Why the Aventador received the S of only the most advanced Lamborghinis

s marks the spot

Automobili Lamborghini would have you believe that they are not a maker of supercars, but that they sell but a lifestyle of indulgence and hedonism. Yet behind the marketing tagline are a pair of massively capable collections in the form of the Huracan and the Aventador.

The Huracan’s presence at the Sepang International Circuit for Lamborghini Esperienza, however, was not for posturing, rather for perspective. Introductory laps for the day were in the rear-wheel drive variant; oversteer within easy reach of any driver — and controlled slides for those with a measure of skill.

By comparison, the Aventador S (RM1.8 million without taxes) has been optimised five years on from the launch of the original for maximum grip, both aerodynamic and mechanical. Traditionally, only the most technically superior of the bulls in Lamborghini’s stable are bestowed with an S in its name. The Aventador’s knighthood to this exclusive set brings the total to just five, joining the ranks of the Miura, Islero, Urraco and Countach.

From the ground up, new specially developed Pirelli P Zero shoes are matched to its individual dynamics, especially the new four-wheel steering system — more on this later. On the bodywork, form follows function in the visual aggression afforded by the lengthened front splitter and the side air ducts of the fanged front bumper. The same holds true for the massive diffuser around the rear which can, of course, be specified in carbon fibre.

This translates to 130 percent increase in downforce, and when working in tandem with the three-position rear wing increases efficiency by 50 percent at high speeds.The secondary effect of all this airflow management is the improvement of brake and engine cooling through underbody vortex generators and directed channelling.

Minor updates on the inside bring the Aventador S up to speed with its competitors, Apple CarPlay integration for one and a nifty TFT colour display for an instrument panel, more for fan service than anything else. In Corsa mode — one of four including Strada, Sport and the customisable Ego selection — this changes to become a pure rev counter with bright graphics. The rest of the cockpit can be personalised via Lamborghini’s Ad Personam tailor-made program.

Along with the comprehensive improvements to the aero are tweaks to the heart, bumping up the horsepower to 730hp — roughly 40hp up from the non-S. The salient numbers are 2.9 seconds to reach 100km/h and a blistering 8.8 seconds to hit 200km/h on to a top speed of 350km/h; acceleration aided no doubt by 50 millisecond shifts from the seven-speed single-clutch semi-auto ‘box.

It is difficult to unsettle the big bull around Sepang, even with deliberately shoddy inputs. As aforementioned, quite probably the most noticeable chassis evolution on the Aventador S is four-wheel steering. At low speeds, the rear axle turns in the opposite direction to the front, improving agility tremendously while the opposite occurs at high speeds to reduce yaw.

Over the course of a compact slalom, the virtual shortening of the Aventador’s wheelbase was hugely apparent. Beneficial not only in off-track daily use but for a quicker turn in when pushed. All the while, however, indignant snarling at idle to full-on unadulterated screaming all the way to the heightened rev limit from the 6.5-litre V12 says that the taming may not be as comprehensive as one might think.

And yet, as far as dynamic hospitality is concerned, there is no doubt that it is. Lamborghini Active Vehicle Dynamics is the most advanced ecosystem of body control in the company’s history, encompassing the four-wheel steering, four-corner active suspension, the flexibility of the four driving modes and, of course, four-wheel drive. The best settings for every driving condition.

Perhaps adding such technology to the Aventador can be viewed as testing the limits of the brand’s flagship doctrine — that of ballistic unruly power. But if there is potential in the big bull for said power to be better harnessed and transferred to the ground with a side of added stability, then it is all the better for it.

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Published July 11, 2017
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