Lamborghini Murcielago 2008

Massively powerful, definitively flamboyant and as eyeball-grabbing as an A-list Hollywood celebrity, the Lamborghini Murcielago firmly embodies the spirit and meaning of the word "supercar." Big and brashly styled, it has an undeniable street presence that few other cars can match.
Lamborghini Murcielago

                              2008 Lamborghini Murcielago Convertible Shown

As Lamborghini's top sports car, the Murcielago carries on the tradition laid down by its V12-powered predecessors, including the Miura, Countach and Diablo. It's not a particularly easy car to drive or, given its approximate $300,000 price, an easy car to obtain. Then again, that's all part of the appeal.

Current Lamborghini Murcielago

In Spanish, Murcielago means "bat," though Lamborghini says the name actually refers to a 19th-century Spanish bull that earned fame through its courageous nature in a bullfight. The supercar comes in two body styles -- coupe or convertible -- and both are powered by the same 6.2-liter V12 engine. Positioned amidships, it's capable of 580 horsepower and 478 pound-feet of torque. The Murcielago LP640, promised for 2007, has even more power. Its 6.5-liter V12 delivers 640 hp and 487 lb-ft of torque.

Feeding and cooling this powerful engine are a variety of scoops and ducts, including two electronically controlled air scoops that automatically raise from the car's rear haunches when needed. Power is sent through an all-wheel-drive system. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, and e-gear -- a paddle-shifted automated-clutch manual gearbox -- is available as an option.

The Lamborghini Murcielago's top speed is in excess of 200 mph. All body panels except the roof and doors are constructed of ultra-lightweight carbon fiber. The suspension features electronic adjustable damping, which can raise the car's front suspension 45 mm to avoid scraping the Murcielago's (normally) low-slung chin on driveways and inclines.

In contrast to the wildly styled exterior, which includes the trademark Lamborghini scissor doors, the Murcielago's interior is an exercise in simplicity. The seats are supportive and comfortable, though difficult to get into. Standard equipment includes air-conditioning, a tilt and telescoping steering wheel, power windows and locks, and an audio system with CD player. Options include a navigation system and a variety of custom accents for the interior, including carbon fiber.

In road tests and reviews, we found the Lamborghini Murcielago drives every bit like the supercar that it is. Its trucklike amble at low revs gives little clue as to the apocalyptic power delivery that awaits. At full throttle, there's a quick surge at 3,000 rpm, which gets more urgent at 4,500 as the exhaust clears its throat. This thrust is followed by the all-wheel-drive system shuttling torque to the rear and the most magnificent feral yowl up to redline. You can feel the accelerative Gs weighting your very fingertips, the scenery exploding through the wide-screen windshield. Handling, though never known as a Murcielago strength due to the car's size and weight, is still quite impressive.

Past Lamborghini Murcielago models

Through its general design and overall purpose, Lamborghini's flagship carries on the tradition set by its predecessors, the Diablo and the Countach. Introduced in 2002, the Murcielago has not undergone many major changes, though there have been a few spin-off models. In 2005, Lamborghini released the Murcielago convertible, which came with a removable hardtop.

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