Lamborghini's latest concept car points to the replacement for the Murcielago. Star of the Italian maker’s Paris Motor Show stand is the astonishing Sesto Elemento.
Sesto Elemento is Italian for sixth element, which is where carbon sits on the periodic table. And while the design of the carbon fibre constructed show car will certainly influence the Murciélago and Gallardo replacements, it’s also a blueprint for the firm’s expanding expertise in the use of this strong, lightweight material.Lamborghini president Stephan Winkelmann said: 'This is making the new DNA of this brand. Every decade the industry has something very big, and this will be something big for us.'
The show car is powered by a 562bhp version of the V10 used in the current Gallardo. But thanks to the widespread use of carbon fibre, the concept tips the scales at only 999kg. Lamborghini claims the Sesto Elemento will sprint from 0-62mph in 2.5 seconds and on to a top speed of more than 200mph.
Winkelmann added: 'This car shows how the future of the super sports car can look – lightweight engineering, combined with incredible performance, results in extreme driving fun.' Until now, Lamborghini has only used carbon fibre sparingly. However, the Sesto Elemento is made almost entirely from it.
Not only does it have a carbon fibre monocoque chassis tub, but its whole body, front crash structure, suspension, steering, exhaust and wheel rims are constructed from carbon.
To cut weight further, the seats have no runners; the bases are moulded into the tub, and the driver adjusts the wheels and pedals to suit. The only major metallic parts in the Sesto Elemento, besides the engine, six-speed paddleshift gearbox and driveline, are the aluminium rear subframe and steering rack.
As well as being extremely light, carbon fibre can also be made into shapes that would be impossible to do with metal. This has allowed engineers to mould the complete front and rear ends of the bodywork as single pieces. 'Sixty per cent of the car is one piece of carbon fibre,' said Lamborghini technical director Maurizio Reggiani.
'There aren’t countless brackets on brackets. With carbon, you can design it all into one piece and make it into shapes that aren’t cost effective with metal, and that has big implications for weight and for the accuracy of production.'
He insisted the model’s handling would be sensational. 'It will be phenomenally accurate to the driver’s inputs,” he said. “It will be like an open-wheel racer. The brakes, suspension parts and chassis are all carbon, so they’re ultra-precise. And the parts are around 30 per cent lighter than aluminium ones.'
The design is inspired by the limited-edition Reventòn supercar, but makes more of a feature of its deep front end, while the V10 is open to the elements. The Sesto Elemento isn’t road legal, but it is a running prototype, so testing Lamborghini’s claims is a possibility.