It’s not that hard to define a masterpiece, albeit a painting, a literary piece, a culinary delight, a song, even a play or opera. In simplistic terms; a masterpiece is essentially a most outstanding piece of work that you become so engrossed with that you actually forget the artist that created it. It’s the Triumph of Galatea, the Annunciation, The Creation of Adam, It’s the Last Supper. Lamborghini took me to their Galleria (aka Phillip Island racetrack) in Australia to take a look at their latest work of art, the Aventador S.
We arrived at lunch time on a soaking wet Tuesday which; bearing in mind what was ahead of us in terms of supercar and racetrack; was a little daunting. However, the morning session survived in one piece so they couldn’t have gone too fast could they?
With the delicious lunch out of steak and barramundi out of the way, it was on to the briefing. A quick glimpse at the Aventador S and you can tell that there was a lot to talk about, but our hosts recognised that we were keen to get some seat time so kept it as brief as they could.
Aesthetically they have improved on the iconic design. It has a more aggressive nose with inspiration being drawn from a Snark (Snake/Shark). Huge side air ducts aid airflow and keep the mechanics cool while the forward angle to the rear wheel arch gives the rear end a heightened sense of drama – as if it needed it. Overall the Aventador S is cleaner, more pure, more refined and the ‘improvements’ have produced 130% extra downforce and made it 50% more aerodynamically efficient – the ‘stare’ factor is up over 200% too.
Behind a clear housing sits the V12 Naturally Aspirated Beast of an engine. Here are some numbers for you to chew on. 740HP with 690Nm of torque and the weight to power is 2.13kg/ps. 0-100km/h arrives in 2.9seconds, 0-200km/h in 8.8 seconds, 0-300km/h in 24.2 seconds – let me say that again, in HALF the time it takes to cook minute rice you could be travelling at 300km/h! And if you’re brave enough (and have the opportunity) the Aventador S has a top speed of 350km/h.
In what Lamborghini call the ‘4 masterpieces’ they introduced us to some of the less visible technology advancements.
4 driving modes – Strada for a meaningful urban experience, Sport for a thrilling fun drive, Corsa for pure performance and EGO which gives you full control to personalise the powertrain, steering and suspension 24 different ways.
4 wheel steering – (low speed opposing wheels/ high speed same direction – with the change happening somewhere between the 50-90 km/h). The result is a more precise steering experience at all speeds and a 30% angle reduction on steering wheel, basically less turn needed for greater response at the wheel.
4 Wheel Drive – Active torque distribution according to driving mode and conditions, that has been optimised to work with the 4 Wheel Steering. More sure footedness whatever the weather.
4 Active Suspension – the Aventador S has a Continuously Adaptive Magnetorheological Suspension – what? With more technology than you can shake a stick at, the CAMS is basically HiFi for dynamic driving but all you need to know is that the new damper controls and rear suspension kinematics work in with the new rear wheel steer system.
With our heads full of knowledge it was time to get up close to Masterpiece itself. With helmets on, we headed out onto the track – it was still raining. The roar of the V12 on startup sends shivers down your spine (only to be out shone under high revs), it’s ‘wide smile’ evoking. A pull on the right paddle and we were off in follow the leader style.
Strada offers up a great way to introduce you the car. There is plenty of engagement from engine and wheel and a good confidence builder. A push of the button to Sport and things go up a level (or two). The Instrument panel changes, the revs go up and so does the symphony from the V12, it’s an absolute joy. Under the day’s conditions and on track time available, I only touched Corsa for a brief moment and left the EGO mode for another time (fingers crossed). For a multitude of reasons the Lamborghini have strapped their ISR (Independent shifting Rod) 7 speed gearbox to the V12. It’s a big improvement on the previous model but it leaves you with no doubt that you are changing gear (especially in Corsa).
For me, Sport was the winner on the day. The combination of power, response and speed was a truly emotional driving experience.
With track time completed (sigh) we headed to the skid pan, but it’s not what you’re thinking – a slippery road surface and an ultra powerful V12 are seldom going to end well – no this exercise around a tight cone laden route was to display the rear wheel steering at low speed.
Standing outside the car and watching the rear wheels turn in opposing lock to the front was quite odd at first (they really do move significantly) but behind the steering wheel the result was impressive, the big supercar navigated the course with relative ease.
The day ended with a superfast hot lap with a Lamborghini Squadra driver in the driver’s seat. Damn it was fast. The Aventador S stuck to the tarmac like oil on canvass and we tipped Gardner straight at 266 km/h!
To top off the Aventador S event was a helicopter flight back to the city – always a crowd pleaser. As we lifted off and watched the track become smaller, it was hard not to look down wistfully at the Italian artistry of brightly coloured Aventador S’s below. If what they say is true, and that a masterpiece makes you forget whom the artist was that created it, all I can say is Lamborghini who?
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