Lamborghini is perhaps best known for it’s screaming V12-powered supercars that seem to defy physics. Here’s how these screaming machines have evolved.

  • 1966 Lamborghini Miura: The first Lamborghini supercar was the Miura, which debuted in 1966 at the Geneva Motor Show. It was the first of the big Lamborghinis. Of course, the big ones are the ones that scare you just by unlocking them. That’s how you know a car is fast. The Miura made 350 horsepower, which was more than enough to move a car that weighed under 3,000 pounds.

    It's one of the most captivating designs of the 20th century, especially in red.
    It’s one of the most captivating designs of the 20th century, especially in red.
  • 1969 Lamborghini Miura S: It was basically a facelifted Miura with an extra 20 horsepower. Oh, and Miles Davis crashed one when he was high on cocaine. A man very revered in the racing world, James Glickenhaus, pulled the high and bloody Davis out of his totaled Lamborghini.

    Lamborghini really delivered with this one...
    Lamborghini really delivered with this one…
  • 1971 Lamborghini Miura SV: The final iteration of the Miura brought the power up to a then-absurd 385 horsepower, and lost the frilly eyelashes that previously surrounded the headlights. Lamborghini also came up with what was then a novel idea, splitting up the lubrication for the gearbox and transmission.

    This was the best iteration of the Miura. The most power, lightest weight, and all of the kinks were ironed out.
    This was the best iteration of the Miura. The most power, lightest weight, and all of the kinks were ironed out.
  • 1974 Lamborghini Countach: The curvaceous Miura was replaced by the blocky Countach, a car that looks like it was designed by a high school geometry student. It was a good car, but it was not without it’s flaws. Visibility was like looking out of a concrete bunker 50 feet below the ground. Another complaint was that the car was a much better pinup than it was a car. Just about every boy in the 1970s had a poster of a Lamborghini Countach hanging on his bedroom wall. The first version of the Countach had no massive wing and 370 horsepower.1974 Lamborghini Countach
  • 1978 Lamborghini Countach LP400S: The LP400S lost 20 horsepower, but it also got wider wheels. The 1974-1977 models had skinny little wheels and tires that had no grip to them. That famous gigantic rear wing was an option that looked super cool, but cost you 10 mph.1978 Lamborghini Countach LP400S
  • 1982 Lamborghini Countach LP500S: Just about the only change to the 1982 version of the Countach was the introduction of a 4.7-liter V12.1982 Lamborghini Countach LP500S
  • 1985 Lamborghini Countach LP5000 QV: This is my dream Countach. The engine was a 455-horsepower 5.2-liter V12. Interestingly enough, when Lamborghini switched from carburetors to fuel injection on the very same engine, horsepower dropped to a still-impressive 414 horsepower.

    It should be obvious why this is my dream Countach...
    It should be obvious why this is my dream Countach…
  • 1988 Lamborghini Countach 25th Anniversary Edition: It was mechanically identical to the LP5000 QV, but it had a body that Horacio Pagani (yes, that Horacio Pagani) redesigned. It was a love it or hate it design, and most people fell on the side of hate. I don’t know why. It’s still blocky, but it’s a good looking car.1988 Lamborghini Countach 25h Anniversary Edition
  • 1990 Lamborghini Diablo: Marcello Gandini started the design, and Chrysler’s Tom Gale finished it. It had a 5.7-liter V12 cranking out 492 horsepower. It’s top speed was a then-diabolical 202 mph, which exceeded the initial target by six mph. It didn’t come with power steering.

    I'm not sure I'd want to go 202 mph in a car with no power steering, especially with no electronic nannies to save me.
    I’m not sure I’d want to go 202 mph in a car with no power steering, especially with no electronic nannies to save me.
  • 1993 Lamborghini Diablo VT: The Diablo VT was the first AWD car from Lamborghini. It could send up to 25 percent of it’s power to the front wheels, which drastically helped it’s traction. It also had redesigned intakes to improve cooling, a new interior, and various cosmetic changes to differentiate it from the “base” Diablo.1993 Lamborghini Diablo VT
  • 1995 Lamborghini Diablo SV: The SV was supposed to be the most diabolical Diablo out there. Because of this, it had 510 horsepower and RWD. It was also the cheapest Diablo available, which really doesn’t make sense.

    Yes, those wheels are stock, and super cool!
    Yes, those wheels are stock, and super cool!
  • 1995 Lamborghini Diablo VT Roadster: It’s exactly what it sounds like. It’s a Lamborghini Diablo VT with an electric folding carbon fiber top. Power went up to 530 horsepower for 1998.1995 Lamborghini Diablo VT Roadster
  • 1999 Lamborghini Diablo: The 1999 model was the first year that the Diablo didn’t have pop-up headlights. Instead, the SV model, which was the base model, had the same headlights as the Nissan 300ZX. I’m not joking. It also got a new interior, ABS, and power was now at 530 horsepower. The Diablo VT got the same upgrades.1999 Lamborghini Diablo
  • 1999 Lamborghini Diablo GT: Talk about absurd. The Diablo GT was basically a race car for the road. It was stripped down, the bodywork was substantially different from other Diablos, and it had a new 6.0-liter V12 making 575 horsepower. It was incredibly fast.

    Looks can be deceiving. It might look somewhat similar to the 1995 SV model, but it is very different.
    Looks can be deceiving. It might look somewhat similar to the 1995 SV model, but it is very different.
  • 2000 Lamborghini Diablo VT 6.0: The final iteration of the Diablo got a redesign that made it look much smoother, thanks to Audi’s purchase of the company. The more subdued design, coupled with the engine from the Diablo GT made it a much better car to drive and look at.2000 Lamborghini Diablo VT 6.0
  • 2002 Lamborghini Murcielago: Yes, I know that it means “bat” in Spanish, but it is still a very intriguing car. Don’t let the name get to you. It was the first V12-powered Lamborghini to be designed and engineered in-house. It had 572 horsepower, and was only available with AWD. It also made extensive use of active aero and active cooling to keep the exterior of the car relatively clean-looking. It was also the first time that an automated manual transmission was offered in a Lamborghini. A roadster followed in 2004, with an overly complicated manual roof.2002 Lamborghini Murcielago
  • 2006 Lamborghini Murcielago LP640: The big Murcielago now made 632 horsepower from its 6.5-liter V12, and it had a slightly revised body. Carbon ceramic brakes were an option, just in case you really wanted to show how well your supercar could stop.Lamborghini Murcielago in/um Sant Agata_Bologna
  • 2008 Lamborghini Reventon: The Reventon was essentially a rebodied Murcielago LP640. It was inspired by fighter jets, and as such, had creases and angles galore. It had an interior like a fighter jet cockpit, which meant it was extremely cramped, but it had a unique TFT display, instead of analog gauges like the Murcielago. Lamborghini only built 21 coupes and 15 roadsters.2008 Lamborghini Reventon
  • 2009 Lamborghini Murcielago LP670-4 SV: The fastest Murcielago ever to leave the Lamborghini factory doors was the LP670-4 SV. It had 661 horsepower, a heavily revised body, a stripped interior, and came standard with a massive wing. The wing limited it’s top speed to 209 mph. The optional smaller wing brings the speed up to 212 mph, but also provides less downforce. You could get it with either the clunky automated manual or a true six speed manual. I really want to have one with the big wing and the six speed. Help me find one!

    How can you not want something like this, especially when it reeks of awesome?
    How can you not want something like this, especially when it reeks of awesome?
  • 2012 Lamborghini Aventador: The Aventador picked up where the Reventon left off. It’s all creases and angles, and is one of the most intimidating-looking cars in the world. The 6.5-liter V12 pumps out 691 horsepower, and sends power to all four wheels through one of the worst transmissions ever. It can never replicate the same shift. You either get shoved back into your seat, or you get an imperceptible shift. For something that costs so much, it should have a good transmission. A roadster is also available.2012 Lamborghini Aventador
  • 2013 Lamborghini Veneno: Like the Reventon, the Veneno is another extreme styling exercise. Lamborghini really went all out this time in terms of design and price, as the car cost upwards of $4 million. There are four coupes (one is in the Lamborghini museum), and nine roadsters.

    The styling might be quirky, but the performance is not.
    The styling might be quirky, but the performance is not.
  • 2015 Lamborghini Aventador LP750-4 SV: This might very well be the ultimate Aventador. It’s certainly the fastest. It proved itself by going around the legendary Nurburgring racetrack in 6:59. It’s just seconds off the Porsche 918 Spyder’s lap time of 6:57. The SV has 750 horsepower, AWD, heavily revised aerodynamics, and is 110 pounds lighter. And yes, Lamborghini has confirmed that they will make a roadster version of it.

    And there you have it. The latest in a long line of high-performance cars. This is the most diabolical, yet civilized of them all.
    And there you have it. The latest in a long line of high-performance cars. This is the most diabolical, yet civilized of them all.

6 thoughts on “How the Lamborghini V12 Has Evolved Over the Years

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