Lam­borgh­ini Aven­ta­dor SVJ

Lam­borgh­ini Aven­ta­dor SVJ Coupe £356,000

Top Gear (UK) - - CONTENTS - Your ears will thank you that this 6.5-litre V12 is nat­u­rally as­pi­rated CHAR­LIE TURNER

WE SAY: THE THIRD LAMBO TO WEAR THE JOTA BADGE HAS MUCH TO LIVE UP TO. THANK GOOD­NESS THE JOB’S A GOOD ’UN

“The Aven­ta­dor SVJ is the most ex­treme ver­sion, fea­tur­ing the most pow­er­ful V12 Lam­borgh­ini has ever cre­ated.” And there were we think­ing the Aven­ta­dor SV was on the outer mar­gins of ex­treme. Let’s start with the name. SV, Su­per Ve­loce, we’re fa­mil­iar with, but J-for-Jota? That has only ever graced two cars pre­vi­ously: the Miura P400 Jota and the Di­ablo SE30 Jota.

It refers to sec­tion J of the FIA ho­molo­ga­tion rule book that Lam­borgh­ini pored over when try­ing to take the leg­endary Miura rac­ing. So, in case you hadn’t guessed, SVJ means faster and even more track-fo­cused.

Faster first. The 6.5-litre nat­u­rally as­pi­rated V12 now has ti­ta­nium in­take valves and mod­i­fied cylin­der heads for an ex­tra 20bhp. The fly­wheel has been light­ened to im­prove throt­tle re­sponse and the engine now red-lines at 8,700rpm. The sin­gle-clutch se­quen­tial gear­box has been re­pro­grammed to op­ti­mise shift times.

Now track-fo­cused. Anti-roll bar stiff­ness has been in­creased by 50 per cent over the SV and there are be­spoke Pirelli tyres. And de­spite the ad­di­tion of rear-wheel steer­ing and ac­tive aero, the SVJ has ac­tu­ally lost 50kg (lighter ex­haust, more car­bon, lighter wheels) over the stan­dard Aven­ta­dor. Zero to 124mph takes 8.6secs, a lap of the ’Ring just 6:44.97 – that’s a pro­duc­tion car lap record, two sec­onds faster than the Porsche 911 GT2 RS and a full 15 ahead of the SV.

It’s down to the aero. The SVJ fea­tures ALA2 (Aero­dy­namic Lam­borgh­ini At­tiva 2), a de­vel­op­ment of the sys­tem first seen on the Hu­ra­can Per­for­manté. Air is chan­nelled un­der and along the sides of the car via two ac­tive flaps in the front split­ter, while the huge rear wing har­nesses the air­flow through the cen­tral py­lon and feeds it to ei­ther side, in­creas­ing down­force on the in­side wheel by up to 30 per cent. Over­all down­force is up 40 per cent over the SV.

The nat­u­rally as­pi­rated V12 in the SVJ is worth the price of en­try alone. In a su­per­car mar­ket now dom­i­nated by tur­bos, the SVJ’s sound­track takes your breath away, as does the per­for­mance, which is ra­bid and all­con­sum­ing. The gear­box is im­proved, but still not on a par with a twin-clutch for shift speed and smooth­ness. Up­shifts in max­at­tack Corsa mode have the same vi­o­lent punch as in the SV, and can oc­ca­sion­ally be too in­tru­sive, up­set­ting the bal­ance of the car. Down­shifts are bet­ter, not least be­cause they’re ac­com­pa­nied by an ar­tillery bar­rage of pops and crack­les.

Other crit­i­cisms? The brake pedal is a lit­tle soft and doesn’t in­spire con­fi­dence when brak­ing from the high speeds (178mph) we were see­ing at Es­to­ril, but that’s about it, re­ally. Be­cause this is an Aven­ta­dor trans­formed. Turn-in to slow cor­ners is aided by the new rear-wheel steer, giv­ing the whole car a more ag­ile feel, and get­ting back on the throt­tle mid-cor­ner sees the AWD be­have more pre­cisely to keep the nose on line as you exit. And at higher speeds it’s just so much

more planted and sta­ble. The big­gest gain of all, and one that in­spires con­fi­dence.

And if you do over-com­mit (not easy, given how bois­ter­ous, de­mand­ing and charis­matic the SVJ is), you’ll find it’s more pre­dictable and ex­ploitable than you might ex­pect.

The cabin fea­tures one-piece car­bon-fi­bre race seats (the best Lambo has done for a while) and a re­vised-graphic TFT screen that in­cor­po­rates ALA data and An­ima set­tings. It all helps to give this eight-year-old su­per­car a fresh feel. But it still de­liv­ers the proper su­per­car ex­pe­ri­ence. Noth­ing feels like an Aven­ta­dor: from the in­tim­i­dat­ingly nar­row wind­screen to a rear-view mir­ror now rammed full of wing, ev­ery view is de­signed to de­liver drama.

Lam­borgh­ini will build 900 SVJs with prices start­ing at £356,000, plus a fur­ther 63 lim­ited edi­tions fea­tur­ing vis­i­ble car­bon fi­bre and painted livery to hon­our the com­pany’s found­ing in 1963. Those are £440,000 a piece. And yes, a road­ster will fol­low in early 2019.

The SVJ de­liv­ers drama bet­ter than just about any­thing else, but backs that up with ex­tra pro­fes­sion­al­ism. It spikes ev­ery sense, backs up the ag­gres­sion with real ca­pa­bil­ity, of­fers up its po­ten­tial eas­ily and doesn’t take it­self too se­ri­ously. It’s a proper su­per­car, but bet­ter bal­ances thrills against the science of speed. And it fully jus­ti­fies the Jota badge.

SPEC­I­FI­CA­TION

6498cc, V12, 4WD, 759bhp, 531lb ft 14.4mpg, 452g/km CO 0–62mph in 2.8secs, 217mph 1525kg (dry)

VER­DICT: Lam­borgh­ini has ap­plied science to the swan­song of its most charis­matic su­per­car. The re­sults are dra­matic.

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