Lamborghini says the Aventador is now in that most exclusive club of cars that will take you from rest to 62mph in under three seconds – 2.9sec, to be precise. And when you factor in its 690bhp, the traction afforded by its all-wheel drive and mid-engine configuration, coupled with a gut-busting launch control strategy and a gearbox that’ll upshift in 50 milliseconds, you’ll not doubt the numbers. We’d expect a 0-100mph of around 6.5sec too.
But while the car’s size, shape and power are undoubtedly intimidating, you acclimatise quickly. Indeed, so smooth and linear is the power delivery the actual kick in the kidneys feels less dramatic than a turbo car of probably fractionally inferior outright performance such as a McLaren MP4-12C.
In the finest traditions of great Italian V12s, the Aventador’s pulls from 1000rpm as if that was what it was born for, and then just keeps going on and on gently building in urge, sharpening its sound by degrees, reaching a shrieking crescendo just the other side of its 8250rpm power peak. Although an Aston V12 has a more musical note, this is undoubtedly one of the finest V12s even to be bolted into the back of a supercar.
If only the gearbox were able even to approach this standard. Small and light it may be, but it’s bad enough to knock an entire star off the rating for this section. It can be driven in manual or automatic mode, in either Strada or Sport setting, leaving the most extreme Corsa program as a manual-only option.
In any setting, the car is horrid to park because it appears unable to creep, while the automatic function is slow and jerky. So manual is the only sensible choice. In Strada, the gearshifts are simply too ponderous, while in Corsa they are so savage that the jolt can physically hurt; what it is doing to its mounts can only be imagined.
So Sport manual is the only one of five configurations that works effectively. Call it up and remember to lift off the gas between shifts and the Aventador can be driven smoothly, but it requires concentration – rather defeating the labour-saving point of having a paddle shift in the first place.