Lamborghini Centenario – Your Dreams Are Real
At the upper echelon of the auto industry, the most exclusive brands are increasingly cashing in on limited editions and one-offs. Few companies do it as often as Lamborghini. Its history with such cars has been hit-or-miss, but its latest, the Centenario, meaning the “centenary,” belongs in the former category. Intended to celebrate the 100th birthday of the brand’s founder, Ferruccio Lamborghini, it is faster and lighter than the Aventador LP750-4 Superveloce and packed with technology that will migrate to series-production cars.
Lamborghini Centenario Video:
Lamborghini’s engineering team squeezed even more power out of its glorious 6.5-liter V-12. Code-named L539, the over-square 60-degree perfect dozen is essentially the same naturally aspirated unit that rages under the hood of the Aventador SV. But revisions to the variable valve timing and the intake and exhaust systems mean it is now rated at 770 PS, or 759 horsepower. That’s up 19 horses on the SV, and the redline stretches another 100 rpm, to 8600. As in the Aventador, the power routes to all four wheels through a seven-speed automated-manual gearbox.
We expect the same 2.7-second zero-to-60-mph time for the Centenario as we saw in the Aventador SV. For people whose private runways stretch the required distance, the Centenario will hit 186 mph (the even 300-km/h mark) in less than 24 seconds. Research and development boss Maurizio Reggiani wouldn’t tell us the top speed, but says the Lamborghini Centenario is governed somewhere “beyond 217 mph.”
As in the Aventador, the Centenario has a carbon-fiber tub at its core. However, unlike that workaday supercar, the Centenario also uses carbon fiber for every body panel, saving a claimed 11 pounds over the SV. Keeping a car on the road at 200-plus mph can be challenging. To make it a bit less frightful, the Centenario’s aerodynamics are, in Reggiani’s words, “improved dramatically. We have close to double the downforce of the normal Aventador, and we also beat the Superveloce.”
The Lamborghini Centenario has the requisite integrated, adjustable rear wing, but Lamborghini went one step further with a massive blown diffuser, which dumps the exhaust gases into the slipstream to increase downforce.
The Lamborghini Centenario’s other piece of trick stability tech is its four-wheel-steering system that points the rear wheels opposite the fronts at low speeds and in the same direction at high velocities. Reggiani claims it simulates a wheelbase shortened by 9.8 inches, or one stretched by 19.7 inches depending on the situation. Who wouldn’t want another 19.7 inches?
And this, ahem, unit will—er, cough—enter other cars in the range. “It would be way too expensive to develop such a system for just 20 or 40 cars,” Reggiani says. Expect to see this system on the Aventador in due time.
Too Poor, Too Late
Owning a piece of Lamborghini’s future won’t come cheap: try $2.4 million. Well, that’s for one of the 20 coupes. It’s safe to assume that the Centenario roadster, of which there will also be 20, will be even pricier.
But fret not; you didn’t have a shot anyway. All Centenarios, both coupes and roadsters, are long spoken for. The project was first shown to prospective buyers at the 2015 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. As with similar special-edition exotics, a limited group of clientele was offered the option to buy a Lamborghini Centenario. Lamborghini knows them so well that it’s not bothering to put a clause into the sales contracts that would keep customers from reselling, as is the case with limited editions from Ferrari and other exotic manufacturers. The company trusts—or perhaps has threatened to ensure—that the Centenario won’t land in the hands of speculators anytime soon. At least, not if those buyers expect to be in line for the next special edition.
The Centenario’s shape is a marked departure from Lamborghini’s current styling language, with proportions similar to a GT car, elements that evoke Formula 1 cars, and an aggressive tail that offers generous views of the car’s structure. Reggiani says it previews the future of Lamborghini design. As if the dazzling shape weren’t enough to sear retinas, Centenario buyers will be able to option the car in the naked carbon-fiber finish of the show car. Inside, there’s another peek at Lambo’s future styling direction. The large touchscreen infotainment system brings the Aventador up to date with Chevys and Fords, but there’s still plenty of the brand’s signature fighter-jet fantasy in the switchgear and detailing.