We hit amazing top speed as supercar stunner throws down the gauntlet
THIS is it. We’re in a car named after z courageous bull, so it’s time to summon up some braveiy. As we stare at the digital speedometer flashing towards the magical 200mph mark, the Lamborghini Aventador is still relentlessly building speed, its glorious VI2 singing towards the rev limiter in sixth gear. And there’s still another gear to go…
We’re at the Bruntingthorpe proving ground in Leicestershire to find out just how fast the stunning new Lamborghini flagship is. It follows the VI2 supercar tradition started by the Miura. cemented by the Countach and continued by the Diablo and Murciélago by being bold, brash and brutal. In short, everything a big Lambo should be.
But the company claims it is a jump of two generations in terms of design and technology. Hidden under the stunning angular exterior is a carbcn-fibre monoroqiip chassis and an all- new VI2. The entire cabin area and roof is a single carbon cell designed to deliver incredible stiffness, plus reduce weight, joinec to this at the front and rear are aluminium sub-frames, to which the suspension, engine and gearbox are mounted.
Inspiration from racing cars means the pushrod suspension places the springs and dampers transversely in the chassis – under the windscreen at the front and proudly on view behind the engine and back.
In addition, the suspension features forged aluminium double wishbones for precise handling, while the car has all-wheel drive to ensure the performance is transferred to the road safely.
At its heart is an all-new 12-cylinder engine, which has more power and torque than its predecessor, yet is smaller, lighter and has a lower centre of gravity. It’s mated to a seven- speed automated manual box – and rather then featuring a double-clutch system, this has independent shifting rods that disengage one gear as the next ratio is independently selected. Lamborghini claims gearshifts are 40 per cent faster than with the outdated e-gear boxinthe Gallardo.
All of which makes the prospect of getting behind the wheel tantalising – and where better to test the Aventador’s claimed 217mph top speed than on a two-mile runway?
As you’d expect, traditional Lamborghini scissor doors make simply getting in an occasion in itself. Once inside, and settled in the low slung seating position, you’re greeted by a beautifully trimmed cabin with a bankoftop- notrh A idi-sourred switrhgear.
Flick up the red ‘rocket launch’ style cover on the centre console, press the start button and the 690bhp V12 barks into life.
Once on the move, it takes a moment for you to get used to the offset pedals and the sheer size of the Aventador, but the freedom of a test track allows you to instantly appreciate the ncrediblegrip and cornering forces the car generates.
The weighty steering is precise, the ceramic brakes offer astonishing stopping power and, in the fastest of its three settings (they increase in intensity from Strada to Sport and Corsa), the transmission thumps each gear into place so ferociously that your head is jerked back into the seat’s headrest.
But it’s the straight line performance that totally blows you away. Entering the runway at around 5O mph in third gear the forward thrust is mind-boggling, and theV12 is drowned out by the roar of road and wind noise. Each gearchange comes in a flash: 120mph up to fourth, 140mph into fifth, 165mph slot into sixth, and then, just as we reach the red line at 203mph, we go for seventh, before we run out of road at an incredible 208mph.
Stability is so good that, once you adjust your mindset, driving at such speeds isn’t scary. The rear wing automatically varies its angle to reduce lift, while the underbody aerodynamics ensure air is controlled as it flows under the car.
Away from the airfield, the huge wheels, rigid carbon tub and racy suspension mean the Lamborghini’s ride is Firm and there’s a lot of road noise. In the real world, it’s almost impossible to access all of the performance – but few cars will attract as much attention or make you feel quite as privileged as the Aventador.
Verdict Lamborghini Aventador
THE Aventador is a genuine 200mph-plus supercar – and we’ve proved it. Lamborghini’s latest stunner looks amazing and has the performance to match, and few cars feel as fast or as stable at high speed. The V12 sounds glorious and, unlike flagship Lamborghinis of old, the cabin is beautifully built. On the road, rivals such as the Ferrari 458 are more engaging at lower speeds, but for those who want the ultimate in performance, the Aventador is hard to beat.
Details Lamborghini Aventador
Engine: 6,5-litre V12
Transmission: Seven-speed automated manual, four-wheel drive
0-62mph: 2,9 seconds
Top speed: 217mph
Equipment: 19-inch front/20-inch rear alloys, hill-start assist, auto rear spoiler, sat-nav, iPod connection, climate control, leather upholstery