For 2005, the Lamborghini Murciélago coupe remains unchanged, but there’s an all-new model, the Murciélago roadster.

The roadster shares the coupe’s mechanicals, but with a drop-down top. That roof’s only there should you be out on a trip and encounter a bit of rain; it’s basically just a fabric tarp held up by metal ribs and a few fasteners. The company warns not to exceed 160 km/h when it’s in place; given that the Murciélago’s top speed is over 320 km/hr, you really can’t expect too much of a little bit of cloth.

The Murciélago’s power comes from a V12, mated to a six-speed manual transmission or optional “E-Gear” robotized gear and shifter system with paddle shift controls. The car’s 580 hp travels down to a permanent four-wheel-drive system. The chassis is a tubular frame made from high-strength steel alloy with carbon-fibre structural parts, while the body is steel and carbon fibre. A tubular X-brace in the engine compartment provides structural rigidity; it can be optioned up to a carbon-fibre unit. An automatic roll bar deploys from behind the seats in case of an impending rollover.

Spacious inside, the Murciélago coddles driver and passenger in premium leather luxury, accessible through the company’s signature scissors doors. The car is nearly as wide as it is tall, for a centre of gravity that helps keep it glued to the road at high speeds.

Lamborghini reports zero to 100 km/h in 3.8 seconds for the coupe, and news from the proving grounds is that the roadster does the same. It’s not surprising, given that it’s only 29 kg heavier than the fixed-roof model. The company expects to build about 200 of them for 2005.

The Murciélago is built in Bolognese, Italy.

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