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Future products: Lamborghini sees the light

Wed, 22 Sep 2010

Has engine performance gone as far as it can?

With horsepower per liter having long since broken the 100-1 mark, Lamborghini seems to think so. So do many European regulators who want to strangle carbon dioxide emissions.

As a result, the Italian supercar maker sees its future dictated not by raw horsepower but by power-to-weight ratio. That means lots of carbon fiber--so much so that Lamborghini has developed a carbon fiber research center.

Already the Gallardo and Murcielago have had midcycle improvements that replaced aluminum and high-strength steel with carbon fiber panels. Expect that to increase as vehicles are redesigned.

Gallardo: Continued performance updates should occur, but don't expect major changes until a redesign in 2014.

Murcielago: The two-passenger coupe is scheduled for a redesign in 2011, with a U.S. launch in early 2012. Reports say the new model is tentatively called Jota. Lamborghini has said it will install a 700-hp V12 engine despite Europe's tightening of CO2 regulations. Expect a massive amount of carbon fiber in the tub, chassis and body panels. The debut of the new model should occur at the Geneva show in March.

Reventon: The $1.6 million convertible debuted at the 2009 Frankfurt show. The all-wheel-drive car is powered by a 6.5-liter V12 engine with more than 650 hp. Lamborghini promises 0-to-60 mph acceleration in just over three seconds.

Estoque: CEO Stephan Winkelmann continues to tease Lambo fans by saying a four-door, four-seat supercar "makes sense" and "would fit" in the lineup. The Estoque, previewed in concept form at the 2008 Paris show, is powered by a V10 engine from the Gallardo. But with the Murcielago replacement coming fast, expect the Estoque to come later--likely debuting in Europe in 2012 and reaching U.S. shores in 2013.

By Mark Rechtin- Automotive News