With Lamborghini phasing out its iconic V12 engine, DARREN CASSEY gets behind the wheel of the Aventador to remember why it’s so loved.
Supercars are the stuff of dreams. Their performance should be ludicrous and their styling should be flamboyant and extroverted enough to inspire children to plaster images of them on their bedroom walls. No-one does this better than Lamborghini, and its supercar that most epitomises this description is the Aventador.
Not for much longer, though. Introduced a decade ago, it has seen updates that have increased power and produced more and more extreme versions. Most importantly, it will be the last car to get this iconic V12 engine in its purest form and will be replaced soon.
With this in mind, we got behind the wheel of the Aventador S to say goodbye to one of the most exciting supercars ever made.
This model was introduced in 2016 as the ‘entry level’ model in the range, bringing a few updates to its predecessor, the LP700-4. It received various mechanical upgrades as well as styling tweaks to bring a fresher, more modern appearance.
As for those mechanical upgrades, the engine was updated to provide more power, it was given four-wheel-steering to improve handling and stability, and uprated software to provide a sharper driving experience.
It also gained an ‘Ego’ mode that gave the driver the ability to tweak the driving modes to suit their own preferences.
The heart of the Aventador and what makes it truly special is the engine. It’s no exaggeration to say that this is one of the greatest engines of all time. In S form, it makes a huge 730bhp and 690Nm of torque, making it good for a sub-three-second 0-60mph time and 217mph top speed.
The performance on offer is frankly ludicrous, and if you put your foot down in lower gears there’s a violent surge of acceleration. It feels quick, of course, but it’s the sound that really gets under your skin. The wail of the engine fills the cabin and overwhelms your senses as 12 cylinders fire at an increasingly rapid pace.
Electric vehicles are great and internal combustion engines obviously have their issues, but boy will we miss stuff like this when it’s gone.
The Aventador is big, and it only feels lower and wider from behind the wheel. The first few moments on the road are incredibly intimidating, with little visibility and the fact the pedals are slightly off-centre.
Once you’re tuned in, though, it’s like little else on the road. It’s surprisingly easy to drive at normal speeds, with well-judged steering weights, but once you pick up speed the car shrinks around you, darting through corners with an agility you just don’t expect from such a beast.
There is one downside, though, and that’s the gearbox. We’re used to slick double-clutch units these days, but this auto ‘box betrays the Aventador’s age. Unless you’re in sport mode charging hard, it’s slow and sluggish to swap cogs. It’s incredibly annoying, but a small sacrifice to make for the overarching experience…
There really is nothing else quite like an Aventador on the road. The Countach of the 1970s was considered the original ‘poster car’, and its wild styling has clearly inspired what is arguably its spiritual successor.
Sharp angles dominate the look of this big Lambo, which sits so low it’s seemingly being sucked into the Tarmac. The lower front grille is wide and accentuates the car’s width, while the high-rake windscreen and roofline give it that Countach-esque ‘wedge’ shape.
The rear is similarly theatrical, with a prominent diffuser and three-spoke taillights that give it a unique night-time signature.
Climb inside and it feels surprisingly cramped considering the car’s footprint. But again, once you’re acclimated to the fact your hair is brushing the roof the claustrophobia dissipates. With the low shoulder line, it feels like you sit high, so forward visibility is decent.
The materials also feel of the highest quality, but there are a few signs that the Aventador is facing retirement. For example, the infotainment screen is pretty small and uses outdated Audi software. However, the old school button-festooned centre console is welcome in an era where everything is stuck deep in touchscreen menus.
It’s surprisingly practical, too. The front bonnet is big enough to carry a sleeping bag, tent and camera equipment, and there’s also some storage behind the passenger compartment for smaller items.
Standard equipment includes all the mechanical upgrades such as four-wheel steering, as well as an electronically controlled rear spoiler, four driving modes, digital instrument display, seven-inch infotainment screen, satellite navigation and bi-zenon headlights.
Incredibly, parking sensors and a rear-view camera are an upgrade, but given the size of the car and the poor rear visibility, it should be the first option on your list.
The Aventador has been a hugely successful car for Lamborghini. It has continued its reputation for building some of the most enthralling supercars on the market and has received upgrades over the years that have kept it relevant and fun to drive.
It’s starting to show its age now, and that gearbox is almost unforgivable in this day and age. Almost, because the styling and the engine more than make up for it. It feels so unnecessary, but that’s what makes it great. It’s a head follows heart kinda car, and it should be celebrated as such.
Lamborghini Aventador, you and your fabulous engine will be missed.