Until recently, the flashiest, priciest Lamborghini on sale was the Reventon, the Murcielago-based beast that sold in limited quantities for $1.4 million a piece. No more: Lamborghini announced at the Frankfurt Motor Show that it will indeed produce and sell the radical Sesto Elemento concept. Want one? Prepare to pony up some big money.
The Sesto Elemento -- a name that hints at the car’s carbon fiber-intensive construction -- debuted as a concept at the Paris Auto Show in September 2010. Speculation -- some crafted by corporate officials themselves -- suggested the company could put a handful of the cars into production. Any remaining doubt was eliminated during a press conference held yesterday evening: Lamborghini will, in fact, build 20 copies of the concept, and sell them at a price of 2 million Euro -- or $2.8 million USD -- a pop.
The sixth element to which the name refers is carbon, and there’s plenty of it -- or carbon fiber reinforced plastics, anyways -- in the Sesto Elemento. The car was viewed as Lamborghini’s carbon fiber manifesto, and as a result, its structure is built almost entirely from the exotic, lightweight composite. It goes one step further than the Aventador -- which uses a carbon fiber monocoque chassis --by forging things like suspension parts and wheels out of carbon fiber. Predictably, this in turn keeps weight quite low: the Sesto Elemento weighs 999 kg (2202 pounds), a full 752 pounds less than the Gallardo Superleggera on which it’s based. Lamborghini claims that the Sesto Elemento is the lightest production car to come out of Sant’ Agata in 25 years.
The upside of a low weight is that the Sesto Elemento doesn’t need much power to go insanely quickly. Lamborghini put the 5.2-liter V-10 engine from the Gallardo LP570-4 models (Super Trofeo Stradale, Spyder Performante, Superleggera) underhood, which produces 570 hp and 398 lb-ft of torque. Thanks to the ample power and low weight, the Sesto Elemento will likely be quite quick: from a stop, 60 mph arrives in 2.5 seconds, a metric likely to make the original Bugatti Veyron 16.4 coupe blush.
Lamborghini will sell 20 examples of the Sesto Elemento, but there’s a catch: none of the cars will be street legal when they leave the factory early in 2013. Instead, Lambo says the cars will be for track use only. It’s probably for the best: thanks to its intricate materials and huge purchase price, the repairs after a city street fender bender would cost about as much as -- well, a new Gallardo.