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Delivers open-air thrills in a way few supercars can match, despite a few minor issues, thanks to the irresistible appeal of a V12 engine

Our Verdict

Lamborghini Aventador Roadster

The Lamborghini Aventador Roadster is a well-engineered version of one of the world’s maddest and baddest supercars - and it can do 217mph with the roof down

2 August 2018

What is it?

Opportunities for those who would like an open-air supercar with no fewer than twelve mid-mounted cylinders are thin on the ground.

There is the fantastical £2.3million Pagani Huayra Roadster or the Lamborghini Aventador Roadster, which is now available in heavily revised S form, driven here.

Even at £251,462 before some exorbitantly priced options (it costs £820 to have the calipers painted black, for example), the Lamborghini is a snip relative to its compatriot, and, but for a pair of 25kg carbonfibre roof panels that unclip easily enough and slot into braces in the luggage compartment under the bonnet, it's mechanically identical to its much-improved coupé sibling.

As such, were you to strip away the carbonfibre-and-aluminium bodywork, you’d find push-rod suspension – à la Ferrari Enzo and Porsche Carrera GT – with retuned in-board spring-and-damper units and driveshafts leading to all four corners.

There's also now four-wheel steering, and 90% of torque can now be put through the comically broad 355-section Pirellis at the rear, up from 80%.

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What's it like?

You’d also find Lamborghini’s atmospheric 60deg 6.5-litre engine, with a firing order of 1-12-4-8-2-11-6-7-3-10-6-8. It spins out to 8500rpm and develops 730bhp (previously 690bhp) a scant 100rpm before that point.

Those figures alone tell almost everything you need to know about the frenzied experience of driving an Aventador S Roadster. Its response to throttle openings isn’t as savagely immediate as that of the Huracán Performante’s V10, but the tone it produces is broad, grittily metallic and seemingly without even a gram of fat. With the roof off, it’s a continuous delight. And when a downpour during testing necessitated a speedy roof installation (a scramble lasting at most two minutes), the tiny rear screen, once lowered via a toggle switch on the dashboard, allowed in a tremendous amount of cam scream and exhaust blare anyway.

Taller drivers won’t appreciate the pillbox-style view ahead, and the car feels big and intimidating out on the road in a manner absent in lesser supercars. Its width (and this is excluding mirrors) is such that even if you line things up to perfection, the bodywork still can't negotiate the 6’6” width-restrictors originally put in place to stop lorries. So extensive is the chassis that for those first few hundred metres, the steering column feels ten feet long, and adjusting the rudimentary air vents that bookend the dash requires a whole-hearted lunge, arm outstretched.

Those plain, plastic vents are illustrative of an ageing interior smattered haphazardly with switchgear and an infotainment display that’s pitifully small. The cabin is one area in which the Aventador’s replacement, due in the early 2020s, will need to make strides. As for rear visibility, forget it. You might as well have your back up against the Great Wall of China. And although the new four-wheel-steering system helps matters, the car's 12.5m turning circle is still a full metre more inconvenient than that of the Performante, which is itself no spinning top.

Even so, performance is extraordinary, and heightened not only by the grandeur of the engine but also buffeting from the wind, which is conspicuously bad at motorway speeds. Were it not for that and a paucity of stowage options (interior cubbies, and this is no joke, are limited to a wallet-sized tray at the back of the transmission tunnel), the Roadster might make a decent tourer.

That’s because the chassis is so stiff that the dampers can operate free from background interference, and they cushion the bodywork in a firm but controlled manner (at times, this car rides more sweetly than the Ferrari 812 Superfast). The car has immense reserves of stability and surprising agility, an element of which it owes to the four-wheel steering set-up.

On a related note, new to the Aventador Roadster is Ego mode, which allows you to mix and match the settings for the nicely weighted electrohydraulic steering, magnetic dampers and engine map. On British roads, we found a respective combination of Strada, Sport and Corsa to offer the best response, usability and, if you can stomach the deafening clack-clack-clack-boom that accompanies every lift of the substantially offset throttle pedal, bravado.

Less palatable is the transmission – that perennial Aventador bugbear. It’s an automated single-clutch manual that interrupts the power delivery to such an extent it erodes your patience and unsettles the chassis often. A dual-clutch replacement can’t come soon enough.

Should I buy one?

Other than its archaic-feeling gearbox, this car is let down only by the details and still hits all the right high notes – more so with the roof off.

The DAB radio reception is poor, the boot-lid tips water into the luggage compartment when you open it, the billet-aluminium filler cap is tethered in such a way that it can so very easily ping the bodywork and the reversing camera is indistinct, and there are further frustrations.

Overall, however, this Lamborghini is entrancing and charmingly classless in a way only the most outrageous supercars can be. In S guise, the Aventador Roadster is a vastly competent, satisfying steer and irresistibly theatrical, which is just as well for anybody whose buying criteria matches that described at the start of this review, because the Pagani is sold out.

Lamborghini Aventador S Roadster specification

Tested Wiltshire, UK Price £299,917 On sale now Engine 6498cc, V12 petrol Power 730bhp at 8400rpm Torque 509lb ft at 5500rpm Gearbox 7-speed automatic Kerb weight 1625kg (dry) Top speed 217mph 0-62mph 3.0sec Fuel economy 16.7mpg CO2 394g/km Rivals McLaren 720S, Ferrari 488 Spider, Ferrari 812 Superfast

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Comments
10

2 August 2018

 Wouldn’t a Camera solve this problem?, would be just like an ordinary Mirror, you could make it wide angle, I’d have thought Lamborghini would have done this, or is legislation stoping that?

Peter Cavellini.

289

2 August 2018

I love the fact that these dinosaurs still exist. Its a metaphorical 'giving the bird' to the politically correct.

I have to say though, I would be a bit miffed if I couldnt cross Marlow bridge with it....its a long detour....not very 'cool' !

2 August 2018
Who gives a $&@% about air vents?

2 August 2018
jason_recliner wrote:

Who gives a $&@% about air vents?

Exactly. Lets just compare it to all the other V12 convertibles with 8500 redlines and check out their air vent quality... oh wait, there aren't any...

2 August 2018

If I remember rightly there was a recent Cadillac that had a rear view mirror that was actually a rear facing camera, so unless the rules are different in Europe that should be possible for this car in theory.

2 August 2018

The car is too big, has a poor quality cabin, no storage space, no visibility, has a poor gearbox, design flaws like water leaking into the luggage compartment, lets too much wind into the cabin at higher speeds.... yet still given 4 stars? It seems like you've largely ignored all of these things purely because it goes fast and sounds good, and all its faults are just acceptable because supercars have always been like that? Those sort of faults aren't really acceptable anymore, especially when competitors now include the 812 Superfast, McLaren 720S, and the new Aston Martin DBS.

2 August 2018

Features about Lamborghini! Porsche! Aston Martin (X 2 !) BMW!

Fine, absolutely fine!

But the core of this week's edition? How many of these dream machines will populate our roads?  Perhaps a few hundred big BMWs and a handful of the others, mostly in the hands of press hacks or footballers...

How relevant is this to Joe Bloggs? We do NOT want a 'Reliant Robin newsletter' but a better balance of 'normal' v. 'dream' cars would be welcome... And while you think about it at Autocar, please ask your Site-master to rig the comments section so it can be read without going through the entire feature each time? Thanks!

3 August 2018
yvesferrer wrote:

Features about Lamborghini! Porsche! Aston Martin (X 2 !) BMW!

Fine, absolutely fine!

But the core of this week's edition? How many of these dream machines will populate our roads?  Perhaps a few hundred big BMWs and a handful of the others, mostly in the hands of press hacks or footballers...

How relevant is this to Joe Bloggs? We do NOT want a 'Reliant Robin newsletter' but a better balance of 'normal' v. 'dream' cars would be welcome... And while you think about it at Autocar, please ask your Site-master to rig the comments section so it can be read without going through the entire feature each time? Thanks!

Never fear! There are now TWO articles on the next Corsa for your enjoyment. And perhaps you missed the ENDLESS stream of SkeatW appliances - er, interesting SUVs?

3 August 2018

Strange firing order; Imagine how much power it would have if it used cylinders 5 & 9 as well


19 March 2019

Such a beautiful car Shape, interior and engine everything is awesome.  Dubai Digital Marketing

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