Even among su­per­cars, the Aven­ta­dor S is a class apart

Joins the elite group of mo­tor­ing writ­ers to have driven a Lam­borgh­ini su­per­car

Irish Examiner - Supplement - - NEW CARS - Han­nah El­liot

Lam­borgh­ini has in­tro­duced its next su­per­car — the Aven­ta­dor S.

As one in a se­lect group of jour­nal­ists to get be­hind the wheel, I can tell you the lat­est in­stall­ment of the sixyear-old su­per­car is a di­rect blood rel­a­tive of the mean­est, rough­est, most fire­breath­ing, track- gob­bling mon­sters on the planet.

But with sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ences in tech­nol­ogy and de­sign, this Aven­ta­dor is striv­ing to be an­other thing en­tirely: en­ter­tain­ment.

“It will be a plea­sure not only for our cus­tomers but also for those who watch our cars,” said Alessan­dro Farmeschi, the chief op­er­at­ing of f icer of Lam­borgh­ini Au­to­mo­bili, as he char­ac­terised the Ital­ian brand. ( A blar­ing tagline, ‘We are not su­per­cars. We are Lam­borgh­ini,’ on a wel­come video backed his claim.)

He’s right. Nowa­days, those who con­sume the lat­est, most ex­pen­sive watches and seek out the most ex­clu­sive travel ex­pe­ri­ences are the ones buy­ing Lam­borgh­i­nis — for many wealthy buy­ers, the testos­terone- driven, me­chan­ics- ob­sessed, track­weath­ered men­tal­ity barely ex­ists to­day.

Sure, Lambo’s “S” badg­ing has al­ways meant en­hanced per­for­mance and tech­nol­ogy. But it has been wised- up to be­come a true 21st cen­tury su­per­car for the think­ing man ( or woman), and Farmeschi’s teams have done much to walk the line be­tween cul­ti­vat­ing a lux­ury life­style that is in­clu­sive and al­lur­ing, wel­com­ing but as­pi­ra­tional.

Sales have fol­lowed; since 2011, to­tal global sales num­bers have more than dou­bled, thanks largely to Aven­ta­dor and Hu­racán, and last year sales of the Aven­ta­dor alone ( 3,457 de­liv­er­ies to cus­tomers in 2016) ex­ceeded twice that of Mur­ciélago.

The Aven­ta­dor S sits squarely in the mid­dle of this new era at Lam­borgh­ini, one that the ar­rival of the Urus SUV late this year will cat­a­pult for­ward in earnest. And with some laps be­hind the wheel, I pre­dict the 2018 Aven­ta­dor S will soundly beat those num­bers. Be­low are the six rea­sons why:

SIX SU­PER FEA­TURES 1. Four wheel steer­ing

By far the most in­cred­i­ble el­e­ment of the 2018 Aven­ta­dor S is the sys­tem Lambo de­vel­oped for the rear wheels to steer and di­rect the car in­de­pen­dently of the front. So, in ad­di­tion to be­ing a four- wheel- drive car, it also is a four-wheel­steer car.

That means on cor­ners the rear wheels can turn them­selves and shorten the dis­tance to the front wheels, which ef­fec­tively cre­ates a shorter wheel­base.

This is a good thing — short wheel­bases are more nim­ble than long wheel­bases. Con­versely, on a straight­away at high speeds with all four wheels pointed for­ward, the car is at its long­est ( 188.86 inches), which lends to greater sta­bil­ity for the car­bon- fi­bre mono­coque in a straight line. The re­sult is that you get the ben­e­fits of hav­ing two cars in one — a shorter Aven­ta­dor S for cor­ner­ing and a longer one for straight shots.

It also means that the car will be­have as if it’s un­der the hand of a much more ex­pe­ri­enced driver than (may be) cur­rently driv­ing it. With the all-wheel-steer­ing, you can get away with far more around tight turns and twists than ever be­fore.

This is not a wholly new tech­nol­ogy — au­tomak­ers from Acura to BMW to Fer­rari, and even Toy­ota, have used it in se­lect cars for years — but Lam­borgh­ini has re­fined for the su­per­car set.

Look for this tech­nol­ogy in other Lam­borgh­ini ve­hi­cles in the fu­ture, but if you want it now in a Lambo, you’ll have to buy the Aven­ta­dor S. Or, as some­one smart pointed out to me yes­ter­day, buy a garbage truck. Or a city bus.

2. More power, more speed

Those han­dling im­prove­ments will come in handy for Lambo’s new­est cus­tomers con­sid­er­ing what’s now un­der the hood.

The 2018 Aven­ta­dor S’s V12 en­gine is a mas­sive up­grade on the same bound­ary-break­ing, nat­u­rally as­pi­rated mid-rear V12s that went on to cat­a­pult the Muira, Coun­tach, Di­ablo, and Mur­ciélago to leg­endary sta­tus.

It pro­duces 40 more horse­power on top of the 2017 Aven­ta­dor’s al­ready hefty 700.

The car goes zero to 62 mph in 2.9 sec­onds (down a frac­tion of a sec­ond from its pre­de­ces­sor and faster than the 3.2- sec­ond Hu­racán). You’ll hit 124 mph faster than you can count to 10 and 186 mph in fewer than 25 sec­onds.

The fastest I had this puppy was on a hot lap with Lambo team driver Kevin Con­way, who took it to 150 mph or so on a back stretch — and even that was far more fun than any roller coaster ride I’ve ever been on. Top speed is 217 mph.

In short, when com­pared with the Aven­ta­dor, driv­ing the 2018 Aven­ta­dor S feels like a slap in the face.

Ev­ery­thing is louder, more abrupt, and far, far faster. And it sounds like sheet metal hit­ting the ground as it ac­cel­er­ates.

3. Magna-ride

I have not driven this new­est ver­sion off-road. I hope to soon. In the mean­time, Lam­borgh­ini is show­ing ev­ery­one who will watch videos of an Aven­ta­dor S sling­ing rocks on desert roads and moun­tain passes, peel­ing gravel like shin­gles. The car looks as com­fort­able on that ter­rain as a Subaru.

That seems im­pos­si­ble to imag­ine, but did you see Fate of the Fu­ri­ous? You should. I have it on first-tier au­thor­ity that Tyrese Gib­son’s Hu­racán- on- an- ice­lake feat was no vir­tual-re­al­ity magic.

Ac­tive, push-rod sus­pen­sion with magna-ride re­ally works. And if you’re on the street, new Pirelli p Zero tires en­able en­hanced grip as well.

As long as you have ad­e­quate clear­ance above the sur­face of the street, then the car should be able to han­dle the rest.

The rear wing of the car has been tweaked to fur­ther max­i­mize down­force. Pho­tog: Han­nah El­liott/Bloomberg

The cock­pit in the Aven­ta­dor S is roomy (ex­cept for head­room) and com­fort­able. Source: Lam­borgh­ini

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