Lambo Aventador SVJ
Faster than a Porsche 911 GT2 RS around the ’Ring and at least 200 per cent angrier, the 217mph SVJ is what Lamborghinis are all about...
This is the new Aventador SVJ, the most extreme version of Lambo’s big-boy supercar yet. It’s a car we already know to some degree, having already driven a prototype (TG 312, and on TopGear.com) and seen it demolish the Nürburgring production-car lap record. This, though, is our first glimpse of the SVJ without any confuddling camouflage.
And doesn’t it look punchy? Lamborghini has tacitly admitted that it draws on “every inspiration from a space ship to a jet fighter”, citing them as “the most exceptional examples of super-fast, super-athletic, aerodynamic superiority”. Has Lambo relocated its design office to Area 51? We missed the memo…
As is the way, much of its design has been led by aerodynamics, with a new version of Lambo’s ALA active aero tech. As a result, the SVJ hikes up downforce by 40 per cent over the old Aventador SV, but with a much higher proportion at the front of the car to make the handling much sweeter. Indeed, it proved a lot more confidence-inspiring when we drove it, with the addition of 4WS also assisting.
Other highlights include its new engine cover, made from lightweight carbon and removed via quick release clips, like a proper racing car. Rear visibility doesn’t look exceptional, but we suspect wayward pedestrians will see – and hear – you coming anyway. There’s enough glass to glimpse the skin-crawlingly offset engine cover, at least.
That engine is a 760bhp 6.5-litre V12, still completely free of turbos to make its sound and throttle response unmatched, save for Ferrari’s top-level V12s. It’s good for 0–62mph in 2.8secs, 0–124mph in 8.6secs and a top speed of 217mph. Which is what all Italian supercars claim. With enough clear runway, you might eke out a bit more… Other tweaks over the SV include suspension that’s stiffer, but with a larger damping range – so it should actually be a bit more usable – as well as retuned steering, a sharper-reacting 7spd paddleshift gearbox and a 4WD system that sends a slightly higher fraction of power to the rear wheels.
Beyond the extra downforce and the addition of 4WS, all of the SVJ’s changes over the SV are relatively small. It was hardly a big, slow softie, after all. But they’ve all come together to make it much sharper to drive. Some of the tweaks are ingenious, too; see how the exhaust pipes have moved up above the diffuser, making it look more striking? That also moves the exhaust system closer to the engine, shaving off a little bit of weight.
Unveiled at Pebble Beach in California at the end of August, the car you see here is the SVJ 63 special edition, marking Lamborghini’s 1963 founding year and with – you guessed it – just 63 being made available. It comes with “rich use of carbon fibre”, but we suspect that’s something you can deploy with a suitably large budget and some inventive use of the configurator. Which you might as well, with a base car likely to provide little change from £350,000…
SV means “superfast”, while the J stands for Jota, a name last used on maximum-attack Miuras and Diablos from the Seventies and Nineties