Lamborghini has always had an amusing relationship with Ferrari. It was set up by a man who built tractors because he got annoyed with old-man Ferrari’s less than bothered attitude towards fixing his personal Ferrari when it broke. And ever since, the brand of the angry bull has taken the approach of "whatever Ferrari does, we can do better". Or at least, more crazily.
So given everyone knew Ferrari was launching its new supercar here at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show and that McLaren was bringing a full, working and complete with interior P1 (the spiritual successor to the F1), we shouldn’t really have been surprised to see Lamborghini unveil this - the Veneno.
But we still found ourselves gawping with shock - along with a few thousand other onlookers - as it unveiled what can only be described as an insanely styled special edition. As a designer friend who works for an American car brand put it: "It looks like a transformer that has got stuck mid-way through transformation."
There’s not much we can tell you in the way of performance or the interior layout that you don’t already know, because it’s based on the existing Aventador supercar. Which means it’s got a V12 engine, about 600 horsepower and an interior that was actually designed by a team from Volkswagen and includes some Audi switchgear, which means it works properly. Not that Lamborghini was willing to show us the interior on this showcar, you understand.
It didn’t need to, because you could stare at the exterior for many hours and still find yourself in a state of shock (and possibly awe). There’s carbon everywhere, something on the rear deck that we think we last saw on Concorde, and wheels so complex that we weren’t entirely sure how they were made. Or whether they were round.
You’ll love, or loathe, the Italian tri-colour stripe that kinks around the door opening - and on the showcar didn’t quite match up with the panel gaps - and we think the Italian design team possibly borrowed the front lamps off an Audi Le Mans car they found lying around the back of the design studio.
Perhaps most surprisingly, it isn’t actually a concept. It’s built on an Aventador as it’s essentially a body kit, and Lamborghini is going to build three of them, which it plans to sell for a staggering €4.2 million (£33.7m). The only justification for which, considering the regular Aventador costs less than €300,000, is exclusivity.
All in all, we left bewildered and not sure what to think. Except perhaps that, while we might not immediately love the Veneno, we’re kind of glad it exists and that it signals Lamborghini - renowned as the craziest supercar marker of all - has no plan to give up that title just yet.
Oh, and that it’s still hell-bent on upstaging its rivals in the most childish ways it can think of. Still, we wonder just where they’ll find three buyers prepared to stump up the sort of money that typically buys you a small county, on a car. Let us know if you’re thinking of joining the queue.