Tau­rus ris­ing

At 78m a sec­ond on the straight, this is one bullish sports car

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Prestige - CRAIG DUFF craig.duff@news.com.au

YOU don’t need a cape or a sword to drive the Aven­ta­dor. Like the mata­dors who chal­lenge the Span­ish fight­ing bulls af­ter which the Lam­borgh­ini is named, you will need hefty co­jones, not least to sign the $761,500 cheque to pay for one.

That’s not to say Lam­borgh­ini’s 6.5-litre V12pow­ered su­per­car is hard to steer — all-wheel drive en­sures it is al­most half-do­mes­ti­cated in the de­fault “Strada” mode.

It is, how­ever, about as prac­ti­cal as a three-legged pair of pants (though if the rest of the anatomy is in pro­por­tion to the co­jones ... Sorry). That lack of prac­ti­cal­ity is part of the Lam­borgh­ini prove­nance — this is a car that doesn’t just mas­sage the ego, it pummels you with looks that stop traf­fic and per­for­mance that leaves said traf­fic be­hind.

Lam­borgh­ini has three brand pil­lars — ex­treme, un­com­pro­mis­ing and Ital­ian.

It would be fu­tile to ap­ply our nor­mal test cri­te­ria to this ve­hi­cle, so we’ll as­sess it on that tri­par­tite ba­sis.

EX­TREME

The Aven­ta­dor LP700-4 is more than two me­tres wide, uses fuel at an of­fi­cial rate of 16.0L/100km (good luck see­ing that fig­ure) and tops 100km/h just 2.9 sec­onds af­ter launch.

No point play­ing with such po­ten­tial on Aus­tralian roads, which is why a coupe and road­ster are rolled out on to Vic­to­ria’s Phillip Is­land track.

Ex­perts then lead us out on to the cir­cuit — they are too smart to sit in­side the cock­pit with mo­tor­ing jour­nal­ists, prov­ing that even race car driv­ers have some sense of self­p­reser­va­tion.

A lap later I can un­der­stand why. I’m told speeds reached 280km/h down the front straight. That’s 78m a sec­ond — fast enough to in­duce your glands to se­crete all man­ner of hor­mones and fix­ate the eye­balls on more sig­nif­i­cant sights out­side the wind­screen. Like brak­ing mark­ers and turnin points.

UN­COM­PRO­MIS­ING

The car­bon-ce­ramic brake discs are 400mm in di­am­e­ter on the front wheels, gripped by six­pis­ton calipers. A set of 380mm discs re­lies on four-pis­ton pres­sure at the rear.

Be­tween those points is a car­bon-fi­bre mono­coque weigh­ing just 147kg, F1-style pushrod sus­pen­sion, cus­tom Pirelli tyres and sig­na­ture scis­sor doors.

Oh yeah, and the bel­low­ing V12 mounted just aft of the seats shows a manic will­ing­ness to spin to its strato­spheric 8250rpm red­line. The ac­com­pa­ny­ing me­chan­i­cal howl res­onates with our in­ner revhead as a fit­ting au­ral ac­com­pa­ni­ment to the stealth­fighter looks.

ITAL­IAN

That en­gine cranks out 515kW/690Nm via a sev­en­speed sin­gle-clutch au­to­matic trans­mis­sion with pad­dle-shift man­ual mode and Haldex all­wheel drive.

There are three con­trol set­tings that pro­gres­sively dial up the fe­roc­ity and re­spon­sive­ness of the driv­e­train. Strada keeps ev­ery­thing on a tight elec­tronic rein for daily du­ties; Sport tight­ens up ac­cel­er­a­tor and steer­ing re­sponse, en­cour­ages the Haldex setup to send more torque rear­ward and clears the ex­hausts’ throats; Corsa un­leashes 50-mil­lisec­ond, chas­sis-jar­ring gearchanges with ev­ery flick of the pad­dleshifters, di­als back the sta­bil­ity con­trol thresh­old and puts the Haldex in at­tack mode. There’s noth­ing con­ven­tional about own­ing a Lam­borgh­ini. It is, af­ter all, an Ital­ian car com­pany with model names de­rived from Span­ish fight­ing bulls and owned by a Ger­man auto jug­ger­naut.

Hexag­o­nal hon­ey­combs help de­fine the origami-sharp edges and gap­ing vents that make up the Aven­ta­dor — there are re­puted to be more than 1000 hexagons through­out the two-seat su­per­car.

When sta­tion­ary, it ex­udes the la­tent men­ace of mil­i­tary hard­ware. With prac­tice it is even pos­si­ble to main­tain a sem­blance of deco­rum while slid­ing in and down into the deep bucket seats.

The red cover over the starter but­ton is pure the­atri­cal drama, as is the pause and the starter-mo­tor whirr be­fore the V12 snarls into ac­tion. En­gage first gear and the drama is now dic­tated by right-pedal pres­sure. The Aven­ta­dor scrab­bles off the line as if be­ing launched off an air­craft car­rier. In Sport mode with the auto en­gaged, there’s an en­gi­neeredin pause be­tween shifts to col­lect your wits be­fore the ac­cel­er­a­tion tsunami re­sumes.

Switch to man­ual and the shifts are crisper but no less of a sen­sory jolt. The brakes are bru­tal and show no sign of fade af­ter a day’s track work.

The steer­ing is hefty but the driver can still feel feed­back from the mas­sively wide Pirellis. The car sits flat and un­fussed un­der in­tense lat­eral loads.

As good as the sus­pen­sion feels on the billiard-smooth bi­tu­men at Phillip Is­land, Cars­guide sus­pects the ul­tra- stiff setup will be less re­ward­ing on pot­holed pub­lic roads — the Aven­ta­dor jig­gled on tiny bumps on the way in to the pits.

VER­DICT

Os­ten­ta­tious and loud, the Aven­ta­dor is an au­to­mo­tive show bride. If you’ve got it, strut it and the Lambo struts as few cars can, es­pe­cially on a track where the Rag­ing Bull can show its true pace.

Peek-a-door: Duff grins from the pas­sen­ger seat; be­hind the wheel, his lips puck­ered

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