Lamborghini began developing the Diablo in 1989 as a replacement for the Countach model, introducing it for sale on January 21, 1991 at a base price of USD $240,000. Power came from a 5.7 litre, 48 valve version of the legendary Lamborghini V12 featuring dual overhead cams and computer-controlled multi-point fuel injection, producing 492 horsepower (367 kW) and 427 foot-pounds (579 N·m) of torque. The vehicle could reach 60 mph in slightly over 4 seconds, with a top speed of 202 miles per hour (325 km/h). As in the Countach, the Diablo was rear wheel drive and the engine was mid-mounted to aid its weight balance.
Even at over $200,000, the vehicle was somewhat spartan, featuring only basic radio functions (with optional CD playback) along with manual windows, adjustable but unpowered seats and no antilock brakes, mostly to minimize the vehicle's already high curb weight. A few options were available, including having the driver's seat molded specifically for the buyer, a rear wing spoiler, a factory fitted luggage set (priced at $2,600) and an exclusive Breguet clock for the dash (priced at $10,500).