Even among supercars, the Aventador S is a class apart
Joins the elite group of motoring writers to have driven a Lamborghini supercar
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.
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