Lamborghini spits fiery venom with the Veneno
By C.C. Weiss
March 5, 2013
For years, Lamborghini has been looking to the skies for inspiration. Fighter jets have inspired such releases as the Reventón, Sesto Elemento and even the Aventador. The all-new Veneno takes sharp, angular jet-inspired design to an extreme level. Lamborghini will build only a handful of these hardcore racecars-for-the-road.
If you've been following the evolution of Lamborghini's jet-inspired design, you may have wondered: How far can they take it? Well, it seems that the Veneno provides an answer. At least we hope it's the answer ... the only answer.
While past designs blended sharp, military-like lines with the usual sensuous Lamborghini curves and design sensibilities, the Veneno lets those lines run wild with no particular destination. The Veneno comes across as a visual amalgamation of an F1 race car, a stealth bomber and some type of Dyson-designed air conditioner. Frankly, the whole thing looks greatly overdesigned – if we didn't read the Lamborghini press release, we'd have thought we were looking at a design study from a student with no official connection to Lamborghini HQ.
As it enjoys doing, Lamborghini named its newest concept after a fighting bull, which it describes as one of the strongest, fastest and most aggressive ever. The word also means venom or poison in Spanish, which seems quite fitting for this particular design.
The looks are an acquired taste that we may never acquire, but the design has a purpose that extends well past the eyes. Lamborghini explains that every detail of the car "pursues a clear function - exceptional dynamics, optimum downforce with minimal drag and perfect cooling of the high-performance engine." This is a racing prototype that happens to be homologated for the road.
Lamborghini didn't even need to explain that, as the Veneno tells the story rather concisely. The gaping grille and flaring nostrils are part of what Lamborghini describes as an aero-optimized front-end wing, serving to channel air through the hood and onto the wheels. The air continues over the bulging fenders, along the side sills and into the cavernous side intakes. Out back, a hulking adjustable wing, rear diffuser, splitter and air outlets finish the job. The only area of the rear-end that seals out airflow is the license plate holder. A "shark" fin over the rear engine cover improves braking efficiency and rear-end stability by delivering more downforce at high yaw angles.
Underneath the six cooling ducts of the engine cover, Lamborghini's 6.5-liter V12 engine enjoys a tune of 750 horsepower. That muscular bull pushes the 3,190-pound (1,450-kg) Veneno to 62 mph (100 km/h) in 2.8-seconds – a tick faster than the Aventador but short of the ultralight Sesto Elemento's 2.5 seconds. It also packs the potential for sending the needle spasming to 221 mph (355 km/h). The engine works with a 7-speed ISR transmission, five driving modes and a permanent all-wheel-drive system. A racing chassis with pushrod suspension and horizontal spring/damper units translates all that power into sharp handling.
The Veneno sits on alloy wheels (20-inch front, 21-inch rear). A carbon fiber ring that lines each rim acts as a turbine, shooting cooling air at the carbon-ceramic discs. The exterior is painted in a new metallic grey, save for some parts where Lamborghini let the naked carbon fiber shine through. The Geneva version includes Italian flag accents.
Similar to the Sesto Elemento, the Veneno uses a ton of composite construction. The monocoque chassis and body are made from carbon fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP), and carbon design extends to the interior, where Lamborghini innovations like Forged Composite seats and CarbonSkin trim coat the cabin. The inside is more fully furnished than the minimalistic Sesto concept, but it does include evidence of the carbon monocoque on the center tunnel and sills.
The Veneno is part of Lamborghini's 50th anniversary celebration. Model number 0 makes its debut at the Geneva Motor Show and will remain the property of Lamborghini. Lamborghini has already sold the other three models, each of which will be painted a different solid color from the Italian flag, to a few lucky individuals with the wherewithal to afford the €3 million (that's close to US$4 million) price tag.