I'm not too proud to admit that the Lamborghini Aventador is the most frightening car I've ever driven. I'm profoundly scared of it, but not because of its speed, its ferocious engine or the brakes that pull the eyes out of your head when you stop. It's something else.
What Is It?
- Engine: 6.5-litre V12 engine
- Gearbox: 7-speed independent shifting rod (ISR) transmission
- Entertainment System: Audi MMI system
- Bluetooth: Yes (phone only)
- Fuel consumption: Lots/100km
Raw, untamed power that will kill you the first chance it gets. It's a nuclear weapon with a spoiler.
The V12 engine is rear-mounted (natch) and produces between 691 and 720 horsepower, depending on who hand-built it, as well as 690nm of torque achieved at 5500RPM.
That engine, matched with a 7-speed flappy-paddle gearbox and a very competent four-wheel drive system to keep you on the road takes you from 0-100km/h (or 62mph if you're a pedant) in a dizzying 2.9 seconds. And it will keep going from 100km/h right up to a limited speed of 350km/h. Yep.
It's also dripping with carbon fibre. A carbon fibre monocoque frame sits underneath the carbon fibre rear bonnet, fenders and doors to keep the weight down.
Oh, it also has scissor doors, just in case the way it looks or the untamed noise it makes when you turn it on wasn't enough theatre for you.
The technical specifications are almost as boggling as the price: a cool $880,000. For a car. That will kill you. Until you are dead.
Are you kidding? Everything. It's a fucking Lamborghini Aventador.
It was styled on a fighter jet and runs on the blood of lions. This car is an Italian opus: an ode to speed at any cost.
It's a bonkers car made for bonkers people who enjoy being bonkers.
As soon as you clap your eyes on it, you know it's something special. Even people who don't like cars know that. You get that feeling going around town, too. Everybody looks.
People point; others applaud. Other drivers wind down their windows at the traffic lights to ask questions about it and ask you to rev the engine.
I came across one couple who followed me up the highway in their car just so they could watch the Aventador driving along. When they pulled up alongside me (I had slowed down to see if they were the police, to be honest), their kids rolled down the back windows in awe and screamed "Go! Go!".
Gear down, foot down and deafen some small children.
When they caught back up, their smiles were ear-to-ear and so were those of the parents in the front. This car is as much for spectators as it is for you, the driver.
On the subject of that quick blast, it's worth noting that the acceleration the Aventador delivers is some of the most savage I've ever experienced.
It's a car that doesn't like driving slowly. Getting it out of the city and onto the highway feels like dragging a very large, energetic bull through a very small china shop. Once you get it to the highway and stick it into Sport mode, however, you'll have the most fun you've ever had behind the wheel of a car.
Flick down a gear with the flappy-paddle gearbox, hit the gas and you go into hyperspace. The four-wheel drive system keeps you planted on the road while the V12 engine roars into life, delivering you a flood of power.
I say flood because it just keeps going. 0-100 is barely a relevant metric on a car this fast: you have to look so far down the road to see if you're going to have a crash with something, but the traffic seems to miraculously part for you as drivers crane their necks to get a look at the arsehole in the car they wish they had.
The aforementioned Sport Mode is one of three different drive settings on the Aventador, and it's by far the most fun. Strada is for normal drives down to the shops (you will never do this), Sport is for spirited highway blasts and Corsa is for putting yourself into a wall on a track day. Sport Mode is a great all-round mode, but it means that the Aventador gulps down its own fuel in about two hours of highway driving. Goddamn if you don't have fun doing it, though.
There is a slight downside to being the biggest, baddest car on the road. I'd almost liken it to being in prison. Everyone wants to have a run at you to see if they can take you down. Pull into the middle lane of a three-lane highway and the driver every souped-up Subaru WRX, Porsche 911 or Nissan GT-R will pull up to the right of you, give you a look and speed off. Mostly so they can say they took an Aventador on the highway in a car one-eighth the price tag. It's worth putting a little sticker on the steering wheel for these people that reads "I must not race idiots" on it.
Just writing this makes me want to beg Lamborghini Australia for another go in the Tororosso: the red bull.
At the start of this review I said I was scared of the Aventador, but not for the obvious reasons. That's true.
It's not the brutal speed, I can handle that; nor is it the savage power that sits less than half a metre behind your head, yearning to leap forward into the driver's seat and gore you to death.
It's the ride height.
The gap between the road and the front guard of the Aventador is prohibitively small. So much so that when we picked up the car we were actually told to go over every bump, ramp and divot in the road sideways at 2km/h. The car is beautiful to look at, but completely ridiculous in practice.
That ride height is the most terrifying thing about the car because you're always worried you're going to ding, dent or scratch a million dollars worth of supercar by going over one bump the wrong way. The insurance excess we'd be liable for if we scratched the Aventador in any way was almost $10,000, so naturally we took it easy around town. And everywhere, actually.
There's a little button on the console that raises the nose of the car up, but even with the lift kit activated you'll still be going around town sideways, looking every lip in your way as a potential insurance claim.
Even without the problematic ride-height, the Aventador is a really weird car to drive. Because it's essentially a race car, you have to drive it with two feet. Or at least that's the only convenient way to drive it.
Because the brake and the accelerator pedals aren't directly next to each other and sit at different depths in the footwell, you can't just take your foot off one and place it on the other.
First of all, your foot will never find it without taking your eyes off the road to have a look, and both the acceleration and braking is so goddamn savage that if you tap one too hard you're either being projected into space or having your eyes torn out of your head from the deceleration. It requires you to relearn everything you know about driving quickly. That's not necessarily bad, but my God it hurts your knees after about an hour behind the wheel from the strain.
Finally, Lamborghini's now come packed with Audi's MMI system as standard. MMI isn't a bad system, it just looks insanely out of place on the the console of a jet fighter-esque supercar.
Should You Buy It?
If you have nerves of steel and roads smoother than glass, yes, you should absolutely have the Aventador in your life.
It's such a stupid car and I love it so much. The only reason I didn't give it 100 out of 100 is because I found out our graphic isn't wide enough to support that number.
The power is insane, it looks like it's about to take off from an aircraft carrier and it makes a noise that puts other cars back in their garage out of fear.
If you want to buy this car, make sure you park it in a shipping container off from the highway and just use it to burn up and down those deliciously straight, flat, high-speed roads.
Even if you just get the chance to drive one for a day, or even just an hour, you should do it. It's a rev-head's wet dream.