Lamborghini celebrates 50th with exclusive Veneno
|Nick Gibbs is UK correspondent for Automotive News Europe.|
- Why Victor Muller has painful memories of running Saab
- Why Infiniti, Lincoln face the same challenge
- U.S. and Brazil bright spots for Fiat-Chrysler as Europe declines
- Audi gripes, but Tesla could be en route to niche-brand success
- 2 million extra doors was the best call Daimler made during 'marriage of equals'
Lamborghini stole the limelight from McLaren and Ferrari rivals on Monday by celebrating its 50th anniversary with an exclusive hypercar of which just three will be built.
Called Veneno, it costs 3 million euros ($3.9 million) plus local taxes. All three are sold.
Lamborghini CEO Stephan Winkelmann told journalists the car was "fastest, most powerful road Lamborghini we've ever built."
The mid-mounted V-12 engine makes 750hp and propels the two-seater to 100km/h (62 mph) in just 2.8 seconds. Top speed is 355 km/h (221 mph).
The Veneno is based on the Aventador but is lighter than the carbon fiber supercar by 125kg (275 pounds).
Its designer Filippo Perini told Automotive News Europe it was much more purposeful than Lamborghini's last exclusive hypercar, the Reventon. "That was more design driven, this car is much more driven by functionality," he said.
Aerodynamics plays a huge part in the look, he said. "We started with a long discussion with our aerodynamics guys and designed the car around the under floor," Perini said.
The resulting ground-effect, together with the adjustable rear wing, gives the car 500kg of down force at the rear, he said.
The cars were sold very early on the design process, according to Perini. "We were thinking to build a 1:4 scale model to prepare the potential customer, totally useless," he said.
The sales happened so early in fact that homologation was done on the basis of the customers' location. Two are in the United States, and one wanted European homologation. The first car will be delivered in July, with the other two in September and October. Lamborghini will keep a fourth, the Geneva show car.
The VW-owned brand had to stick very closely to the Aventador to avoid have to crash test the car. "The windscreen, the doors, the dashboard, you can't touch them," said Perini.
The advantage was the adaptability of the supercar's carbon fiber tub. "The Aventador is a fantastic base because you can do a lot of derivations starting from the monocoque base," he said. He didn't rule out further special versions built off the car.
Inspiration for the design came from Le Mans racing cars, but was it also designed to impress as well as stick to a race track. Perini said: "We were looking for the 'wow' effect. You need it; you cannot arrive in Geneva with something polite."
You can reach Nick Gibbs at firstname.lastname@example.org.