Italian Genius: the Ferrari LaFerrari and the Lamborghini Veneno
Any time you mention Ferrari, you always have to mention Lamborghini. It’s the same the other way around. The two Italian super car brands are the automotive equivalents of Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. You can’t talk about one without bringing up the other. So it wasn’t a surprise that both Ferrari and Lamborghini were front and center at the recently concluded Geneva Motor Show, each bringing a new supercar that can make Calvin Ayre drop his pants in a New York minute.
Here they are, the Ferrari LaFerrari and the Lamborghini Veneno, two shining pieces of Italian engineering, developed to appease the still existing super luxury market that has apparently never heard of, or completely ignored the growing downsizing trend in the auto industry.
Both the LaFerrari and the Veneno have claims to being historic models despite being days old in the public view. The former is the long-awaited successor to the iconic Ferrari Enzo, a supercar so revered an abandoned model in Dubai was supposed to be auctioned for $1.6 million. It didn’t end up on the auction block but the mere speculation that a left-to-rot Enzo could still fetch that amount is a testament to its legendary stature in the auto circles. Meanwhile, the latter was touted as the fastest and most powerful Lamborghini the Italian automaker has built, no small acclaim considering that the Aventador, Lamborghini’s “mass-produced” model – loose definition alert! – already comes with 700 horsepower under its hood.
It’s extremely rare for an automaker to live up to the kind of hype generated by these two models before they were unveiled. But not only did Ferrari and Lamborghini exceed any rationale expectations set of them, they unveiled two otherworldly machines that makes associating the word “super” to them a crime tantamount to automotive treason.
Remember when we said that a significant number of automakers have placed premiums on fuel economy and down-sized engines? No such thing for both the LaFerrari and the Veneno. One comes with a 6.5-liter V-12 monster that produces 750 horsepower and carries a top speed of 221 mph. The other features a 6.3-liter V-12 that develops an insane 953 horsepower with a top speed of 217 mph. These numbers still won’t reach the Bugattis and Koenigseggs of the world, but that’s not the point for Ferrari and Lamborghini.
At the end of the day, power and speed are only parts of the equation; how the car looks and what kind of materials it uses plays an equally important role in establishing its prestige. And yeah, it doesn’t hurt that these two exotics carry arguably two of the most famous automotive badges – the Prancing Horse and the Raging Bull – in history.
Speaking of their looks, we invite you to stare at the LaFerrari and the Veneno and tell us how fast it took before you got a hard-on? Took us less than three seconds, roughly equal to the time both cars can cover 0-60 mph. The LaFerrari was designed using F1-inspired aerodynamics and it clearly shows in how the body is streamlined to ensure that it keeps the distinctive sharp sloping nose and the low bonnet that the Italian automaker has come to be known for. One look at it and you know it’s a Ferrari, albeit one that carries enormous Formula One influence.
On the flip side, the Lamborghini Veneno’s design is simply an exercise in vehicular insanity. You can put some of the nuttiest designers in one room, pour each of them a jug of Patron, throw in some leaves, and they still probably wouldn’t come up with the kind of design Lamborghini accomplished on the Veneno. It’s beyond preposterous in an absolutely stunning way. The enormous Y-shaped angular headlamps are a distinctive touch never before seen in a Lamborghini. Add that to the large aero wing in the front, the enormous side sills and the rear wing and diffuser set up on the back and it’s no wonder why the Veneno looks about as dastardly as any supercar we’ve seen in recent history.
Before anybody gets their hopes up, it’s important to mention that no matter how much you love, dream, and fantasize about being able to drive, let alone own a LaFerrari or a Veneno, the closest you can probably get to touching one is on magazine posters, desktop wallpapers, or the minuscule Hot Wheels variety. The LaFerrari reportedly costs $1.3 million and believe it or not, that amount is peanuts compared to the $4 million price tag attached to the Veneno. And besides, Lamborghini only made three models of this exotic – and all are already accounted for.
So if you have plans of writing to Santa Claus this early, you can still dream of receiving one of the 499 LaFerraris Ferrari is planing on building. Just be sure to remind him that it costs $1.3 million.