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First Drive

First Drive: Lamborghini Aventador LP 750-4 Superveloce 2dr Auto

Published: 24 May 2015


  • BHP


  • 0-62


  • CO2


  • Max Speed


What's this, then?

The Super Veloce, or ‘super speed', is a faster version of the Aventador. Which means it's faster than a very fast thing. Faster in every respect, too: more power, less weight, much more downforce.

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So it goes, stops, and grips more than the car that has already put on some pretty insane performances on the occasions we've had it on a track.

How insane?

Well, there's that very bonkers video of it on the Nurburgring Nordschleife at the hands of a Pirelli test driver who was in its development team. He comes home (just) in under seven minutes (just). A 'normal' Aventador is reckoned to be at least 20 sec slower.

How did they do that?

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It's up to a headbanging 750bhp, and the V12's rev limit is now 8500, with a loud new exhaust so everyone knows it. But the extra horses are only a part of it. Some 50kg has been carved out.

And once you're above 60mph or so, there's a truly significant amount of downforce. The tyres are specially developed super-sticky Pirellis on bigger rims. How does 355/25 21 strike you for a set of garden rollers?

The pushrod suspension now has adaptive dampers, the superior magneto-rheological kind. And most controversially of all, there's active steering.

Any more details?

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Here are the pass notes from the car's launch at this year's Geneva Show.

How does it feel?

Mad. Crazy fast. Lamborghini's V12 really is one of the wonders of the mechanical universe. Its epic hunger for speed is utterly naked. Its connection with you is nerve-meltingly vivid, going as it does without the bubble-wrap of turbos or electrical enhancement or a torque converter transmission, or even in this case much sound deadening.

Every twitch of your toe gets action - big action, right now. So think through the consequences before you ask.

Six-and-a-half litres is enough to bring massive mid-rev torque, so you can tackle corners a gear higher than you first expect. Then as the dial goes clockwise, the thrust amplifies even more. There's no sudden peak or kick-point: it just goes and goes, excitement rising but precision and proportionality intact.

I'm at the Barcelona F1 circuit. Any track like that usually makes a road car feel meek. But the Lambo manages to stamp its impression even here. You're never at full throttle for long. Even the pit straight is consumed as a series of quick chattering bites through third-fourth-fifth.

And yes, the V12 sound echoing off the grandstands really does tingle like the heyday of F1 power.

How does it compare to the regular Aventador?

You know what? I never drove the standard car and came away thinking, 'What this slug needs is more poke'.

A 10 per cent increase in high-rev power-to-weight ratio and a 3 per cent improvement in torque-to-weight, with the same gearing, was never going to be transformative. But hey, I'm not complaining. Anyway, other changes are much more significant.

Which ones?

The chassis, and in particular the steering. I really was sceptical about this. Every active steering system ever built has robbed you of any realistic feel of the road.

But, miracle ahoy, Lambo has cracked that. The wheel rim nibbles and goes light as the front tyres wash into slight understeer. It weights and unweights over cresting corners. It guides you to get the best from the tyres and scolds you when you don't.

There's still a good old hydraulically assisted rack, and your hands have a direct link to it. That's the good news.

Less convincing is the system that interposes itself to change the steering ratio. It moves the rack to add to, or subtract from, your input. And it's unpredictable in your first miles. Its map changes with speed, but not only with speed.

Also with - deep breath - steering angle, rate of steering angle change, inputs from the ESP sensors about cornering load and slip, and the position of the three-way strada-sport-corsa (road-sport-race) switch.

Its main job is to greatly reduce steering input in tight bends, as well as to make the car more stable at big speed. It does, but it made me feel uncomfortable.

And because it's so direct in tight bends, the car's dartiness was amplified by my hands' nerves.
Still, eventually I settled into it, stopped trying to second-guess it, and started to revel in the sense of agility it brings. But I was never quite convinced of the need. The SV is in any case the most agile Aventador ever.

How so?

Less weight, less understeer, more grip everywhere. There is still a little early understeer, but that's right and proper for a road car as it makes you feel secure. The tiniest lift or momentary unwinding of steering lock will cancel it.

Then the SV's gumballs build massive grip, and in fast corners there's aero to help you. We refer the jury once again to that 'Ring video. The SV's big yellow instrument cluster actually includes a g-meter, bigger than the (tiny) speedo. But you've got to be pretty sure of your cornering lines before you pay it much study during a fast lap.

Thing is, you don't need a g-meter. The whole car is telling you what it's up to. You feel the front tyres working, the weight of the engine when you lift, the bulging effort of the rear wheels as you lean on them out of a corner. It all feeds back to you.

And it does it well before you hit the grip limit. This - and not just its sheer theatrical presence and towering poke - was always what made the Aventador so captivating on the road as well as the track.

Even the SV's test drivers and engineers told me it's best to stay inside the limits because when this thing goes, it really goes. So I kept the ESP on. In corsa mode it lets the car squirm a fair bit anyway.

And on the road?

Good question. Today its minders wouldn't let it out of the captivity of the circuit. It'll be noisy on the street, that's for certain-sure. Not just from the new four-pipe exhaust, either.

Absent much of the cabin insulation, there's more (good) engine thrash from behind and more (bad) gravel rattle and tyre hum from below. But I don't fear for the SV's ride. The springs have been only marginally stiffened over the regular Aventador and the new adaptive dampers are, in their relaxed mode, more supple.

The rocket-capsule cockpit architecture is inherited from the standard car, but one-piece shell seats, new instruments and a view of the carbon bones of the car make it more special.

Does it look as bonkers in the flesh?

Cast your eye over all those blades of newly crafted carbon fibre around the periphery of the car, not to mention the acreage of voids set into them to admit and exhale and direct gales of air.
See too the cartoon-size wheels. But then the rest of it, the faceted body and radically raked glass and scissor doors and immense girth and snake-hip height, that's all inherited from the standard Aventador.

Makes the standard Aventador look a bit tame, right?

I'm not so sure. Yes, the SV is extraordinary, and yes, in the hands of a banzai expert it can pelt round a track at a hypercar rate. But if I'm honest, on today's (albeit brief) experience with the SV, I'm left with one abiding impression. Which is what a life-changing event it is to be exposed to an Aventador. Any Aventador...

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