Find a black-market buyer and prep your kidneys for bathtub surgery – you’ll want to buy the devil-may-care Lamborghini Aventador Superveloce by any means necessary.
Dressed in a navy blue suit fitted as if he’d been sewn into it, Lamborghini CEO Stephan Winkelmann stood in front of us journalists at the welcome dinner for the 2016 Aventador Superveloce drive event and toasted his company’s latest supercar.
“Thank you for joining us on this drive,” Winkelmann said, lightly raising a crystal flute of gold champagne toward the blue skies of Barcelona. “The weather will be good and you will be fast. Salute.” With that, he took a sip, set the flute down on a nearby table, and walked out of the room – the CEO’s version of a mic drop.
Though I was hugely amused with Winkelmann’s abrupt entrance, toast, and exit, in that moment I had no idea how right he was. For not only would the weather the following day be perfect, so, too, would be the Aventador LP 750-4 Superveloce.
On lap nine of 16, entering the long Renault corner of the Circuit de Catalunya, I rolled on the throttle and the Aventador Superveloce’s (SV) V12 bellowed a mighty roar. Despite four of the stickiest Pirelli tires known to man and a Haldex all-wheel drive system so stout that would make a tank envious, the SV was four-wheel drifting through long, sweeping right-hander.
Without thinking, I found myself instinctively shouting over the vicious V12 howl, “Time to cowboy up! Woooooo!” I still don’t know what I meant by that, but it just seemed right – and still does. Four-wheel drifting a 750-horsepower, near-as-makes-no-difference $500,000 supercar on a Formula 1 track is perhaps one of the most death-defying but also enlivening things I’ve ever done. It makes you happy to be alive, because there’s a real chance that, if something went wrong, you might not be for very long.
There’s no way to properly convey the magic of that day, that car, or that circuit. Unless you’d been riding shotgun, words can’t transfer the muscle-aching G forces to your spine quite like the car can. Short of that, perhaps the SV’s performance figures can help set the scene.
Superveloce, roughly translated means “super fast.” Amazingly, it’s not just the upped power output on the 6.0-liter V12 that helps make the SV so super. It’s many other factors that lead to the SV’s road- and track-going superiority. But we’ll get to those in a moment. For now, let’s talk torque.
Superveloce, roughly translated means “super fast.”
As if 700 hp weren’t enough (let’s be honest; it’s not), Lamborghini rejiggered the engine raising the red line from 8,350 to 8,500, which increases horsepower to 750. Not only is horsepower up over the regular Aventador, the available torque at the top-end has been enriched, which means you have more time in each gear to shout at the steering wheel with impassioned glee, as I did.
Mated to the potent V12 is the seven-speed ISR transmission, which, too, has been fiddled with. Glossing over the minute details of transmission tech briefing we were given, suffice it to say the ISR can now shift gears in 50 milliseconds — the ramifications of which we will discuss. From there, the Haldex IV all-wheel drive system routes all that fiery Italian horsepower to the pavement. All told, the Aventador SV will do a 0 to 62 mph scurry in 2.8 seconds, a 0 to 186 mph in 24 seconds, and onto a top speed of 217.
The standard Aventador is a satanically inspired beast of a car. With hard bodylines, iconic Lamborghini doors, and a stance wider than a Ford F-150, it’s an imposing sight for any eyes. The Superveloce takes that menace and embellishes it.
Starting at the front, Lambo designers reworked the nose, the profile of which, with its spikes and blades, now looks less supercar and more medieval torture device. Honestly, from behind the wheel, it might as well be one … but we’ll get to that in a minute. The new nose, optimized underbody panel, huge rear diffuser, and new, manually adjustable high rear wing increase vertical downforce by 170 percent and total aerodynamic efficiency increased by 150 percent.
Lamborghini designers also cut weight wherever they could. The wheels now are center locking, rather than bolted on with lugs, and a new carbon skin material was used wherever possible. All told, the car now weighs 110 pounds less than the ordinary Aventador.
I think we can all agree, these numbers are very good – and impressive. When put into practice, they’re something altogether astounding. The sorts of forces the SV is able to generate make the tectonic effects of fracking look like a sniveling sneeze. They really could have called it the Aventador Core Power, because, if you’re not up on your Pilates, you’re going to be walking away looking like you’re a victim of scoliosis.
The sorts of forces the SV is able to generate make the tectonic effects of fracking look like a sniveling sneeze.
The straight-line and cornering G forces are simply incredible. Most of the time, when I say things like this, I am hyperbolizing … but not with the SV. Nothing short of a NASA rocket-powered trip to outer space could have prepared me for the brutality of this thing.
It starts with a seat that by all rights shouldn’t be classified a seat … the Great Wall of China is cushier. Regardless, I pulled the yellow seat belt across my chest and hoped for the best. Then the car walloped me back into this carbon slab of a seat, which I suspect not so long, long ago encased Han Solo.
Within seconds, however, the smile plastered across my face melted all the torso pain away. Laying my right foot into the throttle, the exhausts emitted a sound close to what I imagine one might hear if a pissed-off T-Rex were sucked into a Rolls-Royce jet engine … on fire.
Gripping the Alcantara-covered steering wheel with nervous anticipation, I threw the colossal Lambo into the first right-hander, and I was sold. It was near supercar perfection.
The SV has been fitted with Lamborghini Dynamic Steering (LDS), which continuously changes the steering ratio depending on vehicle speed, which makes piloting the SV much easier in the bends. With the quick connection between my hands and the road, I always knew what the SV was doing.
Not only was it communicative, it also felt incredibly light, which is an astonishing accomplishment for a car wider than the Mighty Mississip’. The SV just danced through the corners – even as it kissed 100 mph. The magneto-rhetorical dampers on the push-rod suspension make the ride astonishingly smooth. I’d even go so far as to describe the ride “pillow-y,” which is a stark contrast to the rough and tumble ride of the standard Aventador.
Then, if I felt like I had over cooked it a bit before a corner, the brakes were there to intervene without hesitation or hint of fatigue. They’re so potent they can bring the SV from 62 mph to 0 in 98 feet and 186 mph to 0 in 951 feet. The best possible compliment I can pay the brakes is that I never really thought about them. Whenever I do think about brakes on a car, it’s usually because they’re failing or scaring me. I laid onto the SV’s brakes hard – going from 160+ mph to 60 mph at the end of the front straight … for 16 laps. They never left me worried once. In fact, they were so strong that under hard braking, they could make the car go all jittery, as the tires fought for grip.
While I loved every bit of driving the SV (save the new carbon bucket seats), what made me happiest was the 50-millisecond shifts on the ISR transmission. In Strada or Sport drive modes, the transmission shifts rather smoothly. Pop the drive mode selector over into Corsa, however, and it transforms from a supercar and into a tool of war. Pushing full throttle and clicking the paddle shifter, grabbing the next gear in 50 milliseconds generates a force akin to firing an anti-aircraft gun off of the back of the car. It’s exactly what you want, when you’re wringing every last drop of power from that roaring V12.
I imagine the feeling washing over me now is somewhat like what Tyler Durden spoke of in Fight Club. Having now driven the Lamborghini Aventador SV as hard as I physically could, peaked 170 mph, and four-wheel drifted it on an F1 circuit, the world seems slower and calmer. The volume on my life has been turned down. While the muted sounds could easily be contributed to hearing loss, the overwhelming tranquility I now feel can only come from the mighty, death-defying wiles of the SV.
I once thought that no car could be worth the base $493,095 price (including destination and gas-guzzler tax) of the 2016 Aventador Superveloce. And, yet, here I am, constantly refreshing my browser for responses on my Silk Road “kidney for sale” ad … and searching my couch for spare coins in the meantime.
So, if — like me — you want to get your hands on the fourth model Lamborghini as ever christened with the moniker ‘Superveloce,’ you’ll have to act fast … it’s only making 600, and only 200 are headed to the States.
- Looks like a medieval torture device
- Sounds like one, too
- Pillow-y push-rod suspension
- Traction that would make a tank envious
- Faster than a speeding bullet, etc.
- Brutal carbon sport seats
- Worth more than both my kidneys