New Lamborghini Reventon Disappoints

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Serious Wheels has some highly stylized images of the new super-high-end Lamborghini Reventon. Only 20 will be made, and will cost some four times as much as Lambo’s previously most expensive model, the Murcielago LP640.

The car’s styling actually disappoints me, though it is unarguably striking, and is explicitly influenced by fighter jets. The press release (cited on Serious Wheels) states:

With the Reventón the [Lamborghini] Centro Stile designers have coherently developed this philosophy, inspired by another sphere where speed and dynamism reign absolute: modern aeronautics, responsible for the fastest and most agile airplanes in the world. This has created an extremely precise, technically striking style with a new vitality: interrupted lines and contorted surfaces create a fascinating play of light, giving the car incredible movement.

Clearly the F117 Nighthawk fighter is the reference point here, as it is really the only fighter that looks this jagged and planar. It was designed in the late 70’s, first appeared in the 1983 Gulf War, and is to be retired next year. Subsequent stealthy jets have been much more rounded, as the computational abilities to create the radar-evading surfaces have improved. And while the press release speaks about dynamics, stealthy aircraft are notorious for the instability, requiring constant computer correction or they would spin out of control.

Frankly it surprises me that it has taken almost 25 years for car design to be heavily influenced by the distinguished aesthetic of the stealth planes. When Harley Earl created the streamlined aesthetic for GM, it was roughly contemporaneous with the jets and rockets that inspired it.

reventon2.jpgWhat bugs me about the Reventon is that Lamborghini has essentially outsourced its design aesthetic. Instead of continuing their tradition of radical design that looks unlike anything else on the road at the time (e.g., the Miura, the Countach), they have borrowed the aesthetics for this limited-run special almost whole cloth from somewhere else. Even the cockpit has over-the-top references to aircraft instrumentation, with the speedometer and tach looking like a view of runway lights seen from approach. (Otherwise the cockpit is pretty run-of-the-mill.) It is disappointing that they did not take this opportunity to once again progress the state of the art in car styling. Instead the Reventon seems more like a look back.

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