Lamborghini Diablo

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800px-Diablo Roadster copy.JPG
Lamborghini Diablo
Manufacturer: Lamborghini SPA
Production: 1990-2001
Class: Sports car
Body styles: 2-door coupé
Competitors: Porsche 911 Turbo (Type 964), Porsche 911 Turbo (Type 993), Ferrari F348, Ferrari F355, Ferrari Testarossa, Lotus Esprit

The Lamborghini Diablo ("devil" in Spanish) was a sports car built by Lamborghini of Italy between 1990 and 2001.

Diablo, 1990-1998

Lamborghini began developing the car in 1985 as a replacement for the Countach model, introducing it for sale on January 21st, 1991 at a base price of $240,000 USD. Power came from a new 5.7 litre, 48 valve V12 featuring dual overhead cams and computer-controlled multi-point fuel injection, producing 492 horsepower and 427 foot-pounds of torque. Driven hard the vehicle could reach 60 mph in slightly over 4 seconds, with a top speed of 202 miles per hour (325 km/h). As in the Countach, the Diablo was rear wheel drive and the engine was mid-mounted to aid its weight balance.

Even at over $200,000, the vehicle was fairly sparse in terms of equipment, featuring only basic radio functions (with optional CD playback) along with manual windows, adjustable but unpowered seats and no ABS for the braking system, mostly to minimize the vehicle's already high curb weight. A few options were available, including having the driver's seat molded specifically for the buyer, a rear wing spoiler, a factory fitted luggage set (priced at $2,600) and an exclusive Breguet clock for the dash (priced at $10,500).

Diablo VT (Ver. 1), 1993-1998 and Diablo VT Roadster (Ver. 1), 1995-1998

1999 Diablo VT Roadster

After three years of making minor adjustments to the standard Diablo, Lamborghini decided in 1993 that a second even more specialized version of the car could add new customers to the brand. Starting with the basic Diablo platform, Lamborghini engineers added a viscous-coupling type all-wheel-drive system, an improved power steering system, resized front wheels and tires chosen to work better with the all-wheel-drive system, four-piston Brembo sourced brakes, an updated dashboard design and a new computerized suspension system featuring aggressivly tuned Koni shock absorbers. The suspension system could be left in "auto" mode where it was controlled entirely by the computer, or any of four separate "modes" could be manually selected by the driver via buttons in the cabin. The vehicle still lacked ABS brakes.

Lamborghini had presented an open-topped concept version of the VT at the 1992 Geneva Auto Show alongside the coupe when the car debuted there, but it was another 3 years before the model saw production. Other than its removeable Targa-style carbon fiber roof panel, the vehicle was essentially identical to the coupe, with only a few minor styling differences, mainly in regards to the tail lights between the two model.

VT stands for Viscous Traction.

Diablo SE 30, 1993

A lightened, hard-edged racing variant of the standard Diablo, the SE 30 was sold in limited numbers during 1993 to celebrate Lamborghini's 30th anniversary in the automobile manufacturing business. The car went without most of the Diablo's standard equipment, meaning that it was devoid of a radio, air-conditioning or sound deadening and featured carbonfibre molded seats, helping to make it 125 kilograms lighter than the standard car. Lamborghini choose to do without the VT's advanced electronic suspension or all0wheel-drive systems, but the car did get an advanced adjustment system controlled with an interior knob that could instantaneously adjust the stiffness of the car's front and rear antiroll bars. They also enlarged the discs of all four wheels, but the car still lacked ABS.

Diablo SV (Ver. 1), 1995-1998

The SV or "Sport Veloce" variant of the Diablo was an optional add-on package to the base car. It lacked the VT's all-wheel-drive system and electronic suspension, but it featured the VT's revised dashboard and larger brakes, a new 3-piece adjustable spoiler and was powered by a modified version of the 5.7 litre V12 producing 520 horsepower. The car's air intakes were slightly differently shaped, and the vehicle now had exposed headlamps as opposed to the pop-up units previous versions used.

Tuning company Auto König of Germany produced a tuned variant of the SV featuring further suspension modifications, massive brakes and a twin-turbocharger system, boosting the car's output to over 800 horsepower.

Diablo VT (Ver. 2), 1999 and Diablo VT Roadster (Ver. 2), 1999

The second version of the VT coupe and roadster were mainly a styling update. The cars now featured the SV's exposed headlamps, new wheels and a newly redesigned dashboard. On the mechanical side, larger brakes, the long-overdue addition of ABS brakes and a new variable valve timing system on the 5.7 litre V12 were the only updates. Power output increased to 530 horsepower, dropping the car's 0-60 time to slightly below 4 seconds. Despite the money Lamborghini had spent making the updates, the "Version 2" VTs were discontinued after only one year of production.

Diablo SV (Ver. 2), 1999

Just like the updated versions of the VT coupe and roadster, the 1999 model year SV's changes were primarily limited to cosmetics. It received slight bodywork updates (keeping the exposed headlamps), new wheels and larger brakes in addition to the new VVT equipped, 530 horsepower motor. Otherwise it was mainly the same car. Like the updated VT, it was produced only as a 1999 model.

Diablo GT, 1999

As much as the SV (Sport Volce) was already a near race-ready version of the Diablo, the limited run GT model went even further. A modified version of the V12 engine, bored out to 6.0 litres and producing 575 horsepower powered the vehicle, while enlarged brakes, an improved and lower riding suspension and owner-specific gearing that was customized by the factory were other mechanical changes. More aggressive bodywork with flared fenders and wider wheels were introduced. Only 80 units were produced in total and the vehicle was sold officially only in Europe.

The 1999 Diablo GT was dubbed the fastest production car in the world; its newer design and engine (which ultimately influinced the restyling changes for the 6.0 Diablo) were the most technically advanced of any Diablo yet:

  • new Lamborghini V12, 6 litre engine
  • new design of the body
  • wider front track
  • improved chassis and suspension
  • reduced weight
  • new sportier interior
  • significantly higher performance that the previous SVR Diablo

A true performance car, while still conforming to the EU's emisions and even safety requirements.

Diablo VT 6.0 (Diablo VT Ver. 3), 2000-2001

After Audi AG took over Lamborghini from Chrysler Corporation in the mid 1990s and they set out to make major revsions to the Diablo so that it could continue to provide revenue while its replacement was developed. The VT 6.0 was their first (and last) truly intensive redesign of the car, meaning that it was more than just a cosmetic update to the existing model. Heavy styling changes both inside and out were made; the front bumper, air intakes and nose as well as the entire dashboard, seats and switchgear were redone. In addition, they choose to replace the now dated 5.7 litre motor with a sort of hybrid unit. Displacing 6.0 litres and based on the motor that powered the Diablo GT, which in itself was essentially a bored-out version of the 5.7, the motor had updated software in addition to new intake and exhaust systems and a refined variable valve timing system with slightly less aggressive camshafts than had been used in the GT. The result was a realitivly smooth output of 550 horsepower to the rear wheels. In addition, Audi engineers made several major refinements to the VT's all-wheel-drive system based on Audi's experience fine-tuning their Quattro system, made minor suspension refinements and used a new 18-inch wheel design. A small number of the VT 6.0s were produced with rear-wheel-drive as per customer request. The Diablo was produced in VT 6.0 form only for the 2000-2001 model years and only 260 were produced, essentially marking the car's final exit from the market.

Overview of major 6.0 changes:

  • body mainly in carbon fibre
  • new 6 litre engine
  • improved exhaust system
  • new 32 bit microprocessor for the engine management system
  • upgraded chassis
  • wider front and rear tracks
  • completely redesigned interior
  • new air conditioning system
  • new lightweight magnesium alloy wheels

2001 Lamborghini Diablo VT 6.0

Lamborghini also produced two limited-run special editions of the Diablo as the car's final goodbye from 2000-2001 (see below).

Diablo Millenium Roadster, 2000 and Diablo VT 6.0 Special Edition, 2001

Although normal production of the Diablo ended in 2000, owner company Audi chose to produce two special edition versions of the car to send it off with a bang. The first, dubbed "Millenium Roadster", wore the newest VT roadster body and shared its final drive ratio but was otherwise a standard, rear-wheel-drive Diablo, lacking the VT's all-wheel-drive and computerized suspension systems. It was painted in what Lamborghini dubbed "Millenium Metallic Silver" and featured special items such as a carbonfibre rear spoiler with a transparent center section.

A special edition of the succesful Diablo 6.0 was presented to the public at the 2001 Geneva motor show on 3 Mar 2001; the VT 6.0 special edition was in most ways a carryover of the Audi-redesigned model from 2000-2001. Special features were mainly cosmetic and included the buyer's choice of just two special paint colors: 'Oro Elios' a special shade of gold metallic or 'Marrone Eklipsis' a marroon-brown metallic. The exterior and interior Carbon fibre details are in visible carbon fibre and have been made with a special Titanium thread, thus giving the car more of a shine, which tends to shift color with the angle of light. The interior was color coded to the exterior color, special leather for the seats and dashboard was used, and the standard Alpine stereo system now featured an integrated DVD audio/navigation system. 42 were built in total, 21 in each color. The vehicle marked the final death of the diablo after 11 years of production.

The technical specifcations on the 6.0 SE were the same as the original 6.0.

Special Edition Diablos, 1991-2000

Lamborghini peridocially produced extremely limited edition "one-off" versions of the Diablo even rarer and/or more specialized than versions such as the SE 30, Diablo GT and Millenium Edition. Models included special "Alpine Edition" cars with advanced Alpine brand sound systems, a VTR and VTR roadster which used leftover SE 30 components, a "Victoria's Secret" themed car, a version produced specially for Malcolm Forbes, a " Monterey Edition" SV solely for the United States and models featuring "Jota" performance options similar in nature to Audi's "S" models and BMW's "M" models.

Diablo based race cars

Lamborghini produced several race variants of the Diablo over the car's lifespan. There was an early car meant to compete in GT1 class at LeMans, two different versions of a Diablo based GT2 class car, and general racing models designated SV-R and SVS.

  • 1996 Diablo SVR, the "Sport Voloce" Racing edition, only 31 Made
  • 1997 Diablo Roadster "R", a very limited run; only 1 built for the United States
  • 1997-98 Diablo GT1, only 2 built
  • 1998 Diablo GT2 (Only 1 Built), this is actually the factory prototype for the Diablo GTR
  • 1998 Diablo GTR (30 made in 2000), introduced at the December 1999 Bologna Motor Show a street legal version of the GTR, known as the "Diablo GT" was mas in the years 1999-2000 (80 built)

Lamborghini Models
Current models: Reventón | Murciélago LP640 | Murciélago LP640 Roadster | Murcielago Spider | Gallardo | Gallardo Spyder

Historic models: Miura | Countach | Diablo | Espada | Silhouette | Jalpa | 350GT | 400GT | Islero | Jarama | LM002 | Urraco

Concept models: Athon | Bravo | Cala | Cheetah | Concept S | Flying Star II | 3500GTZ | Genesis | LM001 | LM003 | LM004 | LMA002 | Marco Polo | Marzal | Miura Concept | Portofino | Raptor

Owned Group:Volkswagen | Audi | SEAT | Škoda | Bentley | Bugatti | Lamborghini

« Previous Lamborghini road car timeline, 1980s–2000s – part of the Volkswagen Group
1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3
Owner ← Receivership 20px-Flag of Switzerland.png Jean-Claude
and Patrick Mimran
22px-Flag of the United States.png Chrysler Corporation 22px-Flag of Indonesia.svg.png Megatech 22px-Flag of Indonesia.svg.png V'Power 22px-Flag of Germany.png AUDI AG
Mid/RWD V8 Jalpa
Mid/4WD V10 Gallardo*
Sesto Elemento
V12 <··· Countach Diablo Murciélago Aventador
Front/4WD V12 LM002
Founder: Ferruccio Lamborghini | Lamborghini Corporate website | A brand of the VWAG group

Bertone Designs
Abarth: 1952 Abarth 1500 Coupé | 1958 Abarth 1000 GT Coupé | 1965 Abarth OT 1000 Spider

Alfa Romeo: 1953 Alfa Romeo BAT-5 | 1954 Alfa Romeo 1900 Sport Spider | 1954 Alfa Romeo 2000 Sportiva | 1954 Alfa Romeo BAT-7 | 1954 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint | 1955 Alfa Romeo BAT-9 | 1960 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint Speciale | 1962 Alfa Romeo 2600 Sprint | 1962 Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint | 1962 Alfa Romeo GTA | 1962 Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint Speciale | 1964 Alfa Romeo Canguro | 1967 Alfa Romeo GT 1300 Junior | 1967 Alfa Romeo Montreal | 1968 Alfa Romeo Carabo | 1976 Alfa Romeo Navajo | 1978 Alfa Romeo Alfetta | 1980 Alfa Romeo Alfetta 2000 | 1983 Alfa Romeo Delfino | 2003 Alfa Romeo GT
ASA: 1962 ASA Coupé
Bertone: 1970 Bertone Berlinetta | 1992 Bertone Blitz | 2003 Bertone Birusa
Ferrari: 1962 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Lusso | 1974 Ferrari 208/308 GT4 | 1976 Ferrari Rainbow
Fiat: 1967 Fiat Dino Coupé | 1968 Fiat 850Sport Spider | 1978 Fiat Ritmo/Strada | Fiat X1/9
ISO: 1962 Iso Rivolta | 1965 Iso Grifo | 1969 Iso Lele
Lamborghini: 1967 Lamborghini Marzal | 1967 Lamborghini Miura | 1968 Lamborghini Espada | 1970 Lamborghini Urraco | 1971 Lamborghini Countach | 1974 Lamborghini Bravo | 1980 Lamborghini Athon | 1988 Lamborghini Genesis | 1990 Lamborghini Diablo
Lambretta: 1968 Lambretta Luna line: Lui, Vega & Cometa | 1969 Lambretta GP/DL Scooter
Lancia: 1970 Lancia Stratos Zero | 1972 Lancia Stratos | 1978 Lancia Sibilo
Maserati: 1972 Maserati Khamsin | 1974 Maserati Quattroporte II