History of Lamborghini: 1998-nowadays

1998-Nowadays

The first major innovation came in 2001 with the successor to the Diablo: the Murciélago. It is almost superfluous to point out that this new model was also named after a famous, fierce fighting bull. The fact that this Spanish word actually means 'bat' only serves to augment the dark, almost nocturnal magnetism of this magnificent new car. Its power has also been boosted to 580 hp, and this obviously increases its speed, muscle and acceleration. What has been augmented above all is the sensation of the overall quality of the car, with a level of finishing touches that is even better than the already excellent results of the last Diablos. Sales have immediately gone well, and Lamborghini can count on selling each one it makes, as these cars are reserved by customers well in advance.

The Murciélago is not destined to be alone, but during the wait for its companion in the Sant'Agata model range, several variants have been studied. The first one - and indubitably the most spectacular - is a concept car, a 'Barchetta' version presented at the 2003 Detroit Auto Show. It is not simply a Murciélago without the roof, but is essentially a new car, with its beguiling treatment of the rear bonnet and lateral posts. For the time being, it is a concept model, but a modified version will go into production.

The other brand-new item is also being unveiled in 2003, but in this case at the Geneva Motor Show: the Gallardo. It is equipped with a 500-hp 50-valves V10 engine, permanent four-wheel drive and a top speed of well over 300 km/h. Automobili Lamborghini have decided to baptize their latest model with the name of a fighting bull's breed: the Gallardo (pron.: ga:yàrdo). Designed to redefine its segment as the best high performance sports car and driving behaviour that fits its driver in every situation. The Gallardo is the synthesis of a true sports car that can be used on an every day basis. While matching these two apparently conflicting objectives, the guideline for Lamborghini engineers has been to fulfil the necessary comfort requirements without any compromise in the performances expected of a true Lamborghini car. The choices for engine, transmission, space frame and body, suspensions, brakes and electronics are then all in line with such an objective. The result is a compact (length 4.3 m) 2-seater high performance car (maximum speed well over 300 km/h), that can be driven with pleasure both on race tracks and on long distance journeys on country and city roads.

On the occasion of the celebrations for its 40th anniversary, the House of the Raging Bull offers a special, limited edition series of its supercar Murciélago: the Murciélago 40th Anniversary Edition. A limited amount of 50 numbered cars in the exclusive Verde Artemis (jade green) colour is produced in 2003 and sold predominantly in Europe, the United States and Japan.

Presented as a concept car in 2003 in Detroit - where it generated significant interest among Italian supercar enthusiasts - the production version of the Murciélago Roadster makes its official debut at the Geneva Show 2004. The Murciélago Roadster version builds on the extreme and exclusive features of the Coupé thus confirming it as a real "icon" of the Lamborghini brand. In creating the Roadster, the designer Luc Donckerwolke did not restrict himself to "cutting off" the roof of the Coupé. He bestowed it with its own sensational appearance, making the Murciélago Roadster a truly unique model. A model which in series production has retained all the emotional impact of the initial concept itself.

The engine is obviously the Lamborghini 12 cylinder 60° V, with a displacement of 6192 cc, producing 580 hp (426 kW) at 7500 rpm and a maximum torque of 650 Nm at 5400 rpm. The engine features the Lamborghini L.I.E. electronic engine management system. The standard gearbox is a 6-speed manual, like the Coupé. As an optional feature, a 6-speed "e-Gear" automatic version is available. There is also Lamborghini permanent four-wheel drive on the Roadster, with a central viscous coupling and limited slip rear and front differentials (45% rear, 25% front).

On the occasion of the 2003 Motor Show in Frankfurt Lamborghini shows for the first time a race version of its highly acclaimed super sports car, the Lamborghini Murciélago. Named Murciélago R-GT, Lamborghini is developing the competition car jointly with race experts Reiter Engineering and mother company Audi's sports division, Audi Sport. The new Murciélago R-GT will offer Lamborghini clients a highly competitive car to participate in professional motorsport events on an international level. With the Lamborghini Murciélago R-GT clients can compete in national and international race events such as the European FIA GT Championship or the American LeMans Series in the United States.

In July 2005 it is presented the Special Edition of the Gallardo, the Gallardo SE which is limited to 250 units and is characterized by a two-tone body paint, an even more sporty interior and technical improvement.

The House of the Raging Bull showed the first driveable prototype of the Lamborghini "Concept S" at the Monterey Concorso Italiano and at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in the USA in August 2005. The Lamborghini "Concept S" design study premiered at the previous' Geneva Motorshow as an extreme and spectacular expression of the Lamborghini brand. It was created at the Centro Stile Lamborghini in Sant'Agata Bolognese by Luc Donckerwolke, who drew inspiration from the classic single-seater racing cars of the past. The astonishing amount of public interest at the Geneva Motor Show prompted the decision to build a driveable prototype in order to further gauge potential customer demand.

Two years after the launch of the Coupé version of the Gallardo, Automobili Lamborghini presents the new Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2005. This latest addition brings the marque's range of supercars to four models. The Gallardo Spyder is not just an open-top version of the Coupé, but is a completely new model. It has an attractive new design and a unique system for opening and closing the fabric roof that utilises the engine compartment to store the folded roof. The Lamborghini Centro Stile and engineers from the Research and Development team have worked in close partnership to develop this new design and to bring these clean and sharp lines on the road. The new Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder is powered by the 90° V-engine familiar from the 2006model- year Lamborghini Gallardo and the Lamborghini Gallardo SE. It is a ten-cylinder unit with a displacement of 4,961 cc and a maximum output of 520 bhp (382 kW) at 8000 rpm. At more than 100 bhp per litre, its specific output is on a par with that of racing cars. The new six-speed gearbox has shorter ratios. More specifically, compared to the original version, first gear is 27% lower, second gear is 13%. Third, fourth and fifth gears are all 6% lower, while sixth gear is 3.5% lower. The six-speed gearbox operates with the latest double- and triple-cone synchromesh. The optimized gearshift linkage is user-friendly and permits precise, rapid gear shifts. The Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder can also be specified with 'e.gear', an electronically controlled, sequential gear shift.

As with every Lamborghini, the Gallardo Spyder adopts the stylistic principles of purity, athleticism and sharpness. The Spyder is not just an open-top version of the Coupé, it sets forth the tradition as seen with Murcielago Coupé and Roadster creating a self standing model.

January 2006: the House of the Raging Bull brings back a legendary name from the company's past with the breathtaking "Lamborghini Miura Concept".

The "Lamborghini Miura Concept" will be the first Lamborghini vehicle to be conjured from the talented pen of Walter de' Silva, Head of Lamborghini Design. de' Silva's other design responsibilities include serving as Head of Design of Audi Group. Automobili Lamborghini anxiously begins the New Year with the highly anticipated unveiling of the "Lamborghini Miura Concept," a modern interpretation of the Lamborghini Miura, currently celebrating its 40th Anniversary.

The new concept model, which as of now, is strictly a concept with no firm date set for its production launch, is the inspired creation of de' Silva, the world-famous Italian designer. He has redesigned every aspect of the car while remaining absolutely faithful to the original form. The new car retains the extraordinary purity of line characteristic of the original Miura: the designer's intervention has been defined by refining the contours and eliminating any superfluous detail in order to enhance the clean, simple lines and perfectly-balanced proportions of the original that so impassioned enthusiasts. The restyling of the lower part of the body takes the car's structural strength and aerodynamic performance to new heights, without disturbing the delicate aesthetic equilibrium.