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...

Top Gear (UK) - - CONTENTS - STEPHEN DO­BIE

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

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