Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Jet-Set Extravagance Courtesy Lamborghini Reventon

Few car makers (if any) have the reputation of Lamborghini. Since the early sixties, Lamborghini has produced exotic vehicles that inspire drool and envy - including the Miura, the Countach (which helped popularize sharp-angled sports cars) and the Diablo. And, yet, the latest Lamborghini model still manages to top its maker's reputation.

With a sleek, dark-gray (or "matte gray" as it is called) exterior, gazing at the Lamborghini Reventón is like staring into the future. Everything about the vehicle screams cool. That statement can be taken both figuratively or literally since the Reventón includes a number of unique external features designed to keep components from overheating at high speeds. Extraction fans positioned below its rear LED brake lights pull hot air from the engine, and opaque fins attached to the aluminum rims help cool the ceramic brake rotors. Other than the roof and doors (which are constructed of steel), all the body panels (and even the rim fins) are made of a carbon-fiber composite. The interior of the vehicle is no less impressive, with comfortable suede and shiny carbon fiber everywhere. But that's not the interior's most impressive component - that would be the dashboard display. Featuring three LCD screens, the driver can choose among various modes for the gauges - including a jet mode with a G-force meter.

If the jet connection seems appropriate, it goes deeper - the Reventón was intentionally designed with a jet feel in mind. Inspired by the stealth F-22 Raptor, one of the world's most effective fighter planes, Lamborghini's director of brand and design, Manfred Fitzgerald had each of his designers create a vision for the Reventón based on the jet. Fitzgerald then chose the design he liked best and sent the team to work refining it. Still, despite all the bells and whistles on the design end, in terms of performance, the Reventón actually doesn't do much more than the Lamborghini Murciélago LP640. Like the Murciélago, the Reventón has a V-12 engine, is controlled via a six-speed manual transmission and tops out at a similar speed of 211 mph. While the Reventón has a slight edge over the Murciélago in horsepower (650 instead of 640), the Murciélago has a slightly quicker pick up time (0 to 62 mph in 3.3 seconds compared to the Reventón's 3.4 seconds).

Certainly, though, no one will confuse the tag on the Reventón with the Murciélago's $300,000 ballpark price. The limited-edition piece of automotive artwork costs nearly $1.4 million (or 1 million euros). And don't get your hopes up, millionaires - only 21 Reventóns will be built and all of them have already been sold (with the exception of one car which will be stowed away in the Lamborghini vault). So, if not to make money (the costs of producing the vehicles doesn't leave room for much profit), what's the point? More than anything, the Reventón is a reassertion of Lamborghini's high-end position in the car industry. While it may not necessarily be practical to produce a wildly expensive car simply for visual appeal in a world of economic woes and debilitating gas prices, there is something to be said for the awe of excess. And nobody does awe or excess quite like Lamborghini.