What’s the point of having fuck-you money if you never say fuck you?
Damian Lewis’ line as Bobby Axelrod there is pretty much all the justification you need to drop $949,640 on a car once you’re so paid that such a purchase would even be a possibility.
(Full Disclosure: Lamborghini’s PR agency reached out to me and asked if I’d like to borrow this car for a couple of days. It was not an offer I was prepared to decline. This took place many weeks ago, long before any stay-home orders were issued.)
It was pretty funny watching people react to my loaner Lamborghini Aventador SVJ’s price, and of course, anyone who was within earshot of me while driving it had to ask. Since I’m sure you’re curious too, let’s start with a breakdown. As written on Lamborghini’s tab:
Editor’s note: Australian prices for extras may vary. These are provided as a guide.
Base Vehicle Price: $US573,966 ($888,032)
Ext detail + fixed Air: $US7,100 ($10,985)
Hard top in carbon fibre: $US5,600 ($8,664)
Mirror housings in shiny: $US2,800 ($4,332)
Style package: $US8,400 ($12,996)
SVJ Logo – Black: $US8,400 ($12,996)
Electric & heated seats: $US4,200 ($6,498)
Internal cross stitching: $US1,400 ($2,166)
Transparent Protective: $US3,500 ($5,415)
Interior Logo SVJ coloured: $US700 ($1,083)
New Rims 20/21: $US5,200 ($8,045)
Visibility and light: $US1,800 ($2,785)
Travel package: $US1,100 ($1,702)
Seat belts – Rosso (Red): $US1,800 ($2,785)
Special Colour – Rosso: $US14,800 ($22,898)
Ad Personam Interior: $US14,700 ($22,744)
Ad Personam exterior $US2,100 ($3,249)
GGT: $US6,400 ($9,902)
Destination Charge: $US3,695 ($5,717)
“Mirror housings in shiny.” Hell yeah, gotta have that, whatever it is. If you’re here for consumer advice: The $US14,800 ($22,898) Rosso Efesto paint is probably worth it, but the true baller move here is the $US8,400 ($12,996) SVJ Logo.
Since the Aventador’s prime directive is to advertise the owner’s huge sense of humour, nothing’s going to scream “I can do whatever I want” louder than an 13K logo.
But really, I don’t think it matters which options you load up onto this thing. Because there are supercars, and then there are low-low Lambos bristling with dangerous-looking beaks and shards of carbon fibre. The Aventador SVJ is way beyond ostentatious; it looks like it’s from space and driving it without blowing every mind in a 100-metre radius is not possible.
The Lamborghini Experience
Photo: Andrew P Collins
Photo: Andrew P Collins
Lamborghini resisted the urge to edge into mass-appeal products until it didn’t. With dangerously financed used Gallardos and Urus crossovers now running all over Los Angeles, it’s hard for me to say that “Lamborghini” definitively means “extreme design and supreme performance.” But, it kind of does, despite the fact “I drive a Lambo” might translate to “I drive an Audi-platform crossover” in the year 2020. And as far as “extreme” goes, the Aventador SVJ is C-level. Upper echelon. Fuck you flamboyance; fuck you money. Except it’s so over the top that it doesn’t even seem rude. It’s just pure spectacle.
All this to say: This is the Lamborghini that’s every ounce as insane as the imagination of a child or a science fiction prop designer.
People would run–run–down footpaths to see who’d be exiting when I brought the SVJ to a stop and raised the door open. Imagine their disappointment when my dirtbag arse emerged instead of Cindy Crawford? A non-zero amount of phone cameras were pointed at the car all day. All night too, I think, as I left it street parked in front of my Beverly Hills adjacent-adjacent apartment building.
As I roamed around in this car kids dragged their parents over for a closer look, pedestrians stopped their conversation to work out what they were looking at, my friend Jennifer squealed like she was on a rollercoaster when I gave her a lift, bringing the V12-powered party barge from a stop to the speed limit in no time at all.
Even the grouchiest-looking meatheads in other flashy cars raised their eyebrows in admiration. Some even nodded!
The Aventador SVJ doesn’t need to be driven hard to provide an exceptional ride. This car turns whatever route you’re on into an impromptu parade, and frankly, I might even argue that it’s best appreciated at a trot. At least, if you’re the kind of person who enjoys being showered in attention. I can’t deny I enjoyed being a minor celebrity for a couple of days in this thing. But I can’t say I’d relish the experience for much longer, either.
As much as enjoyed practicing my princess wave rolling up and down Rodeo drive at 8 kph, I am a professional test pilot, and contractually obligated to test fate when I have access to horsepower.
There’s 759 horsepower here (770 CV in the Euro output as published by Lamborghini) from a naturally aspirated 6.5-litre V12 with a seven-speed shiftable automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. That kind of juice can take you to meet God in less than a few heartbeats. Or make you go viral for all the worst reasons.
I can’t say I came anywhere close to this car’s upper limits of ability, but more than half a gas tank spent carving Angeles Crest Highway left me with this: The car’s surprisingly forgiving, incomprehensibly grippy, and when it accelerates, fiercely brutal.
Stepping from a gentle roll into a hard charge, the Aventador announces its intentions to mob with a howl. You’ll hear every note of it when the rear window’s rolled down. Shifts buck the car with some violence, but you basically only have an instant to enjoy yourself before your vision goes blurry you’re in danger of entering orbit. Or hitting the car’s top speed of 350 kph.
Fortunately, the SVJ’s brakes are the size of satellite dishes and can bring the car from about 100 kph to a stop in 31 metres. Don’t put your boot too deep into the brake pedal if you’re not ready to bruise your sternum on the seatbelts.
And I’m not even about to get into how the self-adjusting aerodynamics work. Because I have no clue. But I was treated to an ever-changing display in the gauge cluster assuring me that the Aerodinamica Lamborghini Attiva system was hard at work keeping me from crashing.
If you actually are interested in how ALA works, Lamborghini’s shared an official video on the matter:
Incredible braking and the aforementioned grip–the tires are like 10 inches wide, for godsakes–sells a surplus of confidence to whoever’s lucky enough to be behind the wheel of this car. The Aventador SVJ feels heavy; planted. Though the spec sheet actually says it’s only around 1.5 tonnes–pretty lean when you realise how large the car is.
None of that space translates to anything of practical value, of course: Cargo capacity is limited to one (1) manilla folder or similar when the roof’s stashed in the frunk.
Photo: Andrew P Collins
Photo: Andrew P Collins
That’s not true, actually, there’s also a cupholder mounted between the driver and passenger at about shoulder-height. And while we’re talking about human-machine interfacing, I’ll mention that the infotainment screen is unintentionally retro (I never could get Bluetooth to work) and the floors are covered in what feels like skateboard grip tape. It definitely contributes to the “almost a race car” vibe, but I’d have to imagine it’d be hard to clean.
Sure, it’s cool, but is it worth just one Miata less than a million? If you have to ask that question, you can’t afford it. No car is worth the price of an Aventador SVJ from a practical perspective, but as we’ve established, “practical people” have never been Lamborghini’s target audience.
Then again, let’s measure its value another way: Is this Aventador SVJ 2.5 times cooler than a Huracan? Yes. Totally. And based on my brief experience, bystanders react appropriately and will be more than 2.5 times more impressed if you pull up in this over an “entry-level” Lamborghini.
If you’ve got the coin for one of these cars… you should probably use it to help the destitute or society in general. But if you have to have the quintessential Lamborghini experience, this is it, chief. It’s pretty freaking fun.
2019 Aventador SVJ Roadster
Speed, style, fuck-you factor
If you don't want to meet people every time you stop, this car's not for you.
A one-vehicle parade anywhere and everywhere it goes. Thrilling. Extra-terrestrial. Extra extra.
759 HP • 720 Newton-Metre