Like most Italians, Moreno Conti is a man prone to hand gestures. "Yesterday," he says, his hands swooping toward my face, "parking in the Via Internationale in Bologna, all of Bologna, it was like this." He raises his arms again, elbows dancing, and brings both fists down toward his belt buckle. I have no idea what this movement means, but it's followed immediately by more gestures, most of them too quick to decipher. He quickly realizes he's losing me and wraps things up: "Much handling," he says, hands on his hips, "for the tour bus."
Conti is trying to tell me what happens when you take the $1.4 million Lamborghini Reventón out into traffic. (As far as I can tell, tour buses make illegal U-turns, intersections grind to a halt, and the delicate fabric of society rips itself a new one.) He should know. Conti is the man in charge of Lamborghini's demonstration fleet and the Reventón's de facto chaperone, and as such, he's probably done more miles in the car than anyone else.
And so I am waiting in the courtyard in front of Lamborghini's headquarters, standing next to the irreplaceable, only-one-of-its-kind Lamborghini Reventón and wondering if my brain is going to implode when I turn the key. I climb into the car, stab the brake pedal, and fire things up. My brain doesn't collapse at the sound, the Earth continues to spin on its axis, and Paris Hilton is still alive and well. I am, I admit, somewhat disappointed.
To be a little disappointed in the Reventón, however, is to know the Reventón well. Lamborghini hawks the car as an all-new, world-beating model-one befitting a sticker price that's more than triple that of any other production Lamborghini-but in reality, it's little more than a tweaked and rebodied Murciélago LP640. The Reventón's 6.5-liter V-12 is standard-issue Murcié stuff, as are the car's all-wheel-drive system, paddle-shifted E-gear transmission, and basic body structure. It might look expensive, and it might be expensive, but it's ultimately not as get-your-hopes-up ridiculous as its price would make you think.