Matt Prior
8 September 2011

What is it?

It’s the first time we’ve had a steer in the UK in Lamborghini’s fairly sensational Aventador. It’s also the first right-hand-drive version we’ve driven, so I’ll focus a lot on those points.

You’ll probably know much of the rest of the Aventador story by now: it’s the new big Lambo, replacement for the Murcielago and the other mid-engined V12s before it.

But this time the tech is very different: it’s carbon-fibre tubbed, with a mix of composite and aluminium bodywork; while the engine is, this time, all-new: a 6.5-litre naturally aspirated unit, driving all four wheels through a single-clutch automated-manual gearbox.

What’s it like?

Still imposing. Drop yourself across the sill into the driver’s seat and - despite the new all-straights-and-angles interior with its is-it-plastic/is-it-metal surfacing - if you’ve so much as sat in a Murcielago, you’ll know you’re in the new V12 Lamborghini.

You intrinsically feel the bulk behind you, and that you’re at the pointy end of something fairly senior. Visibility is good to the front, so-so to the rear.

The pedals are still massively offset to the left, too. Feel for the brake and you’ll find the throttle instead. Left-foot-braking is the only sensible solution.

The seats are a bit flat, too, but the steering wheel is very adjustable. The flappy paddles are fixed to the column, with the column stalks below them. If you’re tall, you might inadvertently indicate with your knees. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss, etc.

But when you fire it up and all is (mostly) forgiven. All-new engine it might be, but it seemingly has lost none of its character.

Neither, sadly, has the gearshift, which is unrefined compared to a good twin-clutch unit. Oh, likewise the ride, which is good for a big Lamborghini, but fairly ropey by most other standards, including those adopted by McLaren and Ferrari.

There’s no denying this is a big car, too. At 2030mm wide (including mirrors, granted), it is too wide to be particularly enjoyable on anything other than the broadest A-road. And even then it’s too fast.

Still, I suppose if you’re in the market for a car like this, you’ll accept all that: and the real question is, with 690bhp, what’ll it do?

Faintly rearrange your internal organs, is the short answer. I’ve driven nothing this side of a Bugatti Veyron that feels this quick: not a 599 GTO, not an MP4-12C or a GT2 RS. Not even, in its relentlessness, an Atom V8.

In fact, in flat-out mode (there are Strada, Sport and Corsa throttle/gearbox maps), upshift is so brutal that they can make acceleration feel even more spectacular than a Veyron’s. The Bugatti just picks up, goes, and keeps on going. The Aventador punctuates every burst of acceleration with a pause, a duck of the car’s nose, and then another astonishing whack in the back.

And the handling? Friendlier than it was, but it needs a definitive technique to get the best from it. The Aventador corners fast and capably in all cases, but mostly wants to wash out its front wheels first, particularly in slower corners.

To get the back wheels involved in changing the cornering attitude you’ve got to do it on the way into the corner, by getting the (significant) weight behind you moving around. Do that and it’s more willing to engage both ends in the cornering line, but remains, I suppose inevitably given the mass of engine behind, less incisive than its peers.

I’m talking about on a track, of course. On the road, if you extract all of this car’s performance and potential, you’ll end up with the spell in chokey you probably deserve. All supercars are too fast to enjoy on the road.

Should I buy one?

If you’ve got regular access to a lengthy runway, or you live somewhere with wide, flat, long and empty roads, where traffic laws don’t exist or can be circumvented by the simple application of cash, maybe. The Aventador is a hugely effective way of transporting yourself several miles from where you were just a moment ago.

But if you’re after an all-round, complete supercar that’s painless – or even offers some tactile qualities - at road speeds, yet is entertaining on a normal-sized race track, I think you’ll be wanting to look elsewhere.

Lamborghini Aventador

Price: £242,280; 0-62mph: 2.9sec; Top speed: 217mph; Economy: 16.4mpg; CO2: 398g/km; Kerb weight: 1620kg (est, 1575kg dry); Engine: V12, 6498cc, petrol; Power: 690bhp at 8250rpm; Torque: 508lb ft at 5550rpm; Gearbox: 7-speed automated manual

Join the debate

Comments
64

Re: Lamborghini Aventador

3 years 7 weeks ago

Sounds like a properly obstinate Lambo of old, that handles. Bit of a monster really.

Still looks like a sci-fi fighter with a serious attitude problem.

This and the M600 remind us not every hyper-car has to be perfect.

I love it

Re: Lamborghini Aventador

3 years 7 weeks ago

'At 2030mm wide (including mirrors, granted), it is too wide to be particularly enjoyable on anything other than the broadest A-road'

doesn't bode well for the slightly wider and equally girth challenged new 'small' Jag then does it?:)

the 2030mm is with mirrors retracted, open its 2,265mm wide.

Re: Lamborghini Aventador

3 years 7 weeks ago

Phwoargh.

Re: Lamborghini Aventador

3 years 7 weeks ago

Since Audi got involved with Lambo i have lost all interest. And not because they are better made and more reliable than ever before, but they seem to have driven them to be even more extreme. No doubt some will think thats what a Lambo should be, but i am not sure. Having redesigned the car from the ground up shouldnt it have ended up a little narrower? Does it need 4 wheel drive, does it need the automated manual?

Maybe i just grew up? its just i cant imagine this on as many posters on the bedroom walls of small boys as lambos of old, yet as a road car its far more extreme

Re: Lamborghini Aventador

3 years 7 weeks ago

artill wrote:
its just i cant imagine this on as many posters on the bedroom walls of small boys as lambos of old
That's as much to do with the times as anything else.

Re: Lamborghini Aventador

3 years 7 weeks ago

Autocar wrote:
It’s the first time we’ve had a steer in the UK in Lamborghini’s fairly sensational Aventador.

Something cannot be fairly sensational. It's either thrilling, astounding, incredible, or it is not. Bit like saying, the magnificent winner came second, or he ate a mildly delicious dinner.

Try telling a woman she is almost beautiful.

Re: Lamborghini Aventador

3 years 7 weeks ago

Los Angeles wrote:
Something cannot be fairly sensational
yes - it can. it's a common enough used combination of terms in the English language used to express an appropriately reverent level of excitement.

Re: Lamborghini Aventador

3 years 7 weeks ago

philcUK wrote:
yes - it can.
What is commonly used language isn't always succinct.

DKW

Re: Lamborghini Aventador

3 years 7 weeks ago

Finally a mainstream review that gives a more honest perspective on the reality of driving something this wide and powerful on the road. Rent, don't buy. Look at the pathetic mileages on used lambos and you'll learn as much as any review. 2010 Lambo sales were 1302, Porsche sales were 25320 - for a reason. Lamborghini's main virtue is it's impact owing primarily to it's relative rarity (even it's dramatic looks would lose their impact if it was seen as often as a Porsche). The reason it's rare is because it's daft not because it's expensive (Rolls sold 2711). So it's 'virtue' is it's rare just because it's unusably daft. It brings a smile to my face to see one of these things on the road but I wouldn't give it a moments thought if I won the lottery. I respect EVO's editor who runs one of these but otherwise I think they are for a demographic I'd prefer not to describe.

Re: Lamborghini Aventador

3 years 7 weeks ago

philcUK wrote:
yes - it can. it's a common enough used combination of terms in the English language used to express an appropriately reverent level of excitement.
+1.

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Our Verdict

Lamborghini Aventador

The Lamborghini Aventador is big, bullish and ballistic, but it isn't perfect

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