Edmunds 2009 Lamborghini LP710 by Edo Competition First Drive

Mook

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Rear-Wheel Drive, 710 hp and 224 mph. Oh, and $642,390, Too
By Nick Hall


First Impressions:
Louder than a cannon, obscenely expensive and insanely powerful. But rear-wheel drive almost makes it civilized.

Featured Specs

  • 700-hp 6.5-liter V12
  • Conversion to rear-wheel drive
  • Competition-grade clutch
  • 224 mph; $642,390




The hills echo with the yowl of a cranked-up Lamborghini V12 as the speedometer needle swings past 120 mph. A corner looms large, and with a stab at the brakes and a crackle from the engine as the transmission drops down a gear, the car is into the bend. The rear slips wide, and if you're waiting for the typical Murciélago's all-wheel-drive system to catch you, then you're in for a bit of a shock.

Because this 2009 Lamborghini LP710 by Edo Competition is the rear-wheel-drive raging bull we've all been waiting for.

This is a truly terrifying moment. The ground is wet, this is one of just five Christian Audigier special editions from Edo Competition, and the car costs $642,390. We suddenly wonder if we have the talent to keep up with a car that Lamborghini itself has said is simply too mad to make.



But then came the magic words of Edo, the master tuning specialist who has worked with some of the world's most exotic cars at Edo Competition Motorsport GmbH in Ahlen, a little German town in Westfalia. And as he promised, this rear-wheel-drive Lamborghini slides through bends beautifully, as benign as a Hindu cow and much more talkative.

Maybe Lamborghini should look at this.

Designer Makeover

Edo Karabegovic, a Ferrari mechanic in his younger days, has teased 69 horsepower more from the 6.5-liter Lamborghini V12 with the help of a special engine control unit, a new air intake, high-performance camshafts, blueprinted cylinder heads, new exhaust headers, high-flow catalytic converters and a stainless-steel exhaust system that ends with tips that look big enough to fire rocks at castles.

Then he did something Lamborghini might diplomatically call "unwise." That is, he removed the Murciélago LP640's standard hardware powering the front wheels. That's all it takes to remove 88 pounds from the chassis, although it also theoretically removes any kind of dynamic safety net.

The 2009 Lamborghini LP710 lies in wait for us outside Edo's shop in this small village northeast of Dortmund, drooling fuel at idle as the raindrops resemble the glisten of sweat on fevered brow and coiled haunch. We can almost feel the car's evil eyes on us as we slither behind the wheel.



The car wears an elaborate rear wing with an adjustable Gurney flap. Specialty forged aluminum wheels carry 225/35ZR19 tires in front and 325/30ZR19s in the rear, all with the brand of Continental V-max. This car means business.

Devil Car
And it goes wrong almost instantly. We push the throttle and the car fires down the road like an artillery shell. Suddenly the crowd is gone, the tires shimmy on the slick surface and the car snakes up the road and it's well into 3rd gear before there's enough traction to breathe again.

We are kidding nobody; we're a mere passenger on this runaway bull and our kidneys feel like they're lodged in the engine bay, such is the brute force hammering at them from the 12 pistons.

The single-disc automated manual transmission shifts gears with a bang, as the competition-grade clutch installed by Edo sends a jolt through our spine with each click of the right-hand shift paddle. Every fiber of the driving experience is fearsome, even dangerous.



But it's the noise that truly takes over the experience. With this large-displacement V12, Lamborghini has produced one of motoring's finest-sounding engines, and with a lightweight exhaust system plus that comically big tip, it's as if Edo has plugged the V12 into an amp. It's an intense, raw, standing-next-to-a-speaker-at-a-rock-concert experience, and yet it leaves you wanting more. Each and every time the road straightens out, we plant the throttle, our head snaps back against the seat and we wring out nearly 8,000 rpm, roving close to the rev limiter.

But then there was that bend looming ahead, and a dive on to the brakes before powering through the corner. That's when the magic of the LP710/2 hits home — the beauty of this creation.

Pick Your Poison
There are two popular ways to crash an LP640. Some simply go into a corner way too fast, hit the limit of the four-wheel drive's prodigious grip and fly off the road. The others are saved by the system initially but then find themselves fired off to the inside of the bend as the tires grip unexpectedly. In both cases, all-wheel drive is as much of a hindrance as a help, because the cornering limit arrives all of a sudden and it takes an iron nerve and a bootful of throttle to get through to the other side in a useful drift — which takes skill and nuts the size of small moons.

The two-wheel-drive 2009 Lamborghini LP710, though, dances to a progressive beat. It takes skill, but you can actually feel for the limit rather than hope it's there. And that makes this car way more intuitive and more fun.

So with a twist of opposite lock, a feathered throttle and a silent prayer, the LP710 slides through the bends, and then the fat Continental V-max tires find their feet and hurl the tattooed Lamborghini out of the corner with the full force of 700 hp (710 PS, hence the car's LP 710 designation) and 516 pound-feet of torque.

This car is good for 60 mph in 3.2 seconds, 0.2 second quicker than the standard Murciélago, and reaches the magic mark of 200 km/h (124 mph) in less than 10 seconds. At Nardo, the circular test track in Italy, the LP710 hit a certified 224 mph. So can you, since the car's purchase price includes the opportunity to drive your car at either Nardo or the high-speed oval at Papenburg.

Yes, really.

High Fashion
And then the car rolls to a halt and there's finally time to take in the eye-stabbing graphics. Edo is a race engineer turned supercar tuner and he generally shies away from disco cars. But he was entranced by the success of the Lamborghini Versace — which was, after all, just a Murciélago with fancy stitching — and worked with a customer (a German importer of Ed Hardy signature items) and Austrian artist Marcus Pfeil to bring the fashion designer of the moment to the automotive world in explosive style.





Christian Audigier has developed five different looks for five LP710s, and though the five cars will be different they'll all carry the designer's sledgehammer touch. As for the seats, they cost $16,000 alone, and then there's the price of the carbon-fiber detailing throughout the cabin.

Whatever you think of the gaudy color scheme, though, believe that underneath the technicolor coat is a technical masterpiece. It's the car that enthusiasts have begged Lamborghini to make for years.


Full Image Gallery
http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/MediaNav/articleId=141906/firstNav=Gallery/photoId=75410

 

Bru

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They can keep the decals, ew.
 

Yaj Yak

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0-124 in 10 seconds holy shit. ya buddy.
 

Slow Buick

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what the fuck is this trend? im sorry but i have to question what the hell people stretch tires for. it looks retarded. :(
 

CamaroSS

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id rock it with the decals, i wouldnt care. they are ugly, but the car more than makes up for a few decals i could probably have removed
 

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