Spy Photos:Lamborghini Murcielago Replacement Test Mule  

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The new Lamborghini will have some tough competition when it arrives early next decade as there are new supercar models in the works at rival brands Ferrari, McLaren, and Aston Martin. While it is still too early to speculate on the car’s final specs, there are several crucial details we can gather from these latest spy shots of the test-mule taken while it was running some laps at Germany’s Nurburgring test circuit.

The new Estoque concept from the recent Paris Motor Show may have taken the spotlight off Lamborghini’s aging Murcielago, but a recent example fitted with some obvious testing equipment has once again ignited interest in the carmaker’s flagship supercar. While a ‘SV’ model is still expected to be released as a special run-out edition, the vehicle seen here is more likely to be a test-mule for the Murcielago’s replacement.

Lamborghini’s next supercar will retain the Murcielago’s mid-engine layout but it will feature a wider track as evidenced by the extended fender flares seen on the test-mule. While power levels are usually boosted with each new model generation, for Lamborghini’s latest creation engineers are more likely to be focusing on reducing weight in their quest for increased performance. Thus, the new model will likely feature a lighter aluminum space frame instead of the current steel tub design. Expect plenty of carbon-fiber and other advanced composites in its construction.

Mounted to each wheel is a RoaDyn torque sensor that is used to monitor the different forces and torque levels exerted on a specific wheel at different speeds. The data gathered can help engineers work out varying grip and traction levels in an effort to fine tune the vehicle’s AWD and suspension settings, plus its ride characteristics.

Lamborghini is yet to even reveal the car's existence but some reports have speculated that it will be called the Jota and it will bow in by late 2010 as a 2011 model. Whatever it turns out to be, the new model is likely to be the fastest Lamborghini in history.

A big-cube V12 engine will likely remain but the addition of direct injection technology should improve fuel-efficiency and power levels across the rev-range. In this way, engineers will be able to improve performance without having to boost power, the end result of which will be a much easier to drive Lamborghini flagship.

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