The connection between Lamborghini cars and dangerous fighting bulls extends beyond the raging bull emblem. The twelve-cylinder Aventador is named for a fearless Spanish bull that won an award in 1933; the Gallardo for a highly prized breed of fighting bull. Lamborghini’s newest arrival, the limited-run Veneno that debuts publicly at the Geneva Motor Show, is also named for a strong, fast, and aggressive bull, one that in 1914 killed a Spanish matador. It’s a foreboding name for a car capable of 221 mph.
The Lamborghini Veneno is based on the Aventador LP700-4, but with extreme bodywork meant to evoke visions of a racing car. The carbon-fiber chassis (based on the Aventador’s) and carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) bodywork begins with an arrow-like nose with more aerodynamic aids than a fighter jet: a large lower splitter panel, upright canards at either side of the car, flying-buttress-like headlight housing, and cooling vents just ahead of the nearly-flat windshield. A large fin extends from the car’s roof to its giant adjustable rear wing; beneath the wing are four exhaust tips and an assortment of cooling vents, flaps, and diffuser guides meant to further improve aerodynamic downforce. In fact, Lamborghini says the only solid part of the car’s tail is for the license-plate bracket.
Yes, a license plate is necessary because this wild-looking car is road legal. With stability control, airbags, and full compliance with European crash-test rules, the Lamborghini Veneno could be driven on public roads. But its rarity and cost mean it probably won’t be: each of the three copies destined for customers costs $3.9 million before taxes. All three are already spoken for.
Under the skin is the same powertrain as in the Lamborghini Aventador. The 6.5-liter V-12 engine has been upgraded with larger intakes, less restrictive exhausts, a higher redline, and better cooling to produce 750 hp. The Aventador’s seven-speed ISR automated manual transmission, all-wheel drive, and pushrod-style suspension are unchanged. Lamborghini promises a top speed of 221 mph, compared with “only” 217 mph for the standard Aventador.
More carbon fiber is used in the car’s interior, including for the two bucket seats. A woven version called CarbonSkin is used for the headliner, interior panels, and parts of the seat. The giant wheels, which measure 20 inches in diameter up front and 21 inches at the rear, have special carbon-fiber fan rings that “blow” cooling air onto the carbon-ceramic brake discs at speed.
Although much of the bodywork consists of exposed carbon fiber, other parts of the Lamborghini Veneno are painted matte gray. Each of the three customer cars will bear accents in one of the three colors of the Italian flag — red, white, and green — so they each look different. The car on display in Geneva is Lamborghini’s internal development car, and so it has stripes in all three colors.
Lamborghini will build and deliver each of the three customer cars this year. It plans to keep the development car for further testing after the Geneva Motor Show concludes.