I once accidentally stuck my fingers in a wall power socket. As exciting and downright ‘electrifying’ moments go, it has to be right up there. Until now, that is. There are the same wide eyes, jumping spine and increased heartbeat, but thankfully not the pain. You don’t need my excitable musings to recognise that the Lamborghini Murciélago is still just about the sexiest car on the planet, a fact enhanced here by the fitment of the gloriously named new option of ‘Herculean titanium’ alloy wheels. But where does the Murciélago fit now in the general supercar status quo?
If you want to pose, few things have the magnetic allure of the Murciélago. But there are saloon cars that can eclipse its 479lb ft of torque, and they have a similar kerbweight, while supercar outputs have rocketed over the last few years, making the V12’S 580bhp seem almost normal. With the Gallardo providing driver-focused thrills, is the big Lambo just a poseurs car even with the arrival of (optional) carbon-ceramic brakes?
Can a set of stoppers really be worth £7780 over and above a list price of £175,000? Well, yes actually. Emphatically. You see, the brakes used to be a little suspect if you asked them to make repeated heavy stops from speed. Not any more, as we proved while consistently hitting a genuine 180mph on a sequence of runs at Bruntingthorpe airfield. The brakes showed no signs of fade or protest in hauling the car back down to the urban speed limit, with a stopping power that left you hanging breathless in the seatbelts.
Thankfully, they’re not just about ultimate stopping power, allowing you to meter out their power progressively. Only at low speeds is their presence betrayed by an occasional squeaking, although as childish as it seems, I can’t help liking the quasi-racer sound effects.
Once you’ve learnt to trust the Murciélago, the star qualities of this car shine through. Yes, it is enormous, and that does restrict your pace on narrow B roads, but this is a beguiling mix of raw involvement - through steering feel, charismatic engine and chassis balance - and effectiveness, through superb traction, awesome bodycontrol and modern technology. Mere power output becomes irrelevant, it’s the experience that counts, and the Murciélago’s is utterly compelling.