When we first got acquainted with the Lamborghini Aventador S, we put it through 26 blissful miles of Carmel roads, causing awe and terror with the fury of the V12 monster in full compliance with road laws. As epic as it was, it always leaves one wanting…And Lamborghini is well aware of this. So we were invited out to Auto Club Speedway in Fontana to learn about the true nature of the Aventador S and to unleash it on roads with no speed limits or civilian restrictions.
For those who didn’t read our first review or the stats, here’s a quick recap: 740 horsepower. Naturally aspirated V12. All wheel drive with rear wheel steering. And looks that make stealth fighters envious and lesser cars nervous.
On the road, you get a sense the Aventador S is always plotting new and exciting ways to terrorize everything on the road, including the driver, through sheer brute aggression. But it feels a bit civilized on the road as well, especially when compared to it’s feral brother the SV. The Aventador S is easy to drive on the road and make the savagery feel accessible and controllable, but you feel the car is held back by the invisible rules of the road. So, having the Aventador S on the track, we should expect to see just how wild this Tyrannosaurus Rex of a hypercar is right?
You’d be exactly right about that. Utilizing Corsa mode (because setting up Ego mode would be a waste of time when all you want is everything set to be as irresponsible as possible) we put the mighty Lambo through it’s paces. We did some autocross on the infield part of the track to begin with, and we got a really feel for how nimble and dare we say agile the Aventador S is. When we first drove it through the canyons we felt a big difference in the nature of the handling compared to past models due to the rear-wheel steering, but on the track we got to see how much of a difference that made. The Aventador S is the size and weight of a T-Rex, but it moves and darts like it’s a velociraptor. Which at first is confusing, then becomes enthralling as you hear the V12 roaring behind you with the a full force of primeval nature.
Next we did the full circuit, which was the infield course and the high speed straights and turn on the track. At speed the Aventador S makes going from 0-60 mph feel like light speed, and when you realize that you’ve gone from 0-110 mph, it suddenly becomes clear that you have gone at light speed. The fastest we got the S up to that day was 155 mph+ (at 155 mph we had to take our eyes off the speedo and focus on the track more as the giant wall on the long sweeping turn got closer and bigger very, very quickly) and the Aventador wasn’t even straining. It could do more…a lot more…easily. That’s what’s scary, the car feels as solid, composed, planted and savage at 150 mph as it does at 50 mph, and at 150 mph the car isn’t breaking a sweat and has plenty of power to boot. Running the car through the full track, it was amazing to experience the full savagery of the Aventador, as the handling is sharp, the power and acceleration are reality-altering, and the biggest question you have is “How is this thing road legal?” We don’t know and we don’t care, we’re immensely grateful that somehow (probably a bribe or three) this car is able to exist, as it’s an experience that can be seldom rivaled by anything on the market.
So the real question is, is it a proper track car? The answer is no, as it was never intended to be, but we’d argue for the Aventador S, that’s a good thing. If you want a fully blown track car, you need a Porsche 911 GT3 RS or a Ferrari 458 Speciale, but then with those cars you give up the street car comfort and appeal. With the Aventador S, it’s a very fun and capable car to push around the track. But it is a road car first, so you’ll notice that in super tight turns. The Aventador S manages to carry it’s weight well, but if you’re used to driving lighter cars then you can certainly feel the extra heft of this car. But for what it is, the Aventador S is very impressive, as the rear-wheel steering give the car a surprising amount of maneuverability, the power delivery is savage and the car feels responsive and connected to the road. Unlike a lot of newer cars that try to hide all road sensation from the driver, the Aventador S channels all the feedback from the road through the seat and steering wheel, so you hands know what the front tires are up to and your butt cheeks know exactly what each of the rear tires is doing.
Now, no car is without fault, and the limited interior space vanishes the second you put a helmet on. The size of the car is a bit noticeable at first as well, but once you start tearing into corners the car doesn’t drive as big as it actually is. And the most divisive topic is the single clutch transmission. For many, it’s not smooth like dual clutch gearboxes. For us, we actually prefer the single clutch because it’s properly violent and feel far more raw, which makes the Aventador S stand apart and feel more old school. The only other V12 hypercar you can get with a single clutch feeling is a Pagani Huarya, and for one of those you’ll have to shell out the cash equal to 3 or 4 Aventadors, making it somewhat of a bargain. Somewhat, in the most relative terms possible.
All in all, the Aventador S is a fantastic machine, and is our favorite new hypercar on the market. While it’s true home is the roads, this car is a blast of a machine to thrash on the track and we’d highly encourage all owners to experience the fully might and fury of this machine in a rack environment at least once.
(Some pictures are courtesy of Scene 7 Films and Lamborghini)