And then, all of a sudden, it seems quite deliciously old-fashioned, as you explore the many sounds, vibrations and sensations created by a V12 sitting just a few inches behind your head. By jingo, it’s good. As razor-sharp in its responses as ever, but perceptibly more torquey and forceful-feeling through the middle of the rev range than any other V12 that Lamborghini has ever made.
The SVJ feels seriously quick well before you expect it to, from as little as 4000rpm. And from there on upwards, the thrill ride just gets louder, more rapid and more intense until you finally, inadvertently, blurt out your safe word.
On a damp, wintery day on a mix of dual carriageways and A- and B-roads, and with the car running on winter tyres that let it squirm with every high-rpm downshift and big stab of throttle, I don’t mind admitting that I wasn’t brave/daft enough to let the tacho needle rip beyond 7000rpm. Perhaps if I’d been shorter, I’d also have been braver.
Even with the best part of 2000rpm still to come, though, performance feels epic in just about every way: ridiculously fast, singularly dramatic, with a soundtrack that’s nothing short of spine-tingling. The SVJ’s V12 even sounds good on part-throttle at normal town speeds: not contrived, not enhanced, and not (like some) given to make up for a lack of character under load with engineered-in exhaust detonations on the overrun. Just absolutely spectacular in just about every conceivable way.
Like every Aventador to date, the SVJ is wide enough that, while it’s a less nervy steer amid roomier motorway markings, it fills a lane on a typical UK single carriageway road with very little breathing space to spare. It’s a supercar that depends upon good straight-line stability and uncharacteristically good ride composure, therefore, as well as steering that’s usefully precise, to be really enjoyed on the road.
And it’s got most, if not quite all, of what it needs in those respects. Damping that’s absorptive enough in the suspension’s softest setting. Steering that can seem changeable and unsettling at first, but that becomes more consistent if you use its fixed-ratio ‘Corsa’ program. A gearbox that can frustrate with its abrupt, intrusive, poorly timed changes in automatic mode, but that works better as a paddleshift manual. So, while it can be disappointing until you adapt to its quirks, the Aventador SVJ improves with use and familiarity. You learn to decode it.
On the aforementioned winter tyres, the car’s handling balance is good, too. Throw it hard and fast enough at a tighter corner or roundabout and you’ll feel a touch of steady-state understeer once you’re beyond the initial, four-wheel-steering-enhanced turn-in phase. Not nearly enough to affect your enjoyment of the driving experience, though, which is as agile and incisive as you’d want it to be.
Track impressions will have to wait for warmer ambient temperatures, proper performance tyres, and a track to happen, of course. On this evidence, there’s no reason to suggest this car would be anything less than brilliant on a wide circuit, on a warm set of Trofeo R tyres; though we’ll have to wait and see exactly how brilliant.