At the 2010 Paris Show, Lamborghini unveiled the Sesto Elemento, the conceptual forerunner to the second-generation Murcielago. Made of carbon-fiber-reinforced plastics (CFRP) virtually from bottom to top, the Sesto Elemento (for "sixth element," because carbon is number six in the periodic table) is said to weigh "under 1000 kilos" (2200 pounds)-and thus it undercuts the 1000-kg mark set by Ferrari with its own lightweight supercar concept, the 2007 Millechili, said to preview the next-generation Enzo. As for Lamborghini's striking two-seater, it uses the chassis and the running gear of the Gallardo Superleggera. It thus is more compact and less extreme than next year's Murcielago replacement, which remains faithful to the big-bore twelve-cylinder engine.
Says Stephan Winkelmann, CEO and president of Lamborghini: "At Lamborghini, we consider carbon-fiber to be the key for advanced lightweight engineering. That's why we have -- in close cooperation with Boeing and the University of Washington in Seattle -- established in Sant'Agata a carbon fiber competence center."
Like every Lamboghini since the Countach, the black beast with the featherweight body is an attention-grabber par excellence. Shaped in-house by the team under Filippo Perini, the sexiest element to come out of Sant'Agata for a long time looks like a crossbreed between a Mattel micro-racer and Darth Vader's next company car.
"Ever since the Reventon, we have honed our new form language, which is now chunky, angular, aggressive, purposeful and unmistakably Lamborghini," says Manfred Fitzgerald, the man in charge of brand & design. "Sesto Elemente is notably smaller than the Murcielago, but its stance and the proportions are totally in line with the uncompromising tonality of a contemporary mid-engine supercar. While black is the logical color for a carbon-fiber styling exercise, various contrasting red accents add an extra dash of sportiness. After all, this is not a fashion item but a proper street racer. Proving the point are the massive brake cooling ducts, the XXL air intakes and the ground effect properties of the rear apron, the rear undertray, and the prominent rear aerofoil."