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Video | The Lamborghini Murcielago Roadster Was the Last Insane Lambo

I recently drove the Lamborghini Murcielago Roadster, which is a truly crazy Lamborghini. I mean this in a good way. Back in the 1970s and 1980s, all Lamborghini models were just crazy — and then, in the late 1990s, Audi stepped in, and things started to get a little more rational. The Murcielago, which came out in 2003, was the last really irrational Lamborghini before Audi really put the kibosh on the whole “Why could they have possibly done it this way?” thing.

There are many, many examples of this throughout the Murcielago Roadster, like the roof, and the fact that reverse gear is next to the headlights, and on and on, but I’ll leave you to watch the video to see all of that in action. Instead, what I’d like to discuss today is how the Murcielago Roadster drives.

The basic gist is this: the Murcielago Roadster came out a few years into the regular Murcielago’s production run, and it used the same 570-horsepower 6.2-liter V12 as the normal car. Eventually, the Murcielago brought about the LP640 and the LP670-SV, but the one I reviewed was the original: an early Murcielago, with the factory wheels, in nice unmodified condition — save for an exhaust and a stereo system. It was equipped with the e-gear automatic transmission, like most Murcielago models, and I was very curious to see how it drives.

How it drives, as it turns out, is surprisingly wonderfully. The Murcielago is a rather large car with rather difficult visibility, and so driving it around at low speeds is unusually challenging. You basically can’t see anything behind you, and you have to hope for the best. In traffic, the mirrors do a good job of showing you what’s in your blind spots, but the rear deck is still too high to realistically see much to the back. More importantly, the Murcielago drives like a relatively heavy, large sports car, and the clunky transmission only makes matters worse when you’re at low speeds.

But the moment you actually get the thing out on the open road, it comes alive. I had the chance to drive the Murcielago Roadster at some fun speeds on some fun roads, going around corners and really enjoying it as much as possible — and I was thrilled. The transmission doesn’t feel slow when you’re really moving, and the exhaust note is absolutely magical at speed. The heavy, clunky feel of the car totally changes when you’re on your way, and it ends up far more engaging and direct as a result of this feel — eliminating the light, airy steering so many cars have.

Acceleration, too, is brutal. Although 570 hp isn’t a huge figure by modern standards, the Murcielago Roadster pulls so very hard, accelerating quickly through the rev range as you approach each new gear. Helping you feel that acceleration, of course, is the amazing sound coming from behind you, and the feel of all that wind in your face, largely because the bizarre cloth top isn’t designed to be in place at any sort of high speed.

Truthfully, the Murcielago makes me happy in all the right ways of older Lamborghini models: it’s hard to drive slowly, you’re not supposed to use it to show off in traffic, it looks absolutely ridiculous, the interior is an ergonomic disaster, and it’s fun once you really get it going. In all of those senses, you can clearly trace its lineage back to the Miura, the Countach, and the Diablo that came before. I absolutely don’t think Audi “ruined” Lamborghini by making the cars more reasonable and more user friendly, but I definitely think things changed a bit when the Aventador came out. And sometimes, it’s fun to go back and see the world of Lamborghini in the era before those changes. Find a Lamborghini Murcielago for sale

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  1. I had the pleasure of driving one of these about 10 years ago (Gotham Dream Cars). Unfortunately it was raining so more than a tiny bit of throttle caused wheel spin and a skittish rear end. Not sure why the traction control / ESP didn’t help but was a beast. Also the toupee top leaked water and wind.

    The car overall felt brutal and intimidating like a an old-school exotic – ridiculously firm seats & ride, heavy steering, limited seat adjustment, odd driving position, brutal sound & power.

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Doug Demuro
Doug Demuro
Doug DeMuro writes articles and makes videos, mainly about cars. Doug was born in Denver, Colorado, and received an economics degree from Emory University in Atlanta. After graduation, Doug spent three years working for Porsche Cars North America. Eventually, he quit his job to become a writer, largely because it meant that he no longer had to wear pants. Doug’s work has been featured in a... Read More about Doug Demuro

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