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We review the Lamborghini Aventador S Coupe 2018

We review the Lamborghini Aventador S Coupe 2018

1st August 2018

The Car.co.uk verdict:

3.7out of 5

Marketed as ‘An Icon Reborn’; the Lamborghini Aventador S Coupe is a complete reinvention of a fantastic but slightly flawed car. Where the previous Aventador always felt like a huge brawl that a driver needed to keep on the road, this entirely new car brings greater levels of agility and finesse to the driving experience.

The 4-wheel steering system is nothing short of a revelation – and the 6.5L V12 delivers power and noise that’s virtually guaranteed to raise your heart rate. It’s not the perfect hypercar, but it’s beautiful and blisteringly fast – ideal for thrill-seeking petrolheads that have got £300,000 to spare.

Pros

  • Incredible handling and power delivery through the new 4-wheel steering system
  • Jaw-dropping styling that delivers exceptional aerodynamic performance
  • Outrageous noise and power from the naturally aspirated 6.5L V12 engine

Cons

  • An eyewatering £270,000 price tag – with most configurations costing £300,000+
  • A semi-automatic gearbox that felt okay in 2011 – but now feels outdated
  • Comfort levels that make the car impractical for anything more than short journeys

Looks

5 out of 5

Looks

The new Aventador is truly a wolf in wolf’s clothing

If the new Lamborghini Aventador S passed you at speed, you could be forgiven for thinking it was visually similar to its Aventador predecessor – but you’d be wrong.

The car boasts a significant number of styling differences, and virtually all of them are done with performance in mind. Don’t misunderstand though, Lamborghini have never favoured function at the cost of style – and this beautiful new Aventador is no different. Aerodynamic performance is improved by 50% compared to previous versions – thanks in part to the reprofiled rear arches, which lend a lot from the iconic Countach of the mid-80s.

If you’re the shy and retiring type who doesn’t like to attract attention, this is most definitely not the car for you. The Aventador is the kind of car that would draw a crowd – even if it was surrounded by a host of other hypercars.

It’s interesting to note that it’s unlikely that you’ll ever see 2 Aventadors that are identical. Lamborghini offers an enormous range of options – from colours, wheels, and brake calipers, through to engine covers and carbon detailing. With a host of customisable parts, the uniqueness of your Lamborghini is only limited by your imagination.

Practicality

2 out of 5

Practicality

Exactly as practical as you’d expect a Lamborghini to be

How practical is the new Lamborghini Aventador Sport? It feels like an unfair question for a car that’s designed to be exceptionally fast; rather than spacious enough for a supermarket run. Compared to an average family car, the Aventador is hopelessly impractical – but if you’re parting with £300,000 to buy one, you’re already well aware of that.

In hypercar terms, the 2018 Lamborghini Aventador S makes some significant improvements compared to its predecessor when it comes to usability. The variable drive modes mean navigating city roads no longer leaves you feeling like you’ve operated a pneumatic drill for the entire drive; set the onboard computer to the ‘Strada’ configuration, and you’ll experience a slightly dampened throttle response and a much more forgiving suspension set up.

Don’t let relative road comfort fool you though; the Aventador is not a Grand Tourer – this is a performance-focused hypercar that won’t even come with a cup holder unless you’re willing to pay for one – so don’t expect to fit anything more than a single small bag under the bonnet.

Engine and Power

4.5 out of 5

Engine and Power

An awe-inspiring engine with a slightly less impressive gearbox

Lamborghini have truly created one of the greatest modern-day performance engines for the Aventador S – and when you hear it start, all your concerns about the astronomical price are quickly forgotten.

The new 6.5 litre V12 now produces 509lbs of torque at 5,500rpm and 740bhp at 8,400rpm – a full 40bhp more than the previous Aventador. This incredible engine carries the heavy car from 0-62 in 2.9 seconds – and boasts a top speed of 217mph. You haven’t misread either – despite being a V12, this mighty powerplant reaches 8,500rpm before the limiter steps in – and sounds as incredible as those figures would have you imagine.

As a non-turbo naturally aspirated engine, power delivery is smooth and beautifully consistent as the revs grow – meaning there’s no neck-snapping boost that you experience with comparable turbo-charged McLarens and Ferraris. If you find a piece of road that allows you to experience the Aventador’s acceleration between 6000-8000rpm, you’ll probably experience the closest thing most people will come to a fighter-jet launch.

While the sheer power, noise and feel of the Lamborghini V12 are out of this world, there’s an underwhelming 7-speed semi-automatic gearbox that you need to come to terms with if you want to be an Aventador driver.

Driving fully automatic is, at times, disconcerting – as the gearbox feels hesitant approaching gear changes. When automatic gear changes do come, they’re clean and fast – which is more than can be said for using the paddles manually. Driver shifting can feel jerky, leaving you wondering why Lamborghini decided on continuing with what feels like an outdated gearbox on such an otherwise overhauled car.

Reliability

4 out of 5

Reliability

An exotic Italian badge backed up by solid German reliability

Reliability figures are amassed from data collected over a lengthy period – and considering the experience of thousands of car owners. This is a problem when it comes to judging the Lamborghini Aventador S version’s overall reliability – as there are just not enough cars produced to create meaningful data.

That said, when Audi bought Lamborghini in 1998, there were significant steps forward in service and reliability – and this positive impact seems to be holding firm, seeing Lamborghini’s previous flagship cars; the Gallardo and Murciélago, both managing robust reliability data through their 10-year production runs.

When you order, your personal Lamborghini Aventador S specification is sent to the factory to be made-to-measure. This bespoke, low production volume approach means manufacturing errors are far less likely to occur, hopefully adding confidence to an already improving, Audi-based track record.

Onboard equipment

3 out of 5

Onboard equipment

A fairly typical hypercar equipment list

If you’re expecting your enormous outlay to secure you a car that’s laden with gadgets, you’re going to need to think again. The on-board Lamborghini Aventador S spec makes for swift reading. You’ll get:

  • A basic in-car entertainment system with a functional onboard sat-nav and Bluetooth
  • A DAB radio
  • Electric seats

There are options for internal LED lighting systems, and there’s air conditioning to keep you cool in the bristling Italian sunshine – but it’s clear that the Aventador isn’t created with creature comforts in mind.

Again, it’s probably slightly unfair to compare the Aventador S to anything other than its rival hypercars – and they’re not cars that are designed with much more than performance in mind. If you’re looking for Aston Martin style onboard toys, then your hard-earned money would be better spent with a car that’s got more of a Grand Tourer bloodline.

Interior

3.5 out of 5

Interior

A fighter-jet feel with lots of Audi inspiration

No effort has been made to disguise the fact that the Lamborghini Aventador S interior draws a lot of inspiration from jet aircraft – so merely climbing inside is an exciting experience, especially when you notice a start/stop button with a bright red protective cover that’s reminiscent of a missile-launch trigger.

Interior styling is similar to the outside of the car, i.e. there’s no such thing as ‘standard’. Instead, you’ll get to choose from a host of stunning finishes; from the finest Italian leather to swathes of raw carbon fibre weave. The result is a car that looks exactly the way you want, whether that’s refinement; or absolute racing essentials. From an entirely functional point of view, the steering wheel reach adjustment allows you to bring the controls nice and close, enhancing that road-going-race-car feel that all that power inspires.

For such a significant outlay, you might be expecting interior equipment that’s crafted especially for the Aventador; when in fact, you’re going to find switches and details that crop up again at the top of the Audi range. That’s not necessarily a bad thing – Audi’s R and RS vehicles boast sublime interiors – but they’re all significantly less costly than the Aventador.

While there’s an abunadance of visual theatre in the Aventador cockpit, there are some areas that feel a little lacking; the seats don’t hold you as snuggly as you might expect from a car that will exert considerable G-force on corners – and headspace becomes limited if you’re much taller than 6ft. While the Aventador might not be perfect; it’s difficult to conceal a childlike excitement when you pull shut one of those scissor-doors.

The drive

4.5 out of 5

The drive

One of the most improved hypercars of all time

Lamborghini have done an excellent job of telling the world about the improvements that the Aventador S brings – but when you’re driving the car, it’s clear that there’s real substance behind these claims.

Firstly, the ‘brain’ of the car has been totally reconfigured. The original Aventador had multiple ECUs that controlled different elements of the drive – from the differential to the throttle response, and braking control. These systems never seemed like they were working in harmony – which often felt like the car was trying to do many different things at once, held together by sheer power – and not a great deal else.

This feeling of conflict couldn’t be further from the truth with the Aventador S. The main ECU controls every dynamic parameter on the car, making the driving experience coherent and fluid. You no longer feel like you’re fighting with the Aventador – instead, it feels like you’re working with a tamed beast, ready to take orders from the driving seat.

Those orders are executed incredibly well too – thanks overwhelmingly to the incredible 4-wheel steering system Lamborghini have implemented on the Aventador S. While the original car handled well, the S now handles like a pure-bred race car. Although the rear-wheel steering offers just a fraction of movement you’ll see from the front wheels, the team behind it claim it effectively reduces the theoretical wheelbase of the car by around 50cm – making a monstrous hulk into a nimble and agile cornering machine.

The 4-wheel steering also means that the power produced by the Aventador S is more evenly dispersed through the car. The result? Not even the slightest hint of the understeer that was such a significant problem for the previous model – something that’s no doubt helped by the 130% increase in downforce that the development team claims is now coming from the redesigned aerodynamics.

Another significant improvement for the Aventador S comes from the ‘Ego’ system; the onboard ride configurator that allows you to choose between ‘Strada’, ‘Sport’, and ‘Corsa’ settings. Strada offers a very ‘drivable’ experience, ideal for around-town – whereas Corsa offers a stiff and extremely responsive race-car like feel to the steering, powertrain, suspension settings. Better still, the car has ‘Ego’ mode – essentially a personalised specification setting. This allows a user-defined combination of all three pre-sets, meaning you can keep the more forgiving suspension and braking configuration, without losing out on the heightened Corsa power delivery.

Cost

2 out of 5

Cost

A price bracket that includes some fierce competition

The Lamborghini Aventador S price tag isn’t for the faint-hearted. While it’s possible to spec a car around £275,000 – most will leave the factory having cost their owners closer to £300,000, and, with the addition of some carbon fibre, the price could easily be nudged closer to £340,000.

In terms of performance, the Aventador S is often compared to the McLaren 720S – or perhaps the Ferrari 488 GTB – but weighs in at least £100,000 more costly than either of these turbo-charged alternatives. In reality, the Aventador is more comparable to Ferrari 812 Superfast – and even with Lamborghini’s incredible engine and improved handling, a comparison to one of the greatest and most powerful road cars ever produced will leave potential buyers with a tough choice.

Of course, cost isn’t just about the initial purchase – with an optimistic 16.7mpg quoted by Lamborghini, the Aventador will continue to empty your wallet long after you get it onto your driveway. Fuel economy and depreciation are both significant with a car of this calibre – but if you’ve got £300,000 to spend on a hypercar, you’re likely to be going into the transaction with your eyes open.

Will the Lamborghini Aventador S Coupe price put buyers off? If you’re looking for incredible good looks, the answer is almost certainly no.

Safety

4 out of 5

Safety

Does everything you can reasonably expect from a hypercar

The Aventador S is yet to be tested to Euro NCAP standards, and owing to its very small production numbers; it probably won’t be.

Of course, the basics and legalities are covered – there are 4 airbags that will deploy if the car is involved in a significant collision, and there are traction control and electronic stability programs that will help you to avoid those collisions in the first place. While an increasing number of road cars are coming equipped with automatic emergency braking and collision avoidance technology, hypercar manufacturers seem uninterested in deploying the systems on their top-end models – and Lamborghini are no exception.

To ensure control of the Aventador S stays in your hands, every configuration has carbon ceramic brakes that help to keep you out of trouble – and, despite no official crash data, the sheer weight and robust build of the Lamborghini will help you to feel safe on the road.

If the Aventador’s reduced all-round visibility leaves you worrying about parking – you’ll be pleased to hear there are parking sensors equipped as standard, although for most people, that £300,000 price tag will be perfectly adequate protection against low-speed carbon-shattering bumps.

Why buy

4.5 out of 5

Why buy

A winning combination of jaw-dropping looks and incredible performance

The Aventador wins the award for ‘most-improved’ hypercar hands down. The original car was outrageously attractive, but always felt like a series of thrashing and colliding systems you could only hope would stick together. The S is something very different – it’s a more ‘together’ car; it’s still a brute – but one that’s on your side.

Lamborghini’s Ego mode and 4-wheel steering systems are the stand-out features – they transform a big and unruly car into a beautiful driving experience.  The Aventador S comes tantalisingly close to having it all; it’s blisteringly fast, it’s arguably the best-looking hypercar on the road – and its new approach to handling means it doesn’t just deliver in a straight line.

The Lamborghini Aventador S 2018 price tag pits the car against some stiff competition for best in class. There no doubt that the Ferrari 812 Superfast out-performs it in a number of ways, however, what the Aventador lacks in finesse and refined grace, it more than makes up for with its ferocious roar, brutal power, and unashamed good looks.

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