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Lamborghini Aventador S 2017 review

EXPERT RATING
6
Too fast, too loud, too crazy, too dangerous, too big. These are all fair criticisms of the new Lamborghini Aventador S, but to drive one, and be frightened, is to want one anyway.

Too fast, too loud, too crazy, too dangerous, too big. All of these are phrases a supercar lover would never think to utter when considering the sanity-defying existence of the new Lamborghini Aventador S, and yet exactly the kind of things any reasonable person might say after driving one, or even witnessing it in motion.

Too much, clearly, is never enough in La La Lambo world, and it's certainly true that if you desire a car that will puncture your eardrums while rupturing your spleen and bruising your heart, this is the perfect vehicle for you.

Five years after its launch, the Aventador has been updated and upgraded - with new rear-wheel steering, an allegedly improved gearbox, tweaked styling and a button that says EGO - and uprated, with even more power that it clearly wasn't crying out for.

We went to Phillip Island to drive it around a high-speed track covered in rain, mist and suicidal geese.

Lamborghini Aventador 2017: S
Safety rating
Engine Type6.5L
Fuel TypePremium Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency16.91L/100km
Seating2 seats
Price fromNo recent listings

Is there anything interesting about its design?  9/10

The lovely and loquacious Italians from Lamborghini showed us a revealing little sketch at the car's launch, which looked a little bit like a bad tattoo but said a lot about their design ethos. It featured mean-looking sharks and menacing cobras morphing with an outline of the Aventador, and was meant to represent the approach to further man-ing up the looks of this S version.

The shark fins are clearly evident in the new and even bigger front splitter, the cobra must be hiding under the engine cover somewhere, while the new rear exhaust shape is apparently modelled on the Space Shuttle.

The overall effect is about as over the top as Lady Gaga marrying Ivanka Trump.

There are a few touches of the classic Countach, apparently, and plenty of "aerospace" design, which means they've tried to make it look like a fighter jet.

The overall effect is about as over the top as Lady Gaga marrying Ivanka Trump, and yet because its a Lamborghini, you find yourself loving it anyway. Absurdity is their reality. And how could you not fall for any car with those doors?

The interior is not as classy feeling as a Ferrari, but it has a certain brash, flash-cash opulence to it that makes you smile as well.

  • 2017 Lamborghini Aventador S 2017 Lamborghini Aventador S
  • 2017 Lamborghini Aventador S 2017 Lamborghini Aventador S
  • 2017 Lamborghini Aventador S 2017 Lamborghini Aventador S
  • 2017 Lamborghini Aventador S 2017 Lamborghini Aventador S
  • 2017 Lamborghini Aventador S 2017 Lamborghini Aventador S
  • 2017 Lamborghini Aventador S 2017 Lamborghini Aventador S
  • 2017 Lamborghini Aventador S 2017 Lamborghini Aventador S
  • 2017 Lamborghini Aventador S 2017 Lamborghini Aventador S
  • 2017 Lamborghini Aventador S 2017 Lamborghini Aventador S
  • 2017 Lamborghini Aventador S 2017 Lamborghini Aventador S
  • 2017 Lamborghini Aventador S 2017 Lamborghini Aventador S
2017 Lamborghini Aventador

Explore the 2017 Lamborghini Aventador range

How practical is the space inside?  2/10

Yes, the Aventador S is a car, and it will take you from Point A to Point B, although you might leave some of your life expectancy behind on every trip, but other than that, practicality is not a selling point.

It also burns slightly more fuel than a Space Shuttle launch and is virtually impossible to see out of.

It is 4.8m long, just over 2m wide and a mere 1.14m high, the giant Lambo is as thick across the hips as a Toyota LandCruiser, and as pleasant to climb in and out of as an iron lung.

It also burns slightly more fuel than a Space Shuttle launch and is virtually impossible to see out of, but owners won't care because every other car will be behind them somewhere, and they'll only be looking out for plate-glass windows to admire themselves in anyway.

There are no cupholders (although apparently you can option them) and there's virtually no room to store anything at all. None of this matters, of course, because if the people who buy an Aventador S want practicality they'll simply choose one of the other 20 cars in their personal fleet.

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?  7/10

On the one hand, the $788,914 price for this new S version of the Aventador (the S stands for "Something that is better" according to the Italians) is problematic, and slightly ridiculous, because it seems a lot to pay for a car that would have you shot on sight on suspicion of speeding by the Victorian Police and is about as well suited to Australian conditions as an igloo.

On the other hand, which is covered in thick gold rings with a fat Rolex attached to its wrist, it makes perfect sense, because its vast and silly size perfectly complements the very nature of the car, which is perhaps the biggest 'look at me, I'm rich' statement short of sky writing your bank balance.

The sort of person who buys a car like this, rather than the cheaper, far more sensible and, frankly, enjoyable Lamborghini Huracan, actually wants to pay a lot of money, because it's part of the fun.

Sure, that price only gets you two seats but they're very sexy ones, and truly grippy to sit in, which they need to be in a g-force monster like this.

There's only one spec for an S buyer, and it includes little treats like Apple CarPlay, but if you want the telemetry system, to record your lap times, it's an optional extra, at $3400.

Sure, it's slightly pointless, but at least it's honest, because EGO is what this car is all about.

The one feature every owner will want to show off, though - aside from the obvious ones like the scissor doors and 'Bombs-away!' starter - is the EGO button. This is basically a fourth setting to add to the car's existing Strada (Street in Italian), Sport and Corsa (Race) options, but confusingly, because it is entirely personalisable, it actually offers another 24 settings when you press it.

Sure, it's slightly pointless, but at least it's honest, because EGO is what this car is all about.

Each of those settings also changes the Aventador S's lush and wondrous Kombi dash screens (the Lamborghini-styled version of owner Audi's Virtual Cockpit), offering race-car like giant tachometers and even a graphic that shows you which way your wheels are pointing. Not that you'll have time to look at it when exploring your car's 350km/h top speed.

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?  7/10

Let's start with the bad news, which is that the all-new seven-speed ISR (Independent Shifting Rods) gearbox that was supposed to fix the old-tech lurchiness of the Aventador's driveline is still so far off the pace of modern, dual-clutch transmissions that it's mildly embarrassing.

Change gear at speed in this vicious V12 and you're in for a kind of stop-motion, Wallace and Gromit experience. There's no doubt you can feel the aggression of the shifts, but they do remind you of a long-past time when upshifts meant a short break between rushes of acceleration, rather than the seamless shove you now get from a Ferrari (or even a Golf GTI).

Your gear changes can be so violent that they knock the breath out of you, but it could be argued that this merely suits the personality of the car, which in turn reflects the absurdity of its manic engine.

Power has, somehow, been raised by 30kW to an astronomical 544kW at a deafening and ballistic 8400rpm. Lamborghini says the new tune gives even more torque at higher revs, but its maximum figure of 690Nm is actually less than Ferrari's V8-powered 488, which has 760Nm.

The difference is turbochargers, of course, a limp-wristed affectation of a technology that Lamborghini still eschews.

What it's really about, though, is the operatic purity and visceral violence of the way the engine sounds.

They will tell you it's all about the way the car performs and accelerates, and with a 0-100km/h time of 2.9 seconds (not even a whisker faster than the standard Aventador, which shows you how difficult those times are to improve on), a 0-200km/h dash of just 8.8 seconds, and 0-300 in 24.2, it does do these things well.

What it's really about, though, is the operatic purity and visceral violence of the way the engine sounds, and with its all-new muffler and exhaust system, the S really does take big, shouty showiness to new levels.

Indeed, I would venture this is the loudest road car my ears have ever been assaulted by (a Porsche 918 is louder, but it's really a race car with a rego sticker). Under acceleration it is as eyebrow-liltingly loud as the front row of an AC/DC concert back in the 1990s, but it is the series of explosions you get on the overrun when fear pushes your foot off the throttle that are truly astounding. It sounds like someone throwing steel rubbish bins full of grenades into a cement mixer.

Crazy? Yes. Unnecessary? Yes, but it is wonderful.

It's possible that, as some of my colleagues claimed they could notice, the S is more instantly ballistic when you press the accelerator than the normal Aventador, but frankly that's like comparing being shot with different guns. Let's just say it's a hugely violent, chest-beating engine. And I love it.

How much fuel does it consume?  3/10

Yes, it sure does consume fuel. Quite a lot, with claimed figures of 26.2L/100km on the urban cycle, and a combined urban/highway figure of 16.9L/100km. Frankly, you'd be lucky if you kept it under 30.0L/100km. It's thirsty work to drive.

What's it like to drive?  8/10

Piloting an Aventador around city streets is a challenge, partly because it's like trying to hold a four-metre high, 400kg Rottweiler on a leash, but mainly because it's stupidly wide and you can't see anything from the driver's seat.

Lamborghini has tried to improve the experience of driving it at low speeds with a new rear-wheel steering system, that turns the rear wheels in the opposite direction to the fronts at low speeds, effectively shortening the wheelbase and making it almost liveable in car parks, but then turns them in the same direction as the fronts at higher speeds, for better turn-in and handling.

This was the first time I've ever been fortunate, or perhaps mad, enough to drive an Aventador on a race track, and a fast one at that in Phillip Island, which was covered in a fairly typical Arctic storm front, with enough standing water to attract large, suicidal geese to several corner apexes, including the one at the top of the straight, where the big Lambo was hitting 230km/h before we'd even passed the pits (it had dried out a bit, briefly, for that lap).

There's something wonderfully old school, and traditionally Lamborghini, about a supercar that genuinely frightens and intimidates you when you try to push it.

With open spaces in front of you, this car delivers the kind of acceleration that forces all the air out of your body, or perhaps you just forget to breathe because your brain is too busy freaking out. It's an invigorating sensation, but not without fear, a bit like jumping out of a plane, and equally addictive.

All that rocket thrust really is its party trick, though, because as mentioned the gear shifts are a bit of a shambles, and the sheer size, and 1575kg weight, of the thing makes it feel like a handful around tight corners.

It's very good around a track for what it is, but what it is is too heavy and too big for circuit driving. Again, you'd have to think a Huracan would be more fun, and would scare you less.

But then it did strike me, on my last lap, as I attempted to find some saliva in my dry mouth, that there's something wonderfully old school, and traditionally Lamborghini, about a supercar that genuinely frightens and intimidates you when you try to push it.

I can't imagine buying one myself, but I can imagine why a certain kind of enthusiast would want to.

Warranty & Safety Rating

Basic Warranty

3 years / 100,000 km warranty

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?  7/10

You're not getting AEB in a car like this, as the sensors would ugly up the front of the car, and there's nowhere to fit them. But you do get a 'passive pedestrian protection system', which is nice.

Some markets get a driver's knee airbag, but sadly we don't, so you have to put up with just four airbags in total, and a collapsible steering column.

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?  5/10

You can have a five-year warranty with your Italian supercar, but it will cost you $22,200. Or you can have one for four years for $11,600. Both of those seem like a lot of money, but it's the big jump in year five I'd be worried about.

Pricing Guides

$358,985
Based on third party pricing data
Lowest Price
$0
Highest Price
$717,970

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
LP700 6.5L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $555,390 – 638,440 2017 LAMBORGHINI AVENTADOR 2017 LP700 Pricing and Specs
S 6.5L, PULP No recent listings 2017 LAMBORGHINI AVENTADOR 2017 S Pricing and Specs
(base) 6.5L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $624,580 – 717,970 2017 LAMBORGHINI AVENTADOR 2017 (base) Pricing and Specs
LP700-4 6.5L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO No recent listings 2017 LAMBORGHINI AVENTADOR 2017 LP700-4 Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
6
Design9
Practicality2
Price and features7
Engine & trans7
Fuel consumption3
Driving8
Safety7
Ownership5

“The Lamborghini Aventador S is a hugely unnecessary car that probably wouldn't exist at all in any sane universe. Fortunately it's from Italy instead.”

Is the Aventador S your dream supercar, or would you prefer an F12 Berlinetta? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

Stephen Corby
Contributing Journalist

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Pricing Guide

Lowest price, n/a

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