Never before has a car made us so happy and yet so scared all at once. Meet the fearsome Lamborghini Aventador S.
It’s 1:30am in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley, I am cruising down Brunswick street in a black Lamborghini Aventador S and there is not a single conscious human being that is not drooling, yelling or exposing themselves as it glides past emitting a noise that is best described as the definition of ‘pure evil’.
It’s covered in hand prints every time it stops and I have (reluctantly) refused a dozen female attempts at ‘going for a ride’. If it wasn’t for my girth and uncontrollable grin, all I need to pull off a seriously believable Batman-impersonation is a voice synthesiser.
The big bull was brought here at night to test a theory: is the Aventador really the king of the road? The fact of the matter is, there is not one other car sold in Australia today that can upstage an Aventador S at the lights. No, not in terms of performance, but sheer presence. This is a car that says F-You to anyone that ever doubted you. It’s the ultimate expression of not giving a f***. It’s awesome.
Lamborghini has always positioned itself as a manufacturer of vehicles for playboys (and playgirls), but this is taking it to the next level.
Out of all the insane cars that have come through the garage this year, this, Aventador S, was the only one I genuinely contemplated not giving back. Maybe they wouldn’t notice? Maybe I could just turn off my phone, disown my family and start to drive west and never look back. These are all serious options because this Aventador S, is perfect.
But what does it mean to be a perfect supercar? How can any particular object be perfect to everyone? That’s a question that is all but impossible to answer, for this is about as subjective a subject as one can find. Nonetheless, the Aventador S is perfect. It does everything the brochure says it will and during our time with it, never failed to bring a sense of pure happiness to its occupants.
A few months ago, when I visited the Lamborghini factory in Sant’Agata, it was pretty evident that the Aventador is the only real Lamborghini left. Sure, the Huracan is the best-seller and a much easier car to not only buy and own, but also drive. But, the Aventador is all Lamborghini. It is the true Italian supercar from the iconic brand.
While the Huracan’s engine and body are made by Audi in Germany, almost everything in this V12 monster is built in Italy by mad and hugely passionate workers. The entire carbon-fibre core and its V12 heart is built by hand in a factory that all but resembles a giant shed.
So what is an Aventador S? It’s very much an upgrade to the original 2011 Aventador, but it's not meant to compete with the Aventador SV. Its 6.5-litre V12 now packs an insane 544kW of power (only just below the output of the Aventador SV), while peak torque is 690Nm.
For a car this big, it will still manage to sprint from 0-100km/h in 2.9 seconds, 0-200km/h in 8.8 seconds, 0-300km/h in 24.2 seconds, and top speed is a barely comprehensible 350km/h.
All of that is meaningless because what makes this the most desirable car on Australian roads is the noise. The exhaust system has been changed substantially, so much so that it now sounds better than an SV.
When the original Aventador first came out six years ago, there was some disappointment around how its new V12 sounded, particularly in comparison to the then outgoing Murcielago, which was arguably the best sounding V12 to have ever existed.
Fast forward to today and the Aventador S has finally dethroned the Murcielago SV as the best sounding V12 Lamborghini in existence. It’s hard to describe the noise without having your eyes roll in the back of your head in a weird sense of automotive euphoria. So, if you want to know what it sounds like, click here to see the video on Facebook.
We probably drove the Aventador S around 300km in total and in that time it used an honest-to-God, two-and-a-half tanks of fuel. Considering the tank is a puny 50 litres, constant refilling can get annoying but also considering that this thing uses an insane ~40L of fuel per 100km is… well, awesome. This is the antithesis to the electric car revolution. If you ever wake up in the middle of the night with thoughts of Teslas winning drag races in silence, this car is carrying the mantle for the other side.
Now to be fair to the V12 engine (which claims about 17L/100km) we did have it in Corsa mode the entire time and yes, we weren’t shy with the exhaust spitting flames for vanity purposes. But as if anyone is going to spend over a million dollars on a supercar that borderlines hypercar territory and then care about fuel usage. We just wish the tank was a bit bigger.
Getting inside an Aventador is an experience all in itself. The scissor doors, they will never get old. Everywhere you go, simply open the doors and the world stops what it’s doing and admires. Lamborghini’s specialty is making showcars and even in this relatively lacklustre black, the Aventador S makes a huge statement.
The doors themselves are actually rather heavy so closing them takes more force than you probably think. Once inside, you’ll notice the interior really hasn’t changed all that much and compared to the Huracan, it does show its age ever so slightly. After all, we are talking about a car that originally came out in 2011, so its technology was designed and engineered in the previous decade.
The main infotainment screen is now much better with a clearer and faster display system. The sports seats are comfortable enough but there is literally nowhere to put anything. Not even your phone. Bought a coffee? Drink it before you get in. Have a small laptop bag? Put it in the frunk. The interior is all about driving and the Italians don’t care what you think about its lack of practicality.
Nonetheless, press the red start button and the V12 burbles to life with a shout. There is an immediate sense that this isn’t going to be a regular drive. This is a big, loud, uncompromising supercar. Excitement and fear are the two most obvious feelings when you get behind the wheel of one of these, and rightly so. If you’re not scared when you turn this on, you should not be driving it.
To be fair to the Aventador S, it’s not an easy car to drive. The front needs to be lifted wherever it goes and stop at a set of lights and it will eventually pop out of first gear and into neutral.
Lamborghini says it’s because my legs aren't manly enough to really press that brake pedal down to avoid burning the clutch, so the Italian computer works out that it's best to just slip into neutral instead. This happens, a lot, and you eventually either start doing leg exercises to keep up, or just be prepared for revving in neutral every time the light turns green. No one will mind or think you didn’t do it deliberately, anyway.
Speaking of the clutch, the Aventador S continues with its predecessor’s single clutch transmission, so don’t expect Huracan-levels of smoothness. It’s a little jerky at low speed with neck-breaking jolts at speed. This is all thanks to the seven-speed ISR (independent shifting rod) transmission, which comes from an era where comfort was optional and in this case the box is greyed out.
We do love it though, because you’re not meant to be comfortable in an Aventador. You’re meant to be petrified, you are meant to be sweating uncontrollably with the thought that at any moment, the Italians will finally manage to kill you. That is what a real supercar is meant to be.
Even so, and despite its size and weight (1600kg kerb), the Aventador S is a truly awesome car to drive at speed. It’s the type of car that looks fast standing still, so when it's moving, it will attract every kind of attention you can imagine.
With the brand’s new LDVA (Lamborghini Dinamica Veicolo Attiva) active vehicle dynamics system, the computer can work out how to manage the multi-position rear wing and magnetorheological (adaptive) suspension as well as deliver traction and torque where it is needed, now also utilising four-wheel steering, which even the SV lacks.
It also has an aptly named EGO mode, whereby you can set the Aventador's character to your choosing, such as opening the exhaust and having the engine in "crush hopes and dreams" mode in case any wannabe street racers try their luck, but yet leave the suspension in a comfort setting, which is the ideal way to drive this Lambo.
Look, it’s an amazing car to drive fast, but it’s not a sports car. It’s not the sort of thing you would take to a race track (even though its carbon ceramic brakes would never fade), or go for a burn up a twisty road. This is a car that is designed primarily to be heard and seen.
If you happen to floor it on a public road, it will scare the life out of you. It’s ferocious, it’s rapid and it doesn’t feel like the type of car you should push hard into a tight corner at speed without first having your life insurance sorted. It’s perfect then, it demands a level of respect that modern supercars simply don’t ask for. It’s hard to drive, but the end result is so rewarding that you only want to do it some more.
If you see someone in an Aventador S, salute them. They are doing the world a service by providing the visual and audible excitement of such a beast while putting up with heart palpitations. It’s a sacrifice any car lover would happily make, for this is the best Lamborghini V12 to have ever graced showrooms.
Options fitted to the vehicle: