New Lamborghini Aventador S review
The new, improved Lamborghini Aventador is here. Known as the 'S', its package of tweaks includes four-wheel-steering. How good is it?
If the current Aventador was starting to feel a bit ancient around the edges, this sensational new S model comes fighting right back. On the move it makes giant steps forward, and on the eye it's more beautiful than ever. But then at £277,000 before options you’d want it to be something special, and it is.
Nothing stands still for long in the rarefied world of the super-sports car, and this latest version of the Lamborghini Aventador is the living, snarling, howling proof of that.
Known simply as the S, the “new improved” £277,000 Aventador is in fundamental terms quite a lot like the original. Except this time there is four-wheel steering, what Lamborghini describes as “significantly enhanced suspension and electronics” and a touch more power for the 6.5-litre V12 engine. All up, this new Aventador produces 730bhp and 690Nm, which makes it good for an eye-popping 217mph top speed and a 0-62mph time of just 2.9sec.
There are styling and aerodynamic upgrades aplenty, with entirely new design elements front and rear, dramatic new Countach-style rear wheel arches and all sorts of extra ducts along the sides and underneath to help it move more cleanly through the air.
At the same time, though, Lamborghini claims downforce has been improved by as much as 50 per cent at high speed. In low drag configuration – which comes about thanks to a new active rear wing – it generates 400 per cent less drag than before.
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Lamborghini has also introduced a new “Ego” setting for its dynamic drive programme, so where before you only had the option of switching between Strada, Sport and Corsa for the engine, gearbox, throttle map and so on, by selecting Ego you can tailor each aspect of the car’s dynamics individually. So if you want the softest damper settings with the fruitiest engine map and a sporty but not crazed response from the gearbox, no problemo. It’s a welcome development that broadens the car’s appeal, both as a track monster and as a car for the public road.
The big technical development, however, is the new electronic four-wheel steering system, which not only improves turn in response at all speeds, but also improves stability and driveability at the top end. The system turns the rear wheels in the opposite direction to the fronts at low speeds to improve agility, whereas at high speeds it turns them in the same direction. And in practice it’s the key aspect that separates old Aventador from new on the move.
Understeer has been all but eradicated – even on a soaking wet Valencia race track. There’s also a corresponding sense of extra agility that needs to be experienced to be believed. Lamborghini’s engineers claim the four-wheel-steer system has had the subjective effect of taking half a metre off the car’s wheelbase, and they’re not wrong.
This in itself means the S has taken a huge step forward dynamically over the previous car, but there are numerous other aspects that have been improved at the same time. The remapped V12 engine is fantastic, while the electronic damper and suspension response seems smoother in any of its three modes. Better still is the steering response, which was never very clean in the old car but that is now borderline delicious in its fluidity, weight and feel.
Take a very big brave pill and switch all the electronic safety systems off and – according to Lambo’s engineers – the new 4WS system will even help a skilled driver to make the S oversteer if they so wish. This is because much more torque nows flows to the rear axle than before, and that’s purely because the chassis is that much better balanced.
Elsewhere, the cabin has been tweaked slightly, with bigger digitised instruments that alter depending on which drive mode you select. The software for the auto setting within the seven-speed paddle shift gearbox has also been softened to make smooth driving easier when you’re not wanting to go for it.
Overall, the Aventador S feels surprisingly superior to the car it replaces – in all sorts of different areas. To our eyes it looks, sounds and goes better than ever.