From £260,0408
Still visceral and dramatic as ever, but does the vast number of mechanical changes and tweaks help make the Lamborghini Aventador S more engaging?

Our Verdict

Lamborghini Aventador

The Lamborghini Aventador is big, bullish and ballistic, but it isn't perfect

  • First Drive

    Lamborghini Aventador S 2017 UK review

    Still visceral and dramatic as ever, but does the vast number of mechanical changes and tweaks help make the Lamborghini Aventador S more engaging?
  • First Drive

    2017 Lamborghini Aventador S

    Is an upgrade to 730bhp and the addition of four-wheel steering enough to realise the Aventador's potential?
22 September 2017

What is it?

The Aventador S is the heavily updated version of Lamborghini’s V12 supercar. It isn’t really a new variant in the model range because you can no longer buy a plain old Aventador. Instead, the S is an evolution of Sant’Agata’s heavy-hitter, and not before time; having been launched early in 2011, the Aventador is approaching its seventh birthday.

It isn’t a half-hearted facelift, either. In fact, there are so many far-reaching mechanical revisions beneath the sharply creased bodywork that it’s actually more helpful to think of the S as the Aventador Mk2 (although Aventador 2.0 might be more appropriate these days).

The fangs in the front bumper are new and probably the clearest identifier of the revised car. The front splitter is more prominent now, too, and Lamborghini proudly claims an increase in frontal downforce of 130% as a result. It doesn’t quote any actual figures, though, so we can assume that new splitter isn't pressing the front tyres into the ground with any real force.

The intakes over the car’s broad shoulders are also reshaped, while the rear end has been updated with black plastic sections where they were previously body-coloured. The three-piece exhaust exit is new; the entire system is now 20% lighter than before.

These are the minor changes. Another is the uplift in power, with the 6.5-litre normally aspirated V12 now drilling out 730bhp, 40bhp more than the previous version. The redline is set to 8500rpm and torque is unchanged at 509lb ft.

The significant changes? They’re twofold. The first is the addition of a configurable drive mode, meaning you can at long last mix and match your preferred settings for the dampers, the drivetrain and the steering. This is good progress - it’s just a shame Lamborghini’s choice of moniker for this new function, Ego, translates so poorly from Italian.

The really big update, though, is the fitment of a four-wheel steering system. Like all such systems, it virtually reduces the length of the wheelbase below a certain speed to make the car more agile and virtually lengthens the wheelbase above a certain speed to make it more stable. But what it’s really done is allow the engineers to completely retune the car’s chassis and steering system.

The rear end is fundamentally much more stable than before - because of the four-wheel steer system - so Lamborghini has been able to make the steering more direct and the four-wheel-drive system favour the rear axle much more often. This could well be the step change that finally makes the Aventador as wieldy to drive as the Ferrari 488 GTB or McLaren 720S.

The automated manual gearbox is unchanged, however, and that’s a bit of a problem. More of which in a moment. 

What's it like?

More than six years on from the car’s unveiling, it still looks spectacular on the road. In and among everyday traffic, the Aventador S looks like some sort of extraterrestrial machine, being so wide and low. The cabin is an evocative place to sit; the view out just so stirring. The steering wheel comes right out towards you, too, which is good, but the over-stylised minor controls and infotainment graphics are somewhat dated now.

Lamborghini seems to be having real trouble designing comfortable seats these days. These quilted leather chairs look reasonably accommodating, but you seem to sit on top of them rather than dropping into them and, over a longer journey, they make your neck and back go numb. The company’s fixed-back buckets are more tortuous still.

At least the engine remains a thing of wonder. It’s actually not as antisocially loud on start up as you might expect - an Audi R8 V10 makes more noise when you fire it up - and. from within the cabin, it doesn’t even seem to wail too loudly under a wide open throttle. But the quality of the sound it does make is beyond doubt. It’s a joy to stretch the engine out all the way to the redline, feeling the rate of acceleration build and build the longer you keep your right foot pinned.

The gearbox, on the other hand, is terrible. It’s lurchy, indecisive and inconsistent. And although the shifts themselves are plenty quick enough in either of the racier drivetrain modes, they’re irritatingly ponderous in Strada mode. You can smooth the shifts out by lifting off the throttle briefly, but why should you have to?

The original Aventador was big and heavy - close to 1700kg at the kerb - and never managed to disguise its mass when you tried to fling it along a winding road. The four-wheel steering system in the revised car does help; it’s more nimble and wieldy than before, but not by enough of a margin to make the Aventador S as confidence-inspiring or rewarding as some of the less expensive alternatives.

It must be said that the new Ego mode is a useful improvement. You can now match the quick, sharp gearshifts of the Sport mode with the most natural steering and the softest dampers - both of which come in Strada mode - to broaden the car’s operating range.

Should I buy one?

If you crave a theatrical and memorable supercar experience, absolutely. Drama is what the Aventador S does best. But if you’re looking for an engaging and rewarding driving experience, you’ll be better served by cheaper alternatives from Ferrari and McLaren. The 812 Superfast - Ferrari’s 12-cylinder rival to the Aventador S - is also better to drive, although it lacks the Lamborghini’s kerbside presence.

Lamborghini Aventador S

Location Lambourn; On sale Now; Price £271,146; Engine Normally aspirated V12, 6498cc, petrol; Power 730bhp at 8400rpm; Torque 509lb ft at 5500rpm; Gearbox Seven-speed automated manual; Kerb weight 1700kg (estimated); Top speed 217mph; 0-60mph2.9sec; Economy 16.7mpg; CO2 394g/km; Rivals McLaren 720S, Ferrari 488 GTB, Ferrari 812 Superfast

Join the debate

Comments
16

22 September 2017

It'll be interesting to see what Lamborghini's approach to replacing the Aventador will be like because before, its predecessors were all considered hypercars and on a par with those cars from its rivals. But the hypercar game has moved on massively in terms of price, power and performance during the past 10 years to the point where Lamborghini's V12 model is now seemingly being compared more with supercars rather than hypercars. And it's not helped by the fact that a lot of supercars are at least as quick as the Aventador too, including the Huracan! Power is not necessarily the be all and end all in the hypercar class as the Huayra, for example, has similar power to the Aventador but because of its price tag it's firmly seen as a hypercar. The Aventador is in a odd place at the moment and unless you need those spectacular looks, that noise and a V12 engine, it's hard to see why you'd pick one over the equally competent, equally fast and still great sounding Huracan. May be the Aventador's replacement will see normal service resumed, either by enlarging the V12 further or combining it with a hybrid set-up and lowering the weight to give Lamborghini's top model the performance befitting of a hypercar and give it some space over its little brother.

 

 

22 September 2017
Saucerer wrote:

It'll be interesting to see what Lamborghini's approach to replacing the Aventador will be like because before, its predecessors were all considered hypercars and on a par with those cars from its rivals. But the hypercar game has moved on massively in terms of price, power and performance during the past 10 years to the point where Lamborghini's V12 model is now seemingly being compared more with supercars rather than hypercars. And it's not helped by the fact that a lot of supercars are at least as quick as the Aventador too, including the Huracan! Power is not necessarily the be all and end all in the hypercar class as the Huayra, for example, has similar power to the Aventador but because of its price tag it's firmly seen as a hypercar. The Aventador is in a odd place at the moment and unless you need those spectacular looks, that noise and a V12 engine, it's hard to see why you'd pick one over the equally competent, equally fast and still great sounding Huracan. May be the Aventador's replacement will see normal service resumed, either by enlarging the V12 further or combining it with a hybrid set-up and lowering the weight to give Lamborghini's top model the performance befitting of a hypercar and give it some space over its little brother.

 

 

Lairiness. That's what the Aventador is all about and it's what the hypercars completely lack.

22 September 2017

"kerbside presence" - what you need if yours is a little on the small side.Your ego that is.

22 September 2017

I agree, something of a monstrosity now, wheras the Huracan is lovely, a sharper looking R8.The R8 would be my choice as it is more practical,at least in coupe form.

Madmac

22 September 2017

The Aventador falling short of its rivals isn't its fault. Its the competition and time. It is actually what a supercar ought to be (Like the Countach), but people dont see the point of it anymore. I'd be better off with an 812, 720S or 488

TBC

22 September 2017

I'm guessing you need an ego the size of a house to buy one of these (let alone the covertible version), but as there seems to be no end of people who seem to fit that description, the big V12 looks like it has a long life ahead of it.............

22 September 2017

I just watched a drag race between a 720S and an Aventador and the McLaren made it look like a Cortina. Some tuning companies are adding turbos and doubling the power. I think It should be considered for the next one. Better than heavy electrical assistance I have to say and the Swedish 'Egg folk manage fine with a smaller V8.

It is still the best looking supercar though. Even after almost 7 years it still looks utterly incredibe. 

22 September 2017

I just watched a drag race between a 720S and an Aventador and the McLaren made it look like a Cortina. Some tuning companies are adding turbos and doubling the power. I think It should be considered for the next one. Better than heavy electrical assistance I have to say and the Swedish 'Egg folk manage fine with a smaller V8.

It is still the best looking supercar though. Even after almost 7 years it still looks utterly incredibe. 

22 September 2017
The only thing wrong with this car is the gearbox which should be manual.

I am not the slightest bit interested in what this car is like on a track. I don't care if a McLaren can out drag it.

If it came with turbos and hybrid crap I would pay to have them removed.

There has to be room for a fast, beautiful, wild, noisy in a glorious natural way, challenging car.

Lamborghini should have the confidence to stick with it rather than go down the anodyne, humourless, hypercar route.

23 September 2017

Although I'd even be happy with an automatic with 4 gears in there.  Even the 0-60 time is ,almost, irrelevant to me.  I can't afford one but if I had one it would be for the mad,beatiful, wild etc thrill of it, just walking back to it, and polishing it.  Simple pleasures.  (Might put some comfier seats in.)

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