Has engine performance gone as far as it can?
With horsepower per liter having long since broken the 100-1 mark, Lamborghini seems to think so. So do many European regulators who want to strangle carbon dioxide emissions.
As a result, the Italian supercar maker sees its future dictated not by raw horsepower but by power-to-weight ratio. That means lots of carbon fiber -- so much so that Lamborghini has developed a carbon fiber research center.
Already the Gallardo and Murcielago have had midcycle improvements that replaced aluminum and high-strength steel with carbon fiber panels. Expect that to increase as vehicles are redesigned.
Gallardo: Continued performance updates should occur, but don't expect major changes until a redesign in 2014.
Murcielago: The two-passenger coupe is scheduled for a redesign in 2011, with a U.S. launch in early 2012. Reports say the new model is tentatively called Jota. Lamborghini has said it will install a 700-hp V-12 engine despite Europe's tightening of CO2 regulations. Expect a massive amount of carbon fiber in the tub, chassis and body panels. The debut of the new model should occur at the Geneva show in March.
Reventon: The $1.6 million convertible debuted at the 2009 Frankfurt show. The all-wheel-drive car is powered by a 6.5-liter V-12 engine with more than 650 hp. Lamborghini promises 0-to-60 mph acceleration in just over three seconds.
Estoque: CEO Stephan Winkelmann continues to tease Lambo fans by saying a four-door, four-seat supercar "makes sense" and "would fit" in the lineup. The Estoque, previewed in concept form at the 2008 Paris show, is powered by a V-10 engine from the Gallardo. But with the Murcielago replacement coming fast, expect the Estoque to come later -- likely debuting in Europe in 2012 and reaching U.S. shores in 2013.