2017 Lamborghini Aventador S First Drive: Learning to love a single letter

Our well-connected and stylish Italian counterparts from Motor1.com Italy (aka OmniAuto.it) got the first crack at this all new Aventador. We’re working on putting a Yank behind the wheel for a proper U.S. edition of a First Drive, but figured we’d be remiss for not translating and sharing this first look at the Bull. Enjoy.

 

– Valencia, Spain

For those who have been raised in the northern area of the Italian province of Modena, a few miles away from Sant'Agata Bolognese, hearing is one of the first senses to be developed. At least it was in my case. I can still remember hearing the whistling of engines, and then literally jumping up onto the stairs of my grandmother's house to see a breathtaking parade of vehicles.

In this world there are cars, sports cars, and supercars, but the naturally aspirated V12 variety are of a different breed – and a Lamborghini with an “S” badge is perhaps the most spectacular of all. To find out more, I went to Valencia to tame the new Aventador S on the road and on the racetrack, and to enjoy the tune of its very special engine.

Four-wheel drive, four-wheel steering, and an active suspension with four driving modes. That's what the new Aventador S gains to further improve this supercar, or rather hypercar, as Lamborghini calls it. As is customary, the "S" indicates a 360-degree upgrade, following a tradition established by the Miura S, Islero S, Urraco S, and Countach S.

2017 Lamborghini Aventador S Coupe
2017 Lamborghini Aventador S Coupe
2017 Lamborghini Aventador S Coupe
2017 Lamborghini Aventador S Coupe
2017 Lamborghini Aventador S Coupe

The resulting performance is astounding: a 217-mph maximum speed, 0-62 reached in 2.9 seconds.


The V12 stays in the middle of the car, but gains 40 horsepower to reach 730 hp in total. That increased maximum power is achieved at 8,500 rotations per minute, or 250 rpm higher than in the past. The resulting performance, not forgetting the 509 pound-feet of torque at 5,500 rpm, is astounding: a 217-mile-per-hour maximum speed, 0-62 reached in 2.9 seconds, 0-124 in 8.8, and 0-186 in 24.

Coping with all of that might seem complicated, but the electronic systems supports the driver with an all-wheel-drive system with Haldex IV Generation coupling, which distributes the torque depending on the driving mode. The split goes 40 percent to the front wheels and 60 to the rear wheels in Road mode, 10/90 in Sport mode, and 20/80 in Race mode. What's really unprecedented is the four-wheel steering, which influences the entirety of the Aventador's driving experience, especially by way of the steering wheel. The modifications are barely perceptible on the road, but come to life on the race track.

Before sending me to run on a real track, Lamborghini set up a special test track. To start I just wanted to get comfortable, say hello to my “12 friends” rumbling away behind my ear, and set them off on the Ricardo Tormo circuit. Later I would understand how much this practice would prove useful. The test run was on a cones course, with the opportunity to drive the "old" Aventador and the new S, one after the other. Just this was enough to understand that in "Road" mode the four-wheel steering virtually shortens the car’s wheelbase, providing it with great agility that is useful on narrow streets or in the city.

2017 Lamborghini Aventador S Coupe
2017 Lamborghini Aventador S Coupe
2017 Lamborghini Aventador S Coupe
2017 Lamborghini Aventador S Coupe
2017 Lamborghini Aventador S Coupe

The modifications are barely perceptible on the road, but come to life on the race track.


In the city? I’d love to drive this car just about everywhere, but not in the city. It’s natural to want to show off your Lamborghini, to be sure, but visibility is limited and the size is rather large, as are one’s ambitions when behind the wheel. That’s a combo that really wants to be on the racetrack.

Luckily, I was. Finally driving the circuit proper, I understood that the "Race" option makes the Aventador S nothing short of a land rocket, keen on smooth driving and maximum speed, to the point that even the Iberian circuit seemed slow. In "Sport" mode, instead, with nearly all of the torque going to the rear wheels, the reactions feel more natural. Here, response to provocative oversteering is predictable, and hilarious. The steering wheel needs interpretation thanks to a lack of feedback; thankfully that translation is enabled by the customization options. (If you want to know more, check out our video below revealing the mystery of the "Ego" mode.)

As always with Lamborghini, the money is quite serious. The car will go on sale in spring of 2017, and in the European market the initial price will be €281,555 for the Aventador S before taxes, or nearly €350,000 after (starting price in the U.S. will be around $420,000). What’s seventy-thousand between friends, right?

 

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