Lamborghini Aventador S review
Bold, brash and brutally fast, the Aventador S is everything a flagship Lamborghini should be
The flagship of this famous Italian firm's range, the Lamborghini Aventador pushes supercar boundaries with its carbon-composite chassis and scintillating performance. The latest in a long line of V12 Lamborghinis, it’s sure to become a pin-up poster favourite like the classic Countach.
As a member of the exclusive V12 road car club it takes the ultimate performance car battle to rivals like the Aston Martin DBS Superleggera and Ferrari 812 Superfast. It’s four-wheel drive, has active aerodynamics and ceramic brakes. Performance is staggering, while the bold looks are unmistakable and the cabin upmarket.
There are two Aventador models – the standard S and the track-focused SVJ, with each available in coupe or Roadster bodystyles. The Aventador S is powered by a 6.5-litre V12 with 730bhp an 690Nm of torque. The SVJ gets a power hike to 759bhp and 720Nm, while improved, active aerodynamics and lighter bodywork also feature.
The Lamborghini Aventador is one of the fastest, most dramatic cars (lots of) money can buy. It’s a supercar that’s dominated by its intoxicating engine, a naturally aspirated V12 that has managed to survive against the odds in a climate of downsizing and turbocharging.
Not many cars can match the sense of occasion offered by Lamborghini’s flagship – and while the Aventador’s sheer size, firm ride, imperfect gearbox and poor visibility are annoyances, you’ll happily accept these compromises to enjoy its spectacular performance.
Engines, performance and drive
As you’d expect, the Lamborghini Aventador S delivers mind-boggling performance. Use the launch control – rather appropriately called Thrust Mode – and it will reach 0-62mph in just 2.9 seconds, and in the right environment keep accelerating all the way to 217mph. If this is not quite hardcore or edgy enough for you then you could always opt for the Aventador SVJ which is Lamborghini's most potent and technological car to date.
The wide tyres, stiff composite chassis and advanced suspension deliver huge amounts of grip, while four-wheel drive ensures all 730bhp can be placed on the tarmac. The weighty steering delivers decent feel and the turn in is very positive, and there’s no perceivable body roll. In fact the biggest problem with the Lamborghini Aventador S is that its performance and handling limits are so high you really can’t get close to them on the road.
The Aventador S brings with it a few other significant changes. First among these is four-wheel steering, which makes turn in far sharper, aids high-speed stability and significantly improves the Aventador's overall driving experience. Revamped suspension and a new, customisable 'Ego' driving model also feature on the S.
But while the Aventador received a host of updates with the S, the single-clutch robotised automatic gearbox still frustrates.
Those after open-air thrills and even greater aural excitement can opt for the Aventador S Roadster. Instead of a conventional folding roof, this features two removable carbon-fibre panels over the driver and passenger.
The Aventador SVJ adds more power, sophisticated active aerodynamics and wild styling. Performance is as electrifying as you’d expect from a Nurburgring record holder, but it’s best exploited on a wide, long racetrack – it’s hard to make the most of the SVJ’s 759bhp, 720Nm of torque and 40 per cent increase of downforce on the public highway.
MPG, CO2 and Running Costs
With a price tag nearing the £275,000 mark (and exceeding it if you opt for the Roadster S), only the very privileged will be able to afford a Lamborghini Aventador, and thus running costs are unlikely to be at the top of the priority list. Yet, despite an eight per cent power hike, the all-new V12 engine is around 20 per cent more fuel-efficient than the V12 found in the old Murcielago.
Emissions have dropped by a corresponding amount, but the Lamborghini Aventador S still emits a staggering 464g/km. With a 90-litre fuel tank you can achieve decent range on the road, and it doesn’t demand high-octane fuel. At around 14mpg it's not what you'd call efficient, though. Lamborghini has six dealers in the UK for servicing requirements.
Interior, design and technology
The Lamborghini Aventador is one of the more dramatic cars money can buy. Low, wide and aggressive, it attracts huge amounts of attention on the road. Its size, bold octagonal shapes and upward opening scissor doors are key features, but the razor sharp lines are driven as much by aerodynamics as they are by beauty.
Styling updates for the Aventador S include a new nose and front splitter, reshaped rear wheel arches, a finned rear diffuser and a new exhaust.
A composite chassis, 730bhp V12 engine and Formula One inspired push-rod suspension lurk beneath the stunning exterior. The cabin is beautifully trimmed and features a host of high-end Audi-derived switchgear, while the central instrument dials are formed of an ultra modern digitised screen.
Practicality, comfort and boot space
Open the stunning scissor doors and the Lamborghini Aventador S cabin is plush and upmarket. All the major controls are placed on the thick transmission tunnel to your left, and the low-slung driving position is very comfortable.
The offset pedals take a little time to get used to, as does the sheer size of the Aventador. Away from super smooth race circuits there’s a lot of road noise and the ride is very firm. At night, headlights from cars behind dazzle you as they reflect through the glass engine cover and tiny rear window. There is some luggage room behind the seats and there’s a small but deep boot at the front.
Those choosing the Aventador S Roadster will have to remove its two-piece sold roof by hand, before storing it in the front boot. This may be a slightly inconvenient process - and one that robs the car of precious luggage space - but once the wind is in your hair and Lamborghini's V12 engine is at full chat, all is likely to be forgiven.
Reliability and Safety
Thanks to input from Audi, the flimsy switchgear and temperamental electrics of old are long gone. When it comes to safety the Lamborghini Aventador has stability control, ceramic brakes and an active rear wing. And if the worst should happen, the carbon chassis forms an incredibly strong safety cell, while side, thorax and knee airbags are standard.
There’s also a handy colour-reversing camera, which makes it easier to manoeuvre the car's huge bulk in tight spaces. Plus, a hydraulic nose lifter raises the front suspension to allow access to driveways without damaging the low front splitter.