Lamborghini Murcielago

Italy's Lamborghini, you'll recall, is the sports-car maker that produced the legendary and iconic Countach, the supercar that, after its unveiling in the early 1970s spawned nearly as many male reveries and bedroom-wall posters as Farrah Fawcett. Today, that Countach DNA -- outrageous scissor-doors design, hulking V-12 engine, stratospheric price tag -- lives on in Lambo's current flagship, the fast and flamboyant Murcielago.

Power? Oh, yes: In "standard" form the 6.5-liter V-12 behind the driver's ears rocks with an asphalt-shredding 632 horsepower. If that's not enough for you (perhaps you're related to Wernher von Braun), opt for the limited-edition 670-4 Super Veloce edition, which bumps output to 661 horses (the same as Ferrari's new 599 GTO).

Both versions feed a full-time all-wheel-drive system through a choice of six-speed manual or six-speed E-Gear auto-clutch manual transmissions. And if the scissor doors are simply too outré for you, consider the Roadster edition, which also bumps horsepower slightly over the standard LP 640 (though you'll have to hurry as Lamborghini is building only 50 of the drop-tops).

The Range

Bodystyles: Coupe, convertible
Engine: 6.5L V-12
Transmissions: 6-speed manual, 6-speed auto-clutch manual
Models: LP 640, LP 640 Roadster, LP 670-4 SV

What's New

Lamborghini introduced both the SV -- lighter and more potent than the standard Murcielago -- and the open-air Roadster versions for the 2010 model year. While the Roadster is rarer, the SV is juicier. Roughly 220 pounds lighter than the LP 640, the SV also sports the previously noted power bump, a revised bod (with larger, fixed rear wing), and carbon-fiber cabin trim.

Exterior

Look up the word "Murcielago" in the dictionary, and you'll find the following definition: "To arrive with all the subtlety of Pamela Anderson in a Saran Wrap bikini. To humiliate the weak. To own any valet stand."

Interior

Fire up the V-12, and suddenly you won't care that: (a) you can barely see anything behind you, (b) to back up you'll need a spotter, (c) climbing out can make you look like a circus clown.

Performance & Handling

Few automobiles on earth run like this one. The "regular" LP 640 scorches to 60 mph in less than 3.5 seconds. The SV can do it in just 3.2. Top speed, claims Lamborghini, is well north of 200 mph (211 mph for the SV). Maximum grip hovers around 1.0 g, and the Murcielago is far lighter on its feet than its size might suggest.

Safety

The Roadster adds a measure of security with rollover bars that automatically deploy if the car begins to turn turtle. Otherwise, the safety extras are minimal (no side air bags, no stability control).

EPA Fuel Economy

LP 640, Roadster: 8 mpg city/13 mpg highway
SV: 9 mpg city/14 mpg highway

You'll Like

  • Blistering performance
  • The V-12's howl
  • Sensational styling
  • Being treated like a rock star

You Won't Like

  • Outrageous price tag
  • Laughable rear visibility
  • Horrendous fuel consumption

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