Murcielago is a two-seater, two-door coupe, with the familiar gull-wing doors and based on the traditional Lamborghini layout: mid-mounted V12 engine, and typical Lamborghini transmission with the gearbox mounted in front of the engine and the rear differential integrated into the engine unit. Murcielago operates in permanent four-wheel drive.
The layout offers optimal weight distribution (42% front and 58% rear) with conspicuous advantages for traction, braking and handling. The chassis has been stiffened considerably over the Diablo. The suspension design (independent double wishbones) represents the best possible solution for a high performance GT car, and is again in keeping with Lamborghini tradition.The external body panels are made form carbon fibre, with the exception of the steel roof and door panels. The rear of the car features two 'active intakes' for the engine cooling air. The exclusive VACS (Variable Air-flow Cooling System) allows the aperture of the air intakes to be varied to suit the driving conditions.
Normally, high performance sports cars require a cooling system that can respond to the maximum cooling requirements of the engine. In a conventional fixed system, these air intakes require dimensions to suit the most extreme operating conditions, which means the air intakes are made too large for average use and thereby comprising the car's aerodynamic characteristics and performance. The Variable Air-flow Cooling System (VACS) allows the aperture of the air intakes to be altered to suit the cooling requirements of the engine and external air temperature. Thus, the car's aerodynamic characteristics are only compromised when necessary, which amounts to only about 15% of total vehicle usage. In addition, to ensure correct aerodynamic equilibrium at all speeds, the angle of the rear spoiler can also be altered. The VACS system also provides a distinctive external feature of the car, which is reflected in the choice of 'Murcielago' as its name.
Murcielago - The Name
In Lamborghini tradition, Murcielago is named after a Spanish bull which, in 1879 had his life spared after a fierce fight by a famous matador. He was subsequently given to the breeder Don Antonio Miura and went on to father a formidable line of fighting bulls that extends right down to the present day.
True to the tradition, in which the bull has always been the symbol of the prestigious motor company of Ferruccio Lamborghini (who was born under the sign of Taurus), this is the latest in a succession of names linked to the world of the corrida (bull fighting), such as Miura, Islero, Urraco, Bravo, Jalpa and Espada.
Murcielago also means 'bat' in Spanish, or in its literal translation, 'bird that sings in the night'. It's an unusual name that effectively expresses the dynamism, elegance and power of the latest thoroughbred to merge from the Lamborghini stable. It also reflects the unique styling and aerodynamic features of the car such as the VACS which, with its outward opening air vents, lends Murcielago the 'look' of a 'bird that sings in the night' during high performance driving.
Murcielago is officially pronounced "Mercy - el - ago".Published 2 November 2002