Lamborghini's next supercar promises to be technological marvel
Italian supercar maker Lamborghini has guaranteed next year's Murcielago replacement will maintain the high-horsepower rage by confirming it will have an all-new 6.5LV12 engine and an innovative new gearbox.
In a big-spending move that the Lamborghini boss, Stephan Winkelmann, claims will jump its super-sports car "two generations ahead in every sense", the new engine will blast the supercar, code-named LP837, to 100kph in less than three seconds.
In spite of a 20 per cent reduction in fuel consumption and emissions, the LP837 will boast 700hp and 690Nm of torque from an engine that does not share a single component with the outgoing Murcielago's 640hp motor.
But the engine is not the only fast or powerful part of the LP837 because its all-new computer architecture boasts more than half a billion calculations per second, while its breakthrough new gearbox will shift gears in just 50 milliseconds - and it's not a dual-clutch model.
The new dry sump engine, code-named L539 and to be hand-built in Sant'Agata rather than on Audi's production lines to maintain its V12 tradition, will be enough to see the carbon-chassised supercar reach a top speed "in excess" of 350kph.
It has sought out weight everywhere, which is why the forged, nitride-hardened crankshaft weighs just 24.6kg, each of the aluminium-silicon alloy, four-valve cylinder heads weighs 21kg and the crankcase has also been made out of an aluminium-silicon alloy.
Yet its emissions figures are not all they seem. While Winkelmann refused to confirm it, the LP837 will use a light-weight carbon-fibre chassis and is expected to weigh at least 150kg less than the Murcielago LP640. In reality, the engine itself will boast an emissions improvement of closer to five per cent than 20, and that's largely because Lamborghini is sticking with multi-point fuel injection rather than more-accurate direct-injection it already uses on its V10 Gallardo.
"When we decided to do it, we thought of the future EU6 rules and what the customer wanted," Winkelmann defended.
Insiders, though, suggested the company avoided direct-injection systems to guarantee the V12's development would be kept in-house at Sant'Agata rather than bringing in outside suppliers and Audi's own fuel-injection experts, which also helped to keep in-house control of the car's new-generation electrical architecture.
Along with the engine, Lamborghini has worked with the Italian transmission specialist Graziano to provide the best example yet of a paddle-shift manual gearbox.
The result is a seven-speed unit that changes gear in just 50 milliseconds and weighs less than the double-clutch gearbox in a VW Golf GTi. Lamborghini has managed this by turning the idea of sequential shifting on its head and dubbed the result the ISR, or Independent Shifting Rods.
Recognising that disengaging and engaging the synchromesh was the major waste of time during each shift, it broke up the traditional 1-2, 3-4, 5-6 gear pairings so that it can be engaging the next gear's synchro at the same time as it disengages the one that's already hooked up.
With all of its oil and hydraulic lines cast into the aluminium casing, it's not only stiffer and more reliable than conventional boxes, but the two-shaft unit weighs just 70kg, or 79kg with its twin-plate clutch.
"In the presentation of this gearbox, there is low weight and no packaging constraints," Winkelmann claimed.
"Compared to DSG (Direct-Shift Gearbox with two clutches), the more emotional gearbox is the one we have developed in-house. DSG gearboxes are not emotional, but ours has an emotional interpreting of the closing of the clutch and this is really an original piece of thinking from Lamborghini."
To launch the LP837 to 100kph in under three seconds, Lamborghini developed a new launch-control system and moved to link all the car's computer systems in one loop.
"It's a completely new electrical system," says Lamborghini technical director Maurizio Reggiani. "We don't have one for the engine, one for the box, one for the AWD. There's just one system and it's based on a master ECU and a slave ECU.
"There's more than half a billion operations per second - that's how much information per second goes to the ECU - and the engine ECU is normally the master, except in launches when the gearbox ECU is the master."
Updated: December 3, 2010 04:00 AM