Da Evo Uk
To capitalise on the presence of the Murciélago GT racer currently competing in the FIA GT championship (as a warm-up for Le Mans 2005), Lamborghini is to produce a special road-going version called the Murciélago R-GT. Just 25 are planned and they're expected to be launched at the end of 2005.
Prototypes are already being assessed at the factory. The most significant difference to the current production car is a change from four-wheel drive to rear-wheel drive, in an effort to save as much weight as possible. The R-GT will use a revised V12 that's grown to 6.5 litres from the 6.2-litre unit in the current car. It will also come with ceramic brake discs as standard and it will be available only with Lambo's new E-Gear paddleshift transmission.
Power increases dramatically. Lamborghini insiders say this new version of the famous V12 is already producing in excess of 745bhp on the dyno but the company is planning to settle on a headline figure of around 650-680bhp for the finished production version of the engine.
One of the R-GT's goals is to beat arch rival Ferrari's performance figures for the Enzo; a 0-60mph time of less than 3.5sec is the current target. As well as the number crunching, Lamborghini wants the R-GT to engage the driver more than the rather aloof Enzo does. Expect a list price of around £230-240,000.
After these special 25 limited edition R-GT Murciélagos have been built, expect a revised version of the current road car, called either GT or SV. Regardless of what it's eventually called, the big news is that it will get the R-GT's ballsier engine, but not its rear-drive transmission. However, the existing four-wheel-drive system will be revised. Rather like the Diablo SV of the late '90s, shorter gearing could be an option, along with the ceramic brakes from the R-GT.
While all this is going on, Lamborghini will launch a Spyder version of the super-successful Gallardo. Unlike the clumsy canvas hood on the Murciélago, the Gallardo is expected to be launched with a fully automatic fabric roof that'll disappear under a tonneau between the cabin and engine cover when opened. And the car's vertical rear window will be
electrically operated to act as a wind blocker when the roof's down.
For the 2006 model year (end of '05), Lamborghini will launch an SV version of the fixed-top Gallardo featuring a revised version of the V10, boasting at least 550bhp - it could be as high as 600bhp but the output will depend on the demands of the market and what rivals are doing in the run-up to the car's launch. This is intended to give a boost to coupe sales after the Spyder has been launched.
Meanwhile Lamborghini insiders have confirmed they're working on a possible sports off-roader, though probably nothing quite as extreme as the military-spec, V12-engined LM002 that terrorised sand dunes, high streets and petrol pumps in the late 1980s. If the SUV project progresses (and it's far from a certainty), it will probably share components with other SUVs being developed within the Volkswagen group, of which Lamborghini is a part, don't forget.
The company is also considering a V10-engined coupe along the lines of the four-seater Espada from the 1970s, designed to compete against the likes of the Ferrari 575.
Don't raise your hopes for either the SUV or the coupe - Lamborghini's engineers are so busy developing the core product lines that these tangential projects are very much in the background at the moment.