Even Lamborghini knows what’s up with their owners by now. You buy a Lamborghini because they’re loud, they’re wild, they’re fast and they’re utterly ridiculous. You, a ridiculous human, are your car.
You may add a wild wrap, rev it incessantly at stoplights, add a crazy body kit or toss “WINNING” plates on the car, but at the end of the day, you don’t really need to. I mean, just look at the car. Listen to it. Let the goofy grin wash over you and permeate your very being. Embrace it.
Lamborghini says the Aventador’s design was influenced by nature and aerospace, but let’s be honest: we love Lambos because they look like the kind of crazy supercars we doodled in 4th Grade. They even spit fire!
If that’s you, a person that needs to show off your wealth in as conspicuous a manner as possible, then embrace it. My gold-plated broseph, the Lamborghini Aventador S was made for you. Not only does it make all the right sounds, but it can even save you from yourself.
It’s actually a far better—and far easier—car on track than its image and owner base will allow it credit for.
[Full disclosure: Lamborghini wanted us to come check out the Aventador S so much that they invited us out to MSR-Cresson to drive it and enjoy a selection of light snacks. It was a good day.]
I found out this was the case at a recent track day with one. See, Lamborghinis weren’t really made for low-speed maneuvering—even the new ones. The Aventador S sort of lurches around in protest at parking lot speeds, but it does have a top speed of 217 mph when you fumble your way out.
The lovely humans letting us drive the new Aventador S even had us try out a slalom with the car, which nimbly chunked its way through the cones but ultimately felt too big and too brutal to be the next big autocross superstar. I mean, it weighs 3,472 lbs despite making extensive use of lightweight materials, such as in its carbon fiber monocoque. You still do feel a bit of that weight despite the Aventador S’s incredible power.
No, Lambos are all too often destined for a hard life of party-boy hoonery, making top speed runs you won’t discuss around The Man and launching like a nutcase out of Cars and Coffee. Rev the engine! Rev it hard! Rev it so they can hear V12 noises from Mars!
Now there is the Aventador S: an upgraded V12 Lambo for the person who can’t make do with a mere V10 Huracán. Was your trust fund not large enough to pony up for two extra cylinders? Your great-great grandparents should’ve worked harder.
It’s a significant upgrade over the base Aventador, featuring a 130 percent increase in front downforce, 40 more horsepower and a 50 percent increase in aerodynamic efficiency at high downforce. An active rear wing gives grip when you need it based on speed, behavior and drive mode, and repositions for more top speed when you don’t. Do the buyers actually care about any of that? Probably not!
More importantly for those who want to are probably going to do something stupid on the next goldRush Rally (...again), Lambo has made the Aventador S’s 740 HP spectacularly easy to drive.
The Aventador features what Lambo calls its “Four Masterpieces:” four drive wheels, four-wheel steering, four active suspension components and four available driving modes.
Before the drive, I would have assumed that this made a Lamborghini too tame. Ugh, they’re even under the Volkswagen Group now, whose main focus is on perfectly normal cars. Remember when Lamborghinis were the automotive equivalent of a punch in the face?
But then I drove the new Aventador S, and let me apologize for how wrong I was. They’re still wild, brutal space-pods on wheels, even if they are easier to control now. First off, there’s the sound. There’s nothing tame or Audi-like about that V12, which exits through an alien-looking triangular arrangement of three exhaust pipes in the center of the rear. I couldn’t quit giggling at the sound and the power.
There’s only a single-clutch paddle-shifted seven-speed transmission, which is hilariously brutal on each shift. Upshifts on track mean that a hard thud resonates through your whole body with a mad boost forward. It’s near-instantaneous, but you will feel it. Lamborghini’s reason for not using a smoother dual-clutch transmission was to save weight, which is truly speaking my track-dork language.
Yet the Aventador S never felt truly out of control. Even on my last lead-follow-style run of the day, in a test car that had been run almost continuously all morning save for brief breaks to swap drivers, it was perfectly manageable. The rear end kicked out a couple times, but was easy to catch. Break rears loose, giggle, catch it, repeat.
The Aventador S even comes riding on grippy Pirelli P Zero tires that were specifically made for the car. I poked at the rear tires of that last car I drove, and they felt delightfully soft and gooey all warmed up—just a tad harder than the warm bits that come off of race tires.
The four-wheel-steering in particular is some state-of-the-art save-your-bacon technology, steering in the opposite direction to the car at low speeds to aid with the car’s turning radius. At high speeds, the rears turn in the same direction to aid with turn-in.
It’s a feature Lambo first used on their ultra-special-edition Centenario, but because it was a winner, it got added to on the Aventador S. I could even see the rear wheels turn when I was behind another Aventador S on track, so it’s not exactly subtle. Best of all, it’s all automatic and constantly adjusting to the driver’s movements.
The state-of-the-art four-wheel-drive system also does a spectacular job of favoring the rear wheels but sending power to the fronts to make full use of all 740 hp without becoming an evil spin monster when you get it slightly wrong. Drive modes affect how it splits up power and torque, too, with the most tame setting still being a 60/40 rear/front split.
It comes with four drive modes that allow you progressively more lenient and aggressive settings: Strada (street), Sport (a nice middle ground that prioritizes fun over lap times) and Corsa (for the track—which also forces you to manually shift using the paddles). Sport, interestingly enough, will send 10 percent more torque to the rear wheels than Corsa to allow more oversteer, while Corsa reins that in for the sake of faster lap times.
The fourth mode is the customizable “Ego” mode new for the Aventador S where you can pick and choose different elements of the car (suspension, traction and steering) to make it more or less track-tuned. Swapping modes is ridiculously easy using centrally-located buttons on the center console.
You won’t walk away with the same sense of accomplishment from hooning the Aventador S as you would from keeping a classic Porsche 911 Turbo from spinning backwards into a wall. But you can blast down straights and take corners at silly speeds, which is more than enough to put a big dumb grin on your face.
Traction control kicked in a couple times as I was messing around with the Lambo’s different drive modes and as usual, it’s a power-cutting yet butt-saving killjoy. There are, however, nice clearly marked buttons to turn the Aventador S’s driver aids on the center console.
The Aventador S’s interior is still very much that of a quirky Italian plane-inspired supercar. Thankfully, it’s also mostly buttons—not a big stupid touchscreen that you have to take your eyes off the road to deal with. (You reading this, McLaren?) Once you’ve got the muscle memory of where the important buttons are, it’s shockingly normal to operate.
I’m sure there are still ways to ham-fist this Lamborghini off track backwards, but you’ll have to dig around a bit for the right dance of button-pushes to make or ECU codes to flash. I’m also sure that you can still make an equally embarrassing low-speed parking lot ding when you’re not quite sure where the corners of your $421,350 (base MSRP plus gas guzzler tax!) supercar happen to be.
But you’ll have to fight the Lambo a bit to achieve peak rich asshat. Seeing as Lambo’s flashiest owners are an unending source of entertainment for us all, this is probably a good thing for everybody—not just the nuts behind the wheel.