You probably know everything there is to know about this car. Still, we thought a nuts-and-bolts test with a full set of numbers would make for a fascinating read. So here it is, the Autocar India road test of the mighty Lamborghini Aventatod LP 700-4. Apart from being blown away by it, we also hope to answer a few pertinent questions – can you fully use its 690bhp on our roads? How easy is it to drive among the taxis and rickshaws? How good is it when it’s completely out of its element? And of course, does it live up to everything you expect of a flagship Lamborghini? Because it’s got so much power, we’re expecting hard, fast answers.
Though it may look like an evolution of the Murcielago that preceded it, it is anything but. Known internally as the LB834 (LB? Lunatic Bull?), the Aventador ditches the Murcielago’s steel spaceframe chassis for a thoroughly modern – and stiff – carbon-fibre tub, with aluminium front and rear subframes to which the suspension and engine are bolted. Most of its body is built from carbon-fibre although the doors, bonnet and bumpers are made from aluminium and its boasts Faormula 1-style horizontally mounted, pushrod-activated suspension to help reduce unsprung mass. Brakes come in the form of massive carbon-ceramic discs all round and grip from fat 335/30 ZR20 Pirellis at the rear.
It is no surprise then that the Aventador weighs in at a rather light 157kg. To put that in perspective, you need to know that the Lambo is as long as a Tata Aria and even wider. Sure, it may be a pygmy shorter than the MPV, but you get the picture – this is a big beast.
The centerpiece of any Lamborghini is its engine, and it is no different here. The earlier Bizzarini-designed V12 that powered everything from the 350GT of 1963 to the Murcielago SV of 2009 has gone to bovine heaven and made way for this spanking new monster. It is dry-sumped, has a swept volume of 6.5 litres and a 60-degree cylinder bank, is naturally-aspirated and revs to a heady 8200rpm, thanks to its exceptionally short stroke. Codenamed L539, this engine is only the second all-new V12 in the company’s entire 50-year history; imagine that! It sends power to all four wheels through a seven-speed, single-clutch automatic gearbox via a newly developed Haldex all-wheel-drive system.
All this adds up to a car that opens up the possibilities of time travel. To unleash the beast and unlock its full potential, you have to follow procedure – that’s ESP off, Corsa mode on, first gear, left foot on brake pedal and the right one on full throttle. The revs will rise to about 4000rpm, at which point you get off the brakes. The clutch slams in violently, there’s a chirp from all four wheels, four new strips of black on the road and you’ve already crossed 100kph. 200kph comes up n a smidgen over 10sec and you could take this series production car to a drag race and beat everything but dedicated dragsters with its 10.9sec quarter mile time. Push on and it will hit its absurd 350kph top speed with consummate ease. Seriously, it accelerates so hard, it’s difficult for the brain to fully comprehend what’s happening.
But even its tremendous acceleration pales in comparison to the sustained thrust you experience in the higher gears. Here, the engine stays in its powerband for longer and the thrust is truly terrifying. Terrifying enough to make you voluntarily back off before the engine winds itself up to the redline. Terrifying enough to convince yourself that it’s all going to end badly. Seriously, you have to rewire your brain with the same computing power as a NASA space station just to keep up with the Aventador’s acceleration. Nothing this side of a Bugatti Veyron comes close. Then again, this Lambo is so much more than just the engine. You enter the cockpit by crossing a narrow, low sill through doors that swing up and slightly out. The Seats are really low down, but they are grippy, comfortable and give you surprising amounts of space. The view out is seriously limited, especially out back, and because you sit so low, it takes time to figure out where that low nose is. You’ll notice the sloping centre console and that it is studded with controls, including the button for selecting reverse and the starter button hiding under its red, flip-up ‘safety cover’. Yes, much of this is the same thinly disguised MMI, stereo and climate gear found in an Audi, but it all works, and there’s a sense of quality in here that the Murcielago never had. It also has an entirely graphic instrument display instead of the regular clocks and you can dial up what information you want to see on it. The big rev-counter for example, can be swapped with the smaller speedo.
As for practicality, there’s plenty of room for your feet, and though they are offset to the left, it’s something you get used to. The two shallow interior bins and the single front luggage compartment are still hilariously small, so on long journeys, pack only a credit card and buy clothes at your destination.
The question is, can you drive it to any destination in india? On unpredictably surfaced roads like ours, it would be wise to send your Man Friday out on your planned route a day ahead to make a note of bad stretches and big speed breakers. That said, the Lambo’s front suspension has a lift function and this helps it clear most speed breakers and bad sections. You also need to carry a list of fuel stations that pump Speed 97, or figure out a way to keep the 90-litre fuel tank fed with the stuff. When you are really pushing along, the V12 can drain the tank’s contents with alarming ease.
The Aventador is a hugely effective way of transporting yourself several miles from where you were just a moment ago. Sure, it is too big and too fast for narrower back roads, but out on an open highway, the big Lamborghini is truly exhilarating. The fueling is so crisp and throttle response so sharp, it pulls cleanly all the way from 200rpm to its 82000rpm redline, the rate of acceleration getting unbelievably strong towards the top quarter of its rev band. You can dial up the seven-speed auto’s shift aggressiveness by selecting either sport or Corsa, but that also increases the shock with each gearshift. In launch-control mode, the clutch bangs closed like you’ve been rear-ended by a locomotive and pulls 1.2g as it sets that 0-100kph time. Did we forget to mention the sound it makes? Under hard acceleration, it sounds like a Tyrannosaurus Rex clearing his throat – unbelievably loud and guttural.
Driven normally though, this big Lambo feels rather civilized. Sure there is some tyre noise, but the exhaust and the engine are muted and you don’t need to shout to converse with your passenger-if they haven’t been terrified into silence already that is.
The steering is fantastic and responds well when you find yourself barreling into a tightening corner. There’s plenty of grip, traction in dry conditions is phenomenal, and the stability systems provide enough of a safety net to let you get away with all but the stupidest of tricks. Still, with its 43/57 front-rear weight bias, you can’t really take liberties, and the Aventador will remind you of this with a twitch from the rear if you scare yourself into lifting off mid-corner. In fact, the way it works best is if you get all the work done before the corner – line up, shed speed, turn-in, apex, unwind steering and feed in throttle again. The harder you push, the better the all-wheel-drive system works to pull you through. Push too hard though and you will feel under steer set in – gently backing off the throttle will tuck the nose back in line.
It must be said that stopping power from the brakes is tremendous, though they need a bit of a shove to work. Our test car came to a dead halt from 80kph in 25 metres. As for the ride, it is stiff, and necessarily so – the suspension has to contain and control 690bhp. Even over smooth roads, the Aventador feels like a pogo stick, constantly jiggling and bouncing you about. It flattens out as you go faster, but the short springs can only do so much. You will notice this stiffness especially over city roads where it can get extremely tiresome. And you will also pray that you never have to reverse the car, because of the extremely limited view out back. Needless to say, it is quite a handful in tight spots.
Source: Autocar May 2012