Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4

December 2011

picture of car from the front

Jaw-dropping looks are inspired by the Reventon limited edition

Ratings

Overall Rating 9Overall rating

Value for money Rating 6Value for money

Space and Practicality Rating 1Costs

Space and Practicality Rating 5Space and practicality

Controls and display Rating 7Controls and display

Comfort Rating 6Comfort

Security Rating 7Car security

Safety Rating 8Car safety


Likes

  • Stunning exterior design and amazing presence
  • Devastating acceleration, braking and handling performance
  • Surprisingly usable in ordinary traffic
  • Quality has taken a big step forward from predecessor

Gripes

  • Not a car for the faint-hearted or inexperienced
  • Purchase and running costs make it a car for the very well off
  • Rear visibility still very limited
  • Depreciation likely to be very high

A new addition to the Lamborghini range is a rare event, even more so when it is the crowning model in the line up. Replacing the iconic Murcielago was a big challenge, but with the new Aventador the Italian marquee has essentially started from scratch to create a car fit to represent it in the 21st Century.

With a reputation for delivering some of the most exciting and high performance cars money can buy, the successor to the thrilling but challenging Murcielago needed to equal or increase the drama whilst also providing a more civilised experience: low-speed manoeuvres and parking were always an unpleasant task in the Murcielago and it was never anything but frenetic to drive.

The Aventador is as close to a clean-sheet design as it is possible to be. The exterior design is heavily influenced by the limited run Reventon with its squared-off edges and dramatic proportions, but the bodywork is all new. The actual structure of the car is a big step forward too, eschewing the outdated spaceframe chassis of the Murcielago for an advanced carbonfibre design for lightness and strength.

A large capacity V12 engine has always featured in Lamborghini's flagship as far back as the 1960s, with the same basic powerplant in use until the death of the Murcielago. Although the Aventador uses also uses a V12 of the same capacity the engine is an all-new design, with dry-sump lubrication and sophisticated engine management system for maximum performance.

The high-tech approach continues throughout the car, with a new type of automated manual gearbox delivering super fast gearchanges, pushrod suspension that shares its basic principles with a Formula 1 car and the adoption of TFT-screen for the instruments and supplementary displays illustrates the progress the Aventador represents.

Our verdict on the Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4

It is hard to imagine a car like the Aventador being anything other than a thrilling experience, but the adoption of many new technologies not only delivers an even more visceral drive but also makes the car easier to live with on a daily basis. Its rivals are few and well-distinguished, but the Aventador is a truly special experience that is worthy of the famous Lamborghini badge.

Costs
Costs rating 1

There is no escaping the fact that the Aventador is one of the most expensive cars currently on sale in the UK. A purchase price of close to a quarter of a million pounds combined with the highest CO2 bracket and the likelihood of spectacular insurance premiums make this a car for the truly wealthy. Despite its inevitable rarity it will also lose a substantial amount of value over several years of ownership.

Space and practicality
Space and Practicality Rating 5

Despite being nearly five metres in length the Aventador is far from being a spacious car. The two occupants do enjoy all the room they could possibly need, even offering decent headroom despite the low roofline. Luggage space is restricted to the deep but narrow load space at the front of the car and slim spaces behind the seats.

picture of car from the rear

Slatted rear window has become a key Lamborghini feature

Controls and display
Controls and Display Rating 7

For the first time on a Lamborghini there are TFT screens in place of conventional dials, and this gives the Aventador driver the opportunity to alter the display to suit their requirements. Two smaller screens either side of the main display offer a wide range of information, although the control to cycle these is rather awkwardly mounted on the bottom of the windscreen wiper stalk. The rest of the switches are clearly labeled and finished to a high standard.

Comfort
Comfort Rating 6

With the focus clearly being on performance and handling, comfort inevitably takes something of a back seat with the Aventador. With three electronic modes for the car a 'softer' setting slows the speeds of the gearshifts and softens the suspension, although this is a relative change and anyone coming from a conventional car will find it somewhat noisy and firm-riding.

Car security
Security Rating 7

A car this desirable and at this price point needs the highest level of security, and alongside a standard alarm and immobiliser the Aventador requires a degree of prior knowledge in order to simply get the doors open and start it up. An optional vehicle tracking system should be a default choice for any potential purchaser for total peace of mind.

Car safety
Safety Rating 8

Although terrifically fast the Aventador is a car that ranks very highly in terms of active safety. As well as a switchable ESP system it has extremely powerful carbon ceramic brakes and astounding levels of grip. Should the worst happen the combination of numerous airbags and an extremely strong carbonfibre structure will protect its occupants from the worst effects of an accident.

Driver appeal
Driver Appeal Rating 10

More than in any other segment a supercar needs to deliver an appealing driving experience, and the Aventador does this to quite stunning effect. The combination of the enormously powerful engine and rapid-fire gearbox provides truly savage acceleration - the Aventador is one of the fastest-accelerating cars money can buy - while the handling and grip on offer makes it surprisingly sure-footed and benign given its power.

picture of car interior

Cabin is surprisingly civilised and easy to use

Family car appeal
Family Appeal Rating 2

Helpfully the Aventador has Isofix mounting points on the passenger seat and a switchable airbag making it possible to carry small children, although outside of the occasional short journey it is not really suitable for heavy family duties. With room for only one passenger and limited luggage, it is far from being a practical proposition.

First car appeal
First car Rating 0

Even a lottery winner choosing an Aventador as their first car would soon struggle with aspects other than the huge running and purchase costs. The sheer power on offer makes the Aventador a car for the experienced driver only, and although easy to drive in relative terms a firm hand and decisive inputs are required to avoid getting into trouble.

Quality and image
Quality and Image Rating 9

Compared to its arch-rival Ferrari, Lamborghinis are generally viewed as being less technically-advanced and with much less of a motorsport pedigree, but the focus on pure adrenalin in terms of looks and performance still make them an object of desire for enthusiasts. Quality has also progressed enormously under Audi's stewardship, and the Aventador feels like a quality product inside and out.

Accessibility
Accessibility Rating

The scissor doors could easily be dismissed as an unnecessary piece of street theatre, but the reality is a conventional door of this size would require a huge amount of room to open fully. As it is, the scissor doors open upwards easily and although the seats are set understandably low, getting on board is much less of a challenge than it could be. Access to the boot is straightforward but engine access requires the passenger seat to be moved forward.

Stereo and ICE (In car entertainment)

Anyone familiar with a recent Audi product will instantly recognise the audio and sat-nav system in the Aventador, but it is none the worse for that. The clear display is mounted centrally and the combination of a rotary controller and surrounding buttons make it easy to navigate. The audio system offers radio, CD and MP3 playback plus Bluetooth and iPod connectivity, which should be enough for most people's needs.

picture of car in detail

Centre exit exhaust is one of many dramatic design details

Colours and trim

Such is the drama of the Aventador's exterior it looks like little else regardless of the exterior colour. The test car's white paint finish contrasted well with the black detailing, but traditional reds and yellows would work just as well. Inside the colour scheme is more subtle but the trim is of good quality thanks to the influence of parent company Audi, although arguably it is not what some would expect of a car with this price tag.

Parking

Putting a car of this value in any kind of parking space can test the nerves of anyone, but the Aventador does its best to help. Rear visibility through the screen is poor though the side mirrors do allow the driver to see something over the shoulders. Parking sensors front and rear plus a reversing camera do help, although steering lock is relatively poor and a delicate touch is required on the accelerator to move slowly.

Spare wheel

Emergency tyre inflation kit fitted as standard.

 

Range information

Petrol engine options - 6.5-litre (690bhp). Transmission: seven-speed automated manual gearbox. No trim levels.

 

Alternative cars

Ferrari 599 GTB Scintillating performance and handling, looks somewhat divisive

Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Characterful and high-tech, also considerably cheaper than the Lamborghini

Porsche 911 Limited run 911 GT2 RS offers similar performance but based on more humble model

Nissan GT-R Less than half the price but close on performance



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December 2011