By Keith Buglewicz
Since its introduction in 2012, the Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4 has been one of the world's most desirable high-performance driving machines. The thrilling design is matched only by the car's otherworldly performance. Starting with a 691-horsepower V12 engine and all-wheel drive, Lamborghini wraps the engine and passenger compartment in aluminum and carbon-fiber body work that's straight out of a science fiction fantasy. But it's not just for show, as the huge door vents, and numerous slots and slats all work to keep the car's engine fed with air, and to keep it on the ground as it rockets from a standstill to 60 mph in less than three seconds, all on its way to an astonishing 217 mph top speed. It's $400,000 that's very well spent.
If you have the money to make the biggest entrance you can, and there's no room to land a helicopter, then the 2014 Lamborghini Aventador tops Ferrari, Aston Martin, Porsche, or just about anything else.
While there's virtually nothing that has the visual impact of the 2014 Lamborghini Aventador, and only a handful with the same performance, it's not designed for long-distance driving comfort. A thrilling but refined choice might be the 510-horsepower Aston Martin DBS.
To celebrate its 50th anniversary, you can get a limited-edition 2014 Lamborghini Aventador LP 720-4 50th Anniversario edition. How limited? Only 200 are made, they cost north of $500,000, and yes, they're already sold out.
Driving Impressions The many joys of driving a 2014 Lamborghini Aventador do not include a creamy smooth ride. Even with the Drive Mode Select system, which allows drivers to choose between Strada...... (road), Sport (sporty road) and Corsa (track) settings, the Aventador is no long-range cruiser. But so what? It's Formula One-style racing suspension and ultra-wide tires give tremendous grip, and the huge, ceramic antilock disc brakes deliver jaw-dropping stopping power. The acceleration is stunning, and the snug, form-fitting seats aren't just a sports car trope, they're a necessity. Stability control keeps this rear-biased, mid-engine supercar from swapping ends due to injudicious brake application or throttle lifting mid-corner. The Drive Mode Select also 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
Push-button start is nothing new. But putting your start button under a guarded red door – similar to the cover you'd see on a missile-launch panel in a war movie – well, you've got to love that.
"Lambo doors" may have jumped the shark in the performance aftermarket. But when used on the real thing, on a car that has the mind-bending performance of a Lamborghini Aventador, you'll know why they have that show-stopping power.
With such an aggressive exterior, it's a surprise to find the interior of the 2014 Lamborghini Aventador to be so inviting. Then again, when you remember that Lamborghini is owned by the Volkswagen Group, the same company responsible for Audi's excellent interiors, it makes more sense. The mix of warm Italian leathers, bright and attractive LCD gauges, and up-to-date convenience features like automatic temperature control complement the beautifully sculpted and supportive bucket seats and prominent center console. There's navigation, and an Audi-like multimedia system. Outward visibility is poor, but as they say in Italy, what's behind you doesn't matter.Exterior
We haven't tested it, the explosion of angles on the 2014 Aventador's exterior might let it evade radar. Low and wide, with the look of a stealth fighter, 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 deploy 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.
It's not surprising that your $400,000 check gets you a lot of car. This range-topping Lamborghini comes with standard equipment like power-adjustable leather seating, voice-activated wireless phone and navigation controls, smart-key door locking, a full set of front, side and knee airbags, and much more. Of particular interest is the 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 expensive, road-hugging nose.
Lamborghini leaves very little on the cutting room floor when it comes to the Aventador. There's parking assist, a backup camera and a premium audio system, but not much else on this $400K 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. There's also Ad Personum, Lamborghini's personalization department, which lets you choose custom colors and other one-off individualization options.
Under the engine panel of the 2014 Lamborghini Aventador is a V12 engine putting out nearly 700 horsepower, or 720 in the Anniversario edition. It makes short work of the 3,472-pound Lamborghini, rocketing the Aventador from 0 to 60 mph in less than three seconds, and pushing it all the way to a top speed of 217 mph. A 7-speed paddle-shifted automated-manual transmission with three driver-selectable settings routes power to the smart all-wheel-drive system. The system proportions power to the wheels based on available traction, and electronic front and mechanical rear limited-slip differentials hook up the massive Pirelli PZero tires. Fuel economy is aided with cylinder deactivation, which shuts down one bank of six cylinders, and stop/start technology that shuts down the engine when stopped.
691 horsepower @ 8,250 rpm
509 lb-ft of torque @ 5,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 11/18 mpg
720 horsepower @ 8,250 rpm
507 lb-ft of torque @ 5,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: N/A
Taking its place at the top of the Lamborghini food chain, the $400,000-plus 2014 Aventador LP 700-4 is the ultimate expression of the Italian supercar, as is its roadster counterpart coming in at nearly $450,000. If you were one of the lucky few who bought the LP 720-4 Anniversario edition, we hope you think your $500,000 was well spent. Regardless, 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.