The set up
The Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4 is the closest you’ll get to taking part in the running of the bulls without being in Pamplona.
This supercar is a terrifying and exhilarating display of brute force that pushes you to the edge and leaves you buzzing with adrenaline. It tolerates fools up to a point, but demands your full attention – and not just because you’re driving $840,000 worth of hand-built Italian power in the 6.5-litre V12 engine that’s just waiting to be let off the leash, and prepared to make a dash for it when you’re not looking.
This is the car of many a young boy’s dreams, the poster on the wall roaring to life, the teenage lust for scissor doors made real. Like all Lamborghinis, it’s named after a famous Spanish fighting bull, in this instance one of the bravest from the 1990s. The WA numberplate, Torrorosso (red bull), was a nice touch on the test car.
This is sex wrapped in a single carbon fibre shell – automotive carnality that makes you blush knowing how much you want it.
The Aventador LP700-4 is motor engineering at its purest. This is a slingshot on wheels, threatening whiplash when it takes off, then again when the brake calipers lock around the Pirelli 20-inch rear wheels and 19-inch ones at the front.
The hand-built mid-mounted V12 engine punches out up to 700hp through the 4WD system, firing you up to 100kmh in 2.9 seconds. You can slide into license confiscation territory before you realise, and the acceleration is dizzying.
And keep in mind this is a naturally aspirated engine. No silly turbo tweak here. If you can get the engine past the fifth of the seven-speed ISR gearbox congrats, but you know that’s illegal, even in the Northern Territory.
It will take you to 350km/h, at which point it’s outrunning most planes coming in to land, but I’ve also heard that at that point, you can watch the fuel gauge dropping on the 90-litre tank as it swallows around 1lt/1km at top speed.
The sharp lines and angles of the hexagonal design give the car a menacing look, like a Transformer ready to unleash hell. It’s more spaceship and stealth bomber than car. The air intakes on the front and sides look like they’re designed to swallow lesser automobiles whole. It’s a car with appetites as big as its owner’s.
The Aventador is a rock star and you can’t help but be starstruck first laying eyes on it up close, especially in shiny, shiny red. The low, mean silhouette is flat and full: 2.03m wide, just 1.36m high and 4.78m long.
Sliding into the cockpit – for cockpit it is – is a sensory overload, with its jet fighter-like centre console bristling with buttons and controls under a large LCD screen and blinking dashboard laden with even more data, amid the smell of the all-leather interior. The starter button under the rocket-red flick switch, making you feel like Luke Skywalker about to take out the Death Star, elicits a childlike squeal of delight.
The seat locks you in place and there’s not a lot of room to keep your left foot out of the way, but then this is essentially a race car (ever-so-mildly) tamed to off-track, so the way the pedals are set up, if you have the technical ability, driving with both feet is probably the best solution, not that you especially want to be anywhere where the brakes are required.
There are three drive modes: Strada (road), Sport and Corsa (race) but the first option sounds like advice from your mother before you go out. You can let the 7-speed gearbox do the work itself or take control via the steering wheel paddles, which respond in 50 milliseconds.
The electronically-controlled clutch sorts out power distribution, sending up to 60% of the torque to the front wheels, depending on the setting, on the permanent all-wheel drive.
There’s little room for compromise inside this two-seater. It helps it your fitness levels match your bank balance as you slide in and out of the car. The all-leather interior feels incredibly stylish and under the bonnet, there’s just enough room for two backpacks, although you can’t help worrying they’ll push the nose even lower.
This isn’t car for the city, unless getting to the next set of traffic lights first is your life’s ambition. It slides along the ground like a rocket-fueled skateboard, the local council’s speed bumps its kryptonite. There’s a height adjustment button that raises the front, even while driving, otherwise the car sits just 100mm off the ground, so anything rougher than a bowling green is enough to make you wary. Above 70kmh, the car automatically drops back down.
Then there’s the glass louvres over the engine. It turns your propulsion system into a work of art. And it is.
To quote Kath Day-Knight: Look at me, look at me, look at me. Just listen to it roar:
The Aventador is an unashamed head turner, the Gabi Grecko of motoring. It gathers crowds wherever it is. Phones come out for selfies, envy levels rise, guys in Ferrari 458s pull performance anxiety faces and everywhere you go, people lean over to the person beside them and point at you.
It’s a car for the supremely confident, keen to make sure everyone else knows you are too. But for all its technical precision, this is a car that will test you. Treat it with respect and know your limits, because if you don’t you won’t find the Aventador in a forgiving mood. It’s a challenge, the motoring equivalent of the Renaissance duel.
To appease your inner eco-warrior, the Aventador has a couple of smart fuel saving tricks (when it’s not skolling around 18lt/100km). Most impressive is the Cylinder Deactivation System (CDS), which shuts down six cylinders – a bank – under 84kmh, leaving you to limp around the city on just 350hp.
Then there’s the stop-start system, which activates most on flat ground when you’re stopped with your foot on the break. There was a moment in traffic when I was flustered and couldn’t get it to restart and back in gear, despite the driver console giving me clear instructions, but it was the highlight of the day for the Hyundai Excel drivers whizzed around and passed the stalled supercar.
While some will hate the stop start, the joy for me was hearing the engine roar back into life every time you start to move again.
The Audi MMI sound system feels like it’s five years too old, with a CD player, no Bluetooth (except for the phone) – you can plug it in via USB cable – and SD card slots to load music. Perhaps it’s like that because the music people want to hear is the rumble of the V12.
The seats are heated and there’s a button I call “Peacock mode” to bring up the rear spoiler, which doesn’t normally appear until the speedometer starts heading towards triple digits.
And there’s a whole lot of stuff on the centre console I filed under “What does this button do?”. Like all good relationships, this is a car that will begin to reveal itself with time as you get to understand how it thinks and behaves and you explore together.
It’s so low, the headlights of the SUV behind you bore into the back of your head and you can’t help wondering if they’re going to roll over the top of you.
Being able to see behind you can be a challenge, but then again, it’s a car where you never look back.
The low ride leaves you liable to scraping the nose on even the gentlest of angles. We know that from sad, awful experience, despite best efforts to the contrary.
It’s not a car you want to drive in the city. In fact, on most Australian roads it’s a car that feels like a wasted opportunity. This is the vehicle you want to be in for Fast and Furious 8.
Fuel consumption? Pfft. As if you’re worried about petrol prices driving an $800k car.
This won’t be your first and only car – and probably won’t be your first Lamborghini.
It’s not the car you tootle around Toorak or Point Piper in either. You really want it parked, carefully, at your holiday house in Darwin to take for a run down to your cattle property somewhere near Alice Springs, parking it the moment you leave to the asphalt, to finish the trip by chopper.
Thrilling, expensive, dangerous and beautiful, the Lamborghini Aventador is the car you buy because not only don’t you do mistresses, but because this is much more fun.
The fine print
Our “Torrorosso” demo is listed at $839.000: $761,500 for the base car, with nearly $80,000 of accessories, including $9,600 for parking assistance (sensors and rear camera), $8,200 for the electric heated seats, $14,800 for the transparent engine bonnet and $2,600 for bright red brake calipers to match the duco.
The cars are available from Lamborghini Sydney. Phone (02) 9509 0666.
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