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By Jim Flammang
April 20, 2005
Vehicle Overview Only a couple hundred Murci�lago coupes have reached U.S. customers since this Italian supercar went on sale in 2002. To exotic sports-car enthusiasts, though, the mere sight of one is something to behold.
Equipped with permanent all-wheel drive, the Murci�lago holds a 571-horsepower, 6.2-liter V-12. Lamborghini claims the Murci�lago can roar from zero to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds and reach a top speed beyond 205 mph.
For 2004, Lamborghini's six-speed-manual transmission could be operated by a new "E-gear" system that eliminated the clutch pedal. This robotized gearbox delivers electrohydraulic sequential shifting. Twin paddles on the steering column yield upshifts and downshifts, while a Reverse button is mounted on the dashboard.
Starting in 2004, Lamborghini also offered an R-GT edition for racing in FIA-GT competition. An open-roofed Murci�lago roadster debuted at the Geneva Motor Show in spring 2004 and went on sale later that year. Little has changed for 2005.
Lamborghini also offers a second, less-expensive model named the Gallardo, which is produced in the same Sant'Agata, Italy, facility as the Murci�lago. Though owned by Audi AG since 1998, Automobili Lamborghini functions as a separate entity.
Exterior Somewhat angular in appearance but accented with flowing curves, the Murci�lago may recall memories of the automaker's bizarre-looking Countach, which preceded the Diablo in Lamborghini's model lineage. Sporting a wedge-shaped profile like that of the Diablo, the Murci�lago features scissors-style doors hinged above the front wheel wells. The new roadster has a lowered windshield.
Other than the steel roof and door panels, the car's bodywork is composed largely of carbon fiber and is built over a frame made of high-strength steel tubing. Weight distribution is 42 percent in the front and 58 percent at the rear. Aluminum-alloy wheels hold 18-inch Pirelli tires that are wider at the rear.
Mounted on long arms that let the driver see beyond the prominent rear fenders, the mirrors can be folded back electronically. A number of visible air intakes and vents help cool the V-12 engine and the brakes. Two active intakes at the rear use a Variable Airflow Cooling System that permits changes in the aperture to suit different driving conditions. The rear spoiler can move into three distinct positions.
Interior Two occupants get leather-upholstered seats. The driver faces a three-spoke leather-wrapped steering wheel. Lamborghini says the chassis is lower and the door-opening angle is greater in the Murci�lago than in the previous Diablo, making entry and exit a little easier. All instruments are grouped on a single, electronically controlled panel.
Under the Hood The mid-engine Murci�lago packs a 6.2-liter V-12 that cranks out 571 hp. A six-speed-manual transmission sits ahead of the engine and can be operated by Lamborghini's "E-gear" sequential-shifting system, which lacks a clutch pedal. The all-wheel-drive system employs a central viscous coupling. Rather than a direct mechanical connection to the gas pedal, a drive-by-wire electronic throttle control system is used.
Safety All-disc Brembo antilock brakes are standard. The passenger-side front airbag offers dual-stage inflation.