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  1. Link: https://autoweek.com/article/car-reviews/2019-lamborghini-aventador-svj-one-goes-eleven 2019 Lamborghini Aventador SVJ: This one goes to 11 Ostentatious and outstanding, 759 hp and loads of race car tech When does 100 mph not feel fast? The moment you reach 175 mph at the end of the Estoril straight, that’s when. And when you do it again. And again… Calling the Lamborghini Aventador SVJ fast is like calling a tornado windy. It is the most densely packed form of excitement on the planet, a V12-powered Carnival in Rio, an exclamation point on wheels. And that intensity starts long before getting inside and hitting the gas. Lamborghini head designer Mitja Borkert (pronounced: meet ya) likens the SVJ to piloting a fighter jet and then goes on to point out design elements plucked straight from a plane. A fin on the end of the front splitter looks just like the tail of an F-16. Generally speaking, they call it the Y-shape and place that design element all over the car, inside and out, even in the taillights. Of course, these details only become noticeable once you absorb the Aventador’s stunning, low and wide, and aggressive overall look. Hard angles and huge windshield rake give it a singular wedge shape, then various extrusions from the wings and scoops add both a sense of purpose and menace. I think a fighter jet looks a bit subdued by comparison. It’s all very alpha male. And that suits Lamborghini fine, because to the Sant’Agata Bolognese-based supercar (and SUV) builder, it’s all about flair. Make a thing that makes you feel. Stir the pot of emotions to grab your attention and then hold it like a vise. And don’t fight it. Life is way better if you allow the SVJ to soak up your attention. Listen to its 6.5-liter V12 bark with minimal concern about the neighbors. Hear it rev to infinity and scream like an early '90s Formula 1 car. 1 OF 16The 2019 Lamborghini Aventador SVJ on the road Speaking of, there’s more power here than in that era of F1 car. Also up 20 from the SV and 70 from the standard Aventador, the SVJ’s engine makes 759 hp at 8,500 rpm and 531 lb-ft of torque at 6,750 rpm. Powertrain engineers managed this by swapping in titanium intake valves, which close faster than the valves they replace. That closing speed change allows more air to get into the cylinder in the same amount of combustion cycle time. More fuel is injected as well and voila, more power. The SVJ uses the same fuel injectors as the SV, but it has a modified intake manifold to improve air flow. And it’s not just at the peak -- this V12 makes more power throughout the rev range. And the amount of weight being pushed around is less than you might think, courtesy of the absurd quantity of carbon fiber used. The material is part of the monocoque, roof, engine cover, front splitter, rear diffuser and rear wing, among other bits. Also, the wheels are forged aluminum and save 10 pounds when compared to the set on the SV. Altogether, the SVJ weighs 3,616 pounds, according to Lamborghini, giving the SVJ a weight-to-power ratio of 4.8:1. The Execution From rest, 62 mph is just 2.8 seconds away; 124 mph only requires another 5.8 seconds to reach. No wonder a long straightaway gives the SVJ time to reach jetliner take-off speeds. The pull is immediate and forceful, enough to suck your retinas deeper into their sockets, the sheer shock of the matter interrupts breathing and, if you’re lucky, you collect yourself just enough in time to flick the right paddle, grab another gear and start the process over again. Shifts come fast and happen fast. In a weird way, this is another connection to '90s F1 as the SVJ uses Lamborghini’s seven-speed Independent Shifting Rod, or ISR, single-clutch automated manual gearbox. Lighter than a dual-clutch box (smaller too), when you’re at full-throttle shifts bang off with the immediacy of winning a Grand Prix. And all the mechanical sounds that come with it are immensely satisfying. Lamborghini's 770-hp Aventador SVJ takes the V12 flagship to the next level With such superfluous power, braking zones come quick, and at each and every one you feel thankful that the SVJ comes with massive carbon-ceramic discs, 15.7-inches in front, 15.0 in back, to whoa up progress. Pirelli P Zero Corsa tires provide plenty of grip to work with, and for the most part, the brakes perform superbly. Before going further, please refer back to the opening two sentences of this article. And to be fair to the SVJ, turn 1 is a tighter-than-90-degree, slower-than-60-mph corner. To have to scrub 115 mph in a few hundred feet, repeatedly, takes a lot of energy. That said, the brake pedal travel did get long and brakes did begin to fade. Again, I’m sympathetic -- that’s a lot of heat to deal with. And generally, the car slowed with authority and pedal feel was consistently spot on, travel was correct to make trail-braking easy to modulate, but confidence in them was sapped just a touch. It’s like the one time in my life that I petted a tiger at a petting zoo. I knew that it was almost definitely safe, but, if it wasn’t, I’d have to deal with a whole lot of energy really fast. Assuming a tiger doesn’t eat you before turn-in, the SVJ is a treat. Your butt sinks deep into the competition bucket seats that make it easy to both feel the car’s movement and not move at all yourself. The incredibly steeply raked windshield does make vision less panoramic than I hoped, but it’s still more than adequate 99 percent of the time. And the steering feels alive in your hands. Though a bit overly boosted, it’s hydraulically assisted steering, like the good old days, meaning you feel the road and all of its little eccentricities. 1 OF 29The 2019 Lamborghini Aventador SVJ in Detail The SVJ combines longstanding race car kit and new technology. The dampers are adjustable, modern, but also mounted horizontally in the center of the axle and actuated via pushrods, keeping more of the weight in the center, like formula cars have run for decades. The exhaust is mounted high, which looks cool, but also makes room for a massive rear diffuser. That, along with a big front splitter and big rear wing, makes 551 pounds of downforce at 186 mph. But the wings can be “stalled,” meaning their effectiveness and drag is reduced with a system called ALA 2.0. ALA is short for Aerodinamica Lamborghini Attiva; the 2.0 was added because this system was introduced on the Huracan Performante and upgraded here. The electrically actuated, computer-controlled system has channels in the front and back that, when closed, allow the front and rear wing to function as normal. Once opened, air flows around the wings in such a way as to reduce the amount of both downforce and drag on the car. Open ALA channels effectively mean a more streamlined and faster car. Great for straights. The system makes more downforce than before, hence the 2.0, and also pulls off something called aero vectoring. In the rear, only half the wing is stalled, which allows air to push down harder on the inside wheel in a corner, which is pretty darn slick -- not to mention rear-axle steering to aid further in back-end stability. Video proof: Lamborghini Aventador SVJ owns 'Ring lap record But you don’t feel any of that. You just feel response -- fast, immediate response. Any small wiggle of the wheel, brush of the throttle or tap on the brakes causes a noticeable reaction. Normal motions feel exaggerated in the SVJ. You have to consciously tell yourself, "Slow down your hands, slow down your feet." Or you have to tell someone else why you spun. Adapting to this car’s behavior, however, is like turning the volume knob of life to 11. Nothing but a screaming V12, blurred scenery and big forces pulling at your body in every direction. It gives you tunnel vision of nothing but awesome. It's singularity of purpose. Lamborghini only gave me the opportunity to drive the SVJ on-track, but, yes, it is street legal. In fact, one of the driving modes is strada (street in Italian) where things calm down. Then there’s sport (or fun mode, as Lamborghini likes to call it because it’s easy to drift the car), corsa (race in Italian) and ego (a customizable drive mode -- adjust the steering, shocks and stability control independently of each other) modes. But frankly, I don’t see the point. Once you live life at 11, everything else is too quiet. Anything beneath full throttle results in slow and sometimes lumbering shifts from the ISR. And you notice it’s a bit hard to see out this thing and that the rear window is bifurcated by an air intake and otherwise limited by louvers. Drive it calmly and you quickly realize that 11 is the only reasonable volume in this car. 6 OF 7The 2019 Lamborghini Aventador SVJ being built on the assembly line The Takeaway Being a car of big numbers, price must be a part of that, and $517,770 certainly fits. Lamborghini is building 900 examples. What do you get for that money? You get the most perfectly flawed car on the planet. A car full of racing technology from a car company that for a long time rebuked racing altogether. It’s not bad to drive normally, but it is a touch unsettling. The SVJ slaps subtlety in the face and looks good doing it. You cannot help but be impressed by the car's physicality and its ability to just make you feel good. Allow it to, and the SVJ will win your heart.
  2. Link: https://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/2019-lamborghini-aventador-svj-759-hp-warrior Lamborghini's Aging Aventador Goes Out with a 759-HP Shriek The Aventador SVJ is the current production-car Nurburgring champ and the blackest-hearted V-12 Lambo yet. SEPTEMBER 2018 BY MIKE DUFF VIEW 85 PHOTOS Lamborghini's Miura, the first mid-engined supercar, was a true pioneer. But in the years that followed, the company found its groove with a dynasty that prioritized theater over handling dynamics. The Countach and the Diablo looked amazing, and their images were thumbtacked to millions of bedroom walls. They also were loud, fast, spectacularly impractical, and pretty much sweated machismo, but they were blunt weapons when driven hard. You could take a Lamborghini to a racetrack—but only in the same way you could wrestle an alligator. HIGHS Still looks the business, naturally aspirated V-12 shriek, 759 horsepower. LOWS Some instability under braking, dated cabin. The Aventador, launched in 2011 with its carbon-fiber structure and advanced technologies, brought an unprecedented level of sophistication to a big Lamborghini. It also brought a newfound obsession with racetracks. The 2016 Aventador SV—SV stands for Superveloce—had its mid-mounted V-12 boosted to 740 horsepower and had 110 pounds trimmed from its mass, enough to allow it to circle the Nürburgring Nordschleife in less than seven minutes. And now, as the Aventador approaches retirement, Lambo is launching the even blacker-hearted SVJ, which recently became the fastest street-legal car to lap the Nordschleife, with a time of 6:44.97. VIEW 85 PHOTOS What Makes a Jota Perhaps fortunately, Lamborghini didn't bring us to the Nürburgring to try to better the remarkable efforts of factory test driver Marco Mapelli, but rather to the Estoril circuit in Portugal. We were allowed to experience the SVJ for three four-lap stints, and there was no road driving, but it was sufficient to prove that the SVJ is something very special—and that Mapelli is a remarkably brave man. SVJ stands for Superveloce Jota, the suffix being used by Lamborghini for its most track-focused editions. As the name suggests, it builds on the SV with incremental improvements pretty much across the board. Power for the naturally aspirated 6.5-liter V-12 rises from 740 horsepower to 759. The engine gains titanium intake valves, which allow more aggressive cam profiles, while friction for the crankshaft and pistons has been reduced. The torque peak has increased slightly, with 531 lb-ft available at 6750 rpm, but chief technical officer Maurizio Reggiani is more proud of the relatively flat torque output across the engine's midrange—"and without any turbos!" He remains defiant in the face of forced-induction spreading to nearly all supercars. VIEW 85 PHOTOS Although Lamborghini's claimed weight for the SVJ remains the same as the SV, it carries more technology including active aerodynamics. Lambo quotes 3362 pounds "dry," although the 3868-pound figure of the Superveloce we tested shows just how much fluid an Aventador carries. The new version of the Aerodinamica Lamborghini Attiva (ALA) system that debuted on the Huracán Performante includes movable elements on the front splitter as well as a pair just ahead of the vast rear wing, which are capable of directing airflow to stall the rear element, reducing drag. It can also stall either side selectively, allowing for what Reggiani describes as "aero vectoring," which helps the car turn at high speeds; the aero load can be varied across the rear wing by up to 20 percent side to side. With all the elements working, peak downforce is claimed to be 1100 pounds at 217 mph, 40 percent more than the SV generates. Setting the Stage Lamborghini gets its excuses in early. Even before we head onto the track at Estoril, which is a tight, twisting 2.6-mile circuit that last saw a Grand Prix in 1996, we've been warned that we aren't going to find ideal conditions. The company sent a prototype car here in July and discovered a surface abrasive enough to allow the SVJ to run on the Pirelli P Zero Corsa tires that the car will wear as standard, rather than the track-biased Trofeo R option on which it set its Nordschleife time. But when Lambo's technicians returned to set up for the launch with a truck filled with fresh P Zeros, they found the entire track resurfaced, with the slippery fresh asphalt returning about 80 percent as much grip as before. VIEW 85 PHOTOS No matter, a pit lane filled with red, white, and green SVJs that have been parked in the order of the Italian tricolore is a great way to start any day. The Aventador is one of the oldest swingers in its segment (it arrived a couple of months before McLaren launched the MP4-12C, which has since been replaced twice), and in supercar years it's drawing a pension. But even if you'd spent the entirety of the last seven years staring at one, we doubt you'd be bored with it. Wedgy, edgy, and radiating that particularly Italian combination of style and menace, it still looks spectacular—the SVJ graphics on the rear fenders are optional. The cabin feels its age, though. When it debuted, the Aventador offered unprecedented space and comfort for a Lamborghini, but the game has since moved on. Even with the standard seat motored to its lowest position, it still feels too high off the floor, and the black microfiber-covered headliner is too low. The switchgear is widely scattered throughout the cabin, with the headlight controls hidden in a binnacle to the left of the steering wheel. The sight of an older-gen Audi display screen nestling in the middle of the dashboard seems deeply incongruous in a car costing over half a million bucks. VIEW 85 PHOTOS On the Track at Estoril Thirty seconds later, pretty much none of that matters. The mid-mounted V-12 fills the cabin with noise and vibration as soon as it fires to life, and then just gets better. Exiting pit lane at 4000 rpm, the SVJ already sounds superior to many of its turbocharged competitors at full chat. When the 8700-rpm redline approaches for the first time—a couple of seconds later—it has secured its place in the Parthenon with a noise that combines pain and pleasure, the sort of high note with which the fat lady closes the opera. Our afterlife will be soundtracked by 12-cylinder Lamborghinis rather than heavenly choirs. The SVJ is brutally fast as well, delivering huge acceleration even on Estoril's shorter straights, with the Lambo's digital speedometer showing over 173 mph at the end of the not especially long main straight. The single-clutch automated gearbox shifts with a brutal quickness when in its punchiest Corsa setting, although at anything other than full attack there is still a notable pause as the old-fashioned transmission changes gears. VIEW 85 PHOTOS Shedding speed is more of a challenge. The Aventador's brake pedal could be felt softening over a four-lap stint of the circuit, this despite the huge carbon-ceramic rotors. We also discovered a surprising and initially alarming amount of lateral movement under hard deceleration, which required countersteering to keep the Aventador heading straight. The SVJ's mass was also evident through Estoril's many corners. It turned in keenly and found impressive lateral grip on the greasy surface. The rear-steering system definitely helps to tip the back end into tighter turns, although it creates a slightly odd sensation in the steering wheel—as if you've gone slightly too far. We also could feel through the steering wheel the all-wheel-drive system's attempts to find traction by shifting torque to the front wheels. VIEW 85 PHOTOS Although it was indulgent of an overoptimistic throttle application in a way that very few of its rivals would be, the SVJ's digital brain was clearly working overtime to deal with the engine's huge output in the slower parts of the circuit. In Corsa mode there was a noticeable lag between requesting urge and feeling it fully arrive, and even in faster parts of the track the stability-control light was often strobing its displeasure. Turning from Corsa to the intermediate Sport setting actually slackens the traction control, allowing a modest amount of rear-end slip at lower speeds, but we had no doubt as to the tremendous forces involved in making an Aventador go fast. Our respect for Mapelli's achievement at the 'Ring is total. Despite the hugeness of the engineering effort Lamborghini has put into making the Aventador SVJ perform on track, we suspect its natural habitat will continue to be that of lesser Lamborghinis: revving at a stoplight in downtown Miami or parked next to the valet stand at an upmarket nightclub. That's fine, but never forget that it is capable of so much more.
  3. Article Link: https://www.roadandtrack.com/new-cars/first-drives/a23570757/lamborghini-aventador-svj-first-drive-review/ The best barbecue is cooked slowly, over a low fire, where the meat changes just, incrementally over time. Most people don’t cook their brisket long enough; conventional wisdom says beef is finished cooking at around 135 degrees, and chicken finishes up in the 160’s. But brisket is a different kind of meat. When it gets to around 165, it stays there, for what seems like forever, and folks will call that done and remove it But this phase of the cooking is actually called “the stall” and you have to push through that, keep cooking slowly, for a few more hours, and the temperature will rise to the finished 205 degrees, for a perfect brisket. If you don’t make it through the stall, expect an underdeveloped end product. Low and slow, with lots of patience, and the forethought to push through the stall – that’s how legends like Aaron Franklin do it. Same goes for supercar manufacturers, who, despite the flash of selling six-figure machinery, operate on tight budgets and frequently serve up half-baked product for a few years before getting it right. The Lamborghini Aventador is on its eighth year now, and for most of those years, it was served undercooked. While the aggressive styling is unquestionably Lambo, and was utterly stunning on arrival, the dynamics left a lot to be desired. I recall remarking, while driving the original in the canyons, how it had to be driven like a front-wheel drive car, with heavy trail braking, summoning all your “anti-understeer” techniques. The SV version, in 2015, was better, a bit livelier, a bit lighter and tighter, but honestly, not by much. The Aventador S, in 2016, brought with it a rear-wheel-steering system, which, though not a true substitute for svelte proportions, certainly was a large improvement in the handling department, especially in low-to-medium speed corners, where the car’s massive stagger and rear-biased weight proportions fought corner entry tooth-and-nail. Rear steer also helped to improve the Aventador’s maneuverability in urban driving and parking, as a nice bonus. Still, after five days with that product, I saw it was closer, but not all the way there–if it were a brisket, we could take the Aventador S’s temperature around 190. Now, we find ourselves at the legendary Estoril Circuit in Portugal with the latest, and presumably, final iteration of the Aventador, the SVJ. The ‘J’ if you know your Lamborghini history, stands for “Jota,” the most extreme version of any Lamborghini model. In the past, privateers, under authorization from the factory to take the cars beyond their production limits, have built the “J” spec cars. This one is a full factory effort, one that the Italians seem incredibly proud to show off, and which has already rewarded Lamborghini with a Nurburgring production car record, an astonishing 6 minutes, 44 seconds–three seconds quicker than Porsche’s GT2 RS. The Aventador has always had the power to put up impressive numbers in a straight line, running in the high-160’s in the standing half mile, but to anyone who drove the original Aventador in 2011, the idea that this platform could, in seven years, be a ‘Ring record holder, is truly impressive. I would have told you the agility not only wasn’t there, but also that it never could be. I now stand corrected. To build an Aventador SVJ, almost everything in the car has been massaged, starting with the V12 Engine. In Lambo’s opinion, a naturally aspirated V12 is the perfect engine for a super sports car, and while this author can’t deny the effectiveness of, say McLaren’s 3.8L twin-turbo V8, I have to agree, on sound alone. We’ll get to that. To extract more power out of the already potent 6.5L naturally-aspirated engine, Lambo went old school: lighter flywheel and clutch assembly for more revs, titanium valve springs and new cam profiles, longer intake runners, and a shorter, louder, lighter exhaust. The result is 770 horsepower and 531 lb/ft of torque. While the peak torque occurs higher than in the previous engine, that doesn’t tell the whole story–there is more torque all over the entire power band, not just at the peak. The new engine makes more power everywhere. The sound is, frankly, without peer. Listening to a pair of SVJ’s running nose to tail down Estoril’s front straight is more like sitting front row at LeMans than at your average California track day. It’s a piercing howl, one that no amount of turbocharged horsepower could possibly reproduce. While Lamborghini is clearly trying to build the highest performing car they can, equally, if not more important, is the theater of it, and the sheer volume and pitch of the SVJ screams exotica. Lambo’s chassis engineers have gone all the way in order to cut weight from the SVJ, and it seems they have done so from, basically, everywhere. From the extensive use of carbon fiber in the body and interior, to lightweight, center-locking wheels, lightened suspension and exhaust components, and an engine bonnet without struts or a power latch, (meaning lift-off), they have touched it all, and done weight reduction in such a way that the car’s center of mass is exactly the same as before, but with rear steer and the ALA active aero system added in. Speaking of ALA, Lamborghini’s Active Aerodynamics system on the SVJ is advanced and yet, charmingly simple. Unlike Pagani, McLaren, or Ford, with hydraulically operated wings and air brakes, Lamborghini’s system is comprised of a flat undertray, additional nostrils in the snout, and just a couple simple flaps to direct key bits of air to key places. In the front, a notable splitter has two small flaps, and in the rear, an air intake at the base of the large wing’s center stanchion has two small flaps, both electronically, not hydraulically, activated. The rear flaps send air either around or inside the wing. Yes, inside the wing. When opened, the air flows through the center stanchion, and out of a small slot on the underside of the wing. In ‘strada’ driving modes, the flaps are closed, and the wing is maximally effective across the entire surface. In corsa mode, the flaps selectively open, allowing air into the wing, which trickles out the back just such so that it stalls the aero effect, for maximum slipperiness and minimum drag on straightaways. It’s incredibly trick, but that’s just half of it. The other half is to remember that there are two flaps, left and right, on both front and rear. In high-G cornering, the SVJ can stall just one half of the wing, by opening or closing just one side, to add downforce or stall as needed for a particular corner. Given that the wing itself doesn’t move, like the ‘Aeromotions’ aftermarket units or previously mentioned hydraulic wings do, you approach the car with some level of skepticism–these flaps, and the “out” slits are quite small–could it really work that well? Short answer: yes; much better than you’d think. You see, the entire car has been engineered to optimize ALA. The magnetic shock settings, the spec-compound Pirelli Corsa (or optional Trofeo R tires), the gearbox tune, power curve, and front & rear steering settings all work in conjunction with ALA to make the SVJ dance. And that’s good, because of what we were told in the morning briefing. “So, there’s a bit of an issue,” Maurizio Reggiani, head of Lamborghini R&D says, as we get to the track. “We came here a month ago to figure out tire pressures for the track day, and it was perfect. And then we got here, and something was different. Turns out, they repaved the entire surface two weeks ago. And it is, uh, very slippery. No rubber on the track at all, and lots of fresh oils from the asphalt.” He wasn’t kidding. Though I don’t have a “before” lap of Estoril to compare it to, I know slick when I feel it, and this track was slick, especially with the morning chill. In my first of three four-lap sessions, I left the SVJ in ‘Sport’ while I got my bearings, and found that on the less-than-ideal surface, it moved around a lot. While the Lambo folks were apologetic about the track conditions, I actually found it interesting to note that “moved around a lot” didn’t mean “terminal understeer,” older Aventador models’ prevailing handling characteristic. While, yes, it would push if you mashed the throttle with the wheel turned, a sharp lift off the throttle wouldn’t just tuck the nose, it would actually induce mild oversteer and require a correction, first with the steering, then back on the throttle to straighten. This, this rotation, is new. But with 770 horsepower on tap, the first session required real focus, which, considering the intentional sensory overload of the SVJ, is a challenge. “Kinda hairy, huh?” I remarked to two other journalists on the launch. They agreed, following up with a head-nodding “…at least this one rotates!” A quick chat with Ugo, Lamborghini’s aero genius, revealed that by leaving the car in ‘Sport’ mode, rather than ‘Corsa,’ I wasn’t fully utilizing the active aero, and I should be sure to put the car in Corsa next time out. I was glad for my initial mistake, because he was right: I could feel the added stability on the first lap back out, especially in Estoril’s turns 8 and 12, the fastest bends on the track. Granted, familiarity with the circuit and heat in the Corsa tires played a part as well, but still, there was a noticeable difference with the ALA working full kick. Same goes for the front straight, where I saw, repeatedly, top speeds between 275 and 285 KPH (170 & 174 mph) with extremely conservative braking points (Turn 1 is a 50 mph bend). Even on the short, bent, middle straight, I saw nearly 220 KPH. The monstrous ceramic brakes did eventually fade, but only after dozens of track sessions with different drivers, and even then, they came back after cooling off. One of my very few criticisms about the inputs of the SVJ covers the brake pedal tip-in. I would prefer a firmer initial pedal. But Mr. Reggiani reminds me that the target customer isn’t exactly a racing driver; the target customer prefers a softer pedal for less jerkiness, as they are more likely to be lapping Knightsbridge than Silverstone. It probably doesn’t need to be articulated again, a 6:44 Nordschliefe time says a lot, but the SVJ is crazy, crazy fast. I haven’t had a go in McLaren’s multimillion-dollar Senna, but lots of folks on the SVJ launch did, and reported an extra 10 mph on the front straight with the SVJ. (Though in fairness, those same folks reported how much later you can brake in the Senna). Lamborghini’s opinion that a naturally-aspirated V12 is the perfect engine for a supersports car would be hard to argue here, as there are very few cars on the road that offer this level of speed, with this level of theater, at any price. No turbocharged engine on the planet sounds as wild as the SVJ’s combination of a big-bore twelve and a short exhaust, not only inside, not only trackside, but also the far side. I received a message from a fan that he could hear the SVJs lapping Estoril from his home, more than a kilometer away from the track. To say it sounds like a Formula One car would be underselling it; today’s F1 cars sound like garbage. Because of the displacement, it actually sounds better than F1, with a shrieking wail on the boil, and a cacophony of pops and bangs on the overrun. The Aventador’s ‘ISR’ 7-speed, single-clutch gearbox carries over, albeit with new tuning, and aside from the comically ancient Audi-MMI system (circa 2010), it’s the only part of the car that feels old. Upshifts are long, and downshifts are dramatic. Lamborghini’s commitment to having the paddles fixed on the column rather than the wheel, if you listen to their pitch, is so that no matter where your hands are, you know where the paddles will be. I think they are on the column because this is one of the last cars on the road with gear changes so violent, you actually don’t want to perform them until the wheel is pretty much straight. Let’s hope they move on to a strong dual-clutch for the Aventador’s replacement, if one exists. At $515,000 base price (more like $600,000 out the door with options), believe it or not, the SVJ feels like a value. Though Estoril’s slippery surface prevented us from seeing what this car can do in optimal conditions, it did demonstrate that this is the first and only V12 Lambo in the company’s entire history that can really, really dance. It’s the fastest, most powerful Lamborghini ever made, but also, one of the most agile, even compared to its excellent Performante little brother. And perhaps most shocking is that all the aggression, all the wings and scoops, the carbon fiber and the active aero, hasn’t ruined the ride, the comfort, or the usability of the car in any way. (Note: The carbon bucket seats sit about 1.5 inches higher than the “comfort” seats. It makes a big difference at the six-foot mark). It’s remarkable, really, how good the Aventador SVJ is to drive, knowing where it started back in 2011. And like any good barbecue chef will tell you, the secret to the perfect hunk of meat is doing it low and slow, making very small adjustments, then waiting to see what happens; working through the stall, and knowing when the right moment is to serve up a perfectly cooked cut. For Lamborghini, that time is 2018, because the balance of performance, (reasonable) streetability, theater, and tech has broken down the toughness and created the perfect piece of Italian murderous meat.
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