So I was sitting here the other day on Yahoo! News, reading about all the amorous intrigue surrounding the latest season of The Bachelor, when a news release popped up in my e-mail inbox from the Lamborghini Press Database. It was for the new limited-edition Murciélago, the LP670-4 SuperVeloce (SV), which sheds around 220 pounds off a standard Murci and pushes 670 DIN hp (660.8 SAE) through its four wheels, enough to run past 100 km/h in 3.2 seconds (that’d be 60 mph in barely over 3 flat) and well past 200 mph at the top end. Along with more power and less weight, the new SV also wears signature carbon-fiber aerodynamic trim that packs all the subtlety of a midnight church burning. It’s being billed, fittingly, as the new King of the Bulls.
And it suddenly dawned on me why Lamborghinis are and always have been my favorite cars. It can be mostly boiled down to two words: no compromise. My automotive colleagues have berated me time and again for my starry-eyed allegiance. After all, short of waking one day to discover several million dollars in my bank account, or at the very least, a cool 300 grand (both scenarios equally improbable), I’ll likely never actually own one.
Even if I could, there are guys who claim they would laugh at me in my Murciélago as they lap me at the track in their 599 Fiorano, or their 997 GT2, or their [insert name of equally unattainable exotic sports car here].
But the fact is, I don’t give two shits about being fast at the track. I never have. Not that an open track session isn’t a lot of fun. I just prefer driving real cars in the real world, on the street, up lonely, winding mountain roads, or over long, deserted desert stretches. Real world driving doesn’t happen at the track. Boiled down to its essence, the track is just a glorified pissing arena, and you know how those contests are. No matter how long and far you piss, there’s always someone who can piss longer and farther. Why bother?
Ferruccio Lamborghini didn’t care about the track either. He intentionally kept his cars out of racing competition, perhaps so as not to become embroiled in an endless pissing contest with rivals like the guy down the road in Modena, a Mr. Ferrari. Instead, Lamborghini set a more modest goal—producing the most outrageous, most extreme road cars that he could.
I think he’d be proud of the LP670-4 SV.
You could argue against the modern products, I guess, maybe that the Gallardo is as much German as it is Italian. I’d concede some of that argument. It’s true that many of the hard parts, the chassis and the engine, come from Germany. But the flagship, the Murciélago, is pure Italian, pure Lamborghini. The Germanic influence is largely transparent, evident only in the bulletproof build quality and operational reliability. The engine, chassis, mechanicals are still sourced largely from the home market. And like the Gallardo, every last Murciélago that rolls off the assembly line is built by hand in the same Sant’Agata Bolognese factory where Ferruccio built his first sports cars.
So back to my initial point—Lamborghinis are my favorite cars. Not the Gallardo necessarily, but the flagships, the longitudinale postieriore V12s, the outsized, scissor-doored, aurally outlandish, faster-than-stink supercars that have really defined the company image since the original LP500 Countach prototype. The LP670-4 SV is a direct descendent of that lineage and is every inch an embodiment of the company’s core values: extreme, aggressive, uncompromising, Italian.
But it isn’t just the cars. It’s the company, the people who make it up. For the most part they are young, energetic, enthusiastic, and, in spite of the company’s hardcore stance on preserving its Italian heritage, multicultural. And from all I’ve experienced, they are extraordinarily hospitable. Within Lamborghini there seems to be a marked absence of that old-guard sort of arrogance that tends to progressively saturate the ascending ranks of other premium European manufacturers—but I’m not naming any names. Even Lamborghini’s highest-ranking officers are wholly accessible, engaging, even downright friendly.
You might go on to point out that Lamborghini is not a privately owned company and has not been since the ’70s. That because of this the brand and product have been diluted somehow over the years. They haven’t. Lamborghini, under the auspices of Audi AG, is finally the company it always should have been, with a robust product offering and a strong, clearly defined, and so far inexorable market strategy. Even in the midst of the worst world financial crisis since Ferruccio began building tractors, Lamborghini continues upping the performance ante and pushing the boundaries of extreme motoring. As a large portion of the worldwide automotive industry struggles to stay relevant and solvent, Lamborghini for one seems to have retained possession of its focus, and its corporate coglioni.
So I guess there it all is, why Lamborghinis are my favorite cars. Turns out it’s not just the cars, but just as much the people, the ideas, and the attitudes behind them. It’s a company conducting business on its own terms. Considering the current state of things, that says a lot.
Go ahead and track all day until you erode butt-shaped sweat stains in your supple Connelly leather, trying to shave that last two-tenths off your lap time so you can use it to piss all over the guy who went before you. I’d rather blast down the highway with a long-legged Italian supermodel sitting beside me and a twelve-cylinder mechanical demon screaming Armageddon behind my head. Even if I mostly only dream about it.