2013 LAMBORGHINI AVENTADOR REVIEW
Vehicle Style: Two-door supercar coupe.
Price: $761,500 (plus on-roads) | As tested: $888,007 (drive-away)
Fuel Economy claimed: 17.2 l/100km | tested: 29.1 l/100km
Here's a few little facts to whet the appetite. What we have here is a machine nursing a 6.5-litre, 515kW V12. It’ll go from zero to 100km/h in just 2.9 seconds. A top speed of 350km/h. And scissor doors.
Welcome, everyone, to the Lamborghini Aventador.
It was released a couple of years ago, but feedback on its aggressive gear-changes wasn’t all that positive. So, Lamborghini took note and revised things, leading to the car you see here – the MY13 Aventador.
Smoother shifts, changes to ride comfort, stop-start eco-mode, and cylinder de-activation comprise the major changes. It’s a still a hypercar, so is it easier to live with?
Being the devoted reviewers we are at TMR, we set out to find out.
Quality: The first thing that hits you when you swing open those big doors is the smell of the leather. It's everywhere, and it’s all top notch.
The interior fit and finish is just superb and, like the Vanquish tested recently, our test car came with immaculate yellow contrast stitching.
The metal display surround on the centre console looks and feels superb and even the flip-up jetfighter-style start-button is damped to soft-close, such is the attention to detail.
One area grates however: the door handles. If only they weren’t made from cheap plastic, the interior would be perfect.
Comfort: Getting into the Aventador is simple. Slide your hand under the door recess, press the button and let the gas struts lift the door for you. Even if the parking space is tight, scissor doors means you won’t be hitting the car next to you.
Slip into the fabulous seats and you’ll notice straight away the pedals offset to the left. This takes some getting used to especially when you learn that left-hand-drive cars don’t suffer this as badly due to RHD packaging constraints.
The steering wheel is perfectly-sized and just the right thickness, and although there’s a suede option, you really can’t fault the standard wheel for comfort.
The front seats have the perfect blend of comfort and body-hugging bolstering and even on long journeys give plenty of support. It’s a shame you have to pay for electric adjustment, though.
Equipment: Lambo is all about extreme performance which translates to a base car which is insanely fast but a huge (read: expensive) options list. Sure, you get the basics – electric windows, climate control, sat-nav, settings menu, etc – but nothing that really blows you away.
Except, of course, for that gorgeous TFT instrument cluster. With its high-quality graphics and coloured modes for different settings, it’s almost worth the price of admission alone.
The Audi-based infotainment/sat-nav system works reasonably well too, but in an age of HD everything, a few more pixels wouldn’t go astray.
Options we’d go for? Probably only two: For asthetics alone, the clear engine cover for $14,507, and the Park Assistance pack (front and rear sensors plus rear-camera) which retails at $9,367.
Storage: Here’s our biggest gripe with the Aventador – there are no cupholders.
We discovered this while testing on a week of 35-degree days; the permanent companion (bottle of water) had nowhere to go. So, it found itself squashed into the door handle.
There is, of course, a glovebox, but you’ll be struggling to find anything else inside. A tiny lidded storage area toward the cabin’s rear sits between the seats, and you can fold the seats forward to shove a small bag behind, but that’s about it.
The boot space is under the “bonnet” – a small but reasonably deep cavity (150 litres) that will hold a couple of soft overnight bags.
ON THE ROAD
Driveability: Flip the start-button cover up, press down and the starter motor spins for a few seconds until the engine literally roars into life with a massive shower of revs. Yeah, people will think you’re doing that to show off, but no, that’s how it actually starts.
Setting off, the throttle isn’t too sensitive, meaning you can amble about without spearing into a wall. In “Strada” mode, shifts are smooth enough and it feels like the Aston Martin Vantage’s semi-auto gearbox – rolling off the throttle during shifts makes them seamless.
“Sport” mode however is perhaps not so well thought-out. It finds itself in a kind of no-man’s land with a wooly throttle and unbearably clunky shifts. Not a good combo and - of the three modes - definitely superfluous.
In “Corsa” mode, things are considerably more electric and everything cranks up a notch or two. Or three. Or seventeen.
Its acceleration is just ferocious. As it winds up, it will hurl you back into your seat and pin you there for the entire ride to its 350kmh top end.
And, all the while, that V12 is bellowing like a bull and spitting blue flames out the hexagonal exhaust .
The gearchanges feel like someone has cracked you across the back with a baseball bat.
It’s brutal. But such a buzz, and something you'll want to experience again and again. And again.
The changes are less intense of course the higher you work through the ratios, and on a track you’re so focussed on driving quickly that they blend into the whole experience (which is why “Corsa” is aptly named).
But the throttle response even in Corsa is 'slow', comparatively that is (in the surreal world into which this car projects you). When backing off and then applying power again, it doesn't give that instant horse-kick that you might expect.
On a track the Aventador doesn’t turn in that sharply either, a condition of a long front overhang and all-wheel-drive.
The steering is very accurate though (it’s best in Corsa where assistance is backed off) and there’s enough feedback coming through the wheel to feel when those front tyres start to scrub.
Truth to be told, the Aventador is much happier on open flowing sweepers and long straights than tight S-bends. And that makes it perfect on the open road.
Something strange happens to the Aventador at between 110-130kmh. The gearbox slips into top gear, the suspension seems to find its sweet spot, the engine becomes less manic and road noise melds into the background hum of the wind noise.
Take it on a long run, and you quickly realise that this car is effortless over ridiculous distances, like on a capital city run, making it such a supreme grand tourer (if its luggage space will satisfy you).
Sitiing at under 135 km/h, one cylinder bank deactivates, allowing the power unit to run as an inline six. But when the 700 horses are called upon again, the switch back to 12 cylinders is undetectable.
Just don’t ever forget that this is a wide car, so don’t head down narrow laneways expecting to park out the back somewhere.
Refinement: On the overrun, the V12 is not exactly what you’d call refined. It sounds like an episode of “Will It Blend” with fifteen crowbars chucked in – clashing and mashing of metallic pieces. It’s wonderful.
There’s also a fair bit of road noise thrumming through the carbon-fibre tub.
Calm down though, push the red-mist away and relax, and its cruising ability becomes apparent.
Refined? Not overly. But who cares – it’s a Lamborghini.
Suspension: With inboard pushrod suspension front and rear, the Aventador’s road-holding is fantastic, but it does give a very firm ride.
It's certainly not entirely home driving around cracked city streets, but it’s liveable. There is a nose-lift too, to prevent unwanted scrapes to that polygonal front-end.
Braking: Carbon-ceramic discs are standard on the Aventador and on the street they work fine, although if constantly abused they do fade off, which is concerning.
Recovery is quick, but, with 1575kg to haul up, the 400mm six-pot fronts and 380mm four-pot rears have their work cut out for them.
ANCAP rating: Not tested
Safety features: With only two seats, six airbags covers it all, including the driver and passenger’s knees. The ABS, ESC and traction control settings all depend on the driving mode chosen, and there’s also a carbon-fibre tub protecting the occupants.
WARRANTY AND SERVICING
Warranty: Three years/100,000km.
Service costs: Servicing costs vary according to vehicle usage. Contact your local dealer for more info.
HOW IT COMPARES | VALUE FOR MONEY
Ferrari F12berlinetta ($691,000) – Although it hasn’t been launched here as yet, the F12berlinetta is certainly the closest competitor to the Aventador.
While we wait for our turn behind the wheel, the F12 is receiving rave reviews overseas and looks to be more than a match for the Lamborghini. (see Ferrari reviews)
Note: all prices are Manufacturer’s List Price and do not include dealer delivery or on-road costs.
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
There’s something extremely intoxicating about having 515kW at your disposal. The Aventador’s brutal delivery and massive road presence make it the poster car of our generation.
It is a stunning car, no doubt, and will attract determined attention everywhere. But despite its heart-stopping performance, it’s not without its issues.
That could be a part of its appeal. Lamborghini’s core values are “extreme, uncompromising, Italian”.
And for sure, the Aventador is Italian in spirit and in temperament.
It is also extreme, and very uncompromising. Job done, then.
Of course, whether you can live with that - and whistle up a lazy 'mill' - well, that's for you to work out... (but it is one very, very tasty machine).
Photography: Jan Glovac.