Happy 100th birthday: here's your new Lamborghini Centenario roadster supercar

You get a card from the Queen; late Italian supercar gurus get £2m-worth of four-wheeled flamboyance

LAMBORGHINIS HAVE always been nerve-shreddingly expensive playthings for those who like a drive on the wild side. But the Italian supercar maker’s latest model, the Centenario roadster, takes things to new heights of exclusivity, with only 20 to be built and a price as eye-watering as the performance.

Revealed last weekend at California’s chic Pebble Beach concours, the Centenario roadster has a look-but-don’t-touch price of €2m plus taxes. Given the weak pound, British buyers need to scrape together more than £2m.

In fact, they needn’t bother: the high price hasn’t deterred buyers, and all 20 cars are already sold, Lamborghini says.

Browse the Lamborghini supercars for sale on driving.co.uk

The Centenario roadster — and its coupé sister model, launched in March at the Geneva motor show — mark what would have been the centenary year of Ferruccio Lamborghini, the company’s founder. As birthday treats go, it probably beats a card from the Queen.

Ferruccio, a wealthy industrialist with a love of fast cars, apparently became so disenchanted with the Ferraris he owned, and with the company’s customer service, that in 1963 he decided to start a sports car company of his own. Five decades later his brainchild is going strong, his models among the most popular vehicles money — a lot of it — can buy.

So what has attracted 20 of the world’s wealthiest collectors to the Centenario? As well as the rarity, there is the design of the bodywork and interior. The car is based on the Aventador, a machine not noted for its modesty, but with so many wings and skirts added that it would not disgrace the sketchbook of a nine-year-old.

Nearly everything visible to the naked eye, and much of what’s hidden from view, is made of carbon fibre. This helps to make the car 55kg lighter than a standard Aventador roadster.

Beneath the part-glass engine cover is a reworked version of Lamborghini’s acclaimed naturally aspirated V12 engine. The 6.5-litre unit has been tuned to rev higher — 8600rpm — and generates 759bhp, nearly 3½ times as much power as a Volkswagen Golf GTI.

The Centenario, then, should be jolly good at standing a driver’s hair on end. It is said to accelerate from 0 to 62mph in 2.9 seconds — and back again to a screeching halt in just 34 yards — and the manufacturer says the top speed is “over 217mph”.

As with other Lamborghinis, it has three driving modes — Strada, Sport and Corsa — and adaptive suspension. A rear wing rises and changes its angle to improve stability at speed; uprated brakes, four-wheel drive and a rear-wheel steering system further help to keep the supercar on the straight and narrow. It’s a sensible precaution: this is one birthday present you wouldn’t wish to break.

The Clarkson review: 2015 Lamborghini Aventador