The Lamborghini Diablo had to top the Countach – its wedge-shaped predecessor. To do so, it would need to be pretty special. Hence the fact that Marcello Gandini was given the design brief. He fulfilled it to perfection. All the way from the inlaid headlights, to the four-barrelled exhausts. The Diablo roared classic Italian supercar from the moment Gandini picked up his pen. It was Lamborghini’s mid-engined riposte to the Ferrari F40 – and the Diablo had all the allure of that Italian masterpiece. Materials used were state of the art. The Diablo was fitted with a strengthened carbon-fibre chassis. That was clad in aluminium and composite-plastic body panels. Lamborghini spent a cool £50m on development. Diablo is Spanish for ‘Devil’ – and there was a heck of a lot of detail to be paid for!
But, there was even more to the Diablo than stunning styling. For a roadster, its performance was off the graph. A 5.7-litre V12 maxed out at 492bhp. Top speed was a gargantuan 202mph. Indeed, the Diablo was the first production Lamborghini to attain that mythical figure. Torque measured a colossal 428lb-ft. From the Countach, Lamborghini had taken what was already an incredible engine – and improved it. Bigger – and tidier of design – it now came catalysed and fuel-injected. The Diablo hit 100mph in second gear alone.
They say the devil has all the best tunes. Their were to be several variations on the Diablo theme. SV, SV-R, Roadster and VT versions duly appeared. There were both 2- and 4-wheel drive models to choose from. The biggest beast of all was the limited-edition Diablo SE30. It topped out at 210mph. 0-60 came up in 4.2s. But – for all the Diablo’s power – comfort was not compromised. Ergonomics were expertly-crafted. Adjustable suspension was but an arm’s length away. Interior trim was impeccable. The sole flaw – if it can be considered so in a supercar – was a lack of luggage-room. But, when the choice was between storage space – and a more voluptuous V12 – most buyers did not hesitate. End of the day, the Diablo was not built to lug stuff about. Lamborghini were testing the limits of design and science!