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Thu 21 Feb 2008 04:00 AM

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Love, awe and fear

Shahzad Sheikh gets our first Middle East drive of the proper ‘Raging Bull'.

Shahzad Sheikh gets our first Middle East drive of the proper ‘Raging Bull'.

Hard on the anchors and the Raging Bull pulls up like, well, a raging bull. Writhing, squirming; furiously defying the laws of mass and momentum, the LP640's ceramic brakes begat proper hanging-from-your-belt deceleration.

Then swinging the car into the Dubai Autodrome's turn one, caressing the brakes gently just long enough to keep the weight on the front, and the turn-in is sharper, more responsive than you'd expect. Then you ease back on that throttle, carefully coaxing back into play the fearsome 487lb ft of torque as you pilot through the sweeper.

Our first Middle East drive of the mighty Murcielago was sadly limited to a handful of laps on the track, but it proved a unique opportunity to try the ‘Last Lamborghini' in an environment where you could really risk stoking the furnace of fury residing behind the passenger compartment - the pukka Lambo V12.

Sadly the track is where very few of these put in an appearance - how many owners are brave enough, committed enough, care enough to wring its performance neck?

They're missing out. Make no mistake this is a handful of mad machine, a good old-fashioned supercar that wears its girth with pride. It's not exactly tail-happy, especially if you leave the driver aids on, but the rear-biased bulk intimidates. Accelerate too early in a corner or turn in off-throttle and the front runs wide. Too much braking and the back will go. Forget even trying lift-off oversteer.

It's one of those cars that's clearly got a lot of grip from its big fat rear tyres, but when it goes, it will do so big time. It's addictive masochistic fun, and both scares and thrills. Hugely entertaining and capable on a track.

An extremist, eccentric, uncompromising dinosaur of a thundermobile that remains in a league of its own. Demon drivers everywhere, rejoice.

Need to knowLamborghini LP640

Price:$286,100

Engine:6496cc 48v V12, 631bhp @ 8000rpm, 487lb ft @ 6000rpm

Transmission:Six-speed semi-auto, four-wheel drive

Performance:3.4sec 0-100kph, 338kph

On sale in ME:Now

Rating:4/5

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