Posted on 23 May 2014 by Chris
2014 Lamborghini Aventador
By Dan Scanlan
The day was cloudy, misty and cold when I was pointed to a Rosso Lamborghini Aventador LP 700 and asked, “Would you like a drive?”
The coastal Florida roads outside the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance were thick with traffic, and worse, Highway Patrol and local deputies. They were hungry, looking for fools dumb enough to nail a 700-hp Lamborghini on their home turf after a day of snacking on new Porsches, AMG Mercedes-Benzes, Jaguar F-Types and a McLaren or two.
Bring it on!
· Lambo looks – As has been tradition, this Lamborghini is named after a bull, a courageous beast that entered the Saragossa Arena in Spain in October 1993 and earned the “Trofeo de la Peña La Madroñera” for its courage. The bulk of this brutal missile is woven out of the stuff. The occupant cell, including tub and roof, is a woven composite component that weighs 325.18 lbs., Lambo says.
Science aside, the LP700-4 (longitudinal position engine/700-hp/4-wheel-drive) is one badass-looking car, sleek and brutal. This 15.6-foot-long red rover is a very low 3.6 feet high, and at 7.4-feet, very wide.
Designers at the Centro Stile Lamborghini made its shin-high nose sharp and pointed over a deep double-slit center intake and air dam. It’s flanked by twin side intakes akin to the flaring nostrils of a very angry bull. Above the nostrils are headlights with the first of many Y-shaped LED running lights framing the projector beam.
The raked windshield is almost as laid back as the bonnet, with thin arcing pillars that flow into the slightly double-bubbled roof. The front fenders flow closely around the black 10-spoke alloy wheels wearing very low profile P255/35 ZR19-inch front Pirelli PZero rubber. Then the fender top line dips before rising and flaring wide over a side channel that incorporates a huge black-edged side engine intake over a flared lower sill. The rear fender’s top line flows into a wide set of muscular rear haunches that flow out to very neatly to frame a foot wider rear track and Pirelli P335/30 ZR20-inch rubber.
There’s a small vent aft and low of the front wheels, another forward of the rear rubber, and electronically operated air intakes on the flying buttresses that flank the engine, opening when that massive V-12 needs additional cooling. Over the engine live three transparent slats that put the V-12 and its bracing on display beautifully. The Aventador’s rear end is just as dramatic. A trio of Y-shaped slim taillights are at the trailing edge of the flying buttresses, upper edges flowing off a crisp fender design line. They live over huge black mesh cooling vents on an angular rear bumper and a huge central exhaust pipe framed in an aerodynamic lower diffuser. The overall look from the rear is wide and brutal hunkered down on very aggressive rubber.
· Lambo lowdown – Like all V-12 Lamborghinis since the epic Countach of the 1980s, the long side doors on the Aventador pivot skyward from a front fender-hinged mechanism. You stick the right foot in and duck as you (fairly easily) lever yourself over the wide sill’s black leather trim and into a very form-fitting leather bucket seat with double red stitching. Almost every surface is done in a low-gloss leather with double red stitching along every edge that isn’t surfaced in aluminum.
About a half-inch more legroom would be appreciated in here for tall guys like me, but headroom is fine. A 3-spoke steering wheel with a thick leather-clad rim has some familiar Audi-style buttons for audio. Through the flat-bottomed wheel lies the six-sided binnacle with a configurable TFT-LCD gauge package centered on either a 9,000-rpm tach with digital speedometer, or 230-mph speedometer, both with digital needles and a 7-speed gearbox indicator. The central display is flanked by temperature, gas, oil temperature and oil pressure displays, with clock, date, stereo and outside temperature display on the left and car status on the right. It’s all crystal clear and quick to display. But it’s what on the driver’s right that makes you feel like you are at the yoke of a jet fighter.
The V-shaped console starts with a recessed navigation/multimedia screen with alloy switches in a row underneath for the power windows, stability control, even a power lift so the Aventador’s beak clears driveways. Climate control is next, then comes the transmission/engine/suspension settings for Strada, Sport and Corsa. Then the most useless and coolest button in exotica – a red switch cover over the start button that fires up the V-12 behind you. Under that is a familiar Audi-style controller with selection buttons for audio, navigation, telephone, information and the return button.
There is no gearshift – long-handled paddle shifters do the duty, with a reverse and parking brake button at the base of the console. You have alloy pedals in the narrow footwell, with lush Alcantara suede headliner overhead. Behind and high, the slim slit for the rear window with a tantalizing hint of the black-finished V-12 engine and cross-brace and the clear engine cover slats. In the side mirrors, the wide hips of the rear fenders are amazing.
· Lamborghini lust – The heart of our 1,900-mile-old beast is the 6.5-liter V-12 engine with 700-hp and a power-to-weight ratio of 4.96 lb/hp. Lambo states the 0-60 mph acceleration figure is 2.9 seconds, and it felt like it when we would nail the throttle and the coupe would thunder ahead. We guess 100-mph can be polished off in well under 10, shoving you back in your seat as it heads to a top speed of 217 mph. Suffice to say that when you flip up the red cover and button this powerplant to life, you hear and feel it, the engine eager to get on with the business of launching this red rocket.
The car ‘s drive modes are Strada for road, Sport, and Corsa for race track. Each adapts the ISR (Independent Shifting Rods) transmission shift points and aggressiveness, power steering feel and how the all-wheel-drive functions. The single-clutch paddle shift system means authoritative-yet-smooth shift points in Strada, and warp-speed (50 milliseconds) snaps with a hammer-shot up- or down-shift to the butt in Sport or Corsa if you work the gas pedal deep. It is brutal but not unexpected, and it handles a lot of power quickly. Lambo calls the ISR single clutch system the “world’s most emotional gear shift,” and lighter and smaller than a conventional manual unit. But it is the last single-clutch unit the company will make.
Strada gives you the most comfortable ride, firm but not objectionable with straightforward steering feel and just enough assist. The LSR stays in a higher gear more often and lets the engine do the work. On a smooth road at 60-mph, the car is so quiet all you hear is a bit of tire hiss and the engine breathing a bit behind you. Corsa really sharpens up steering feel and firms up the ride, even deploying dual wings at the trailing edge of the rear fenders. Put your tight foot down and the engine responds much faster, singing high to a redline that lives past 8,000 rpm. The horizon just comes at you as the engine yells an amazing snarl, with a feral throttle blip on downshifts. It also sets up the Haldex all-wheel-drive for a bit more front bias to help pull this supercar through the turns.
The big Lambo felt very secure on the straight roads of coastal Florida, all four tires securely glued as we hammered away. We did goose the tail out a bit in a roundabout with throttle, easily caught with the massive rubber and front wheels working. The width is seen but not really felt. There are also carbon ceramic brakes that work immediately and haul the wedge down quickly, with aero braking from the rear wings with no fade. The Aventador is a feral creature that doesn’t coddle if you dare step on its tail, but does offer the security of all wheel drive grip with a soundtrack that rivals anything out there.
· Lambo price – The Lamborghini Aventador is a $397,500 supercar with everything we had in our drive as standard bar the $7,550 transparent 3-panel roof, the $4,900 parking sensors/backup camera and red brake calipers for $1,390. Total price bar destination $411,340.
The competition in this supercar class is limited if you stick with mainstream manufacturers – the $181,000 Porsche 911 Turbo S, $280,000 Aston Martin Vanquish, $275,000 Mercedes-Benz SLA AMG Black Series, $280,000 (est.) McLaren 650S and $319,000 Ferrari F12 Berlinetta. The Aston, Ferrari and Benz have motors up front, the rest behind the driver. The Porsche has a twin-turbo 560-hp 3.6-liter flat six, while there’s a 3.8-liter 641-hp twin turbo V-8 in the McLaren; a 6.2-liter 622-hp V-8 in the Benz; and V-12s in the 731-hp Ferrari and 565-hp Aston. The lightweight McLaren is said to hit 60-mph in less than 3 seconds, while the others are 4 seconds or less. The ballet dancer is the McLaren, said to feel just like the incredibly athletic 12C we tested last year. But the Porsche with all-wheel-drive is close to a precise race car. The Benz has a brutal amount of power, yet handles it very well, based on our test of the base SLS AMG convertible last year. The Aston and Ferrari are the top of their game as classic front-engine exotic tourers.
· Bottom line – What can I say – all of the above supercars exude presence in appearance, price and power, and sound amazing when pushed. But nothing – I repeat, nothing – exudes the look and sound of a Lamborghini, especially one honed the top of the mid-engine V-12 line that began with the Miura.
2014 Lamborghini Aventador LP 700
Vehicle type: Carbon fiber-intensive 2-seat mid-engine all-wheel-drive V-12 supercar
Base price: $397,500 (As driven – $411,340)
Engine type: variable valve-timed V-12
Displacement: 3.8 liters
Horsepower (net): 700 hp at 8,250 rpm
Torque (lb-ft): 443 at 5,500 rpm
Transmission: 7-speed ISR (Independent Shifting Rods) single-clutch transmission with paddle shifters
Wheelbase: 106.3 in.
Overall length: 188.19 in.
Overall width: 79.9 in.
Height: 44.2 in.
Curb weight: 3,472 pounds
Fuel capacity – 23.8 gallons
Fuel mileage – 24.7 mpg city/10.7 mpg city
Last word – The king of the supercars