I climb into the orange Aventador. It's fantastic. Compared with the old Murcielago, it's more intuitive, faster, higher revving, and more maneuverable. It dives through the apex, kisses the curb, and power-slides out. I reach for a taller gear, and the muscular V-12 jets the car to the next straight, coming so close to the Gallardo pace car that I can almost count the driver's whiskers in the mirror (0 to 62 mph is estimated at three seconds flat). There's enough torque, about 510 lb-ft at 5500 rpm, to stay in third when the Gallardo briefly blat-blats into second, and the center differential distributes it with telepathic perfection. The standard torque split is 70 percent to the rear wheels, but the diff can send up to 60 percent to the front wheels. The 690 hp or so at 8250 rpm and a redline of just under 9000 let me roll out fourth and fifth gear all the way to the Apulian coastline. The engine's mechanical noise -- likely enhanced by the contributions of eight oil-scavenging pumps and four water pumps -- mix with the baritone and intake and four-in-one exhaust, resulting in a choir that's intense and yet surprisingly civilized.
Each of the prototypes has a few quirks, and none have an interior as impeccable as Winkelmann's tailor-made wardrobe. But after ten laps, I am hooked. The LB834 is not so much a chaser of new extremes in terms of power, grunt, and performance. Rather, it is more talented all around. It's the ultimate metamorphosis of the Italian sports car. And when it debuts in March at the Geneva auto show, it promises to be the new yardstick for Ferrari, Corvette, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, and Porsche.
We got a preview of the new Lambo flagship's carbon-fiber structure in the Sesto Elemento concept car that debuted last fall in Paris. If you want a closer inspection of the material, though, you might look at the Diablo Octane Black -- that is, the $299 golf club pictured, the result of a partnership between Lamborghini, the golf-equipment-maker Callaway, and the University of Washington. Rather than the usual long strands of woven carbon fiber, the golf club uses shorter pieces mixed in a resin without any care for how they're oriented. The method makes manufacturing cheaper and allows for more precise shapes. For golfers, that means a faster swing and longer drives compared with similar titanium clubs (it won't guarantee you Tiger's success with the ladies, though). For the new Lambo supercar, it means a dry weight similar to that of the outgoing Murcielago's 3670 pounds, even with a raft of safety and technology enhancements.