I was fortunate enough to get a Press accreditation to attend the 2010 edition of the Paris Motor Show late September, with the various teasers sent out by the Lamborghini Press office I was really looking forward seeing the Sesto Elemento concept car in real life. Driving by car to the Porte de Versailles where the Motor Show is held isn't something I enjoy, but it had to be done, so when I finally arrived on the exhibition grounds the first stand I went to was the Automobili Lamborghini one naturally.
Center stage was taken by a stunning looking car, combining clear carbon fiber with high gloss red parts made it look as menacing as I imagined from the official press photos I saw earlier, getting a Press kit was a bit difficult as numbers were extremely limited ... understandable when I saw it, a stunning carbon fiber USB stick, needless to say that by noon there were no more press kits available, lucky me I left home at 5 in the morning to get to Paris in time.
The Sesto Elemento in Paris was a real concept car, but it was fully drivable nonetheless, powered by a 570 bhp V10 engine it has been driven hard before it was cleaned and parked on the Paris stand, thanks to the extensive use of lightweight carbon fiber just about everywhere on and inside the Sesto Elemento (which took it's name from the fact that carbon is the sixth element on the periodical table) the overall weight of this new Raging Bull is just below the 1000 Kgs marker.
With these figures it isn't difficult to get figures like an acceleration from 0 to 100 Km/h in a mere 2.5 seconds and a top speed well over 300 Km/h, but these figures don't tell the entire story. Thanks to the low weight and extensive use of carbon fiber, the Sesto Elemento is very rigid and offers driving pleasure not possible in other cars ... the Sesto Elemento offers a totally new dimension experience behind the wheel of a super car.
The Sesto Elemento might look angular from some angles, but every line in the design is there for a purpose, the two creases at the front lead to two red painted air outlets, while the double front spoiler firmly points forward. The headlights are paired with high power LED lights while at the rear we recognize the trademark y-shape LED first used on the Reventòn, while being at the rear you can't miss the innovative exhaust pipes that surface and the basis of the rear wing ... and are triangular shaped, a shape that is used all over the Sesto Elemento as a design clue.
The engine cover is made in one piece and has two air intakes pointed forward and a total of ten, hexagon air outlets, reminiscent of the number of cylinders of the Gallardo LP570-4 Superleggera engine used in this concept car, remember the Miura from the Sixties ? Well the engine cover on the Miura also opened in one single unit ... just like on the Sesto Elemento today.
At the rear we also see a narrow bumper nearly floating on it's own, something similar was first seen on the Diablo GT, the street legal edition of the GT-R race car, if this complies with laws on bumpers is highly unlikely, but according the officials on the stand there was absolutely no intention of putting this concept in production any time soon ...
Opening the door on the Sesto Elemento unveils a very unconventional interior ... there are no seats in this Lamborghini, well not in the way we know car seats that is, the entire carbon fiber monocoque has seat shapes built into it. Nice red fabric inserts are being glued directly onto this monocoque and form a shell for the driver and passenger to sit on. Adjusting the steering wheel both in reach and height combined with the adjustable pedals should make most people fit more or less comfortable into the Sesto Elemento. A dashboard isn't present either, instead you get a piece of art with triangular cut sections to reduce weight that flows into a central console holding only three buttons : one to start the engine, one to get into reverse and one to put on the lights ... that's it.
If you take a close look at the Sesto Elemento you can distinguish the fact that the entire car actually consists of the monocoque with the roof, the front section including spoiler and air outlets, the entire rear section that holds the large rear wing and opens to unveil the V10 engine and the doors ... more body panels aren't used on this concept car, talk about combining form and function in as little parts as possible.
People were very impressed with the Sesto Elemento rotating on it's display in Paris, and several owners and enthusiasts were asking a price on this car ... with no answer from officials on the stand, this was a one off exercise to show the world what Lamborghini can do with carbon fiber on their super cars, safe to say the upcoming Murciélago replacement will use many things learned from building and testing the Sesto Elemento.
It was clear that this concept wasn't meant to be unleashed onto the open road, too many legal problems with the design would prevent this from happening, however there was a small sprinkle of hope when one of the people on the stand actually mentioned a limited production possibility of a Sesto Elemento that wasn't street legal ? Are we talking about a track car, or a car that can only be used on private roads ... I have no idea, but it would really be nice to be able to see a derivative of the Sesto Elemento concept car actually being built, even in very limited numbers.
The official press release from Automobili Lamborgini SpA on Sesto Elemento