Automakers often turn to airplanes when working out designs for a new car. Both airplanes and vehicles need to be aerodynamic if they're going to perform well, whether in the air or on the road. The auto industry, especially companies that make fast sports cars, is starting to use the same materials out of which airplanes are manufactured. Carbon fiber and fiberglass composites, used for wings and other structural elements on planes, can help make the bodies of cars stronger and lighter at the same time. This also means faster performance (because of less weight) and better crash safety.
But what if someone went one step further, designing both the interior and exterior of a car after not just an airplane, but a fighter jet like the F-15 or the F/A-22 Raptor? That's exactly what Lamborghini, the maker of some of the most powerful and recognizable sports cars in the world, is doing with its newest model, the Lamborghini Reventon. Everything from the arrow-shaped design of the Reventon's body to the interior console finds inspiration from some of the military's most powerful flying machines, right down to the air intakes.
If you're a Lamborghini fan, the Reventon is the ultimate. Think of it as the extra-special limited-edition extended-cut DVD box set of your favorite movie. Unfortunately, there's a catch -- the car costs $1.4 million, and the company only made 20 of them. On top of that, they're already sold out. The Reventon is also the ultimate in exclusivity, the most expensive Lamborghini to date, so don't expect to see one on display at your local showroom.
Still, it doesn't really hurt to rest your elbow on your desk, place your chin in your hand and gaze fondly at the Reventon's shiny, Grey Barra hue -- a completely new color specially developed by the designers at Lamborghini -- while reading about specifications and the supercar's unique modifications. Read the next page to learn more about what makes the Reventon run.
The Reventon isn't exactly a completely new car. Although the look, feel and price tag of this particular Lamborghini are unique, its basic qualities actually stem from an earlier car, the Murcielago LP640. This has disappointed a few enthusiasts following Lamborghini's efforts -- some argue that the Reventon is simply a hyper-expensive version of the Murcielago model, without many changes aside from a few superfluous bells and whistles.
The technology in the Murcielago includes a V12, 640-horsepower engine -- it can accelerate from 0-60 miles per hour in 3.4 seconds and achieve speeds of 211 mph (339 km/h). Information in the press releases for the Reventon appears to vary, but the supercar looks to perform at about the same level as the Murcielago. Only the horsepower listing changes, increasing slightly to 650 hp. The base cost of the LP640 is around $280,000, so those paying the extra $1.2 million for the Reventon better really want their cars to look like fighter jets.
The exterior design of the Reventon does manage to set it apart slightly from the Murcielago before it. Although the dimensions and proportions are similar, small touches like the arrow-shaped hood and the air intakes on the front give the Reventon its earthbound fighter jet look. The intakes aren't just for show, either -- an increased amount of air flow is necessary to cool the Reventon's carbon disc brakes and six-cylinder calipers (the parts that squeeze brake pads against a car's wheel). The hood of the car is also made of glass laminate, and, like the Murcielago, the body of the Reventon is made of a carbon fiber composite (CFC), making it strong yet light.
The exterior light system is one of the Reventon's technological innovations, as the car is fitted with bi-xenon headlights and a series of light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, for the indicator and hazard lights. The rear LEDs are the most impressive feat, however. They're located near the car's exhaust system, and an engine performing at 640 hp will produce a lot of heat -- up to 120 degrees, according to Lamborghini. In order to make rear LED lights possible, Lamborghini developed special heat-resistant LEDs to sustain the high temperatures coming from the Reventon's tailpipe.
To read more about the Reventon's interior, see the next page.
Inside the Reventon
Once you open the doors of the Reventon -- which open upward, like all Lamborghini models since the 1974 Countach -- and step inside, you'll feel even more like a fighter pilot. The press releases even refer to the interior as "the cockpit," so Lamborghini makes its efforts extremely clear once you're sitting in the driver's seat.
Most of the inside is "army green," further conveying that militaristic feel, but the console seals the deal. The display screens behind the driver's wheel consist of thin film transistor (TFT) liquid crystal, the same material used for LCD monitors, televisions and -- surprise! -- airplane instrument displays. Set in a mold carved from a solid block of aluminum, the instrument console offers three variations of vehicle information display modes. The highlight of these instruments is the new G-Force-Meter, which reads off statistics such as longitudinal acceleration (the forces you feel when accelerating forward or braking) and transversal acceleration (the force you feel when you drive around a bend in the road). Airplanes and Formula One racing cars use the same kind of technology.
So is the Reventon really worth such a hefty price? Although the aerodynamic, eye-catching design is difficult to condemn, the been-there-done-that specifications from the Murcielago and the interior gadgets make it seem more like a flight school fanboy's toy than an entirely unique supercar. People have even raised environmental concerns. During the Reventon's exhibition at the 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show, some criticized Lamborghini's ignorance of the show's environmental agenda -- among several cars (such as Toyota's iQ Car) attempting to battle engine efficiency, space and global warming in general, the Reventon did nothing but show off its incredible power and ability to burn high-octane gasoline. Either way, the Reventon is sure to be seen as some kind of work of art -- most likely due to its extreme rarity.
For lots more information on Lamborghini, engines and other related material, see the links on the next page.
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More Great Links
- Brown, Warren. "… and all ForTwo?" Washington Post. Nov. 4, 2007. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/11/01/ AR2007110102145_pf.html
- "Revealed: Lamborghini's Reventón supercar." Motor Authority. Sept. 10, 2007. http://www.motorauthority.com/news/supercars/revealed-lamborghinis-reventon-supercar/