You’ve read the spec sheets, committed the performance figures to memory and expect Richter-scale levels of brutality. But nothing, and I mean nothing, prepares you for the moment a Lamborghini Aventador call upon all of its 690bhp. When it does, you better be holding on because the 1g that it pulls under full-bore acceleration will leave your stomach at the start line and your mouth making weird gurgling noises.
You won’t hear the noises you’re making though – sitting inches behind your right ear are 12 gloriously trumpeting cylinders. Your brain won’t be able to cope either because you’re already at 100kph while you’re still thinking of pressing the throttle. Give the Aventador the space to run wild and it’ll do 347kph and leave destruction and ruin in its wake. At least it feels like it will.
We’re at the Sepang F1 circuit in Malaysia and I have time for three precious laps in the Aventador. So, I’m not sure what the insides are like, except that the seats are low, the car feels wide from the driver’s seat, and that you have to flip up a red cover to thumb the starter button. Do that and you’ll hear a scream from the starter motor and an outrageous eruption of revs as 6.5 litres of thundering V12 comes to life. Work up the courage to prod the throttle and you’ll discover that it doesn’t bite your head off. Instead, you’ll amble out of the pit lane surprised at how docile it can be. Still, in this car, you work your way up to using all 690bhp rather than nail the throttle at the first sight of a decent stretch. You’ll discover how astounding the throttle response is, and how the gearshift, in the most extreme ‘Corsa’ mode gives you an almighty thump in the back at every gearshift. Lamborghini has opted for a single-clutch, seven-speed, robotized gearbox for the Aventador – the company says it makes for a more emotional gearshift as opposed to the smoother shift of a twin-clutch system.
Emotion it is the first time you nail the throttle. Imagine sitting on the pointy end of a rocket and lighting the wick – that’s what it feels like. Even Sepang’s pitlane straight can only handle a bit more than full throttle in third gear, by which time you have to brake hard for the first right-hander. Good thing then that the carbon ceramic brakes are powerful when you lean on them and brilliant that it doesn’t feel as shifty as a Murcielago under hard braking. Then it’s monstrous acceleration to the next left-hander followed by more hard braking because your brain is still coming to terms with the way it blows its way through straights. You need to pick your line early because if you don’t, you’ll find irritating understeer. The best way, I think, is to brake early, turn-in, feed in as much throttle as you dare and unwind steering-lock as you run towards the outside kerb and the next hit of adrenalin.
Once you get used to it though, you’ll find how surprisingly easy it is to drive. The steering is light yet precise, the handling is well resolved, and so long as you respect how rapidly it accelerates, you can take a few liberties with it. Key to the way it behaves is how light it is. The Aventador uses a carbon-fibre monocoque and aluminium doors, bumpers and bonnet, resulting in a lighter, stiffer body. At 1,575kg, it is a whopping 190kg lighter than a Murcielago LP640. And it’s got an F1-style pushrod suspension. Sadly, before I can fully acquaint myself with the car or the track, it’s time up and back to the pits. I’d kill to have another go. Seriously.
The Aventador is a tamer version of the old Murcielago, but in a good way It is unbelievably quick, phenomenally entertaining, sounds like the world is coming to an end and, despite all its cutting-edge tech, manages to retain some of the charm of an old-school, hairy-chested supercar. It’s exactly how it should be.
One thing though, short of hiring the Buddh circuit, there’s no place for a car like this on Indian roads. It’s just too fast, too big and too low to be ever fully exercised. That shouldn’t stop you from getting one – provided you have Rs 3.69 crore lying around. Nothing else comes close to the way you’ll scream the first time you put your foot down. And 1g of accelerative force will make sure you get some of your money’s worth. At least between traffic lights.