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2006 Lamborghini Murcielago Roadster
By James Riswick

Click for detail photo. In “Batman Begins,” the famous Batmobile went from sexy iconic supercar into what appeared to be the love child of a stealth bomber and a Hummer. Sure, the thing made more crime fighting sense than a big black ’78 Vette on steroids, but Batman said it himself: “It’s the car right? Chicks dig the car.”

So while this concept was forgotten by his alter ego, Bruce Wayne surely recognized its importance by picking the Lamborghini Murciélago Roadster as his choice of wheels. Not only is the new topless Lambo a perfect toy for any billionaire bachelor, but guess what Murciélago means en Español? That’s right señor, the Murciélago is literally a real “Bat” mobile.

The Murciélagomobile in question is the topless version that came to market in late 2004 sporting all of the ferocious V12 roar of its coupe forebear, but with improved brakes and wind-strewn hair. And that hair doesn’t get much regrouping time as the toupée-looking “emergency” roof is only for those times you forgot to check the Weather Channel before embarking on your 200 mph journey from Modena to San Marino. Why is it “only” for emergencies, you ask? Well, it took a Lamborghini engineer and CAR’s Georg Kacher 15 minutes to put its ergonomically-challenged canvas in place. An engineer for Pete’s sake! When other soft-top convertibles go topless in 15 seconds, it really isn’t right to call the Roadster a convertible – I prefer retarded targa.

OK, so you can’t drive the thing in weather even remotely inclement. Who really cares when you probably have some form of roofed automotive opulence parked next to your $319,250 roofless wonder? And what a wonder it is with 572 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque just waiting to be unleashed from its Murciélago cave through its central dual exhausts that resemble two giant mortars aimed at the guy tailgating you. But please, with that much power on tap and a 0 to 60 time of 3.8 seconds, he’ll only be able to make out the letters “Lamb” on the bumper before you disappear.

Despite an historical penchant for big Lamborghinis to be a bit cumbersome when it comes to handling, the Murciélago bucks this trend and sticks to the road with tenacity. It encourages being thrown into a corner and then blasting out of it with relative ease into the next straight away. Much of this can be attributed to its humungous rear tires that are more than a foot wide and an extremely low center of gravity – the Murciélago is almost twice as wide as it is tall.

And wide it bloody well is. At 80.5 inches, it’s bigger than an Escalade and even one of those gigantic Chevy Express plumber vans. In fact, only vehicles donning a Hummer badge eclipse the Murciélago. Add this to its sizeable length, high V12-filled back, its chopped-off top and extreme cab forward styling, and this is one car with no styling equal. It’s radical from every angle with lines seemingly cut with a surgeon’s scalpel rather than whatever implement car designers normally use. Details like the Ford F-350-sized mirrors and iconic scissor doors increase its exotic appeal – not to mention the engine cooling air scoops that rise from the rear corners like, well, bat wings.

Inside, the Murciélago is far less interesting, but at least uses quality materials pointing to its Audi-owned origins. It comes standard with a classic Italian gated 6-speed manual and a clutch that are actually very light and easy to use. Lamborghini’s 6-speed e-gear paddleshift semi-automatic is optional, but unlike in the Gallardo, it is difficult to operate smoothly in everyday driving with a tendency to have a mind of its own. At a wall-paper-peeling $10,000, it seems like a wise move to keep the e-gear option box unchecked. Other weaknesses involve the car’s comfort and drivability. The driving position is awkward for taller drivers with arms stretched out, legs straddling the steering wheel and head ducking out of the air stream above. Its crazy proportions and Batmobile-high rear also make parking akin to piloting a Carnival cruise liner into port.

Add all that to the useless roof, and the Murciélago Roadster is limited to a very small selection of driving possibilities. But when those include driving 200 mph on the Autobahn with nothing but sky overhead or tearing through a twisty mountain road listening to the raucous noises being produced over your shoulder, it’s certainly a wildly fun selection.

So while this Murciélagomobile might not be the ideal vehicle for fighting crime, it most certainly lives up to its primary goal: “It’s the car right? Chicks dig the car.”

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Pictures of the Lamborghini Murcielago Roadster
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Posted March 21, 2006
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