But where can you go to really drive the thing? Nowhere, of course-or more accurately, the middle of it. The California high desert seems ideal with its lonely mountain roads and long, wind-swept stretches.

Equipped as it is with the massive Aeropak wing, the SV, according to Lamborghini, is capable of a mere 209-mph top speed. Without the wing it'll supposedly top out at 212, but without the downforce afforded by this rear accoutrement, could squirm a little at that velocity. Frightening stuff.

At lower velocities the steering, in spite of power assistance, is ponderous and massively deliberate. At speeds under 25 mph the thing handles like a battleship-and wearing this paint it comes dressed appropriately. Flipping three- and four-point turns on gravel-strewn desert roads for impatiently screaming photographers is likely to inflame your carpal-tunnel.

At speed, the ratios tighten up considerably to offer seemingly clairvoyant levels of response. Mere millimeters of steering angle and the vehicle tracks. On long-sweeping sections or mildly decreasing-radius 'pins, the SV tracks like a slot car. I mean, there's no possible way you'd be able to lose it, right? It feels like the road itself would sooner lose traction on the Earth's crust, the Lambo's 335-width rear Pirelli Rossos flinging ribbons of tarmac into the desert as the SV snarls cartoonishly toward an unmoving horizon.

On tighter roads the proposition becomes more frightening, mainly due to the Murci's supersized sports car footprint. It's got more or less the same front and rear track as a Porsche Cayenne SUV with a little less wheelbase, and much, much lower to the ground.

Whatever the case, you're having a hard time thinking of a more convincing supercar. A bit slower maybe, but the SV is still more visually convincing than the hamloaf styling of a Bugatti Veyron. The Koenigseggs or Paganis of the world might offer comparable performance-but what do we see, a handful of those every year? This SV is one of 350 to be built. And anyway, it's a Lambo. It's got staying power.

Dipping now into the basin that holds the greater metro area surrounding Los Angeles, you dip into the throttle a little bit deeper. In sixth gear, acceleration is languid but builds steadily, the thrumming of the engine peaking to a long-winded roar that rises exponentially in pitch.

Out of nowhere, a nondescript Japanese sedan pulls up alongside you. Dad, sitting in the front seat, recognizes the silhouette and points excitedly. A small, wide-eyed face peers out the back window, nose pressed against the glass.

You've been pretty good today, you think. Karma should be back on your side after showing so much restraint. May as well give the kid a show.

Extending two fingers on your left hand, you give the column-mounted carbon shift paddle a rapid click click click. The gearbox instantly shifts down three gears and the engine screams. Hard in the throttle, you watch the tach needle spike past 5000 rpm and whip toward redline with a sound like the sky tearing open. Your head hits the Alcantara headrest, you upshift, then upshift again as the SV leaps two, six, twelve car lengths ahead and disappears into the night.

It's only later that you realize the poor kid will probably never be the same. Your work today is done.

2010 Lamborghini Murciélago LP 670-4 SuperVeloce

Longitudinal mid engine, all-wheel drive

6.5-liter V12, dohc, 48-valve

Six-speed E-gear automated manual

Four wheel independent articulated quadrilateral system, hydraulic dampers and coaxial coil springs, anti-roll, anti-dive, anti-squat

Six-piston calipers, 380mm ventilated carbon ceramic rotors

Length/Width/Height (in):
Wheelbase: 104.9 in.
Dry Weight: 3,450 lb
Price as Tested: $484,045

Peak Power: 670 hp @ 8000 rpm
Peak Torque: 487 lb-ft @ 6500 rpm
0-60 mph: 3.2 sec.
Top Speed: 209.4 mph*
* with Aeropack wing

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