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Lamborghini Diablo Coupe engines, drive and performance

1995 - 2002 (change model)
Performance rating: 5 out of 55.0

Written by David Ross Published: 6 June 2019 Updated: 6 June 2019

As you’d expect of a car with a V12 engine stamping out anything from 492bhp to 569bhp, the Diablo is shatteringly quick off the line, with most versions managing 0-62mph in 4.5 seconds and some even quicker than that. Four-wheel drive in most models helps the Diablo off the line without the tyre smoke you might expect, though continued fast starts will soon destroy the clutch.

Even more impressive than the acceleration however, is the way the Diablo rockets forward at any speed. This is accompanied by a V12 yell that lets all and sundry know there’s a Lamborghini in the vicinity. The earlier five-speed gearbox is incredibly heavy to use, while the later six speed is better but still needs a firm hand to slice through the ratios.

Surprisingly light, accurate steering goes some way to negating the Diablo’s width on public roads, but care is always needed, especially as the rear flanks flare outwards more than the front of the car.

The Diablo may have been spawned in a time when supercars were more medallion than medal winners, but the Lamborghini handles well. All Diablos have firm suspension that picks up on every surface dimple, which is great for powering along smooth roads, but makes the average British A-road more of a challenge. Concentrating the weight in the centre of the car helps, even if the Diablo is a weighty machine in most guises, and there’s plenty of front end grip.

The four-wheel drive and accurate steering give assurance, while the massive tyres all round provide more than enough grip for driving on the public road. Later cars have traction control and care is needed when driving in the wet as the Diablo’s rear tyres will happily kick free of traction if the driver is unwise with the throttle. Thankfully, the brakes are more than up to the job, though they need a firm press to get the best from them when driving hard.