Road Rapture

This article appeared in Elements Magazine in 2008.

With matte paint and angular lines, the Reventon looks like a fighter jet for traffic jams.

There are some people for whom the ordinary will not suffice. For these particular persons, only the “distinct” will do. We’ve seen them around, flashing an LG Prada mobile phone or fumbling through a limited edition Gucci carryall. Yet, there are some top-of-the-line Lamborghini Murciélago LP640 owners who believe their car just isn’t distinctive enough. For that, the Italian automaker launched a program to create the wildest and craziest car in their history, and for motivation, Lamborghini looked not to other wheeled vehicles, but to the skies.

Even from the side/rear, this is one unique Lambo.

Raging Raptor

The inspiration for the new, $1.4-million Lamborghini Reventón supercar is the latest, most high-tech military fighter aircraft in existence, the F-22 Raptor. Lambo’s director of design, Manfred Fitzgerald, wanted to emulate the raw, technological “edge” of the Raptor in an automobile, and doing that took the Audi-owned, Sant’ Agata Bolognese-based carmaker in a direction previously never seen on the roads—of this planet, at least. With sharp creases and obtuse angles in its carbon fiber body, the new Reventón is perhaps the most striking supercar since the 1970s Lamborghini Countach. Says Stephan Winkelmann, Lamborghini President and CEO, “The Reventón is the most extreme of all.” In fact, the only parts shared with the Murciélago, on which the Reventón is based, are the doors, side mirrors, and roof. The purposeful, “function over form” styling of the Reventón is, in many minds, the most successful blending of “aircraft chic” and “car cool” ever created. (Hip Tip: The Reventón is named after a particularly fierce and famous Spanish fighting bull of the 1940s.) Couple that with matte green-gray paintwork and you’ve got a car that will easily scare “left lane bandits” over to the right in a hurry. That’s right—you can get the Reventón in any color/finish you like…so long as it’s matte green-gray. After all, banana yellow paint is for a Gallardo.

If grey-green suede's your thing, you'll love the Reventon's interior.

Authentic Cockpit

The interior is the other area where Lamborghini drastically deviated from the Murciélago’s fare. After swinging open the scissor doors, one isn’t greeted with the austerity of a military vehicle, but with sumptuous Italian leather and suede-like Alcantara everywhere. Sprinkled about are touches of real aluminum and carbon fiber trim. Behind the flat-bottomed steering wheel are the transmission’s shift paddles and behind that is the Reventón’s revolutionary gauge cluster. Instead of having old-fashioned dials with pointers, the Reventón utilizes three LCD monitors that display a selection of user-chosen speedometer and tachometer readouts. One choice mirrors that of a conventional set-up, with round “analogue” instruments. Another choice boasts a futuristic display with a digital speedometer and a G-Force-Meter with pseudo-military “stencil” markings. The G-Force-Meter shows the dynamic drive forces, longitudinal acceleration during acceleration and braking, as well as transversal acceleration around bends. These forces are represented by the movement of an indicator on a graduated 3D grid, depending on the direction and intensity of the acceleration. The effect is impressive and this driver-selectable arrangement is sure to be featured in future Lambos—it’s that cool.

Taking the "fighter jet cockpit" concept to the instrument panel.

Shock and Awe

Motivating the Reventón is the Murciélago’s V-12, with 6.5 liters of displacement, and mated to a six-speed semi-automatic transmission. The car’s 650 horses are delivered to the pavement through all four wheels (again, like the standard Murc). The Reventón’s 18-inch wheels are also bespoke in that they feature carbon fiber cooling vanes on them to help lower the surface temperatures of the standard ceramic brake rotors. Performance is familiar to a Murciélago owner, with 60 miles an hour appearing in less than four seconds and culminating in a top speed of 211. Lamborghini realized some owners drive their cars on real roads, so they’ve fitted a standard hydraulic system that, with a push of a button, raises the Reventón’s nose so as not to scrape it on a driveway. Another interesting factoid is that the rear lights use special, “heatproof” LED bulbs, due to the massive heat plumes swirling around the car’s rear at speed.

"Heatproof" L.E.D. lights are utilized in the caboose.

Mission Accomplished

At $1.4 million, people will surely lump the Reventón in with Bugatti’s Veyron, but that would be a mistake. The Veyron is a technological showpiece that was created to show the world that a 254-mph car can be built for the “street.” The Reventón, however, was created to show what a smallish, Italian car company could do when buyers don’t care about price. The Reventón is also a car that is more cutting-edge with regards to styling than performance, and Lamborghini itself refers to the car as “haute couture.” Yet, those with over a million bucks to spend—and spend gladly on a car—are out of luck. Lamborghini is only building 20 Reventóns, and all 11 destined for the USA are sold out. In other words, the Reventón is an instant collector car, and as such we probably won’t be seeing a lot of them on Route 25A or the L.I.E., and that would be shame because it’s not often a “raptor” is spied amongst the herd.

 LAMBORGHINI REVENTÓN Specifications

  • 0 to 60 mph: 3.4 seconds
  • Top Speed: 211 mph
  • Drivetrain: 6.5-liter V-12, E-Gear six-speed semi-automatic transmission
  • Total Power: 650 horsepower; 487 pound-feet of torque
  • Base Price: $1,400,000
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