2017 Lamborghini Aventador

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The Car Connection
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Andrew Ganz Andrew Ganz Senior Editor
November 19, 2016

Buying tip

The Aventador is up for a redesign soon; normally, we'd suggest angling for a discount, but that's not going to happen here.

features & specs

S Coupe
11 city / 18 hwy
10 city / 18 hwy

Violent, brash, and wholly desirable, the Lamborghini Aventador might be the ultimate genesis of the supercar.

Short of bolting in a racing cage and painting a number on the side, the Aventador remains Lamborghini's top production model. It's the Italian brand's most powerful standard offering, available in coupe and roadster forms.

It's the definition of a modern supercar, with a top speed that exceeds 200 mph. There's a lot of technology here, and in many ways the Aventador could represent the ultimate evolution of the supercar as automakers look to advanced powertrains combining electric motors and gasoline engines to supply power moving forward.  

We've scored it a 6.8, which is pretty good for a supercar given that it inevitably comes up short on some of the practical matters like cargo storage and visibility. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

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Following up on last year's Aventador SV is, not surprisingly, the limited edition Aventador SV Roadster. Because, you know, you must get a tan while cruising at 200 mph. That's multitasking.

The Aventador has the formula nailed. Start with a hypercharged, eyeball-blasting look—really, a confection of angles and lines and scoops—and toss in liberal amounts of horsepower, V-12 harmonics that soothe and split eardrums at the same time, and a track-ready edition that convinces above-average drivers that they're ready for 200-mph-plus heroics.

Inside the cabin it’s much the same: futuristic, edgy, and jet-inspired. Despite some occasional Audi switchgear, reminding us that this is a German-Italian supercar, the Aventador's interior doesn't have much in common with typical street cars. Instead, it's basically a road-going Tie Fighter from "Star Wars." 

The Aventador's wailing 6.5-liter V-12 engine is rated at 691 horsepower. It uncorks its ferocious V-12 life rattle right behind the two seats in the snug, low-slung cabin. That massive power, pushed to all four wheels through an independent shifting rod (ISR) automated manual transmission, is 0-60 mph acceleration in under three seconds with a top speed claimed at 217 mph.

It gets better. The Aventador SV (that's for Superveloce) is rated at 739 hp, up 48 hp on the standard car. It sheds about 110 pounds thanks to more extensive passages of carbon fiber and from some deleted features like an infotainment system. It's pegged at a 0-60 mph run in under 2.8 seconds—about a tenth quicker than the standard Aventador—and runs off top-speed numbers estimated at slightly above 217 mph.

For 2017, Lamborghini has added an SV Roadster to the lineup. Just 500 will be built. 

Driving impressions

Driving the Aventador is not for the faint of heart. At around 3,700 pounds, it's lightning bolt-quick in a straight line, but it operates more like a freight train than a genuine sports car. Hit a corner and its all-wheel drive system battles its width and its weight. Don't look for scalpel-clean lines as you slice through a race track unless you've raced professionally before. 

Even left in Strada (street) mode, the ISR gearbox is rough. From a start, it engages slowly, resulting in a head-tossing take-off from a stop. In Corsa mode, which is meant specifically for race tracks, the shifts are as fast as they are hit-by-a-bus brutal. We're happiest in Sport, where shifts are comfortably quick but certainly not violent. 

Around town, the Aventador is decidedly cumbersome thanks to its immense width and its laughable outward visibility. Parking, navigating narrow lanes and streets, or simply merging onto a highway can be a high drama affair. A self-raising nose features does improve clearance over bumps and driveways, sparing some Aventadors from scraped noses. Like other supercars, there's no crowd scatter feature; pedestrians are attracted to the Aventador as though it's a magnet. You will be photographed and that photo will be shared online. 

The Aventador SV feels smarter, and sharper, on the track. It gets adaptive magnetic suspension, which adjusts at each wheel during cornering, largely suppressing body roll and making the steering and handling even more responsive. The adaptive damping also counteracts brake diving. it also has electric power steering, which variably adapts the steering ratio to road speed and to the dynamic mode selected. It cuts in immediately in tight corners, which with the liberal amount of rotation allowed at the rear end, gives the Aventador SV a playful feel that we'd normally describe as tossable, except it's happening at 150 mph plus, when you don't want to toss...anything.

With its firm suspension, the Aventador SV is borderline violent on the road—but most owners will either trailer it to their favorite track or they'll leave it there. 

Practical matters

Inside the cabin itself, the Aventador isn’t especially spacious, despite its width. The low-slung nature and scissor doors mean you have to half-slide, half-fall into the seats. Once there, the seats are snug, and leg room is enough, but not ample, especially for 6-footers. Fitting a weekend’s worth of luggage in the front trunk area is possible, but it’s tight. Luckily, Lamborghini offers tailor-made luggage. 

The SV's interior has been completely revised with a clear focus on weight reduction. The new sports bucket seats and the door panels are made of carbon and the interior's lightweight design excludes an infotainment system (although it's available as a no-cost option), carpets and certain noise insulation parts.

But you're not buying an Aventador SV because it's comfortable; after all, we've never actually seen someone daily drive any Lamborghini, let alone the most extreme example. 

Gas mileage, as you might expect, isn’t good—but then this is a $400,000 supercar, so you shouldn’t really be pinching pennies at the pump. At 11 mpg city, 18 highway, 13 combined for the coupe (or 10/17/12 mpg for the roadster), the Aventador is rather un-green—even by supercar standards, however.

Like any good supercar, and any modern Lamborghini, the Aventador is nearly endlessly customizable, thanks to the company’s Ad Personam program. You're spending a headline-making, neck-snapping supercar, so take your time and make sure that Lamborghini correctly matches its paint to your poodle's collar.

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