Lam­borgh­ini Aven­ta­dor SVJ

The fi­nal Aven­ta­dor is also the great­est one, full stop

Car (South Africa) - - CREDITS -

TURN­ING up at a race­track to flog the liv­ing day­lights out of a 566 kw su­per­car con­sti­tutes a mag­nif­i­cent day at the of­fice, but it also trig­gers a mild de­gree of trep­i­da­tion. Par­tic­u­larly as we’ve just been in­formed the newly laid tar­mac at Es­to­ril Cir­cuit in Por­tu­gal of­fers lit­tle in the way of grip. As yet, there’s no rub­ber laid down on the track and resid­ual oil from the fresh as­phalt has seeped to the sur­face un­der the hot sun.

But, what the heck, this is no or­di­nary su­per­car. This is Lam­borgh­ini’s brand-new Aven­ta­dor SVJ (Su­per Ve­loce Jota). Su­per ve­loce is Ital­ian for “su­per fast”, while jota is Span­ish for the let­ter J, which is a ref­er­ence to Ap­pendix J, the FIA rule­book gov­ern­ing the prepa­ra­tion of road-based race­cars. Lam­borgh­ini will build just 900 SVJS (priced from R9 483 006), and an ad­di­tional 63 spe­cial edi­tions with in­di­vid­u­ally num­bered plaques. The lat­ter num­ber com­mem­o­rates the year Lam­borgh­ini was born: 1963.

The SVJ’S big claim to fame comes via a stag­ger­ing 6:44,97 lap at the Nür­bur­gring Nord­schleife, mak­ing it the fastest pro­duc­tion car around the daunt­ing 20,6 km cir­cuit, eclips­ing the for­mer record of 6:47,30 set by the Porsche 911 GT2 RS a few months ear­lier.

Beat­ing the GT2 RS’ lap re­quired ev­ery as­pect of the Aven­ta­dor, in­clud­ing chas­sis, driv­e­train and aero, to be fet­tled. For starters, the SVJ’S mighty, free-spin­ning 6,5-litre V12 was re­worked for bet­ter breath­ing via ti­ta­nium in­take valves, re­designed cylin­der heads and re­shaped in­take run­ners. It also scores a new light­weight ex­haust sys­tem with two large pipes ex­it­ing

half­way up the rear fa­cia to mimic ex­treme mo­tor­bikes’. Apart from re­duc­ing back­pres­sure, the other pay­off with the new ex­haust is a sonic sig­na­ture that makes the hairs on your neck stand on end. It’s blood­cur­dlingly lovely.

The SVJ also gets 50% stiffer anti-roll bars than the al­ready hard­core Aven­ta­dor SV, while its be­spoke light­weight rims are shod with spe­cially de­vel­oped Pirelli P Zero Corsa tyres. That said, an ex­tra spend gets you the Kevlar-re­in­forced Tro­feo R boots (as used by the Nür­bur­gring record breaker) that can with­stand the huge loads from a sus­tained thrash­ing on a long, fast, high-down­force cir­cuit such as the Nord­schleife.

It’s in down­force where the SVJ re­ally makes its gains, thanks to a mas­sive fixed rear wing, ag­gres­sive two-plane split­ter, air-chan­nelling vents in the top of the nose and winglets on the front cor­ners which smooth the air­flow down the flanks and chan­nel more air to the ra­di­a­tor in­takes. All these add up to an ex­tra 40% of down­force com­pared to the bewinged Aven­ta­dor SV.

But the real trick is ver­sion 2.0 of the clever ALA (Aero­d­i­nam­ica Lam­borgh­ini At­tiva) ac­tive aero wiz­ardry that en­abled the Hu­racán Per­for­mante to claim ’Ring King sta­tus last year. The prin­ci­ple is ex­actly the same this time round. There are a pair of ducts – opened and closed by small elec­tric mo­tors – at the front and rear of the car, and the job of these is to ei­ther stall (i.e. can­cel out the down­force) the front split­ter and rear wing, or al­low air to flow as nor­mal across these to gen­er­ate max­i­mum down­force.

So, on the straights the ducts stall the aero ad­denda for a speed-en­hanc­ing low-drag setup; the in­stant you hit the brakes, it re­verts to high-down­force mode to sta­bilise the car. The piece de re­sis­tance is aero vec­tor­ing, which stalls the out­side half of the rear wing when cor­ner­ing. Mean­while, max­i­mum down­force is ap­plied to the in­ner half, help­ing the car turn into the bend. It’s the same prin­ci­ple

as torque vec­tor­ing, just us­ing air­flow rather than brak­ing the in­side wheels.

All great in the­ory, but what does the Aven­ta­dor SVJ ac­tu­ally feel like out in the real world? Gob­s­mack­ing. It’s a play­ful and en­ter­tain­ing brute that de­vours straights and vir­tu­ally de­fies physics with its abil­ity to carry enor­mous cor­ner­ing speeds, even on a su­per-slip­pery Es­to­ril.

A big part of the Lambo’s ap­peal lies in that epic V12. Which other en­gine of­fers so much grunt down low, yet sings its way to 8 700 r/min with such joy­ful ease? The ad­di­tion of the free-flow ex­haust to the SVJ has made it an even more sonorous mo­tor (es­pe­cially in corsa mode), with a ban­shee-like wail in the up­per half of its rev band and flame-spit­ting vis­ual drama. But what re­ally sep­a­rates the SVJ from past Aven­ta­dors is the con­fi­dence with which you can work up to its (or your own) lim­its. Even with that big lump of a V12 at the back, the car has great bal­ance and there’s a new­found ad­justa­bil­ity. Dive into a cor­ner too hot? No prob­lem: a lit­tle lift of the throt­tle or light dab on the brakes in­stantly gets the nose tucked in.

The mas­sive car­bon-ce­ramic stop­pers are pro­gres­sive and of­fer good pedal feel, in­spir­ing con­fi­dence to stand on them as late as pos­si­ble even at the end of the pit straight at Es­to­ril, with the speedo read­ing in ex­cess of 280 km/h. The car squirms no­tice­ably un­der full re­tar­da­tion but there’s never a nag­ging con­cern the V12-laden rear-end will over­take the rest of the car.

Lim­i­ta­tions? The Aven­ta­dor SVJ is by no means flaw­less. The ISR gear­box might be hugely im­proved but it’s still not a patch on the lat­est-gen­er­a­tion dual-clutches of­fered in Fer­raris/ Porsches/mclarens. And the cabin is still com­pro­mised in the ex­treme. Any­one over 1,8 me­tres tall will find their head­room re­stricted, while the fixed-back seats in the SVJ are fine for a brief thrash around a race­track. How­ever, they’d be back­ache ma­te­rial af­ter a few hours on the road. Rear and lat­eral vis­i­bil­ity were never good in the orig­i­nal Aven­ta­dor but the SVJ’S mas­sive wing pretty much nul­li­fies what­ever view ex­isted out back.

On the plus side, Lam­borgh­ini’s en­gi­neers have ex­tracted ev­ery last iota of dy­namic po­ten­tial from the Aven­ta­dor for the SVJ. It’s a fit­ting swan­song, send­ing the model off with panache be­fore an all-new re­place­ment ar­rives in two years or so. A true Rag­ing Bull great.

clock­wise from be­low Cock­pit is pure drama; you’ll want that pow­er­train set­ting in corsa...; Lambo hasn’t been shy with SVJ sig­nage; is there an­other ve­hi­cle this side of a hy­per­car that looks this out­landish?; sim­ple dig­i­tal in­stru­ments; fir­ing up one of the great V12s is a spine-tin­gling af­fair.

from left Fixed rear wing adds no­tably to the SVJ’S ground-hug­ging aerodynamics; in­lets on nose chan­nel air to the ra­di­a­tors; new light­weight ex­haust sys­tem ex­its half­way up the rear-end; ducts open and close to in­flu­ence air flow; cab-for­ward lay­out al­lows enough space for the V12.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.