Saturday, June 20, 2009
When the Reventòn came out two years ago I didn't like it, at all.
I was quite excited about its project, how it came out of the blue Lamborghini was developing a new supercar just some months before of the unveiling, without any detail if not the impressive price, the limited production run, and the styling, inspired by the jet fighter F22 Raptor.
People from Lamborghini were rumored to have been continuously visiting USAF bases to study the “environment” and the plane itself, while all the 20 units were reportedly already sold out when a 1:2 scale model was privately shown to some selected and very healthy Lamborghini loyal customers at the 2007 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.
When something like this happens in an automotive world where we are informed of upcoming new models even before the first prototype hits the streets, and then flooded whit tons of (official and not) spy shots of it, all this mystery and exclusivity were absolutely exciting.
Then you have to add Lamborghini itself, madness applied to cars, which actually had been quite sedated with its recent products, the Murcielago and the Gallardo, both pre-LPs, and the expectations are higher and higher as days go by, and rumors come out.
People were expecting a sort of new Jota, or something capable of reaching new level of performance for the brand.
They were expecting something outrageous, very Italian, very Lamborghini, not Audi.
When it has been finally unveiled, I was really disappointed. I didn't like the styling, it wasn't coherent, cohesive, just different for the sake of it, with the F22 influences being forced on an innocent LP640.
What I never liked about a lot of coachbuilded cars was the lack of personalization in the interiors, without a redesign of the whole cabin, but just new materials and colors.Unfortunately the Reventòn was no different, with the only new part being the gauges substituted by an LCD screen capable of replicating both the standard instruments of the LP640 or others styled after F22's ones. Too little for me, despite being really good looking.
Then the technical counter part, was exactly the same of the LP640, apart form a new terminal section of the exhaust system and a small tweak of the ECU, both worth for 10 additional bhp. Again too little, definitely.
Now, you may recall my decanted love for the Bertone Mantide.
Both cars feature a very angular design, vivid lines, mean appearance, and a pretty standard mechanic. But while Bertone is a company specialized in the style and the production of small run of coupes and cabrios, like the Punto Cabriolet, or the recent Opel Astra Coupe and Cabriolet, Lamborghini is a complete car maker, with capabilities and know-how in all areas, especially when it comes to their own cars.
Also, while the Corvette ZR1 mechanics was left untouched (despite a new exhaust system was present even here but without declaring if it was good for any change in the power of the car), its weight was reduced, and the aerodynamics heavily improved, the Reventòn didn't received any of these treatments.
I'm pretty sure the 650 bhp of the Reventòn are fair enough, even considering its weight which is far from being consider low, but since this car was supposed to be so important and representative for the brand, I guess something “more” could have been done.
You are expecting a new bodywork from a coachbuilder, a new exhaust from a minor tuner, and a fancy LCD instead of the standard gauges from “Pimp My Ride”.
Obviously it isn't that simple, but when you are a complete brand, you should keep the pace a bit higher, in my opinion.
Now, perhaps the very fact that all the 20 units have been sold the same moment that scale model was shown is enough to say this is fair enough for those 20 healthy customers. So who am I to disagree?
I'm just an enthusiast, you know, one of those that, considered as a single being, help keeping the fame and the value of an exotics maker so high and appealing over the time.
Would Ferrari still be the first supercar a soccer player would buy if it didn't have so many supporters all around the world? Maybe yes, but more likely no, that's why they buy a Ferrari and not say a Noble, or even a Spyker. Now, I don't want to talk about if having soccer players as customers is good thing or not...
On my side though, there is the fact that this spring there were 7 Reventòns up for sale at the same time on Jameslist, and 10 at this very moment, available from 1.149.000 € to 1.580.000 €, without considering those with a price-on-request, so perhaps even those 20 customers weren't so sold on the car, but rather on the possibility of reselling it some time later managing to earn a good profit out of it exploiting its rarity.
No wonder, one of those was sold by the same man who some months before was selling one, out of five, Bugatti Veyron Pur Sang, with about just 50 miles on the odometer. For the record, this man, or at least so was said on the site, lives in Treviso, quite near my parents' place, and I never saw or heard about such cars being seen there or even in the area, while I'm fully aware of some exotics another very rich and passionated gentleman driver owns, like an Enzo and an FXX.
Regardless of these considerations, once the buzz calmed down a bit, I was getting interested in the car, and in seeing it in the flesh.
I was considering a dedicated visit to the brand's museum, settled at the factory in Sant'Agata Bolognese, 30 minutes far away from Modena, despite having been there less then a year ago when the 17th example was being assembled.
I thought that perhaps having it in front of me would have underlined some lines, some characteristics, that I didn't catch trough pictures and videos, but I didn't know if a unit was exhibited or not.
When I saw some pictures of it right from the museum thanks to another user from ultimatecarpage.com's forum, I thought that the first time I would have had a car I would have gone there.
Then the Adria weekend was on, and before being there I noticed on another site a Reventòn was featured in the paddock, so there it was my occasion.
Honestly the whole “experience” was ruined by two factors: first, the car was covered by dust left by the preceding night's rain and no one bothered cleaning it, and second, it wasn't possible to walk around the car, which was approachable only by the right side, with the fence positioned at about 1,5 meters from it.
As I already said, a very important characteristic about the “art” of observing a car is light reflections and their evolving on the bodywork, but when both you and the car are standing, there is not movement whatsoever. Walking along the side wasn't helping, because of the people present, limiting the visual.
The cloudy day wasn't helping too, with the matt paint giving its best with strong sun light and vivid colors surrounding the car, being it the green of a field of grass or the blue of the sky. So poetic...
When the sun came out, while cooking my skin it was also giving a bit of justice to the Reventòn.
I fell in love with the portions of the bodywork in front of the rear wheel arch, so massive and mean, sculpted like the muscles of a horse right before of jumping trough the obstacles.
Even the part opposite to it, right after the front wheel arch, is pretty similar, just a bit less evident as it should be if you think again about the horse.
Wait a second...wasn't the car styled after a jet fighter?!
Well, the only parts I would define in this way are the front and rear extremes.
At the front, we have the angular central part, resembling the inferior part of the plane's nose, and the two air intakes at its sides looking pretty similar to the air intakes of the two turbines propelling the F22. Period.
At the back, there isn't a reference to the plane as clear as those at the front, but surely the squared areas enclosing the tail lights resembles the “exhausts” of the turbines, while the upper part of the tail try to look similar to the thin lines characterizing stealth or just modern planes by going a bit upward, helping lightening the whole shape. Period, again.
Maybe the Reventòn looks more similar to the F22 than a lot of other cars to what they were reportedly based on, even the Bertone Mantide itself perhaps, but with all the fuzz, the rumors, the statements, I was expecting something a bit more aeronautical and a bit less automotive.
Richard Hammond talking about the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren comes to mind:
“..it's brilliant, I just wish it was bit more McLaren, and bit less Mercedes”.
So the result, in my opinion, is a nicely sculpted Murcielago, with a mean lateral view and a very dramatic presence, but a bit ruined by the front and the rear parts, which reminds me of those cheap stucco modifications done by kids in the garages.
They don't appear to be a integral part of the car, something the car was born with, but just lately attached to create this F22-resemblance-effect, but with a poor result.
The rims are nice and successfully include carbon fiber elements, they just don't fit with the idea of a plane as much as those available for the same MB SLR Mclaren.
The tail lights are probably the wrongest part of the whole car, with an Y shape which isn't justified or indicated by another detail in the whole car, and which have unfortunately been adopted also for other models of the brand. They aren't “bad”, they just don't fit the cars.
The rear part as a whole doesn't success to appeal me, looking even larger than what it is, something you should avoid in a car as large as a Murcielago, with definitely too much openings you also know they weren't required as the mechanics isn't changed that much.
The performance may have even been improved by the new bodywork, but as Lamborghini didn't bothered to underline it, I assume there is no gain or a very little one.
Perhaps the car isn't that bad as I think, maybe I was expecting so much from it that I more disappointed by the fact I didn't like it than by the car itself.
Enjoy the pictures and feel free to post your opinions.
All images Copyright: Damiano Garro