MAR 01st 2013

Lamborghini Aventador: Has the raging bull been tamed?

Brutal. Bonkers. And brilliant

Two point nine seconds to 62mph. That’s ridiculously quick. Two hundred and seventeen mph flat out is in the realms of the £1m-plus hypercars too, but the Aventador LP-700-4 is a quarter million, mid-engined vision of Lamborghini madness that carries the raging bull’s DNA into the future. A more civilised future, which brings some usability to the sort of performance that was once the preserve of fast jets on take-off.

There’s stealth fighter in the Aventador’s looks. Taking the edginess of the limited-run mega-money £1m-plus Reventon to a new level, the surfacing on the Aventador is a riot of sharp edges interjecting with subtle curves and bold details. It’s effective, in that Lamborghini headturning way that real supercars should be.

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Get inside, via the always-dramatic scissor doors, and the Aventador is surprisingly comfortable. Gone is the Italian driving position, even if the pedals – just two of them – are offset hugely to the centre. Flip up the toggle that apes the weapons cover on a fighter plane and push the start button to fire the 6.5-litre V12. There’s a pause as the starter spools then the sparks ignite fuel and the V12 flares and settles to its idle. It’s an occasion starting the Aventador. As it should be.

Pull the right hand paddle for first, tickle the accelerator and the Aventador pulls away. Visibility is surprisingly good all round, and despite its size it doesn’t feel too overwhelming in UK traffic. A slight lift of the accelerator eases second gear in, Lamborghini eschewing current convention and going for a robotised seven-speed single-clutch gearbox rather than a dual-clutch system. Some jerkiness is the result, made more obvious thanks to the Aventador’s otherwise surprisingly friendly demeanour.

Warp speed

It’s still ferocious though. Push the accelerator to the floor and the effect is staggering. Little this side of a Bugatti Veyron accelerates with such energy, the massive traction from the four-wheel drive system and the Aventador’s light weight – thanks to its carbon-fibre monocoque construction – giving it hypercar levels of performance.

The speed is too often ultimately frustrating of course, the Aventador’s ability to gather and maintain extraordinary pace being hugely at odds with our restricted roads and their heavily enforced limits.

You’ll find nowhere on the road to really dig into the differences between the three different driving modes – Strada, Sport, Corsa – though Sport’s mapping and shift mode suited us best. There are other rewards though, not least the melodious V12 behind you and steering that’s loaded with information, near perfectly weighted and direct. The brakes too feel mighty.

The Aventador’s biggest problem isn’t its performance, but its suspension. A clever inboard pushrod set-up much like you’ll find on a racing car, it’s as unyielding as a track car. You’d expect a supercar to be firm, but Ferrari and others manage firm without jarring, the Aventador’s suspension finding every ripple and bump and sending it through its stiff carbon structure. The damping improves with speed, but we doubt a more comfortable ride would wash in a court as an excuse for driving it everywhere at the speeds it’s so easily capable of.

Sure, some civility has been engineered into the Aventador but it remains exactly what a Lamborghini V12 should be. Bonkers. And despite the compromises that brings we should all be hugely thankful for that.

Top speed: 217mph
0-62mph: 2.9sec
Engine: Naturally aspirated 6.5-litre, V12
Power/weight: 438bhp/tonne
Transmission: 7-speed auto, all-wheel drive
Wheels: 9×19 front, 12×20 rear
Tyres: 255/35 ZR19 front, 335/30 ZR20 rear
Power: 690bhp at 8250rpm
Torque: 507lb ft at 5500rpm
Economy: 17.2mpg
CO2: 398g/km
Price:  £253,200
On sale date: Now

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