Lamborghini has finally given in and added a customisable driving mode, which allows you to choose how racy you want the car’s various parameters to be. You can now marry the slack, unwound dampers to the headbanging engine and gearbox settings, for instance. They’ve called it Ego mode, which probably sounds good in Italian (it simply alludes to the individual), but in English just sounds a bit daft.
Perhaps the most significant update, though, is the new four-wheel-steering system. Lamborghini will tell you it virtually shortens the wheelbase at low speeds to make the car more agile and virtually lengthens it at higher speeds to make the car more stable – which is true, but reductive. What it really does is make the rear end much more secure in all types of driving and at all speeds, which means the chassis engineers had been let off the leash. They’ve been able to make the steering more direct and the four-wheel-drive system can now favour the rear end much more often. Those measures might just make the hitherto flat-footed Aventador feel a bit more athletic.
What Lamborghini hasn’t done, of course, is fit any sort of electric powertrain. Frankly, if there isn’t space in the cockpit for a drinks holder, there probably isn’t space elsewhere for a pile of batteries and a motor. Even if there were, I can’t believe that adding a couple of hundred kilos to a car that already weighs 300kg more at the kerb than a McLaren 720S would in any way improve the driving experience.
A punchy electric motor could probably offset the extra weight of the batteries that feed it and make the car faster in a straight line, but the whole lot would make the car feel even heftier in its boots in cornering. And it’s not as though the 6.5-litre V12 is turbocharged and has a response problem that an electric motor could disguise – this engine is ferociously responsive and immediate as it is. In fact, propping up the lower end of the torque curve with a motor would make the entire drivetrain less exciting, because you wouldn’t have to get after the 8500rpm redline so often. Yep, my mind is made up on this: many cars could be improved by fitting a hybrid powertrain, but this isn’t one of them.
The big Lambo does need many other things, though. Such as seats that are actually designed to accommodate upright bipeds and a gearbox that can swap cogs at low speed in auto mode without scratching its head for a second or two and change up a ratio in full-attack manual mode without dislodging your spinal cord.
Now rated at 730bhp – 40bhp more than the previous version – the howling V12 probably doesn’t have a great deal left in reserve. That means the Aventador will never be much quicker than it is now but, frankly, it doesn’t need to be. This car doesn’t have a power problem; it has a weight problem. It tips the scales at 1575kg dry, which means somewhere in the region of 1700kg as you drive it. For a carbonfibre-tubbed car, that really is far too heavy.