Milestones

Happy 30th birthday, Diablo! See the Lamborghini super sports car through the years

The diablo ruled the Lamborghini roost in the 1980s and 1990s.

Photo courtesy of Automobili Lamborghini

It's been 30 years since the Hubble Telescope launched, Nelson Mandela was released from prison, and Tim Berners-Lee created the first web server, which created the foundation for the World Wide Web. In 1990, Automobili Lamborghini debuted the Diablo, but its story actually began give years earlier.

The year was 1985 and the Diablo was codenamed Project 132. Its aim was the replace the Countach at the top of the Lamborghini lineup. The Countach had been in the Lamborghini stable since 1974 and would end up sticking around until 1990.

Lamborghini Diablo (1990)

Photo courtesy of Automobili Lamborghini

Legendary car designer Marcello Gandini is responsible for the clean and aggressive lines of the body of the Diablo, just as he was responsible for the design of the Countach and Lamborghini Miura. Chrsyler's design center (Chrysler owned Lamborghini from 1987 to 1994) partially revised Gandini's plans.

Gandini was unimpressed with Chrysler's revisions. Two years before the Diablo went on sale, Gandini was able to realize his true design in the Cizeta-Moroder V16T.

Lamborghini Diablo VT (1993)

Photo courtesy of Automobili Lamborghini

When it launched, the Diablo was the fastest production car in the world. It was capable of achieving a top speed of 203.1 mph. The car could get from zero to 62 mpg in 4.5 seconds. Diablo's dynamics were developed in partnership with rally champion Sandro Munari.

The Countach successor took was offered in its predecessor to the next level, featuring many features and equipment that are commonplace on modern vehicles including adjustable seats and steering wheel, electric windows, a high-end stereo system, power steering, anti-lock brakes, and rear spoiler. Buyers could choose to add a remote CD changer.

Lamborghini Diablo Roadster (1996)

Photo courtesy of Automobili Lamborghini

The Diablo was powered by a 5.7-liter 12-cylinder engine that featured four overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder. It had multi-point electronic injection that led it to be capable of developing 485 horsepower and 427 pound-feet of torque.

Lamborghini Diablo SE (1994)

Photo courtesy of Automobili Lamborghini

The first Lamborghini Granturismo with four-wheel drive was the Diablo VT. It launched in 1993 and brought with it a number of styling changes and mechanical innovations. Among the changes was the addition of a viscous center differential. It was that merchaincs that gave the car its name. "VT" stands for viscous traction. The Diablo VT featured new front air intakes below the headlights and larger intakes in the rear arches. The car's interior was revised to be more ergonomic.

Lamborghini Diablo SV (1996)

Photo courtesy of Automobili Lamborghini

In 1993, the special SE30 series was presented to commemorate Lamborghini's 30th anniversary. The model received a power increase to 523 horsepower. It had enough differences with the traditional Diablo to render it unique. There was a revised front fascia that included a deeper spoiler and the raging bull emblem was moved from the front lid to the nose panel. There was just one fog lamp and one backup light. The car also featured special magnesium alloy wheels and SE30 badging.

The Diablo SV debuted at the Geneva Motor Show in 1995. It was only available with two-wheel drive but it made 510 horsepower and had a adjustable rear wing. The car received black tail lamp surrounds, repositioned rear fog and reverse lamps, dual front fog lamps, and an extra set of front brake cooling ducts. Buyers could add SV decals to their model.

Later that year, the automaker brought the Diablo VT Roadster to market as Lamborghini's first 12-cylinder, open-roofed, mass-produced Lamborghini. The car was offered only with a four-wheel drive transmission.

Lamborghini Diablo SVR (1996)

Photo courtesy of Automobili Lamborghini

The Diablo SVR was made for just one year, 1996, and was designed for racing. The Diablo GTR followed in a similar vein. The company sold just 32 of those models from 1999 to 2000. The GTR was a lightweight version of the Diablo that had the air conditioning, stereo system, soundproofing, and heatproofing removed. The former two-seater had a single race seat installed, compete with a six-point seatbelt harness. A roll cage, fixed Plexiglass windows, and new air intakes were among the other modifications.

Lamborghini Diablo GTR (1999-2000)

Photo courtesy of Automobili Lamborghini

In 1998, Lamborghini was sold to the Volkswagen Group who soon placed the brand under the control of its Audi arm, where it remains today. In 1999, a restyled Diablo SV was revealed after design revisions by Luc Donckerwolke, the company's first in-house designer. Donckerwolke is currently the Chief Creative Officer at Hyundai Motor Group.

With the revisions, the car became capable of achieving 529 horsepower and 446 pound-feet of torque. For the first time, a Lamborghini came with an antilock braking system.

The Diablo 6.0 was a transitional model as the brand prepared to launch Diablo's successor, the Murciélago. It featured a revised front fascia that included two large air intakes, smoothed features and larger turns signals. The rear of the car remained mostly unchanged by taillight surrounds went from red or black to body-colored.

Lamborghini Diablo 6.0 (2001)

Photo courtesy of Automobili Lamborghini

Lamborghini brought back elements of its past models, 18-inch OZ wheels were styled to look similar to a design that was on the Countach. Air conditioning and pedal alignments were improved.

Software updates and new intake and exhaust systems gave the car a power output of 549 horsepower and 457 pound-feet of torque. Lamborghini did not sell the Diablo VT 6.0 in anything but a coupe body style.

The Diablo was Lamborghini's most produced car to date with 2903 units in total whenn it was replaced by the Murciélago.

Lamborghini Diablo GT at MUDETEC

Photo courtesy of Automobili Lamborghini

MUDETEC is Lamborghini's museum. It's no longer just a showcase of cars, but also an homage to the technology, from cars to production lines, that helped make Lamborghini the brand it is today, and in the future. The Museum of Technologies is located in Bologna, Italy.

Lamborghini Diablo 30th Anniversary Celebration

Photo courtesy of Automobili Lamborghini

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The EQXX Concept features a crazy driving range.

Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz is putting its century-plus of automotive experience into building electric cars, and the results are impressive. The EQS is an electric flagship with great range, and the automaker has unveiled several concepts to show its future plans. The Vision EQXX concept debuted today as an ultra-efficient luxury EV with astonishing range numbers.

Mercedes-Benz EQXX Concept Mercedes focused on efficiency over power with the car. Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes' focus with the EQXX is efficiency over power, as it says the car is its most efficient it has ever made. The EQXX uses less than 10 kWh per 100 kilometers (around 62 miles), which equates to 620 miles on a single charge. The battery was designed with tech and knowledge from Mercedes-AMG Formula 1 team, especially when it comes to size and weight. The EQXX's battery pack is 50 percent smaller by volume and 30 percent lighter than the pack in the EQS, which already featured astonishing efficiency.

The car's impressive range comes at the expense of horsepower, which in this case means just 201 ponies from the EQXX's electric drivetrain. Mercedes says that the system is capable of delivering up to 95 percent energy efficiency - an impressive figure for power delivery to the wheels. Extremely efficient gas powertrains only achieve around 30 percent efficiency and a human long-distance runner can hit around 50 percent.

Mercedes-Benz EQXX Concept The EQXX is impressively slippery, which improves its range.

The EQXX is a slippery car, too, and with a drag coefficient of just 0.17, the car cuts through the air with ease. The typical EV uses up to two-thirds of its battery capacity just to push through the air, so the EQXX's aerodynamics is a big part of its efficiency. The other big part is Mercedes' thermal management system, which uses shutters and cooling plates to maintain an ideal battery and electric drive unit temperature. The plates allow the EQXX to gain about 12 miles of range in its most aerodynamic mode.

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What was your best car-related experience this year?

Chris Teague

This year has been a lot of things, but it hasn't been boring. Even if we focus only on the car world, there's plenty to talk about, from microchip-related new vehicle shortages to the wave of new electric vehicles hitting the market. That leaves us with a question for all of you: What was the best or most memorable car moment for you in 2021? I'll get the conversation started.

Porsche Cayenne GTS My SoCal Cayenne śaw snow for the first time in its nearly 200k-mile life last week.Chris Teague

I'd spent a good portion of 2021 wanting a new-old car to drive when I wasn't testing a new vehicle. That's harder than you'd think for someone who thinks, talks, and writes about cars all day, because there are so many interesting, risky, and downright funky options out there in every price range. The added headache for me was that I'd chosen to shop for a "fun" car in one of the most volatile car markets ever seen. Even the extremely high-mileage "untouchable" European cars I wanted to buy were commanding ridiculous prices.

After a solid few months of waffling between various rattletrap Mercedes-AMG, BMW M, and Audi S/RS cars, I landed on an option that had escaped me before: The Porsche Cayenne. First-generation Cayennes are a real bargain now, but the 955/957 (Porsche's internal code for the SUVs) can experience major problems that occur with or without regular maintenance and care. I was determined to buy one, and wasn't overly concerned about mileage, as long as I could count the number of owners on one hand. There was a beautiful 2009 Cayenne GTS with 90,000 miles but nine owners, a gorgeous 2004 Cayenne Turbo with a concerning engine tick, and many more just like them. Finally, I decided to risky-click a 196,000-mile Cayenne GTS in Southern California. It had one owner and one dealer-owner for a month or two prior to sale, its condition looked decent in photos, and I was able to negotiate a reasonable enough price that shipping it from San Diego to Maine wasn't a huge problem.

Porsche Cayenne GTS The pics look great, but hands-on tells another story.Chris Teague

I had two traveling Euro mechanics check the car out, and both confirmed that it was well-worn but mechanically sound, so I jumped. Ten days later, on a snowy, icy, dark Maine afternoon, the Cayenne arrived. Cosmetically, there were a few things the dealer and mechanics failed to mention, but overall, it looked good. The SUV passed Maine safety and emissions testing without problem, got a new set of Michelins, and I was on my way.

Porsche Cayenne GTS I'm in danger, but thankfully this should be a reasonable fix.Chris Teague

A few days of driving revealed what I was really in for. A check engine light revealed a camshaft position sensor error and the Cayenne displayed a nasty vibration at idle. A new sensor and motor mounts, and I'm on my way. I'll update you as more things break or miraculously work, but I want to hear your memories from 2021.

Email me at chris@automotivemap.com, and I will compile the best and most interesting stories for a story on New Year's Day. May you all have a wonderful 2022.

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