By KBB.com Editors
The all-new 2012 Lamborghini Aventador is what the bull fighter drives to confession. It's a brutally fast, hyper-responsive missile that drips Italian driving passion and style. The Aventador is the ultimate Lamborghini, replacing last year's Murcielago. Constructed largely of aluminum and carbon fiber, the 2-seat, mid-engine, all-wheel-drive, 691-horsepower Aventador will charge to 60 mph in under 2.9 seconds and attain 217 mph terminal velocity, its jet-fighter-like flanks adorned in any of 13 colors, three of them matte finish. The $390,000 Aventador LP 700-4 (LP for longitudinal posterior-mounted engine, 700 for 700 horsepower by European ratings, and 4 for all-wheel drive) travels in fast company, including the Ferrari 458 Italia, Aston Martin DBS, Lexus LFA and McLaren MP4-12C.
If a genie granted a wish for your favorite Gran Turismo Play Station video game car to become real, the new Aventador LP 700-4 just might be it. The angular and menacing Aventador is faster than a Ferrari 458 Italia, meaner-sounding than a Lexus LFA, and more contemporary looking than an Aston Martin DBS.
Or if you prefer your V12-powered supercars stirred, not shaken, you might want to take an Aston Martin DBS for a long, soulful test drive. Certainly not dispassionate at 510 horsepower, the classic-proportioned Aston is less of a cop magnet and easier to get in and out of thanks to conventional doors.
The Aventador is all-new for 2012, replacing the Murcielago in Lamborghini's lineup.
Driving Impressions There is nothing subtle about the 2012 Lamborghini Aventador and that description includes the ride. Underpinned by a Formula One-style racing suspension, the Aventador's shock absorbers are rock hard, so...despite excellent, form-fitting seats, drivers will get jostled around on all but glass-smooth pavement. Ultra-wide tires give tremendous grip and huge, ceramic anti-lock disc brakes deliver jaw-dropping stopping power. Stability control keeps this rear-biased, mid-engine supercar from swapping ends due to injudicious brake application or throttle lifting mid-corner. A driver-selectable Drive Mode Select system with Strada (road), Sport (sporty road) and Corsa (track) settings varies transmission shift firmness, steering effort, throttle response and stability control responsiveness. Choose the Strada setting for date night and save Corsa for channeling your inner bull fighter.
START/STOP IGNITION BUTTON
Reinforcing the jet-fighter jockey theme, the engine starts and stops by pushing a very prominent console-mounted button under a guarded, red door reminiscent of a missile-launch control panel.
These say you've got a tricked-out ride every time you get into or out of your Lambo. They swivel up cockpit-style instead of out and if you're clumsy you can bang your head or pinch a finger. With scissors doors your Aventador won't fit into some garages, but if you can afford this car, you can afford a bigger garage.
A perfect complement to the Aventador's aggressive exterior is its modern and inviting interior. Lamborghini parent Volkswagen/Audi has done a good job of taming the bull inside with a mix of warm Italian leathers, bright and attractive LCD virtual gauges, and up-to-date convenience features like automatic temperature control. A pair of beautifully sculpted and supportive bucket seats flank a prominent center console housing a navigation screen and Audi-like multimedia system controlling iPod, traffic data and Bluetooth interface. Outward visibility is poor, but as they say in Italy, what's behind you doesn't matter.Exterior
If the Department of Defense commissioned a radar-evading supercar, the 2012 Aventador might just be it. Low, wide and stealthy-looking, the Aventador's highly angular and multifaceted cab-forward body is well-populated with scoops, vents and ducts, the rear spoiler and side air intakes electronically deployed as required. From its menacing low prow, to the sleek double-domed roof, foot-wide rear Pirelli PZero tires, upswept rear diffuser, arrow-sharp LED taillights and large-bore center exhaust, the Aventador LP 700-4 is unmistakably Lamborghini.
As you would expect of the range-topping Lamborghini, the Aventador comes well-equipped with such standards as power leather seats, voice-activated wireless phone and navigation controls, smart-key door locking, a full set of front, side and knee airbags, and much more. One interesting standard item is a lifting feature for the front shock absorbers that allows the front of the car to be raised 40mm (about 1-1/2 inches) to clear steep driveway ramps without scraping that road-hugging nose.
Aside from special Ad Personum (personalization) colors and trims, park assist, a backup camera and a premium audio system, there is very little left to the optional equipment list on this $390K supercar. One neat optional touch, however, is a clear plastic cover for the engine compartment of the 3-foot-long, beautifully sculpted V12 engine, the automotive equivalent of Michelangelo's David under glass.
The task of moving the 3,472-pound 2012 Lamborghini Aventador from 0 to 60 mph in less than three seconds falls to an all-new V12 engine pumping nearly 700 horsepower. Smart all-wheel drive delivers the power to the wheels based on available traction, and electronic front and mechanical rear limited-slip differentials hook up the massive Pirelli PZero tires. Gearchanges are accomplished via a 7-speed paddle-shifted automated manual transmission with several different driver-selectable "emotional" settings. For cruising the strip, the gearbox can deliver lazy shifts in Strada-auto mode, or respond with crisper shifting in Sport-auto mode. Select the manually-shifted Corsa mode for downright violent, tire-chirping, head-banging, bull-snorting gearchanges at wide-open throttle with full Launch Control.
691 horsepower @ 8,250 rpm
509 lb-ft of torque @ 5,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 11/17 mpg
Taking its place at the top of the Lamborghini food chain, the $390,000 Aventador LP 700-4 is the ultimate expression of the Italian supercar. As such, value considerations aren't as important as emotional ones. The Aventador buyer is more likely to be concerned about color combinations and availability on the handful of cars shipped to the U.S. than he is to quibble over a few thousand dollars of Fair Purchase Price. Going forward, relative scarcity and brand reputation should help ensure good resale value.