Latest V12 flier sets the supercar benchmark again
This is what 45 years of supercar evolution looks like. With its radical exterior shapes and brash brutality, the Aventador is more like the Countach. But, just as the diminutive Miura’s mid-engine layout broke the mould nearly half a century ago, Lambo’s current offering pushes the boundaries with its composite chassis.
In fact, the company claims the newcomer is a jump of two generations in design and technology. The entire cabin area and roof is a single carbon cell designed for incredible torsional rigidity, excellent driver safety and reduced weight. Attached to this tub, front and rear, are aluminium subframes, to which the suspension, engine and gearbox are mounted.
Video: how fast can we go in the Lamborghini Aventador?
Further inspiration from the world of motorsport means the pushrod suspension places the springs and dampers transversely within the chassis – under the windscreen at the front and proudly on view behind the engine at the back.
But all this 21st century Formula One-inspired technology can’t disguise the fact that, as with its predecessors, the Adventador’s heart is its V12 engine. The new 6.5-litre produces more power and torque – 690bhp and 690Nm respectively – yet is lighter and cleaner than the Murcielago engine it replaces. These numbers dwarf those of its legendary ancestors, although it’s the automated seven-speed gearbox that’s furthest removed from the open-gated manual boxes fitted to the Miura and Countach.
It isn’t a double-clutch system like those you’ll find in the Ferrari 458 Italia and McLaren MP4-12C, but it does have three manual shift modes – Strada (road), Sport and Corsa (track). Each one also optimises the throttle, differential, stability control and steering set-ups.
While slotting up and down through the gears smoothly in the classic Lambos takes skill and precise clutch control, all you have to do in the Aventador is flick the steering-mounted paddles and the next gear arrives in the blink of an eye.
Unsurprisingly, the modern car also grips, accelerates and stops harder and faster than any of its predecessors (and most of its peers). But it’s the effortless performance that blows your mind; the Aventador is really easy to drive. The older cars are far more engaging at slower speeds due to their lower grip levels and challenging dynamics, yet the new model’s limits are so high that you need a test track to even begin exploring its capabilities.
Despite this, the Aventador offers the same amazing sense of occasion as every Lambo has since the Miura. Step through the scissor doors, flick up the red ‘rocket launch’-style cover, press the start button and you hear the V12 fire into life. With a test track at our disposal, we primed the launch control – called thrust mode.
Keep your left foot on the brake, floor the throttle, release the brake and... bang! The all-wheel-drive traction is staggering as brutal acceleration forces you back in your seat.
And speed gathers relentlessly; hit 120mph before you move into fourth, change up to fifth at 140mph, sixth at 165mph and then, just as you reach the red line at 203mph, go for seventh, which will carry you all the way to 217mph. Make no mistake, the Aventador is a genuine 200mph supercar – just don’t forget the Miura and Countach also set new standards for straight-line performance in their day.
One thing that has changed is the cabin – Lamborghinis of old had a reputation for slightly temperamental electrics and flimsy switchgear, and could be challenging to own. Jump forward to the VW Group-owned Lambo of today, and the Aventador’s solid and luxurious cabin features a host of top-notch Audi-sourced switchgear and is far less cramped than either of its predecessors. And it’s this ability to mix civility with savage pace that marks the Aventador out as a true supercar giant.
In this review
- 1IntroductionDoes the new Aventador live up to Lamborghini legend? We test it against its classic predecessors
- 2Aventador - currently readingLatest V12 flier sets the supercar benchmark again
- 3Miura SVMid-engined Lamborghini ripped up the sports car rulebook
- 4Countach 5000 QVSeventies legend mixed sensational wedge-shaped looks with terrific pace and handling