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Geneva Motor Show

This is the Lamborghini Veneno

Published: 04 Mar 2013

In a week when they've put a comedian in parliament and a pope in a helicopter, it's perhaps unsurprising that the Italians have also made this Lamborghini Veneno. Veneno was a fighting bull. One of the strongest, fastest bulls there ever was. He is, however, most famous for gorging a matador to death in 1914. He was a murderbull. The Italians, it could be said, are at their very best when they stop taking their pills...

This, then, is a three-of-a-kind - and completely road-legal - showpiece based on the Aventador. It has the same 6.5-litre V12, boosted to 739bhp with a 220mph max. It has the same permanent 4WD, inboard pushrod suspension and carbon monocoque chassis. It costs three million Euros - plus tax - and the trio of owners has already been found. It has been built to celebrate Lambo's 50th birthday, and though it would cheaper to make a cake, that's not how they do business. It's why we love 'em.

See more pictures of the new Lamborghini Veneno

The front end is all beaky for the purpose of excellent airflow, and essentially works like a giant wing to push the nose into the ground. And the muscled arches are there to swoosh air around the car while reducing lift and increasing downforce. The underbody is flat and smooth. The rear wing is adjustable. Even the alloys - 20s at the front, 21s at the rear - feature carbon rim-rings that works like turbines to swirl fresh air onto hot carbon-ceramic brake discs.

Lamborghini likes to think it looks like a racing prototype. And sure enough, with all the cuts and slits and flicks, plus those long boomerang headlights, it does resemble a modern Le Mans racer. The roof-scoop and dorsal fin actually make it look like the Audi that won the 24-Hour race last year (they are sibling companies, after all). But, if our memory of medieval disease prevention serves us correctly - and as you can see for yourself in this gallery - it also looks very much like a plague doctor. Just us?

The car will be shown off in Geneva tomorrow. Lambo's people tell us the one on the stand is chassis number zero. In other words, it's a test car and not one of the final three production versions. Its future is ‘undecided'. And if you think a generous cheque may persuade them to sell you one, remember, they have a history of doing this sort of thing. Remember the Aventador J? It was strictly a one-off, made for one wealthy man, and that is how it shall remain. Although one thing did sneak through the net: the J's revolutionary ‘carbonskin' upholstery now also appears in the Veneno.

But then there was the Sesto Elemento, a madly re-interpreted and heavily carbon-fibred Gallardo, which was shown back in 2010 as a ‘technical demonstrator'. A year later, Lambo boss Stephan Winkelmann admitted he would sell 20 of the track-only cars to some cashed-up customers. Like the Sesto though, it's likely that the Veneno will also be used as sort of rolling laboratory for future products and special editions. And if that's the case, expect the next-gen Aventador not only to chomp free of its straightjacket, but also set it on fire and roll in the flames.

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