The Aventador S looks more menacing than the Aventador it replaces and packs even more tarmac-shredding firepower.
It is hard to believe that Lamborghini’s Aventador LP700-4 is already six years old.
The years have been kind to the Aventador, for it still looks as stunning as it did back in 2011.
The Aventador has sinister styling and fire-breathing capabilities, which are delivered by its 700bhp V12, all-wheel-drive system and F1-inspired pushrod suspension. Driving it is akin to driving the devil’s spawn.
But because six years is a long time in the motoring world, Lamborghini decided it was time for an update.
The revamped model, called Aventador S, looks even more ominous than before. Its nose, for instance, resembles a snake with its fangs bared, ready to strike.
There are also Countach-inspired rear fenders, a new rear diffuser that provides even more downforce and an active three-position rear spoiler.
Like its predecessor, the Aventador S also has a moody interior. Lamborghini stylists seem to like the colour black, but if that is not your hue, you can always turn to the Ad Personam (bespoke) Programme.
Look past the cabin’s sombre character and you’ll actually find that it is now more functional and refined. Apple CarPlay, for instance, is now standard, allowing occupants to manage telephony and entertainment on their Apple devices. For owners who take their cars to the track, there’s an optional Lamborghini Telemetry system which records lap times and circuit performance.
For the driver, the Aventador S features a new TFT digital dashboard, whose display changes according to the drive mode selected.
Apart from Strada, Sport and Corsa, there’s a new mode called Ego. As its name suggests, Ego gives drivers an egoistic degree of customisation by enabling him to tweak traction, steering and suspension settings.
The Ego setting complements the additional muscle that the Aventador S possesses.
Rather than turbocharging the engine, Lamborghini has instead boosted the output of the naturally aspirated 6.5-litre V12 by remapping the ECU and raising the rev limit from 8350rpm to 8500rpm.
The result is an increase of power from 700bhp to 740bhp. This means that the Aventador S only has 10bhp less than the Aventador Superveloce (SV), the fastest and most powerful model in the Lamborghini range.
Surprisingly, Lamborghini says that the improved V12 is actually slightly more efficient, and can now manage 5.9km per litre instead of 5.8km per litre.
Also improved is the exhaust system. Thanks to its lightweight alloy construction, the new system is 20 percent, or 6kg, lighter than the Aventador’s.
The weight saving actually compensates for what might well be the single most important addition to the car: the rear-wheel-steering system.
Below 80km/h, said system steers the rear wheels in the opposite direction of the front wheels by 3 degrees, thus reducing the coupe’s turning circle from an unwieldy 12.5m to a more manageable 11.5m.
At speeds above 80km/h, the system turns the rear wheels in the same direction as the front wheels by 1.5 degrees, thereby improving high-speed cruising stability.
For even more sure-footedness, the Aventador S uses the Haldex Generation IV all-wheel-drive (AWD) system that is also fitted to the Aventador SV. Depending on driving conditions, the Haldex system can send up to 80 percent of the engine’s torque to the rear axle.
Helping to keep this performance in check are the mechanical differential in the rear axle, and an electronic/ABS-facilitated differential in the front axle. Both differentials are controlled by the ESP, which changes their characteristics according to the chosen drive mode settings.
The Aventador S puts its power down via its new, specially designed Pirelli P Zero tyres. This raging bull charges from zero to 100km/h in 2.9 seconds, does zero to 200km/h in 8.8 seconds and goes from zero to 300km/h in 24.2 seconds. Top speed is a claimed 350km/h.
These figures are phenomenal because they’re almost on a par with the 750bhp Aventador SV which, from a standstill, demolishes the century sprint in 2.8 seconds, hits 200km/h in 8.6 seconds and zips past the 300km/h mark in 24 seconds.
I drove both the Aventador and Aventador S back-to-back, and even without trying hard, found the difference between them to be quite stark. In the Aventador S, I needed much less steering input to negotiate the slalom course, thanks to its newfound agility.
The initial track sessions at the Ricardo Tormo Race Circuit were driven in wet conditions.But thanks to the all-wheel-drive system, what could have been a scary drive turned out to be quite exhilarating instead, as the coupe is less readily overwhelmed by the surfeit of power.
Although the AWD system diverts excess power from the rear wheels, the car still manages to accelerate hard through the corners with a manageable drift, rather than fishtailing completely.
Thankfully the track dried as the day wore on, allowing me to fully exploit the new rear-wheel-steering system.
It gave the Aventador S added neutrality around the track by removing low-speed understeer and reducing high-speed oversteer.
What I felt was a more flowing drive, be it on the circuit or on the road. Lamborghini says that this system alone cuts about a second off each minute of lap time.
Our pace cars were Aventador SVs. Although they were quicker, I was able to keep up with them in the slower corners, where their huge wings did not generate as much downforce. Only in the high-speed corners were the SVs, with their superior downforce and grip levels, able to shake off the chasing Aventador S models.
As we took turns following the lead car around, we were treated to the awe-inspiring sight of blue flames shooting out of the tailpipes as the V12 engines hit their redlines.
I’m hard-pressed to say that I could easily feel the difference that the extra 40bhp makes, but the Aventador S did feel more eager than the Aventador, and its exhaust note has developed a metallic timbre thanks to the use of a new lightweight alloy.
The Aventador S is in its element on a track, but it also scythes confidently through mountain roads. I found the Sport setting ideal for most situations.
Surprisingly, even the most extreme Corsa setting, which forces you to shift gears manually, was not too stiff for mountain roads, thanks to the Lamborghini Magneto-rheological Suspension (LMS). LMS, which is not available on the Aventador, gives the Aventador S a wider damping range, thereby improving both handling and ride comfort.
Speaking of ride comfort, Lamborghini continues to utilise its Independent Single Rod (ISR) automated manual gearbox, rather than a dual-clutch transmission. The former will never be as smooth as the latter, but it does have the advantage of being both lighter and smaller.
Indeed, when compared to Porsche’s dual-clutch unit, which weighs about 120kg, using the 74kg ISR seems like a no-brainer.
ISR isn’t seamless, but its gearchanges are incredibly quick, taking just 50 milliseconds, or three times faster than a normal torque- converter automatic. And the shift shocks you’ll feel when the car is set to the most aggressive Corsa mode are unique in this era of super-smooth dual-clutch gearboxes.
The Aventador S is even more powerful than its predecessor, but the most pertinent upgrades are to the coupe’s styling and chassis.
The most noteworthy of these is the rear-wheel-steering system, which gives the supercar a new level of agility and stability that would otherwise have been impossible to achieve from merely honing the current platform.
TYPE V12, 48-valves
BORE X STROKE 95mm x 76.4mm
COMPRESSION RATIO 11.8:1
MAX POWER 740bhp at 8400rpm
MAX TORQUE 690Nm at 5500rpm
POWER TO WEIGHT 469.8bhp per tonne
GEARBOX 7-speed automated manual with manual select
DRIVEN WHEELS All
0-100KM/H 2.9 seconds
TOP SPEED 350km/h
CONSUMPTION 5.9km/L (combined)
CO2 EMISSION 394g/km
FRONT Double wishbones, inboard magneto-rheological dampers with pushrod system
REAR Double wishbones, inboard magneto-rheological dampers with pushrod system
FRONT / REAR Ventilated carbon-ceramic discs
TYPE Pirelli P Zero
SIZE 255/30 R20 (front), 355/25 R21 (rear)
TRACTION AIDS ABS, ESP
KERB WEIGHT 1575kg
TURNING CIRCLE 11.5m
PRICE EXCL. COE $1.628 million (after $30k CEVS surcharge)
WARRANTY 3 years/100,000km
+ MORE AGGRESSIVE STYLING, SHARPER HANDLING, FANTASTIC V12 SOUNDTRACK
- GEARBOX ONLY GREAT ON A RACETRACK, LIKELY TO BE AS THIRSTY AS BEFORE, SKY-HIGH PRICE