available equipped with the new dedicated "Thrust" (acceleration programme) mode.
Just like its predecessors, the Murciélago LP640 features permanent four-wheel drive, based on the Lambo's mechanical VT (Viscous Traction) system which divides power between the front and rear axles 30:70. An independent control circuit adjusts the distribution of the drive force depending on dynamic oscillation, weight distribution and the relative friction factor in synchronisation with the Visco clutch. In extreme cases, up to 100 per cent of the drive force can be applied to either axle.
The new, more comfortable seats feature redesigned head restraints, and a new instrument panel features newly-designed lights flanked by a new Kenwood car radio with a 6.5-inch widescreen monitor and DVD, MP3 and WMA player. Satnav is -- surprisingly for a car in this bracket -- still optional. You can also customise the cockpit with, for instance, a carbon finish applied to the air conditioning control panel, the control lever console and the parking brake.
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