Murcielago Schmurcielago

Cars

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Lamborghini released late last week the first photographs of a limited edition Murciélago LP 650-4 Roadster. This hyper-exclusive hyper-roadster will include an uprated 6.5 litre V12 engine that produces 650 hp, along with permanent four-wheel drive. With 660 Nm of torque, performance is at 0- 100km/h (0-62mph) in 3.4 seconds. The top speed is around 330 Km/h (205mph). Only 50 of the special edition model will be produced with a Grigio Telesto exterior that combines grey bodywork with a special bright orange logo featured on the front spoiler and sills. It features orange brake calipers and a transparent V12-engine cover, which shows off the engine behind the driver.

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Of course, the Murcielago is an incredible creation. With each lighter, faster, more powerful manifestation of the car it becomes more stunning and desirable. But does it really even come close to the beautiful outrageousness that was the Countach LP400 of 1974 (Above)? Coming hot on the heels of the gorgeous but relatively understated Miura, the Countach represented the quintessence of a Lamborghini legend that in our opinion, the company has been trying to invoke, not quite successfully, for almost 40 years. You can see the echoes of the Countach’s design in the contemporary Murcielago, but it’s a digitised, almost too perfect resonance.

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Marcello Gandini and Nuccio Bertone were responsible for the design of the LP400. It had twelve cylinders mounted lengthwise (Longitudinale Posteriore – hence LP) and a wedge-shaped body only 1.07 m tall with scissor doors. With its lack of compromise and unforgettable personality (not to mention the blistering performance) it redefined the very idea of the sports car. I remember seeing a white one parked on our local high street on a Saturday afternoon. It caused a sensation. I can remember feeling something akin to infatuation for weeks after. Even today the cars gather crowds wherever they go. But back in the mid seventies the muscular braggadocio of the beast seemed to have come from Mars rather than the hills of Northern Italy.

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So why does the newest Murcielago leave us a little cold compared how the Countach made us feel? It might be that technology has seemed to make the production of supercars too easy. In the same way as the Apollo program took men to the moon using little more than a slide rule and a greasy spanner, the Lamborghini Countach defined the future of cars with hand-beaten steel and 4-star brawn. The genius of the Murcielago is undoubtedly there. It is just hidden in a super slick format we’ve seen so often before.

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