Why do things sound better in Italian? ‘Extremely fast’ sounds pretty unexciting. Translate it into Italian and the sound of ‘Superveloce’ tripping from a native tongue promises something rather more special. In the case of the new Lamborghini Aventador LP 750-4 Superveloce, ‘special’ barely covers it.
This is only the fourth time Lamborghini has used the Superveloce nomenclature. From Miura, through Diablo and Murcielago, the SV tag has been reserved for Lamborghini’s flagship V12 supercar, and each and every time it has come with an eyebrow-raising power output. The 670hp of the Murcielago SV is still an impressive total even by today’s standards. But the latest Lamborghini Aventador, as the number in its lengthy name suggests, arrives equipped with even more than that. It develops some 750hp at a fairly astonishing 8,400rpm. It’s an output allowed by upping the 6.5-litre V12’s rev limiter to 8,500rpm, while getting air into, and away from, the naturally-aspirated unit far more effectively.
Those who’ve driven a standard Lamborghini Aventador might have considered that even more power was the last thing it needed, but to go with it come a 50kg weight drop and an uprated chassis.
The weight loss, down to 1,525kg (dry), is thanks in small part to a lighter exhaust and in greater part to some lighter body panels and to the removal of a few creature comforts. You can put a stereo back in via the options list should you want to, and keep electrically-adjusted seats should you choose, but we’d take the un-carpeted interior with fixed-back carbon fibre bucket seats every time. Somehow they seem more appropriate alongside the monocoque’s visible carbon fibre and Lamborghini’s own lightweight ‘carbon skin’ material that adorns the doors.
Suspension changes are serious too. The SV has, as standard, magnetically-controlled dampers – a world first on pushrod suspension, we’re told – that can adjust their stiffness, within certain parameters, tens of times every second.
It means the SV should be able to ride the worst surfaces with some compliance while simultaneously keeping body control extremely tight. It’s particularly useful, say Lamborghini engineers, at circuits like the Nürburgring, where the Superveloce has already set a sub-seven-minute lap time. That makes it all but as quick as cars like the McLaren P1, La Ferrari and Porsche 918 Spyder. And against which its £321,743 asking price doesn’t nearly sound as expensive as it otherwise might.
More controversially, also standard on the SV is Dynamic Steering, an active steering system that can adjust its ratio depending on how fast you’re going, and other factors like how much throttle you have applied and how quickly you’re turning the wheel. In short it’s meant to become more stable at high speeds by slowing the rack, while requiring less input at low speeds where the rack quickens.
Like a few car manufacturers, Lamborghini has fitted it before and discovered a lot of people don’t get on with it. Here it has been recalibrated and is certainly better. It lacks the outright fluidity of a conventional steering rack, but it helps make what is still a relatively large car feel far more agile.
Helping that too, of course, is the SV’s impressive weight loss, plus the fact that a revised aerodynamic package, including a large rear wing, gives it a healthy amount of downforce.
Even without that aerodynamic grip, you can imagine that the 255/35 ZR20 front and mammoth 355/25 ZR21 rear Pirelli P Zero Corsa tyres would generate huge amounts of grip. Throw in the aerodynamics and the ability of the suspension to keep the wheels on the ground and you have one of the most track capable cars of the moment.
There are three drive modes – Strada (street), Sport and Corsa (track) – which adjust the response of the chassis and engine. And in Corsa, the most extreme of these, throttle response is unbelievably sharp, while body movements are extremely well tied down. It goes to make the SV massively capable (you can see where that Nürburgring lap time comes from), but there is no arguing with the Laws of Physics. This is a car with a large, tall engine behind the driver and a rearward weight bias. If you take liberties with it, particularly in high speed corners, where it’s easy to unsettle it if you’re not smooth with inputs, it can feel a little unnerving, but it telegraphs what it’s doing admirably.
If it does get out of shape there is four-wheel drive, which can put as much as 60 per cent of power to the front (or up to 90 per cent to the rear), to help pull it straight. But it’s better to be positive, keep it neat, and tell the SV what you expect of it early and considerately. Then it offers huge amounts of fun and engagement. And speed. The Lamborghini Aventador simply monsters the track in Barcelona, where we drove it all too briefly, and on whose main straight it comfortably exceeded 165mph while still pulling strongly.
Thankfully the standard carbon-ceramic brakes resist fade well and have huge stopping power and fine feel. If there is anything we’d like improved, though, it’s the smoothness of the ‘ISR’ robotised gearbox. Lamborghini says it’s an ’emotional’ gearchange and that it shifts as quickly (as low as 50ms) as a race sequential gearbox. But already the company uses a twin-clutch system in the smaller Huracán model, and it espouses the benefits of that setup. It can’t think they’re both the optimum transmission. We think a twin-clutch is better.
Give it its credit, though, the ISR does allow the Superveloce to launch at fearsome speeds and bangs through shifts quickly at high revs. And it’s at extremely high speeds where you get the benefit of that massive power, say Lamborghini engineers. At lower speeds there’s only so much power you can use, which is why the 0-62mph time is 2.8 seconds; down by only 0.1 seconds on the standard Lamborghini Aventador. Keeping the acceleration going, and going, and going, towards what here is a 217mph maximum speed, is the party trick of extreme power outputs. All credit to the all-round accomplishment of the Lamborghini Aventador Superveloce, then: the fact that it’s ‘extremely fast’ is not the most overwhelming thing about it. It delivers on every single level.
Power to weight: 485bhp/ton
0-62mph: 2.8 seconds
Top speed: ‘over 217mph’
Engine: V12 6.5-litre petrol
Power: 740bhp at 8,400rpm
Torque: 690Nm at 5,500rpm
Transmission: rear-wheel drive, seven-speed ISR automatic
Wheels: 9J x 20-inch front; 13J x 21-inch rear
Tyres: Pirelli P Zero Corsa 255/35 ZR20 front; 355/25 ZR21 rear
Price: £321,723 on-the-road
On sale date: Now