I know this car, I’ve known it for a while in fact. Two years ago Lamborghini invited me to Nardo to have a go in a very early prototype. They wanted to know what I thought of it, basically. And I thought it was incredible, even then.
Now they’ve made it better still. Much better still. And the most impressive thing of all, for me, is the structural integrity of the car; and you only ever get that feeling from a car that has a carbonfibre monocoque at its core.
On road or track, the Aventador just feels so rigid and pure in its responses. You can feel the benefits of that tub from just about everything it does dynamically; the laser-like precision with which it steers, and turns in; the fundamental lack of roll, pitch or dive it suffers from – be that in a quick or slow corner, or under hard acceleration and braking.
There is, in the end, no substitute for having a core structure that’s this stiff, this correct (or this expensive). And in a round about kind of way, that’s why the Aventador doesn’t have a dual clutch gearbox – because it would have eaten into the budget that was otherwise earmarked ‘carbonfibre tub.’
Thus, although the gearshift of this car isn’t anywhere near as sharp as it is in a Ferrari 458 or McLaren MP4-12C, I’m glad Lamborghini spent the money on the tub; because it’s what defines the driving experience. It’s the centre point from which all other elements of the car (including a proper on-board pushrod suspension system) can then grow.
So what you get with the Aventador, ultimately, is an immediacy of response – an ability to change direction seemingly in a heart beat without there being a corresponding reaction from anywhere else within the car – that is categorically at odds with what you’d expect, given how vast it is physically, and how intimidating it is visually.
You want it to turn in at 92mph on a trailing throttle, and then just stick itself to the ground all the way towards and, eventually, through the exit of a third gear corner? No problemo amigo; just aim that big, sharp nose at the apex, get your braking point right (that’s pretty key…), turn in with commitment. And the Aventador will obey. Like few other mid-engined supercars you’ve ever driven will, but which also happen to be four-wheel drive and weigh 1575kg dry.
If there’s element that disappoints, it’s the ESP system. When you’re fully lit behind the wheel, when your brain has entered its most indulgent ‘faster-faster’ mode, the ESP does come on a little early. If we’re being picky.
As you can read elsewhere, there are various drive modes you can select from inside the cockpit, but only when you reach for the ‘off’ button do you get to experience the purity of the Aventador’s chassis; the precision of response that lies at its core. And if you don’t switch it off, you’ll never fully realise what that carbonfibre tub is all about, because the electronics will intrude and sort things out. Long before they get out of hand.
Which is fair enough, really, when there’s 690bhp and a quarter of a million quid at stake. But it would seem a shame not to take a peek over the edge every once in a while, because the view – I guarantee – is absolutely stunning. This car handles. With a great big capital F.