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Future models - Lamborghini - Sesto Elemento

Paris show: Lambo unveils carbon supercar concept

Carbon footprint: The Sesto Elemento takes its name from the sixth element in the periodic table.

Lamborghini’s 999kg Sesto Elemento is claimed to reach 100km/h in 2.5 seconds

Lamborghini logo30 Sep 2010

By TERRY MARTIN

AFTER issuing six teaser images before the Paris motor show, Lamborghini has now unveiled its jaw-dropping new super-lightweight – 999kg – carbon-fibre-clad super-sportscar concept, dubbed the Sesto Elemento which takes its name from the sixth element in the periodic table: carbon.

Providing clues to the next-generation Murcielago, and indeed how the Volkswagen-owned House of the Raging Bull will engineer all future models, the V10-powered all-wheel drive Sesto Elemento is described as a technological showcase that “redefines the future of the super-sportscar”.

51 center imageVarious carbon-fibre technologies are said to have made their world-first automotive application on the Sesto Elemento, which, with 570bhp (419kW) on tap from its high-revving normally aspirated 5.2-litre engine and a power-to-weight ratio of only 1.75kg/hp, also comes with the claim that it can blast from 0-100km/h in a phenomenal 2.5 seconds.

Top speed for the show car, which borrows its running gear from the (1340kg) Gallardo LP 570-4 Superleggera, is also “well over 300km/h”.

Describing itself as the only vehicle manufacturer in the world to have mastered the complete carbon-fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) process across a range of technologies, Lamborghini also adds that fuel consumption and emissions fall with the “extreme lightweight engineering” applied throughout the vehicle.

CFRP reference points on the Sesto Elemento include the monocoque cell, the entire front frame, all exterior panels, the crash boxes and even the propeller shaft, while the major suspension components (including the control arms) and the wheel rims are also made from carbon-fibre.

The tailpipes protruding upwards through the engine cover panel are made from a glass-ceramic matrix composite known as Pyrosic, which Lamborghini claims can reach and withstand temperatures up to 900 degrees Celsius.

Aluminium components (said to be around 30 per cent heavier than those made from carbon) also feature on the Sesto as required, along with unique aviation-derived materials such as titanium alloy screw fastenings.

The styling of the concept is meant to “lift the design DNA of the Lamborghini brand to a new level” which includes integrating the “functional consistency of carbon-fibre technology” in the design language.

Carbon is, naturally, visible across the vehicle, while a new “matt-shimmer” clear coat finish has been applied to ensure the CFRP structure is visible.

Lamborghini also emphasises that the Sesto Elemento is “not just black”. During the final stage of production, a newly developed and patented coat with fine red crystals were applied that make the surfaces glow red “and deliver an outstanding effect”.

Red highlights are also used across the vehicle in areas such as the twin triangular cooling slots on the bonnet – triangles being a recurring design theme across the car – the engine cover panel (with 10 hexagonal openings and a pair of air scoops behind the roof), and the massive front and rear brake callipers, the latter clinging on to large carbon-ceramic discs.

Other design cues of note include sharply cut headlights (incorporative LEDs and bi-Xenon lamps), a protruding partially double-lipped front spoiler, distinctive air intakes, sharp wedge side profile, big rear spoiler and aero optimised elements from nose to tail.

Inside, Lamborghini has adopted a similarly minimalist approach, creating the seats from the forged composite tub (foregoing conventional seat frames) which is attached directly to the carbon-fibre monocoque shell.

Hi-tech fabrics are used throughout the interior, although CFRP – used on the floor, roof, doors, cockpit and centre console, for example – again serves as the dominant visual feature. Triangular themes used on the exterior are also carried into the cabin.

Automobili Lamborghini CEO Stephan Winkelmann said the company “put all of our technological competence into one stunning form to create the Sesto Elemento”.

“The Lamborghini Sesto Elemento shows how the future of the super-sportscar can look – extreme lightweight engineering, combined with extreme performance results in extreme driving fun,” he said.

“It is our abilities in carbon-fibre technology that have facilitated such a forward-thinking concept, and we of course also benefit from the undisputed lightweight expertise of Audi AG.

“Systematic lightweight engineering is crucial for future super sportscars: for the most dynamic performance, as well as for low emissions. We will apply this technological advantage right across our model range. Every future Lamborghini will be touched by the spirit of the Sesto Elemento.”

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