Nothing on the road turns heads like a Lamborghini. And if you want to open yourself up to plenty of attention, the new Aventador Roadster is one of the fastest and most outrageous cars you can buy.
Building on the success of the Aventador coupe, and a 30 per cent increase in global sales last year, the flamboyant Italian firm claims the Roadster is the most extraordinary production car to ever wear the raging bull badge.
So does its mix of power, style and opulence work on the road? Well it certainly looks the part. The Aventador’s unmistakable angular lines and hexagonal detailing are unchanged, while with the roof removed, your eyes are drawn to the unique rear buttresses, which include an automatic rollover protection system, and are highlighted in gloss black.
The new engine cover has a pair of hexagonal windows that give a tantalising peak at the V12 engine and exposed pushrod suspension underneath.
Unwilling to compromise on these supercar proportions, Lamborghini has steered clear of an electric folding roof. Instead there’s a pair of carbon panels, which have to be removed manually and stored in the nose. Weighing just 6kg each the operation is fairly simple, and when fitted they increase torsional rigidity of the composite chassis by eight per cent.
Even then the Roadster doesn’t match the rigidity figures of the coupe, but you’d be hard pressed to notice any difference on the road. There’s no movement or creaking around the windscreen and the 50kg weight increase has little effect on the mind-boggling performance.
Slide past the dramatic scissor doors into the beautifully trimmed cabin, which features a bank of top-notch Audi-derived switchgear, and the sense of occasion is taken up a notch by the lack of a roof. Flick up the red ‘rocket launch’ style cover on the centre console, press the start button, and the V12 engine barks into life.
As with the coupe, it takes a moment to get used to the offset pedals and the sheer size of the Aventador. And while the huge wheels, rigid carbon tub and racy suspension mean the ride is firm, explosive acceleration is only a small press of the throttle away.
And thanks to a glass rear screen that can be opened roof on or off, the operatic sound track of the V12 engine can be enjoyed even more in the Roadster. As with the coupe, Strada, Sport and Corsa chassis settings allow you to alter throttle response and the shift speed of the seven-speed automated manual box, which rather than featuring a double-clutch system, has independent shifting rods that disengage one gear as the next ratio is independently selected.
Lamborghini claims, shifts are now smoother in the road optimised Strada mode, but at low speed the gearbox still isn’t as smooth as double-clutch systems, and in the racier modes, the transmission ferociously thumps each gear into place.
Still, this is the kind of brutal performance you’d expect from a Lamborghini. And with the security of four-wheel drive and very active stability control, the power is easy to exploit. But the limits are so high you never get close to discovering the Aventador’s full potential on the road.
Head to the test track and you can appreciate the incredible grip and cornering forces the car generates. The steering is fast, the ceramic brakes offer strong stopping power and body control is faultless. In the more aggressive chassis modes up to 90 per cent of power can be sent to the rear wheels, but the Aventador never feels as agile or communicative as smaller supercars like the Ferrari 458.
Nonetheless, the freedom of a track allows you to exploit the V12 engine all the way to its 8,000rpm redline and experience the full drama of the Aventador’s performance.
And when it comes to delivering sensations, not many cars can rival the barrage of noise, acceleration and attention you get in an Aventador Roadster.