Words by Mr Garcia
Naming your new car after a nineteenth century invincible fighting bull is not something many manufacturers would do, but then again the car it replaced was named after the devil… Lamborghini judged the new Murciélago very well, a 6.2 litre V12 monster with all wheel drive that would make any driver feel invincible. In Spanish, the name means bat, which may be why it was chosen as a suitable car for Bruce Wayne in the Batman film as his transport of choice when not wearing a cape.
The Diablo had been in production for eleven years when the Murciélago was released and Lamborghini’s new owners Audi wanted the first new V12 supercar under their stewardship to be a bold statement. They took the basic Diablo underpinnings, changed the styling and gave it greater dynamic ability. The car was a huge success, selling over twice the number of Diablo’s over it’s production life.
For Valentino Balboni, Lamborghini Brand Ambassador and ex-Chief Test Driver, a Lamborghini is all about the engine, the rest is just the engine cover. Donckerwolke was able to relax when he was designing the new car having been told this by Balboni. He had been brought in by Audi in 1998 to design the new V12 Lamborghini from scratch. When describing his role in the building of the Murciélago he claimed he was “just the guy who decorates the hall in which the 12-cylinder symphony plays.” It turns out that he was a good decorator… The Murciélago is the last in line of the V12 dynasty that can trace it’s roots back to the 1967 Muira.
When I came to purchase the Murciélago, there was no other car that fit the bill, it was the car I wanted and nothing else would do. However, even though I knew I wanted a Murciélago, I couldn’t just go out and buy the first one I came across for sale. It’s surprising how few there are available for sale at any one time. Factoring in specification desires, it’s no surprise I spent a year searching before I found the right colour with a 6- speed manual. The e-gear automated manual was not for me, I needed the open gated metal shifter as I believe it is a key part of the Lamborghini DNA.
On the move the Murciélago immediately feels very special, the cabin wraps around you and the car feels very wide and imposing, it takes some getting used to before you can confidently drive the car in narrow situations. Even when you are used to driving the car, that feeling of width never fully disappears. The Murciélago feels powerful from the outset, every millimetre of throttle pedal movement translates into a response from that 6.2 litre engine. The sound emanating from behind you in the engine bay and out the back is very deep, straight from the bowels of that V12. Once you start exploring the upper limits of the rev counter that V12 starts to scream, now from the top end, not dissimilar to an F1 car. If you haven’t heard a V12 Lamborghini at full chat, search for a video on YouTube, the sound will make your spine tingle. For a standard production car, having over 570bhp on tap is just obscene but that’s every bit Lamborghini through and through.
Over the next few years I think the Murciélago is going to hold it’s value and then increase as it gets harder to find a good, low mileage example with an owner willing to part with it. The premium prices will be reserved for those with the manual 6-speed gearbox, that open gated metal transmission will be viewed as an icon of one of the late greats, now that most supercar makers have shifted to automated transmission. Full owners experience can be found in the magazine.
Why buy one?
★Final evolution of the Lamborghini V12 dynasty that traces it’s way back to the ’67 Muira.
★Essentially a Diablo under the skin with major improvements following Audi takeover in 1998.
★If well cared for then the Murciélago can be extremely reliable.
Full list of reasons to buy can be found in the magazine.
Full analysis and advice of the ideal specification can be found in the magazine.
Prices start at around £75,000 for an early manual Murciélago and go up to around £180,000 for a ultra low mileage late LP 640. Prices have strengthened over the last twelve months, so there are a number of cars coming to market on a regular basis. Manual transmission Murciélago’s are in the biggest demand and competitively priced examples are sold quickly, often to overseas buyers. Full buying advice can be found in the magazine.
The Murciélago is a bona fide supercar through and through, as a result any maintenance work on the car is likely to be expensive. Full breakdown of prices can be found in the magazine.
With proper maintenance the V12 unit is a very reliable engine. Check for rattling from the timing chain, indicating tensioner guides may need replacing, which is a full top end rebuild. Full breakdown of buyers checkpoints for engine, clutch, gearbox, steering, suspension, brakes, wheels, tyres and servicing schedule can be found in the magazine.
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