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Driving

What is it like to drive?

Thunderous. Intimidating. Life affirming. Daunting. Thirsty. How do any of those grab you?

They grab me quite hard. Can we start with ‘thirsty’?

The Countach may be a hybrid, but electricity doesn’t drive the wheels, it only sends snaps of torque to the wheels during gearchanges. The V12 does all the heavy lifting, and although the 1,595kg dry weight (reckon about 1,730kg with fluids) is actually commendably light, those big cylinders like a drink.

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The official claims are 14.5mpg and a massive 440g/km of CO2. Near enough half a kilo of CO2 emitted per kilometre is very hard to justify in this day and age, but can be partially excused by the fact that most Countachs will rarely turn a wheel in anger having been salted away into some underground collection.

But yes, it is possible to get range anxiety with petrol. Maybe have an Urus chase car with a fuel bowser in the boot? That’s good for your carbon footprint isn’t it?

Right, objectively is the Countach a good car to drive?

Not really. Time and technology have moved the game on for hypercars, and doubtless Lamborghini will take that step when the Aventador’s replacement appears (it’s expected in 2023). But for now the Countach is something of a throwback. 

Which, all things considered, is rather apt. This is not a supercar that you chuck about like a hot hatch. It feels big and heavy in your hands, needs space to show itself off to best effect. The irony is that, when given that space (such as when we drove the Sian sister car at Dunsfold last year) it actually plays at the limit of grip much better than you expect. It’s decently balanced and predictable, has a bigger chassis sweet spot than you expect.

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But on any public road - or even a racetrack - getting to that point requires a certain amount of bravery and trust that the Countach doesn’t easily inspire. At lower speeds it comes across as snatchy and temperamental, the diffs hiccup and snag around tight corners, the gearbox botches shifts with each one roughly shunting through, the stability intervenes because the stiff suspension detaches wheels from the road surface. Quick shout out for the carbon ceramic brakes though – they’re lovely to use, with great bite, power and reassurance. 

But subjectively?

It’s hugely, vastly engaging because of these deficiencies. And because anything with this many cylinders thrashing their way to such a wild and frenetic crescendo, can’t help but tingle your nerve-endings. Just get that engine north of 5,000rpm and I guarantee you won’t give a monkeys about chassis finesse or ride quality. Nothing else matters.

So you drive around the faults, ease back on the throttle when you shift up, remember to switch to Sport rather than Strada mode because the shifts are swifter and the stability looser, but never venture to Corsa where the ride deteriorates to spine-threatening levels.

It’s not an easy car, in other words, but then neither was the original, so say what you like about the way the Countach looks, but at least by basing it on the ageing Aventador chassis and mechanicals Lamborghini has, within the context and confines of the modern era, been as true as possible to the way it drove.

So it’s not good, but that’s what makes it good – is that what you’re saying?

Fundamentally, yes. The experience may be fundamentally the same as the Sian, and little moved on from the Aventador SVJ, but something as thunderous and incandescent as this doesn’t half give you a mental lift. It’s the sense that it wants to snap the leash and run wild that makes it so glorious. It’s a lesson in self-control.

And arguably the antithesis to cars such as the Ferrari SF90 which make the power so usable and speed so accessible. The Countach is a lazy car in many ways, but if you want to feel involved with the driving, get reward from it, there’s no better way than making you work and concentrate.

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