End of a Lambo legend- the Murcielago LP 670 Super Veloce [review]

THE LAMBORGHINI LP 670 SUPERVELOCE
photos by Mario Chiarappa and Flavio Mazzi

Lamborghini has extended the rein of its flagship Murcielago with the latest version called the LP 670 SuperVeloce. It is a the fastest, most powerful Lamborghini they have ever made. This is not merely another dressed-up Murcielago but a back-to-basics project with the intention of creating a more extreme supercar. The engineers decided to lighten the LP 670 by a total of 100-kg taken equally from three main areas namely the body, engine and interior at the same time push power up from 640 bhp to a heady 670 bhp.

SuperVeloce is a name that name has not been in use for about 25 years so perhaps the best explanation is by example as the SuperVeloce is in concept very much like the Superleggera making the LP 670 SV a lightened more brawnier version of the LP 640. See original story on the Diablo SV HERE.

Lamborghini engineers decided to start with the steel space-frame chassis help to achieve the target 100-kg weight reduction. By swapping over to a high grade high-tensile steel not only shaved 20 kg from the space-frame alone it also boosted the body sturdiness by 12% over that of the LP 640. Carbon fibre reinforced composites help cut weight from the front and rear side fenders as well as the rear third brake light housing.

The optional rear spoiler and the rear diffuser construct also reduce weight but it is the removal of the automated lifting mechanism for the smaller standard rear spoiler that helps most with the 13-kg reduction. Its questionable just how much weight is saved by having that huge boomerang AeroPack wing spoiler that reduces top speed to just (!) 337 km/h as opposed to 342 km/h with the standard spoiler but it is a must-have item just for the sheer visual impact if not for the increased downforce.

The interior of the standard car was also parred down by a similar 34-kg through extensive use of Alcantara and carbonfibre panels on every surface of the interior. The Sport bucket seats come with a lightweight carbonfibre frame that also helps reduce the overall weight. Like the six-speed manual gearbox Lamborghini is willing to provide the standard, more luxurious seats as a no-added-cost option but there is no point as the original seats are much heavier and the latest revision to the E-Gear system has improved clutch and power take up for smoother town driving.

The last 33-kg came from the engine and driveline. No they did not make the SV into a two-wheel drive machine but they did save a massive 26-kg from the exhaust plumbing alone by using a new lightweight alloy instead of stainless steel. The rest of the weight-reduction comes from the use of a lightweight clutch and flywheel assembly as well as the exclusive forged alloy wheels at each corner.

Huge Carbon-Ceramic brakes help reduce unsprung weight but the LP 640 had these specified already to cope with the huge performance potential when it had just 640 bhp. Oddly enough these Ceramic brakes work in a far more progressive manner than the ones in the Gallardo and indeed the Audi R8 as well. In the SV they seem to be a tad more effective perhaps as a consequence of the car's lower overall weight rather than any tweaking of the braking system.

Thanks to the louder, freer flowing exhaust system, it was easy to squeeze another 30 bhp by a mild tweaking of the 640 bhp base engine. Of course many will appreciate the “brag-factor” of having 670 bhp but the real gains in performance actually come from the 100-kg weight reduction which helps with all performance parameters unlike sheer fire power alone which in this case comes in around the 7000 rpm making it useful only when one drives at the very limit. Clearly this V12 has developed a new attitude being crisper in response and more eager to rev to the redline. There is also a sharper note to the exhaust bark urging you on to the crescendo at 8000 rpm. With the new 2010 EU regulations looming, you had better get these last examples of unmuzzled supercars unless you like yours served lukewarm.

With a huge dollop of war paint and go fast addenda the SV really looks menacing with the pronounced front splitter and rear AeroPack wing finished in wet carbonfibre contrasting against the bright metallic orange paintwork of the body crouched over the jet black forged wheels that have such dainty spokes that barely hide the large non-reflective ceramic brake rotors. It looks like its doing 300 km/h just sitting there.

Fire up the beast with a mere twist of a key without the unnecessary secondary start button and the SV bellows to life promising an experience equal to what its appearance suggests. There is a odd thrum and wobble around 2000 rpm but its always been like that, a little boisterous but it means well. Tap the right paddle and the gearbox goes into first but be warned there is no auto-mode to sell this idea to your wife. The shifts all seem a bit more smoother without the need of feathering the throttle just before the shift point so it seems that Lambo has been busy even with the small details.

Unleash full throttle and the SV launches itself with a ferocity that goes far beyond the extra 30 bhp would suggest. This is the benefit of weight reduction as the power increase is only felt as that added sparkle at the top end of the power band but thanks to the the reduction of 100-kg the engine feels more potent at any speed. At 1565-kg it is no featherweight but the feeling of lithe is present thanks to the performance delivery of overachieving components like the huge brakes, ultra stiff suspension, gumball P-Zero Corsa tyres and of course a herd of 670 frenzied Italian ponies.

Over some daunting Italian mountain roads, the SV proved a brilliant union of traditional supercar construction and high-tech material science. The LP 670 has a large footprint by supercar standards but it knows and conveys every nuance of that footprint to the driver allowing him to feel the car through every corner rather than merely steer it. It is surprising to say this but the LP 670 is better than the new LP 560-4 in this respect. Application of full power hardly threatens traction thanks to the all-wheel drive system that is tuned to behave like a RWD machine but without the liability.

Mechanical grip through the corners is just fabulous thanks to the P-Zero Corsas and though the SV only has traction control without any stability program, the car actually feels more pure because of it. The engineers had to ensure that it is through proper chassis set-up that the SV delivers excellent handling rather than by some artificial electronic means. Of course this would show up lame-footedness on the part of the driver but rewards are more obvious when done just right. Another revelation over the worn mountain roads is just how strong the chassis feels now with the increased rigidity delivering a cushioned step despite the firm suspension settings.

Also owing to the added sturdiness in the chassis the LP 670 SuperVeloce has improved ride characteristics thanks to its ability to shrug off the suspension loads so effectively. Spring and damper rates need not be compromised to save the bodywork and can be tuned for outright handling with full confidence that ride is not unduly penalised and this results in both crisp handling and a decent ride.
Yes this is a proper badboy supercar that is as wild as it looks. Lamborghini says it will be limited to 350 examples so you better be fast with your cheque book. It might sound like we have lost our marbles but this LP 670 Superveloce sure feels like the finest Lamborghini ever made as this new found aggression in both its appearance and performance reinforces its position as the de facto hedonistic supercar of our time.


Fast Facts
ENGINE
CAPACITY : 6496cc
CYLINDER LAYOUT : V12
VALVES : 48 valves
BORE X STROKE : 88 x 98mm
COMPRESSION RATIO : 11:1
MAXIMUM POWER : 670 bhp at 8000 rpm
MAXIMUM TORQUE : 660 Nm at 6500 rpm

TRANSMISSION
TYPE : 6-speed E-Gear robotized manual
DRIVEN WHEELS : All-wheel drive

PERFORMANCE
TOP SPEED : 342 km/h (small spoiler)
0-100KM/H : 3.2 seconds

SUSPENSION
FRONT : Double wishbones
REAR : Double wishbones

BRAKES
FRONT : Carbon-Ceramic disc brakes
REAR : Carbon-Ceramic disc brakes

TYRES
TYPE : Pirelli P-Zero Corsa
SIZE : f: 245/35 ZR 18, r: 335/30 ZR 18

SAFETY
ABS : Yes
AIRBAGS : 2
TRACTION CONTROL : Yes

MEASUREMENTS
LENGTH : 4705mm
WIDTH : 2058mm
HEIGHT : 1135mm
WHEELBASE : 2665mm
KERB WEIGHT : 1565-kg
TURNING CIRCLE : 12.55m

Price in 2009: SGD $ 1.3 million
Production limited to 350

Photos: 
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