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Lamborghini's new V12 and ISR transmission – Click above for high-res image gallery

Ever since the introduction of the 350 GT in 1964, every twelve-cylinder Lamborghini has used a derivative of the same engine, straight through the Miura, Espada, Countach, LM002, Diablo, Murciélago and Reventón. Now, the Italian automaker is throwing that old design in the trash bin and starting fresh with a clean-sheet design. And what a design.

Destined for duty in the upcoming Murcielago successor, this 6.5-liter V12 is an all-new engine – designed, developed and produced entirely in-house at the company's Sant'Agata Bolognese factory. It features four-valve cylinder heads made from an aluminum-silicon alloy, short stroke and lightweight construction to deliver an output of 700 horsepower and 509 pound-feet of torque.

Along with the new engine, Lamborghini introduces a new type of gearbox called the Independent Shifting Rod (ISR) transmission. Employing dual shifting rods, the ISR is said to be able to shift nearly 50 percent faster than a comparable dual-clutch gearbox, while weighing considerably less. Follow the jump for the full details in the official press release and check out the images in the gallery below.

  • Photo Umberto Guizzardi
  • Photo Umberto Guizzardi
  • Photo Umberto Guizzardi
  • Photo Umberto Guizzardi

[Source: Lamborghini]
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A milestone in the history of Lamborghini: The new twelve-cylinder and the new ISR transmission – Innovative technologies for a unique powertrain

Automobili Lamborghini is embarking on a highly innovative chapter in the company's history with an all-new V12 power plant and a new, unique high performing transmission – the twelve-cylinder with 6.5 liter displacement, output of 525 kW (700 hp) and maximum torque of 690 Newton meters was developed with state-of-the-art technology from a clean sheet of paper. The result is a synthesis of breathtaking performance, high-revving exhilaration, low weight and moderate gas emissions. The perfect complement is a completely new transmission concept for super sports cars: the "Lamborghini ISR" automated manual gearbox combines minimal shift times and everyday usability with low weight and dimensions to guarantee that emotional sensation from gearshifts, which customers expect from a super sports car at the very top of the premier league. The new powertrain will enter production ear ly 2011.

The legend of Lamborghini strongly relies on its extraordinary, unique V12 engines."This new power unit is not only the crowning glory of our product range, it is also part of our enormous investment in the future of the Lamborghini brand," says Stephan Winkelmann, President and CEO of Automobili Lamborghini. "With this new V12, we are heralding a technological leap that encompasses all areas of the company and our future model lineup. With a unique package of innovations, Lamborghini will redefine the future of the super sports car. This 700 hp engine, together with an all-new concept gearbox, will be the strong heart of the Murciélago successor next year."

Top performance, low weight

Twelve-cylinder engines are fundamental to the legendary Lamborghini brand – in the past and in the future. The very first model by Ferruccio Lamborghini, the 350 GT, first appeared on the market in 1964 with a twelve cylinder power unit that was extremely innovative for its day. Miura, Espada, Countach, Diablo and, most recently, Murciélago are just a few of the super sports car to have been built in Sant'Agata. All of them were and will be driven by V12 engines – and all have long since taken their place in history as automotive legends.

The next milestone in this glorious history now awaits – Lamborghini's research and development engineers started with a clean sheet of paper to create an all-new high-performance power plant. The resulting package is extremely powerful and high-revving, yet compact. At 235 kilograms, it is also extremely lightweight – with every single kilo of engine weight representing around three hp of maximum output.

High-revving joy, stunning sound

Even in the world of super sports cars, 515 kW (700 hp) at 8,250 rpm sets a new benchmark. Maximum torque stands at 690 Newton meters and is available at 5,500 rpm. The extremely well-rounded torque curve, beefy pulling power in every situation, incredibly spontaneous responsiveness and, not least, the finely modulated but always highly emotional acoustics make this engine a stunning power unit of the very highest order. Not only was it developed entirely in-house by Lamborghini, it is also manufactured from start to finish at company headquarters in Sant'Agata Bolognese. Highly qualified specialists assemble the engines by hand, with every single one then tested extensively and finely calibrated on an engine test bed.

This exceptional athlete derives its power from a whole package of innovative technologies. For optimum weight, the crankcase and the four-valve cylinder heads are made from aluminum-silicon alloy. The short-stroke layout ensures exceptional high-revving performance and very low internal friction. A lengthy process of fine tuning perfected the thermal management system for the high-performance power unit, as well as the oil circulation system with dry-sump lubrication. The intake system with four individual throttle valves is highly complex – an extremely well-rounded torque curve and outstanding pulling power across the rev range the reward. The exhaust system delivers the lowest emission levels, as well as that unmistakable, spine-tingling Lamborghini sound – from a moderate rumble when cruising through the city at low revs to the howling crescendo of gears at their limits.

Innovative transmission for maximum performance

Engineers working under the sign of the bull have come up with an ingenious mate for the new twelve-cylinder engine in the shape of the Lamborghini ISR transmission. Overall, this is a drive unit that is absolutely unique in the competitive world of super sports cars. The development target was clearly formulated – to create the world's most emotional gearshift feel.

This innovative manual gearbox combines extremely fast shift times – almost 50 percent shorter than with a dual-clutch transmission – with the benefits of manual shifting when it comes to low weight and compact dimensions, both always crucial for a super sports car. The low shift times are enabled through the transmission's particular design, known as ISR (Independent Shifting Rod). Instead of taking place in series, as with a conventional gearbox, shifting can occur virtually in parallel. While one shifting rod is moving out of one gear, the second shifting rod can already engage the next. Moreover, the transmission weighs only 79 kilograms – a distinct benefit, even against comparable DSG transmissions, which are considerably heavier.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      Double clutch transmissions do not shift. The transition gears. Therefore they have no shift 'time'

      Only 6 gears?

      I would have like to have seen an 8 speed ZeroShift design.
        • 4 Years Ago
        it's not made for lazy americans.

        it's either 6 or 7 gears, many people use their lambourgini on track or it's used by team that competes either in national or international competitions.

        8 speed would be useless on track.
        even if it takes 1/4 second or what ever to shift, it's time you loose.
        another thing, while every gear is shorter it wouldn't match with the corners.

        you put 8 speed in a limo.
        • 4 Years Ago
        If you want to say shift time is where you decouple the power {100%, then dropping out to 0%, that does not apply to double clutch because you transition 100% on clutch A, then 90%-A, 10% B; 75%-A, 25%-B; 55%-A, 45%-B; 30%-A, 70%-B; 0%A, 100% B}

        It is a 7 speed, which is okay.
        A traditional manual & automated manual experience load reversals whereas a double clutch does not (which is good thing on a track)

        An 8th gear [if allowed by statute] could be an economy gear (strategy is important in racing), but for the real world you'd have 1st gear be nice and short to protect the clutch, and 8th gear to deliver excellent highway mileage (and quiet) while still being able to reach a drag limited top speed of 155mph.
        • 4 Years Ago
        So what would you call the time between full engagment of one gear to full engagment of the next gear? Its impossible for the "transition" to be completely instantaneous.

        Transition time, shift time, 6 of one, a half dozen of the other.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Yep, now that's a work of art right there.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Why is the transmission in FRONT of the engine? I doubt they are hanging a V12 out over the back axle...
        • 4 Years Ago
        Look at where the rear differential is.
      • 4 Years Ago
      seriously, is any automaker doing it better right now? 2200lb gallardo, brand new V12 with unmatched gearbox (in terms of speed). awesome awesome awesome.
      • 4 Years Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      I find it exciting how for I'm-not-sure-how-long we had only the manual transmission and the "slushbox" automatic transmission in production cars.

      Now in the last 10 years or so we've seen the CVT spring up in dozens of models, the dual-clutch gearbox, this thing, etc... hooray technology!
      • 4 Years Ago
      As Jeremy Clarkson would say "I've just had a crisis!"
      • 4 Years Ago
      Engine porn! Theres no better way to start a day!
        • 4 Years Ago
        That is just so sexy, and powerful too. Now if I just keep saving my pennies....
        • 4 Years Ago

        This my exact concern. After 50 years they still couldn't get it right. I just don't understand how one company can make a car that can run for 5 years and 100,000 miles and needs literally no upkeep other than oil changes and another car company makes a car that will fall apart if you don't spend $5000 every 5000 miles on it.

        • 4 Years Ago
        Iv seen a murcielago on evo or car magazine with 160k on it is a track day car but can't tell how many clutches gearboxes etc.. It went through.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Engine porn it most certainly is!

        @ nastinupe: don't forget that Lamborghini is under the VAG umbrella. I'm sure there are more than a handful of Germans working in the Sant'Agata Bolognese factory. Let's also remember, it's not like the old engine was some marvel of reliability. It needed frequent, regular maintenance.
        • 4 Years Ago
        European VWs are actuallt pretty reliable, its only American ones that have a reputation for unreliability.
        • 4 Years Ago

        No one that spends almost $500,000 on a car that they drive 5,000 miles in 3 years cares about reliability.
        Plus, when you buy a Ferrrari or a Lamborghini, problems are expected, that is just the nature of those cars.
        There is nothing logical about their purchases, it is all emotional.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @ Venom, exactly. no one goes to work 100 miles and back with a Lambo V12. these cars are supposed to be the cutting edge of street legal car technology , just like F1 cars are in racing . you can't expect them to be as reliable as a family car , it's just impossible.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Never truly understood the term "engine porn" until now.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Amazing motor, I wonder if the boys at GM are raising there brow to this. Look like the ZR-1 just may have gotten trumped. Performance number will tell the real story when this motor and new Lambo come out. Definitely staying tuned in....
        • 4 Years Ago
        The boys at GM? Who cares about the ZR1- any redneck can slap a supercharger on a huge V8 and get 600 horsepower.... So why would this impress them after the GT2 RS matched them with a turbo V6? (and blasted that car's Nurburgring time)
        • 4 Years Ago
        Why? Because GM has something to prove to the rest of the world.

        GM goal was to make the ZR-1 a world fighter, as you know the ZR-1 just doesn't go fast in a strait line, the car can go very fast in the turns. I just don't see GM resting on there laurels with which they achieved in there super Vette, something tells me they will even have a hotter version of the ZR-1 to compete with the exotics, possibly will see this in the C7 version of the ZR-1.

        In the end we as consumers win with car manufactures competing and striving to be the best.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I like how they still put the firing order on the top of the engine.

      You know, incase you lose your place on the distributor whilst changing your plug wires. lol
        • 4 Years Ago
        No, sorry, it's confirmed. This monitor is crap. :)
        • 4 Years Ago
        Now, maybe the resolution on my government-issued monitor is crap (say it's not so!), but doesn't it look like some of the cylinders in the firing order are repeated?
        • 4 Years Ago
        the 'distributor' has been iliminated for atleast close to 20 years here in europe.
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