A Century of Lamborghini

Sam Kessler (Online Editor)
Even a perfectionist like Ferruccio Lamborghini would be more than satisfied with his own spectacular honorary limited edition

A century ago this April, Ferruccio Lamborghini was born and with him the beginning of an automotive legend. Well, it took at least a little longer for the marque to be conceived of course, don’t run – or design performance cars – before you can walk.

Regardless of when exactly Ferruccio set about creating what he considered the best cars ever built (for future reference it was 1963) his is a legacy that has helped push the boundaries of performance cars and essentially helped define the modern supercar.

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Whatever you think about Lamborghini – and let’s be honest, they are nothing if not divisive – they are a symbol of automotive technology pushed to the extreme.  So what better way to honour the birth of their founder than to push even Lamborghini’s radical performance and design yet further?

We’ve seen more than a few impressive cars at this year’s Geneva Motor Show, yet none have caught our attention in quite the same way as the Lamborghini Centenario. We can all but guarantee that goes for a lot of others as well; striking is putting it far too lightly.

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The 100th anniversary car is based on the iconic Aventador, but in the same way a tiger is just a larger cat; it’s factually correct but doesn’t even touch on the truth of the matter. Everything that has made the Aventador one of the most instantly-recognisable cars in existence has been elevated to new heights.

The Centenario is what Lamborghini are calling a ‘technology demonstrator,’ what most marques would call a concept car. Names aside, it certainly is a demonstration. The Aventador’s already sharp lines have been honed to razors, its aerodynamic profile made more vicious than ever before. These precise, angular facets give way suddenly to gaping air vents and even the tail lights have been polished to points.

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Not that it’s all about the blade-sharp looks of course; according to Lamborghini, exterior styling comes a distant second to the aerodynamics they achieve. If that’s the case then the designer has found his calling in the windtunnel. The Centenario looks like it gives as much heed to air resistance as a pair of scissors through paper.

Furthermore the vents gaping from every surface are among the most effective cooling systems the marque has ever created. The ultra-low nose houses wide-mouthed intakes and six vertical vanes with a massive diffuser under the tail lights at the rear. Apparently enough air runs through the car at high speeds to make its body ‘permeable.’ Worrying or exhilarating, only a drive will tell.

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At its heart the limited edition car is a pure Lamborghini, using the marque’s own phenomenal V12 engine as its powerplant. Even then, the naturally aspirated 6.5-litre engine has been ramped up to nearly 760 horsepower, upping the revs to tingling heights and putting its power higher than even the unashamedly ridiculous Aventador SV.

Yet another area in which form is denoted by function is the bodywork itself. It doesn’t take an expert to recognise carbon fibre, especially when flaunted in such extreme circumstances as this. More than that however, pretty much everything that can be is as light as it can be made, cutting the weight of the already feather-light car to a dry weight of 1,520 kg.

Put the two together and you get a power-to-weight ratio of 1.97 kg/CV, less than 2kg per horse. It goes without saying that those kind of numbers are going to lead to some even more impressive ones for speed. To be precise, a top speed of 217 mph and 0-62 mph in… 2.8 seconds. That’s performance you do not take lightly.

What is reassuring is that with its superb breaking, the Centenario can halt from 186mph in just 290m. That on top of Lamborghini’s four-wheel drive system means that despite the power at your fingertips, it’s easy to feel in control.

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If you regain your breath between bouts of acceleration long enough to notice the interior, you’ll be presented with something straddling the admittedly vast middle ground between a masculine Italian lounge and Tron. Carbon fibre meets sumptuous alcantara and leather, all bathed in the light of digital displays showing your likely rather high speed and current settings.

If you do find yourself wanting to really let loose – understandably given that most roads aren’t conducive to 200mph + - the Centenario is also well-suited to the track. Telemetry software can record your performance while a pair of cameras can let you relive it all afterwards. There’s even space for two helmets in the back; just not passengers.

In celebrating the life of Ferruccio Lamborghini, the marque has pulled out all the stops. The Centenario is everything Lamborghini have striven for over the decades, surpassing even the highest expressions of the Aventador.

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Before you fix in your mind that you need one of the £1.64 million Centenarios however, it pains us to inform you that all 20 coupé versions and 20 roadsters have already been sold. Let’s be fair though, one look at specs or a single glance at the car itself, is that really a surprise?

To make an enquiry about the Lamborghini Centenario, CLICK HERE.

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