Most test cars come for a week, some for a year. But in a few cases, the tedious old laws of supply and demand exert more than their usual pressure.
In this case, the supply is easy to quantify: it is the only right-hand-drive Lamborghini Aventador Superveloce in the country, which for the purposes of this exercise we will call ‘one’.
The demand is every single person in the land with even the most slender claim to being even a rough approximation of someone who might loosely be referred to as a motoring journalist. This we can call ‘several thousand’.
Even if Lamborghini whittled this down to a couple of hundred and each had the car for a week, it would take four years to do the rounds. So, and for the purposes of this exercise, I had the car for just one clear day. How many different things, I wondered, could be done in that day, and how many different facets of its character would be revealed as a result? I resolved to find out.
1 - Go for a pre-dawn burn
Apologies for the rubbish photograph in the gallery above. I couldn’t persuade London-based Autocar veteran photographer Stan Papior that being in Wales before sun up to take one picture was a good idea, so I took it myself. And then I went and stretched the Aventador’s legs.
Unless you happen to live up a mountain or on remote moorland, the fact is that you can’t exercise a car like this in public, not safely at least. But the time before everyone gets up and gets into or onto their cars and bikes is perfect.
Besides, if you’ve got an Aventador SV outside and you’re not up early, you’re likely either to have died in the night or be thoroughly undeserving of 10 minutes’ wheel time in a car such as this, let alone an entire day.
This is not a time for redline ramming, but gentle leg stretching as you ease your way into this experience. A car as wide, low and powerful as this needs learning, even if you’re lucky enough to do this sort of thing quite a lot. And I learn that all-round visibility is far better than it looks, the headlights are adequate at best, the robotised manual gearbox is much improved but still not a patch on a dual-clutch auto and that, counter-intuitively, the ride is improbably improved over that of the previous Aventador I drove.
2 - Take it shopping
If you’re going to do more than 10 hours’ driving in a single day, it’s not just the car that’s going to need fuelling. Besides, I’ve never seen a Lamborghini in a supermarket car park and, by the look of them, neither had anyone in the Tesco, near Leicester, that I pulled into when hunger pangs grew too great.
To my surprise, the Aventador’s steering lock is excellent and it did many uncomplaining laps of the car park for Stan’s lens. I wondered what this would have been like 30 years ago in a Countach, with its weight-lifter’s clutch, submarine hatch steering, prison cell visibility and six twin-choke Weber carbs soaking the plugs. It’d be purgatory.
Lamborghinis have progressed in many ways these past 30 years, but few as far as this. And yes, it is important: the amount of enjoyment a car provides should be defined by how much fun it offers multiplied by the number of times you feel inclined to drive it. And I’d feel inclined to drive this one every day.
3 - Drive it as fast as you can around a quick track
A car like this needs space. There’s no point taking it to some tight, twiddly circuit any more than there’d be a point to riding a thoroughbred race horse around a dog track. Bruntingthorpe has that space, not to mention 100mph apices with which to really test this 740bhp supercar’s composure.
And like the best supercars, it gets better the faster you go. In slower corners and regardless of whether you have the car set for Sport or Corsa (I preferred Sport, with its gentler gearshifts and more rear-drive torque split), the car still wants to understeer, albeit now just a little rather than far too much. But in curves rather than corners, it is magnificent. Its steering is far more lucid than a Ferrari F12’s, with more weight, feel and linear reactions, and with world-class damping exercising iron pitch and roll control, you can place this vast car to the inch.
Believe me, when you squeeze the throttle as the corner starts to open, Pirellis yelping, hunkered down and right on the limit at a three-figure speed, one kind of automotive nirvana is yours.
4 - Do a full-throttle getaway
You won’t like this. Not at first. The results of asking a 6.5-litre V12 to direct 740bhp to the asphalt via the staggeringly effective medium of four-wheel drive provoke such a reaction from the car that your brain interprets it as an act of violence.
You can’t do anything clever here. So you just hold the car on the brake with your left foot and then remember not to lift but let it literally fall off the side of the pedal as you bury the accelerator. The car will pause for a fraction of a second before unleashing pure, raging fury. Smoke curls out of all four wheel arches, your stomach appears to turn inside out and if you spend any time at all admiring the view, you’ll be at 8500rpm, bashing your head against the rev limiter.
5 - Do 200mph
If you could, you would. The double tonne in the Aventador on a runway designed to land a V-bomber should be a doddle. Jaguar XJ220s were going this fast here 20 years ago on 200 fewer horsepower.
Despite this, 200mph is not just another number. Even in as wide an expanse as this and in a car as unerringly stable as the Aventador, it feels sci-fi fast, a mesmeric experience. So you do your due diligence, carefully checking the tyres’ pressures and tread patterns for stray nails, and then fling it through the curve that leads on to the runway, sit back and watch the show. Like I said, should be easy. Except it isn’t.
The Aventador charges up to 180mph like someone has poured nitro-methanol down its inlet trumpets and then, relatively, it stops. I’m sitting there at three miles a minute and wondering what’s gone wrong. It’s a peculiar feeling.
We’re over the brow of the runway and now running downhill but every extra mile per hour takes an age to materialise and I can see all sorts of things - parked cars, tractors, containers, Boeings - that you really don’t want to be anywhere near at this speed. At 198mph, I nearly bail. Only the thought of having to caption this section ‘Do 198mph’ keeps my foot in.
Finally, we get there, and not a moment too soon. Big brake, big reaction from carbon-ceramic discs, shedding speed with insouciant ease. Big sigh of relief.
And the moment my heart has decelerated, too, the reason for the unexpected difficulty becomes blinding clear. The adjustable rear wing is parked at maximum attack. Totally my fault. Should I level it off and go again? I should not. We got what we came here for, and although I’d be amused to do the 210mph I expect it would reach, it comes under the category of ‘risks we don’t have to take’. We pack up and go and do something more mundane instead.
6 - Take it to a drive-thru McDonalds
Okay, this didn’t work out quite as I’d planned. I had hoped to elicit dropped jaw embogglement from the lady behind the counter as she handed what passes for food through the flipped-up door of the Lamborghini. Instead she just looked bored, said “Big Mac meal with a Diet Coke?” and went back to reading the Daily Mirror.
7 - Drive it up a mountain
Cars such as this need a setting to do them justice, and the Brecon Beacons National Park is one of few in the UK big enough to get the job done. Out here in the wide open spaces is where the Aventador feels most at home. Here you can drive it fast enough to thrill but with absurd margins of safety.
This is where you get to focus on the howl of the V12 and the way the car just breathes over crests. Like a lion loping its way through the African bush, this is the environment in which it belongs. Devouring entire landscapes while you guide it using fingertips alone is probably what this car does best of all.
8 - Collect a child from school
You need to choose carefully. One of my daughters was appalled that I could even suggest appearing in front of her friends in a wealth statement as ostentatious as this. The other, by contrast, was beside herself with excitement. I chose that one.
Even if the car is not yours (which it isn’t), even if you couldn’t afford its optional extras (which I can’t), even if you feel cripplingly embarrassed showing up at the gates in an Aventador (which I did), I was still as excited at seeing her face as she was at seeing a Lamborghini growl up beside her assembled clutch of mates.
I raised a door, she slipped in beside me as if descending into Lamborghinis came as naturally as brushing her teeth and we turned to each other and grinned before I eased away as slowly and quietly as we could, confident our laughter could not be heard above 6.5 litres of highly tuned Italian V12, even at idle.
9 - Go to the pub
No, not to show off to your mates. Instead, there is no better way to end a day like today than with a single pint of decent ale, supped in solitude while your brain digests the glut of information that it has been fed since before the break of dawn this morning.
The Lamborghini Aventador SV may be lighter, faster and more powerful than the ‘regular’ Aventador but - and this is far more important - it’s simply a better car. Not only is it dynamically on another level, but it’s also a more pleasant place in which to just exist.
It is finally what all Lamborghinis should be: an outrageous slice of automotive theatre whose looks make no promise that the car beneath cannot deliver. A Ferrari F12 is a better car for sure, but more memorable? Probably not. And that is what a day in a Lamborghini must provide above all: memories of extraordinary experiences that soak into your brain and stay there. I think we can call that job done.
10 - Get an early night
After a day like today, you’re going to need one.
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