The current Lamborghini Diablo
Lamborghini Diablo successor to debut in September
The long awaited successor to the still radical Lamborghini Diablo will not be unveiled sometime in June or July as previously hoped. Well informed Lamborghini car owners already knew the day the car was planned to be presented. That date was to be June 24th.
However, it seems that quality auditors at the company are not completely happy with some of the new components and late in March they recommended that the unveiling be postponed for a couple of months to ensure that suppliers deliver faultless parts. Lamborghini management is said to have readily agreed.
The Diablo successor is now expected to be presented shortly before the Frankfurt Motor Show, possibly at the newly expanded SantAgata headquarters. If not, the final deadline for the first showing of the new Lamborghini must be the first press day at the Frankfurt Show.
After decades of Italian design, the new Lamborghini breaks new ground by being the first to come from a global design effort. No one outside Lamborghini and its shareholding car companies has yet seen the car but this has not stopped rumours about the cars performance and style within the very active Lamborghini clubs. Such is the level of secrecy surrounding the new car it is still referred to as the 'L147'.
The new Lamborghini was originally to be designed and engineered in co-operation with Stile Bertone but during the design process there were considerable difficulties within the complex relationship between Audi, Lamborghini and Bertone. As a result the agreement was called off and Audi designer, Belgian Luc Donckerlwolke eventually designed the new Lamborghini in-house.
His design was well received not only by Ingolstadt but SantAgata as well. So much so, Lamborghini executives wanted to employ Donckerlwolke to establish and run a Lamborghini Design studio in SantAgata. Unfortunately for Lamborghini, the idea was not approved by the head of Audi Design who wanted to keep the Belgian designer in Ingolstadt, although Lamborghini is said still to hanker after him.
The ingredients of this new car all sound very promising, although the fundamental issue is not where or by whom the car was designed, or even its looks, but whether it can be considered to be a real Lamborghini. This answer is apparently not a simple one as Audi is taking a rather open approach.
Even though past and current Lamborghini owners are very much entitled to give their views on the design of the car, Audi is also asking itself about potential buyers of its new Lamborghini. Will they be the same buyers who have traditionally bought a Lamborghini, or will they be different sorts of people? Lamborghini, of course, hopes both. All this remains to be seen and will only be answered with the arrival of the new supercar.
New headquarters development
More buyers wanted
Plans for the new Lamborghini L147 call for a production volume and sales of 450 cars per year, twice as many what Lamborghini was selling when Audi took over. This implies that more buyers are wanted over and above those Lamborghini has been able to attract and maintain in past years.
That style continues to be the most important and distinguishing factor in choosing a Lamborghini is confirmed by the technical and performance specifications for the next generation car. This first all-new Lamborghini of the third millennium will not actually be completely new. It will in fact maintain most of the architecture of the Diablo including its 6.0 litre V12 engine matched to a six-speed manual transmission, and the car will continue to be a VT, permanent all wheel drive, two seater supercar.
Of course, all carry over items have been comprehensively updated and modified: performance is greater than before and quality is expected to set new class standards, no mean feat given that the latest Diablo SE with its carbon fibre interior and new seats is already a convincing demonstration of the improvements being made in SantAgata with the support of Audi.
Audi financial resources and the long-term vision of the Lamborghini business have been brought to bear on the landscape around the historic Lamborghini headquarters. During the next few weeks construction workers will be completing the Phase I restructuring of company facilities and the whole project will be finished by June as planned. A total of some 8,000 square metres of covered area are also being added.
The most spectacular addition is located on the ground floor, clearly visible day and night from the road: A museum which will tell the story of the company and its supercars across 1,400 squared metres of floor space.
Changes are not confined to just presentation. The research and development department has received a major boost not only in the numbers of people, up from 80 to 160, but in surface area as well. A new area has been also been created, containing both an impressive workshop working solely on the restoration of classic Lamborghinis, as well as an extensive after sales service department.
Smaller Lamborghini for 2004
The really big step for Lamborghini is planned for 2003, when the company will be 40 years old. The company will celebrate this milestone with the launch of its smaller Lamborghini, the L 140.
The new car will be a little smaller than recent Lamborghinis, but will certainly be no less of a performer than the one being launched this year. The L 140 is reported to be powered by a new V10 engine being developed by the Lamborghini project management team within the world of Audi (which also includes Cosworth, among other R&D facilities) and this car is known to have more than 400 HP.
The L140s aim is clear: become the Lamborghini alternative to the Ferrari 360 Modena and its successor. Lamborghini production plans call for the L140 to be produced and sold at the rate of 1500 units in its first full production year, likely to be 2004. If everything goes as planned, by 2005 Lamborghini should be producing and selling 2,000 cars per year.
Phase III takes place in 2004, and it is intended that it be planned and financed by Lamborghini themselves, for the future for the company under Audi depends very much on the success of the 2001 L 147 and the 2003 L 140.
No other Lamborghinis are currently under development says Giuseppe Greco, managing director of Automobili Lamborghini, before adding, at this time we can only think and talk about what sort of car we should create next.