ROAD TEST: 2014 Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4 Coupe
Living with the Lambo is challenging as its acceleration is blinding, every trip becomes an event and turning in tight spaces is an alarming endeavour
2014 Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4 Coupe
Base price/as tested: $440,500 /$575,000
Engine: 6.5L naturally-aspirated V12
Power/torque: 700 hp; 507 lbs.-ft.
Fuel consumption: L/100 km: 24.7 city, 10.7 hwy, premium fuel required
Competition: Ferrari FF Coupe, Ferrari F12berlinetta, Aston Martin Vanquish
What’s best: It’s outrageous, uncompromising, brutal
What’s worst: It’s outrageous, uncompromising, brutal . . . oh, and there are no cup-holders
What’s interesting: Lamborghini’s first all-new V12 in almost 50 years, F1 style push-rod suspension.
I won’t lie; the sight of the 2014 Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4 crouched menacingly in front of the dealership set my knees to wobbling as would those of a new-born foal.
Was my three-day tryst with this white wedge of wickedness going to be harmonious or horrific Would this Italian dominatrix chew me up and spit me from her massive exhaust outlet like an insignificant piece of mangiacake.
Be cool! Be cool!
The Aventator is a big car. The roof may be no higher that your waist, but the back end is broader than a GMC Yukon. The tub, including the roof, is all carbon fibre and the body panels are mostly plastic composite. Under the louvred rear window lurks the soul of this all-wheel-drive projectile: a 6.5-litre V12 that generates 700 hp at 8,250 r.p.m., 507 lbs.-ft. of torque at 5,500 r.p.m. and a banshee racket that can rattle shutters in the next county. Power gets to all four wheels through an abrupt seven-speed single-clutch sequential automated transmission.
Time to try it on for size. The counterbalanced scissor doors are fingertip light to operate, but there is no graceful way to get across the wide door sill and into the buckets seats. Feet first works best for me. Some sit down side-saddle and then swing the legs in. Either way, once you are ensconced in the cozy cabin, your butt is inches from the asphalt and you’re peering up at the world through a windshield that is closer to the horizontal than vertical. Decent headroom, although rearward visibility is a joke. But you’ll be doing pretty much all of the passing, so this may not matter much.
As Lamborghini is now owned by Volkswagen there are a few Audi bits sprinkled around that lend a modicum of familiarity. I find this mildly comforting. The diamond-stitched upholstery and headliner are right out of an Audi R8.
The starter button hiding under a red Cold War-grade flip-up cover is not. Are we firing up a 700 hp short-stroke Lamborghini V12 or launching a ballistic missile. Pretty much the same experience, I reckon.
The starter motor spins with a frenzied fury, then the big lug catches, clears it throat and settles into an ominous idle. The Aventador quivers in anticipation.
Or is it me quivering. When the rep. casually informs me this Aventador LP 700-4 Coupe is $575,000 tax in, my insides to do the Macarena.
Lambo’s V12 flagship offers three levels of antisocial driving extremism: Strada, Sport and Corsa. You can select one or other of these modes by pushing a button on the console.
I tug the right shift paddle to engage first gear and gingerly motor away. Destination: Grand Bend, Ont.
In Strada mode, the Aventador makes an attempt at normalcy by muting the exhaust sound, lowering the shift points and giving a few more milliseconds between shifts, which, in effect, makes it lurch like a Smart ForTwo. Single-clutch automated manuals are light, compact, tough, jerky and not particularly well suited to civilian duty . . . but, for an extreme Lambo, you suck it up or go home.
And so begins my adventure.
Not a few hundred meters from the dealership, there is a speed bump. Lovely! Not wanting to tear off the carbon-fibre front splitter (part of about $21,000 in carbon fibre trim upgrades), I press a button that raises the Lambo’s snout by four centimeters. Grazie!
In stop-and-go traffic the Aventador is misery, bucking and lurching like its namesake (a famous Spanish fighting bull) surely did when in the pen, gonads cinched, just before a fight. Not a happy bovine.
In these circumstances, the Lambo just wants to bust out and gore something.
Mercifully, I’m soon on the 401 with the V12 churning away like a small factory behind my head.
Why the hell is everybody staring.
Oh yeah, I’m driving a sci-fi movie prop.
Drivers hover around as a flock of sparrows might when harassing a hawk. Cellphones are out. I hear honks and see plenty of thumbs-ups. Good thing the side mirrors are effective, because vehicles are constantly lurking in the Aventador’s massive blind spots.
Once off the drudgery of the highway (and feeling a little braver), I select Sport mode. Suddenly the Lambo feels happier. The exhaust note goes from subdued to oh-my-gawd, the tranny runs in a gear more appropriate for instant acceleration and the yawning gaps between shifts tighten up.
Dipping deeper into the throttle reveals the true essence of this completely outrageous piece of Italian exotica. It’s all about the revs. Once above 5,000 r.p.m., the gates of Hades open and you’re flung headlong into the giddy and forbidden world of sub-three-second cars . . . 2.9 seconds to 100 km/h, in this case.
For the uninitiated, the acceleration is truly shocking.
The carbon ceramic brakes that feel wooden when merely tooling around scrub speed in a hurry, and the hydraulic steering directs the road-sucking wedge with pinpoint accuracy.
I soon discover one of the scariest things you can do in an Aventador Coupe is buy gas . . . and not just because it sucks back the premium benzina like there’s no tomorrow. After filling up, I got blocked in at a small service station in Tavistock, and this required me to reverse in tight confines. Yikes! Sure, the optional backing-up camera and parking sensors help ($5,600), but the large turning circle and clunky gear selection do not.
The next day, I had the Aventador mostly in aggressive Corsa mode. Here, a flick of the right paddle has the upshifts slamming home with kidney-punch violence.
I can’t count the times I took people out to experience the Lambo’s launch control. Not only is it an unparalleled thrill ride, it may have corrected my astigmatism.
Living with a Lamborghini Aventador is exhausting. Every outing is an event. The temptation to experience that forbidden speed never wanes. There’s no relaxing in the car, and whenever at a stop, you’re swarmed. Everyone wants a picture and a ride.
Which, of course is the whole point. You would no sooner buy an Aventador for a daily driver than hire Cameron Diaz to rewire your house. This car only makes sense when you lean on it in Sport or Corsa modes, and, in this part of the world, that’s pretty much a one-way ticket to the crowbar hotel.
So it was with a mixture of relief and sadness I returned my pallid vixen. I was down about $220 bucks for gas, but much richer in experience, having straddled both the sublime and the ridiculous in this most extreme of Lamborghinis.
The vehicle tested by freelance writer was provided by the manufacturer.