• Lamborghini Aventador
    The Lamborghini Aventador replaced the long-lived Murcielago
  • The 'Y' graphic in the headlights is a standout design feature
  • Five-spoke alloy wheels measure 19in at the front and 20in at the rear
  • The Aventador is surprisingly refined, most of the time
  • The Aventador's dials look like they've been lifted from a fighter jet
  • With a long enough straight, the Aventador will reach 217mph
  • The old Bizzarrini V12 has been replaced by an all-new unit
  • The Aventador may look more dramatic than other recent Lambos, but most of the time it is undramatic to drive
  • The Aventador feels more mature but more usable than the Murcielago
  • Few would argue that the Aventador is one of the wildest-looking cars currently on sale

Compared with the Murciélago it replaces, the Lamborghini Aventador is as a supercomputer to an abacus, and were verdicts determined on such grounds alone, the Aventador would earn the full five stars.

In fact, it doesn’t even get near this ultimate accolade. In certain rare conditions where the roads are wide, open, quiet and immaculately surfaced, we can see a driver deriving as much enjoyment from an Aventador as he might from any other supercar – perhaps even more. But introduce even a few of the limitations of the real world and its composure starts to crack and crumble.

Matt Prior

Road test editor
Improve the stereo. We know you’re meant to listen to the sonorous V12 engine, but there’s no excuse for tinny sound

Two issues in particular are its undoing. By the standard of modern paddle-shift transmissions, the gearbox is poor even in its optimal configuration and simply unpleasant in any other. More damning still is the ride, which means that while there are some roads in the UK where the car can be enjoyed, the journey there and back is likely to be so uncomfortable that you might not even bother.

There are aspects of the Lamborghini Aventador we truly love; its looks and engine, for instance, are unquestionably landmarks of design and engineering. But not even they can lift the sense of disappointment that surrounds the rest of this car.

While it is undoubtedly lighter, quicker, stronger and stiffer than its predecessor, it is as a device to grab you by the heart and never let go that is the first duty of all V12 Italian supercars. And while here the Lamborghini Aventador takes an equally massive leap, this time it is in the wrong direction.

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week