A lot has changed, but for better or worse?
What’s in a name? This is the Aventador S, which implies you can get a plain Aventador. Well you can’t. It would be better to think of this as the revised Aventador, the Aventador 2.0, since it is a heavily reworked version. Some would say about time, given that the old Aventador was about seven years old – in car years, that’s like dog years, which makes the outgoing model positively middle aged.
You can see the bodywork has changed, from that shark-like front splitter to the new three-piece exhaust, which is 20% lighter. But the real changes are underneath.
The one big change, on which so much else depends, is the arrival of four-wheel steering. This allows the engineers to make the car feel much shorter at lower speeds, more manoeuvrable in real-world situations whereas, when it gets all other-worldly, very high speeds should feel more stable.
Lamborghini Aventador S
Engine: 6.5-litre, V12, petrol
Torque: 509lb ft
Gearbox: Seven-speed automated manual
Kerb weight: 1700kg (est)
Top speed: 217mph
CO2 emissions: 394g/km
That means the chassis is retuned, increasing stability and allowing the rear axle to work better. Along with all-wheel drive, the Aventador S offers a lot more reassurance than the outgoing model.
And that’s handy because there’s 40bhp more than before, all 730bhp now pouring out of the 6.5-litre V12. With no need for such fripperies as turbochargers, the massive V12 remains quite something to have behind you – and to have all around you as sensurround noise.
The noise is utterly fabulous, although it’s not overpoweringly loud – from the driver’s seat at least. And, since the power is spread thickly all over, there’s added delight in letting the revs soar up towards the redline. What a sound. And what a massive level of thrust. This is a fabulous engine, and one that’s becoming rarer in this turbocharged world.
It’s a shame the transmission literally isn’t up to speed. In Strada mode the shifts are confused and slow, although they do get slightly more on the case in higher modes. There’s certainly enough of an impediment to stop you feeling totally confident of exploring every inch of the immense performance envelope.
And, while we’re on the negatives, this is still a heavy car, and you can only hide that so much. It’s a lot more nimble than it was, largely down to the four-wheel steering and the consequent chassis upgrades, but it still doesn’t have that finesse in terms of handling that you’ll find in a McLaren for example.
Oh and now that we’re in niggly mode, why can’t Lamborghini make seats that are actually comfy to be in? They look good, and we’re hardly expecting a padded recliner finished in beige, but honestly, you really will have a hurting neck and back after a while in one of these.
The rest of the cabin is pretty dramatic, as you’d expect, and certainly a fairly exciting place to spend time – give or take a trip to the osteopath. The cabin is very wide and low, and there’s a great sense of theatre, even if some of the kit now looks a bit over the top.
However, enough of them negative waves, as Oddball remarked. The other big step up is that you now can have a configurable drive mode. This is big cheese as it means you can choose your personal settings for dampers, drivetrain and steering for the first time. This is great because now you can choose the softest damper setting with sharper gearshifts in Sport for example. S
hame it comes up with ‘ego’ in big letters though. Although perhaps that’s just right for a potential Lamborghini owner.
Because if you’re a mature, fully sorted individual with nothing to prove and a sense of inner peace and purpose, you’re probably not going to be seen driving around in an Aventador S. People who will buy it will be irresistibly drawn to its sense of theatre, the surround-sound drama of it all. And they’ll get in return an Aventador that is better than ever in several key areas.
But it’s still not the most engaging driver’s supercar out there, not with the likes of Ferrari and McLaren on the road, and getting on the road for less money too.