Good. Really good. And by gum it’s fast. The 0-62mph time is claimed at 2.8sec, and I believe it. That’s only down by 0.1sec from the standard car, but that’s because when you’re talking 691bhp versus 740bhp, low-end acceleration is limited mostly by traction anyway. The top speed – more than 217mph – is actually electronically governed.
When will the horsepower war end? Not yet, according to Lamborghini’s head of research and development, Maurizio Reggiani. The extra power is largely irrelevant, he says, at lower speeds. It’s when you’re well over 125mph that the extra shove makes a difference, keeps the acceleration from tailing off, and why it’s worth having. Apparently.
Well, if an engine that makes that amount of power is as good as this, then I’m cool with that. The response of the big V12 is sensational, especially if you push the buttons that takes the car’s set-up from Strada, past Sport and into Corsa. Not only does that improve the throttle response to electric levels, but it also changes the calibration of the dampers, the steering and the four-wheel drive system, which is actually slightly more rear-biased in Sport than Corsa. In Corsa, forget having fun; it’s all about going fast.
And this car is fast everywhere. I say 'everywhere': we’ve only driven it on a track in Barcelona, and then for not very long. But even on this acquaintance, I can tell you that it feels genuinely agile and alert, in a way the standard car simply isn’t. Partly that’s because of the reduced weight, partly the downforce and partly the adaptive dampers keeping a tight control of the body movements. But it’s also because the steering is quick - more on that in a moment – and the chassis is extremely throttle adjustable.
On a steady throttle and smooth movements, the SV will understeer a touch. Lifting brings it back into line smartly, but it’s very happy to be deliberately upset if you shift its body movements around and/or suddenly give it lots of power, at which point it’ll oversteer quite happily. And quickly. Eventually the 4WD system shuffles power around and it’ll pull itself straight, but such is the pace, power and weight that it would be quite possible to have a massive moment in this car. It does, at least, have hugely powerful carbon-ceramic brakes, but it’s a car that quite likes positive, smooth, controlled pedal applications. Use those and it’s hugely rewarding. And bonkers fast.
To the steering, then, because it hasn’t been without controversy in the past. Here, it’s better. Even around most hairpins, you don’t need more than a third of a turn of lock, because the ratio quickens, which is most of the point of dynamic steering. It's also stable at high speeds because the ratio slows, which is the rest of the point. And it’s just about natural enough in its operation. Still, for my money, it’s not as satisfying as the conventional rack in a McLaren 650S, but to make a big car feel agile, it does its job; it’s less nervous than a Ferrari F12’s set-up, for example.
Any other downsides? The gearbox is also improved and gives a satisfyingly quick shift at maximum revs at full throttle, but still a single-clutch automated manual can feel lethargic at lower revs and smaller throttle openings. It doesn’t spoil things, though. The SV is a hugely likeable car - a wild Lamborghini of the old school.