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Lamborghini is not hiding its plans to replace the Murcielago in 2011. It has already showed us the last Murcielago that will ever be built and just now unveiled the new engine that will power its next flagship supercar. Usually we don’t get specifics on the engine until the whole shebang is revealed but Lamborghini seems to be approaching its car debuts in a different manner the past few years; teasing the motoring public with small details before finally pulling the wraps off at some major auto show.

The next-generation engine will increase to 6.5 liters and produces 692 hp at 8,250 rpm and 509 lb-ft of torque at 5,500 rpm. For comparison, the Murcielago LP640 produces 631 hp at 8,000 rpm and 487 lb-ft of torque at 6,000 rpm. As the numbers show, the engine produces more torque at lower rpms but can still rip further into the rpms to produce more horsepower. Because of the engine’s dimensions, Lamborghini was is able to sit the new engine 2.4 inches closer to the ground than in the Murcielago, equating to a better center of gravity and lateral dynamics. The compact power plant measures 26 inches from top to bottom, including the intake system. Its width, including the exhaust manifold, is only 33 inches, while its length is a little more than 29 inches; it weighs 518 pounds.

Starting with a clean sheet of paper, the development of the new twelve-cylinder, known internally as the L539, centered around carrying the naturally-aspirated V-12s of Lamborghini’s past into the future with more power and torque than ever before, but also smaller and lighter. Lamborghini also wanted to decrease fuel consumption and gas emissions significantly. The outcome is a high-revving four-valves-per-cylinder V-12 with a cylinder bank angle of 60 degrees. The combustion chambers were carefully engineered to achieve optimum tumble and combustion of the fuel/air mixture. At 11.8:1, the compression ratio is high. Inlet and outlet valve timing is electronically controlled. The engine utilizes dry-sump lubrication and a high-pressure oil pump to keep everything lubricated properly even under extreme racetrack conditions and lateral acceleration.

The all-new V-12 power plant will be complimented with a new seven-speed “Lamborghini Independent Shifting Rods (IRS)” automated manual transmission. The Lamborghini ISR transmission is a servo-actuated mechanical gearbox with well arrayed gear ratios for optimum power delivery. Lamborghini says its shift times are almost 50 percent less than that of a normal dual-clutch transmission with the lightweight and compact dimensions normally found in a manual transmission.

The independent shifting rods provide the same benefits you would find in a dual-clutch transmission, with shifts running virtually in parallel to one another. While one shifting rod is disengaging one gear, the second shifting rod is engaging the next gear. Lamborghini says the ISR transmission shifts around 40 percent faster than the e-gear transmission in the Gallardo.

The transmission will offer three operating modes: the Strada mode offers comfort-oriented shifting with a fully-automatic option, the Sport mode has more dynamic shifting points and times, and, finally, the Corsa mode delivers the most performance oriented shifting pattern for racetrack driving. Corsa mode also allows access to the car’s Launch Control program.

The engine and transmission work in conjunction with the electronic-controlled coupling for the front wheels. It is able to continuously distribute the right amount of torque to the front wheels; ranging from zero to 60 percent of the total torque output.

The new powertrain will enter production in early 2011.

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