Lamborghini Murcielago SV review

Lamborghini has taken its flagship supercar to another level in the shape of the Murcielago SV. Steve Walker reports.

Preview

Operating way, way out there on the lunatic fringe of the top end of the supercar market can be difficult but Lamborghini has built its name on doing exactly that. No car gets to wear the Lamborghini bull badge without being thumpingly quick and unfeasibly hairy of chest but sometimes the manufacturer is forced to outdo even itself with something extra special. For precisely such an occasion, it reserves its SV 'Super Veloce' badge.

Ten Second Review

Spaceship styling and 670bhp from a 6.5-litre V12 engine is the recipe behind the Murcielago SV. Compared to an 'ordinary' Murcielago, it has comprehensive weight-saving measures and an extra 30bhp or so. With a 212mph top speed, there isn't much that's faster on four wheels.

Background

In 1995, the Diablo SV was launched as an even higher performance, hardcore version of the formidable Diablo supercar. It took Lamborghini 14 years to get around to doing another one but the Murcielago SV is that car. It follows a familiar formula with more power and less weight adding up to performance that's even more petrifying. Arguably, the person who drives a standard Murcielago and thinks that it needs more power should be sent for immediate psychological appraisal, not ushered into a showroom and introduced to the Murcielago SV, but that's what's going to happen now down at Sant' Agata. As usual, Lamborghini is making no apologies.

Driving Experience

The SV is built around the latest version of Lambo's V12. It's a 6.5-litre engine that develops a maximum of 663bhp at 8,000rpm, enough to make the 1,640kg Murcielago SV one of the fastest cars in the world. The standard Murcielago LP640 has 631bhp and weighs 1765kg, so it's not slow. The SV trims back on the weight through extensive use of carbon fibre to achieve a 0-60mph sprint time of just 3.2s. It uses the same all-wheel-drive transmission mated to Lamborghini's six-speed e-gear gearbox as standard but a manual 'box is available as a no cost option. The SV will crack the sprint from a standing start to 100mph in under seven seconds and will reach its 212mph top speed a short time after that. At least there's a gigantic breaking system built around carbon-ceramic discs to rein things in when either your bottle or the runway runs out.

Design and Build

Luc Donckerwolke's Murcielago still stands out as one of the most striking cars currently on the market. It's a vast vehicle at 4610mm long and 2240mm wide but is only 1135mm high and the view out isn't what you'd call panoramic. It's quite an intimidating thing to sit behind the wheel of as a result but not half as intimidating as it is to see looming in your rear view mirror. The SV version features exposed carbon-fibre bumpers and side vents for less weight and more malevolence. Then there's an absolutely gigantic spoiler bringing up the rear, although that's an optional extra. Inside, the door panels are carbon too and the navigation system is removed to reduce weight further.

Market and Model

Compared to the silly money that some manufacturers ask for their hypercars, the Murcielago SV isn't ludicrously expensive. It can safely be grouped in the performance ballpark of exotic flights of fancy like the Pagani Zonda and Koenigsegg models but these are massively more expensive and sell in much lower volumes. Ferrari, Lamborghini's old enemy, doesn't have a direct rival to the mid-engined Murc, even though its 599 GTB Fiorino has the pace to compete. Crazy though it may sound, for the select group of buyers who want something really out there in sports car terms, the Murcielago SV is actually quite a cost-effective option.

Cost of Ownership

You'll be lucky to get fuel economy in double figures from the Lamborghini Murcielago SV and emissions have been measured at 480g/km, so it's about as environmentally-friendly as an oil slick. Even Lamborghini is having to consider its impact on the planet more carefully these days and the weight-saving innovations on this SV model are likely to be very important in helping future Lamborghinis meet emissions targets. For the time being, if you want to drive an SV with a clear conscience, you might want to think about planting a few thousand pine trees in your back garden.

Summary

Fashioning a car even more extreme than the Lamborghini Murcielago was never going to be easy but the famous Italian marque has pulled it off with the SV version. Extensive use of carbon-fibre and other weight saving measures combined with more power makes for a searingly rapid machine. It might not ultimately be the fastest road car on the planet but it could be the most bonkers.