It is hard to envisage a setting more alien to the SVJ than a typical British B-road, and with the ever-present temptation of such colossal performance, at first it feels like a match made in hell. The driving position does not inspire confidence, certainly not in tandem with the car’s dimensions, which seem to swamp what limited breathing space there is between the white lines and demand that you process any intricacies that lie ahead faultlessly. Concentration is required.

But with familiarity comes speed and an appreciation of the phenomenal accuracy of the steering, which is light but communicative and beautifully geared in Corsa mode, when the ratio finally becomes fixed. Where at first it seems enough simply to get so heavy a car slowed down for corners and then to pour its massive bodywork towards the apex before winding on the power again, the steering gives you the confidence to begin trailing the brakes, picking up the throttle early and exploring the character of this unusually long, inordinately wide chassis.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Road test editor
Four-wheel steering and stability control systems work well to recover the situation if you’re ambitious with your entry speed or late with the brakes

One thing quickly becomes apparent – because of its inherent stability and lateral grip, on the road the SVJ’s limits are almost incomprehensibly high. Anything remotely near the car’s true cross-country potential is unsustainable for anything more than a few seconds, and you’ll need a long line of sight.

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And yet, the handling is just about engaging enough to offer satisfaction at nothing more than an enthusiastic flow. In the lower gears, you will invite understeer if your entry speed into corners is too high, and the power required to neutralise that is greater than for a McLaren 720S, but beneath the He-Man persona, the Jota is car of surprising balance, poise and subtlety.

The pushrod suspension is acutely responsive to a lift of the throttle mid-corner, whereby the nose will sling itself inwards and tighten the line, and the four-wheel steering – often a fraction too keen on turn-in, admittedly, especially with the onrushing momentum of the engine – will sustain a lovely on-the-cusp-of-yaw stance through slower corners. This latest take on the Aventador still doesn’t offer the last word in mid-engined dynamism, but it’s now good enough for a car whose métier undoubtedly resides elsewhere.

Driving the Aventador SVJ to its true potential on circuit is a task that, by Lamborghini’s own admission, requires quite a lot more commitment and concentration than doing the same in a Huracán Performante.

The sheer size, weight and inertia of the bigger car are the primary reasons for that. Heavier and harder on its tyres than most mid-engined supercars, the SVJ still develops masses of lateral grip and good throttle-on balance to begin with on sticky Trofeo R rubber – though it ebbs towards understeer as that grip level degrades.

A brake pedal that can feel dead initially (if only for split second) and a four-wheel steering system that is particularly aggressive on turn-in make slowing the SVJ and getting it to the apex challenging at times. Likewise, those jolting gearshifts must be well-timed in faster bends to avoid destabilising the car.

COMFORT AND ISOLATION

Any notion of ‘comfort and isolation’ applies about as much to the Aventador SVJ as it does to a public flogging. And, you might argue for a car like this, that’s fine. To the best of our knowledge, the 96 decibels recorded from within the cabin at 8500rpm in third gear is second only to the Senna – a dyed-in-the-carbonfibre track-day device whose provision for comfort extends only to the bare legal minimum.

The Lamborghini does at least feature air conditioning to fend off heat soak from a V12 within arm’s reach of the driver’s seat, which is itself fully electric and heated, as you’d hope for £3000. However, without experience of Lamborghini’s other models, you might not expect these seats to be so exquisitely uncomfortable on anything longer than a reasonably short stint at the wheel.

Most people will easily find an acceptable driving position but, thereafter, the nature of the padding and shape of the foam seem to put undue pressure on the lower back. General discomfort is compounded by poor visibility, the blended din of the engine and the vast tyres, and finally the disjointed gearshifts, which mean rarely should you leave the transmission in auto.

And yet there is no doubt that this latest, apparently most uncompromising take on the Aventador rides British roads far more delicately than the early LP700- 4 models. So long as you don’t find yourself on gnarled old B-roads, in Strada mode the suspension remains alert but seldom is it harsh, and of course it improves with speed.

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