Friday, October 21, 2011

The new Lamborghini Aventador

LAMBORGHINI has never ­bothered with motor racing.

A few private individuals have taken Lambos racing but apart from a couple of one-make championships the company has never tried chasing the chequered flag.

It just built outrageous cars like the Lamborghini Miura, Lamborghini Countach and Lamborghini Diablo, followed by the Lamborghini Murcielago, appealing to those who like their cars powerful, big and built to show off. Like Rod Stewart.

A Ferrari or Aston Martin would have been a bit tame for the 70s and 80s edition Rod the Mod. It had to be a Rambo Lambo.

Now enter the Aventador, ­Lamborghini’s replacement for the Murcielago. As usual with Lamborghinis it’s named after a bull, the famously brave Spanish fighting bull Aventador from the 1990s. It is a completely new car, even the engine is unrelated to the V12 that started its life in the 60s and was tweaked, enlarged and made more powerful ever since.

The new motor is of course a V12 and has a 6,498cc capacity.

Power? Just 690bhp at 8,250rpm. Enough for a top speed of 217mph and 0-62mph in 2.9 seconds.

The Lamborghini Aventador only comes with a seven-speed semi automatic gearbox. Bit of a shame because the Lamborghini Murcielago’s tricky-to-use manual gearbox added to the challenge of driving the thing.

The Lamborghini Aventador’s chassis is made from carbon fibre, just like the new McLaren’s. A good material for the marketing department, but there wasn’t much wrong with the Murcielago’s tubular steel chassis.

High tech it might be, but you won’t notice too many changes in the Aventador. The doors open in scissor fashion, just as they have since the Countach, and the cabin is big with the seats almost touching the road.

The dials have gone digital but in keeping with tradition, the foot pedals do not correspond to the position of your feet at the end of your legs.

Both throttle and brake pedal are offset to the left meaning the throttle pedal is where you expect your foot will find the brakes.

On paper the Aventador isn’t as fast as either a Bugatti Veyron or a Eurofighter. It feels as quick as both.

Lamborghini provides you with three different engine/gearbox maps with Strada for general pottering about, Sport for, err, sporty driving and finally Corsa for track use or getting rid of your driving licence and earning free accommodation from Her Majesty for several months.

Select Corsa if you want to impress your mates. The gearshifts in this mode are so harsh that your head is almost snapped off. Using the ­Aventador’s full ­performance on the road or a normal race track is impossible.

You need a long runway, preferably at least two miles long, if you really want to wring this monster out fully.

As well as its racing-style carbon fibre chassis, the Aventador has double wishbone suspension with pushrods, just like a single-seater racing car.

It’s not difficult to drive. It’s very wide, but the handling feels safe and predictable. And that’s the problem with the £242,280 Aventador – it is big, fast and outrageous but not scary like its forefathers.

McLaren has got sophisticated and refined covered, Lamborghini is meant to do angry and challenging. Rod could afford it, but would he love it?