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Lamborghini’s carbon-fibre dream

2010-09-30 11:41

CARBON FIBRE: Sesto Elemento is covered only in a clear matte finish to show off its most prized property (and component).

Lamborghini, after teasing us to death, has at last pulled the wraps off its ultra-lightweight concept, the Sesto Elemento, which uses carbon-fibre technology to achieve a kerb weight of only 999kg.

Lamborghini started revealing the car last week with a series of slow strip tease images but the concept Sesto Elemento has now been shown at the Paris auto show. Teaser images can be found in the gallery to the right.

The concept uses a 419kW V10 engine and permanent all-wheel drive to help it rocket to 100km/h from rest in a blistering 2.5 seconds. Blink and you reach the 300km/h top speed.

To go along with such frightening data Lamborghini also claims solid handling and extreme braking as some of its latest creation’s more endearing qualities.

Sesto Elemento’s design is positively imposing, too. It’s clear, from the car’s design language, that this is another Lamborghini product but its use of high-tech materials is evident, too. The “paintwork” is a matte-shimmer clear coat (with a red shimmer added by nano-technology) that allows the carbon-fibre bodywork to shine through.

The Sant’Agata-based manufacturer claims to be the only one to have mastered the carbon fibre process across a range of technologies and has teamed up with two research centres to secure a host of new CPRF (carbon-fibre reinforced plastics) patents.

And Sesto Elemento is like a rolling carbon-fibre lab. The monocoque is constructed from CPRF, as are the front frame, exterior panels, major suspension components and rims.

ANGULAR: Triangles are a recurring theme in the Sesto Elemento concept's design..

Stephan Winkelmann, president and CEO of Automobili Lamborghini, said: “The Lamborghini Sesto Elemento shows how the future of the super sports-car can look – extreme lightweight engineering, combined with extreme performance, results in extreme driving fun. We put all our technological competence into one stunning form to create the Sesto Elemento."

The longitudinally mounted V10 is identical to the engine used in the Gallardo LP 570-4 with its aluminium crankcase and 90-degree cylinder angle. It generates 419kW at an eye-popping 8000rpm and peak torque of 540Nm at 6500.

To balance the over-the-top engine, Lamborghini’s approach to the Sesto Elemento’s interior is pared down. The seats, for example, are forged composite tubs and provide a frame for the state-of-the-art seat cushions to be attached directly to the car’s monocoque.

Traditional interior trim has also been done away with and the dominant feature throughout is – you guessed it – carbon fibre. In keeping with the minimalist approach, instruments provide engine and road speed data while three buttons on the centre console regulate start, reverse gear and light functions.

If you’re wondering about the concept’s name, which unlike other Lamborghinis does not have any association to bulls or the pastime of bull-fighting, Sesto Elemento is a nod at the periodic table – the concept is largely constructed from carbon fibre and carbon is the sixth element on the periodic table.

Simple as that.

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