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Lamborghini Aventador S 2017 review

EXPERT RATING
7.3
Lamborghini's Aventador S is the last link to supercars of old. Wild, bedroom-poster material, gigantic anti-socially loud V12 that actually spits flame. It's an unabashed, head-banging, rock ape.

Lamborghini's Aventador S is the last living link to supercars of old. Wild-looking bedroom-poster material, gigantic anti-socially loud V12 that actually spits flame and the kind of performance that will rustle the jimmies of even a seasoned supercar driver.

It harks back to a time when supercars actually sucked, but it didn't matter because they were proof you had both the money and patience to nurse it into life and then wring its neck, because that was the only way it made any sense. While the Huracan is a thoroughly modern supercar, the Aventador is an unashamed, unabashed, hairy-chested, head-banging, rock ape.

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

Asking if there's anything interesting about a Lamborghini design is kind of like asking if the sun is warm.

You can see the V12 engine through the optional glass cover. (Image caption: Rhys Vanderside) You can see the V12 engine through the optional glass cover. (Image caption: Rhys Vanderside)

While there are some geese out there in the corners of the internet who think Audi has ruined Lamborghini styling, there is absolutely nothing shy about the Aventador. It's an incredible looking machine and, if I may say so, shouldn't be had in black because you miss a lot of the madder details.

This car is all about the experience.

It might look close to the deck in the photos, but however low you think it is, it's lower. The roofline barely makes it to the bottom of a Mazda CX-5's windows - you need your wits about you in this car because people just don't see you.

It is absolutely spectacular - people stop and point, one chap sprinted an easy 200 metres to take a photo of it in the Sydney CBD. Hello, if you're reading.

The telemetry system, heated seats, extra branding, and front and rear camera added up to $24,000. (Image caption: Rhys Vanderside) The telemetry system, heated seats, extra branding, and front and rear camera added up to $24,000. (Image caption: Rhys Vanderside)

Inside is pretty tight indeed. It's amazing to think that a car 4.8 metres long (a Hyundai Santa Fe is 4.7 metres) struggles to contain two people over six feet tall. My six foot two photographer's head left an impression in the headlining. It's a tiny cabin. It's not a bad one though, it even has a cupholder on the rear bulkhead behind the seats.

The centre console is covered in Audi-based switchgear and is all the better for it, even if it is starting to look a bit old (those bits are from a pre-facelift B8 A4). The alloy gearshift paddles are fixed to the column and are brilliant to look at and touch, while the digital dashboard - which changes with the driving mode - is fantastic even if the reversing camera is awful.

How practical is the space inside?  6/10

Yes, well. There's not a lot of space because a V12 is not just big all on its own, all the ancillaries to support it rob a lot of the remaining space. Having said that, there's room in the front for soft bags with a 180-litre front boot, space for two people inside, a cupholder and a glove box.

And the doors open up into the sky rather than out like a normal car's. Who cares if it's impractical, it's hardly something that's going to stop someone buying one.

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?  6/10

As with any Italian supercar, the price-to-feature ratio is rather higher than your average humdrum hatchback. A 'naked' Aventador S starts at a horse-spooking $789,425 and basically has no direct competition. Ferrari's F12 is front-mid engined and any other V12 is either a decidedly different Rolls Royce-type machine or super-expensive niche manufacturer (yes, niche compared to Lamborghini) like Pagani. They're a rare very breed, Lambo knows it, and here we are a sneeze-on-the-spec sheet away from $800,000.

Your eight hundy gets you 20-inch front wheels (pictured) and 21-inch rears. (Image caption: Rhys Vanderside) Your eight hundy gets you 20-inch front wheels (pictured) and 21-inch rears. (Image caption: Rhys Vanderside)

So you have to keep two things in mind when rating a car's value for money at this level. The first is that there isn't any real rival in a pure sense, and if there was, it would be the same price and have the same spec. That's not excusing it, by the way, it's an explanation.

Anyway.

For your eight hundy you get 20-inch front wheels and 21-inch rears, climate control, cruise control, 7.0-inch screen (backed by an older version of Audi's MMI), four-speaker stereo with Bluetooth and USB, car cover, bi-xenon headlights, carbon ceramic brakes, electric seats, windows and mirrors, leather trim, sat nav, keyless entry and start, four-wheel steering, leather trim, digital dashboard, power folding and heated mirrors, active rear wing and active suspension.

The number of out-of-the-box options is staggering and if you're keen to really get on it, you can commission your own options when it comes to trim and paint and wheels. Let's just say that as far as the interior went, our car had almost $29,000 of Alcantara, steering wheel and yellow. The telemetry system, heated seats, some extra branding and front and reversing camera (uh-huh) added up to $24,000, the cameras almost half that total.

  • There's room in the front for soft bags with a 180-litre front boot. (Image caption: Rhys Vanderside) There's room in the front for soft bags with a 180-litre front boot. (Image caption: Rhys Vanderside)
  • The engine sits lower in the car. (Image caption: Rhys Vanderside) The engine sits lower in the car. (Image caption: Rhys Vanderside)
  • The Aventador S comes with bi-xenon headlights. (Image caption: Rhys Vanderside) The Aventador S comes with bi-xenon headlights. (Image caption: Rhys Vanderside)
  • It might look close to the deck in the photos, but however low you think it is, it's lower. (Image caption: Rhys Vanderside) It might look close to the deck in the photos, but however low you think it is, it's lower. (Image caption: Rhys Vanderside)

With all the bits and bobs, the test car we had was a sobering $910,825 before on-roads.

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?  9/10

The Aventador S is powered by Automobili Lamborghini's 6.5-litre V12. You know it's a V12 because there's a plate on top of the engine (which you can see through the optional glass cover) that says so, and handily, tells you the cylinder firing order. That's a neat touch.

You can pretend to be super-masculine and switch to Corsa (race) mode, but Sport is where it's at if you want to have fun. (Image caption: Rhys Vanderside) You can pretend to be super-masculine and switch to Corsa (race) mode, but Sport is where it's at if you want to have fun. (Image caption: Rhys Vanderside)

Buried deep in the middle of the car, this monster engine develops an astonishing 544kW (30kW up on the standard Aventador) and 690Nm. Its dry sump means the engine sits lower in the car. The gearbox is slung across the back between the rear wheels - the rear pushrod suspension actually sits on top of and across the gearbox - and is apparently brand new.

The transmission is known as an ISR (Independent Shift Rod) and has seven forward speeds and still just the one clutch. Power goes through all four wheels to the road, but it's clear the rears get the lion's share.

  • 2017 Lamborghini Aventador S. (Image caption: Rhys Vanderside) 2017 Lamborghini Aventador S. (Image caption: Rhys Vanderside)
  • 2017 Lamborghini Aventador S. (Image caption: Rhys Vanderside) 2017 Lamborghini Aventador S. (Image caption: Rhys Vanderside)
  • 2017 Lamborghini Aventador S. (Image caption: Rhys Vanderside) 2017 Lamborghini Aventador S. (Image caption: Rhys Vanderside)

The 0-100km/h time is the same as the standard car, which kind of tells you that 2.9 seconds is about as quick as you can go on road tyres when you don't have four electric motors with torque from zero rpm.

How much fuel does it consume?  6/10

Hilariously, the official figure is 16.9L/100km. I doubled it without trying. Simple as that. If you're buying this car thinking it will be easy on the juice, you're insane.

Cheeringly, Lambo has at least tried, the V12 going silent when you sit at the lights, the best thing being the way it bursts back into life when you lift off the brake.

If you have the time available, it takes 90 litres of premium unleaded to fill the tank.

What's it like to drive?  9/10

In Strada or Street mode, awful. Everything is slow and doughy, particularly the gearshift which goes looking for a gear like dog looking for a stick you didn't throw, but instead hid behind your back. The low-speed ride is nothing less than terrible, fidgeting over every single lump and bump and is only slightly more appealing than being dragged along behind.

The gearbox is really the worst bit about it. Automotive history is littered with cars that laboured along with a single clutch semi-auto: Alfa Romeo 156, BMW's E60 M5 and today the Citroen Cactus is stuck with just such a dud transmission.

Like that old M5, however, there's a trick to making the gearbox work for you - show absolutely no mercy.

Switch the selector up to Sport, get off the highway or major arterial road and head for the hills. Or better still, a clear race track. Then the Aventador goes from a pain in the rear to a glorious, roaring, completely unhinged and unhinging battle cruiser. This car is all about the experience, from the second you lay eyes on it to the moment you put it to bed.

This isn't an everyday supercar and it's absurd to think Lamborghini thinks it is.

First up, there's the obvious entry point with those wacky doors. While it's tricky to get in, if you're under six feet and reasonably mobile, stick your backside in, keep your head down and you're in. If you've been clever, you've specified the glass engine cover so you can see out the back but the huge wing mirrors are surprisingly effective.

Has someone thoughtlessly parked the car in a tight spot? No trouble, the four wheel steer makes the car absurdly manoeuvrable given its extravagant length and width.

As we've already established, it's not much fun at low speeds, waiting until about 70km/h before things start to make a bit more sense. This isn't an everyday supercar and it's absurd to think Lamborghini thinks it is. It just isn't.

  • 2017 Lamborghini Aventador S. (Image caption: Rhys Vanderside) 2017 Lamborghini Aventador S. (Image caption: Rhys Vanderside)
  • 2017 Lamborghini Aventador S. (Image caption: Rhys Vanderside) 2017 Lamborghini Aventador S. (Image caption: Rhys Vanderside)
  • 2017 Lamborghini Aventador S. (Image caption: Rhys Vanderside) 2017 Lamborghini Aventador S. (Image caption: Rhys Vanderside)
  • 2017 Lamborghini Aventador S. (Image caption: Rhys Vanderside) 2017 Lamborghini Aventador S. (Image caption: Rhys Vanderside)
  • 2017 Lamborghini Aventador S. (Image caption: Rhys Vanderside) 2017 Lamborghini Aventador S. (Image caption: Rhys Vanderside)
  • 2017 Lamborghini Aventador S. (Image caption: Rhys Vanderside) 2017 Lamborghini Aventador S. (Image caption: Rhys Vanderside)
  • 2017 Lamborghini Aventador S. (Image caption: Rhys Vanderside) 2017 Lamborghini Aventador S. (Image caption: Rhys Vanderside)
  • 2017 Lamborghini Aventador S. (Image caption: Rhys Vanderside) 2017 Lamborghini Aventador S. (Image caption: Rhys Vanderside)
  • 2017 Lamborghini Aventador S. (Image caption: Rhys Vanderside) 2017 Lamborghini Aventador S. (Image caption: Rhys Vanderside)

The old Aventador was not the most capable of machines but made up for it with its overall belligerence. The new S takes that aggro and dials it up. When you move the drive mode to Sport you are basically unleashing hell. You can pretend to be super-masculine and switch to Corsa (race) mode, but it's all about getting the car straight and getting you around the track in the most efficient way possible. Sport is where it's at if you want to have fun.

The Aventador is about being seen, but not before you've been heard - from two postcodes away. It really is utterly glorious when you have a stretch of road to yourself. The V12 revs furiously to its 8400rpm redline and the wallop of the upshift is accompanied with a fantastic bark and a burst of blue flame. And these aren't the best bits.

Approach a corner, stomp on the colossal carbon ceramic brakes and the exhaust erupts in a combination of bangs and pops and growls that puts a smile on even the most hardened car-hater's face. The fact it steers into corners with just a demure roll of the wrist, aided and abetted by that funky four-wheel steering system. It's just brilliant, addictive and truth be told, it gets under your skin.

Warranty & Safety Rating

Basic Warranty

3 years / 100,000 km warranty

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?  6/10

The Aventador doesn't have an ANCAP safety rating but the carbon chassis also comes with four airbags, ABS, stability and traction controls.

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?  7/10

In an unexpected twist, you'll get a three-year/100,000km warranty and the option to increase to four years ($11,600!) or five years ($22,200!)(!). Having recovered from typing that, given the cost of something going wrong, that's probably money well-spent.

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
7.3
Price and features6
Design9
Practicality6
Engine & trans9
Fuel consumption6
Safety6
Ownership7
Driving9

“The Aventador isn't the best car you can buy for the money and truth be told, it isn't the best Lamborghini, which is a bit tough when you remember the only other car they make at the moment is the V10 Huracan. But it's all about the theatre as much as being a very capable supercar. ”

Do want your ashes scattered in Sant' Agata or is Maranello where you want your earthly remains interred? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

Peter Anderson
Contributing journalist

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Pricing Guide

Lowest price, n/a

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