2006 Lamborghini Murcielago
Only a couple hundred Murciélago coupes have reached U.S. customers since this Italian supercar went on sale in 2002. So for exotic-sports-car enthusiasts, the mere sight of one is something to behold.
Equipped with permanent all-wheel drive, the Murciélago holds a 571-horsepower, 6.2-liter V-12. Lamborghini claims the Murciélago can roar from zero to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds and reach a top speed beyond 205 mph.
Starting in 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.
An open-roofed Murciélago roadster debuted at the Geneva Motor Show in spring 2004 and went on sale later that year. For 2006, the Murciélago can be equipped with carbon-ceramic brakes, and an Interior Carbon Package is optional.
Lamborghini also markets a second, less-expensive model named the Gallardo, which is produced in the same Sant'Agata, Italy, facility as the Murciélago. Though owned by Audi AG since 1998, Automobili Lamborghini functions as a separate entity.
Somewhat angular in appearance but accented with flowing curves, the Murciélago 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 Murciélago features scissors-style doors hinged above the front wheel wells.
Other than the steel roof and door panels, the coupe'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 in back.
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 accommodate different driving conditions. The rear spoiler can move into three distinct positions.
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 greater in the Murciélago than in the Diablo, making entry and exit a little easier. All instruments are grouped on a single, electronically controlled panel.
Under the Hood
The mid-engine Murciélago 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 deletes the clutch pedal. The all-wheel-drive system employs a central viscous coupling.
All-disc Brembo antilock brakes are standard.
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