2015 Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4 review (video)

Brett Davis 1

If you buy a Lamborghini Aventador, you’re not just buying a car. You’re buying a completely new lifestyle. You’d want to be getting more than a car though as the retail price starts in the seven hundred thousands.

2015 Lamborghini Aventador

This is what they call a hypercar. It sits at the very top of the food chain in regards to factory performance, power and speed. The Aventador is the core flagship model in Lamborghini’s current range, however, buyers that want more power, flamboyance, and exclusivity can opt for the Superveloce version in coupe or roadster form.

In this ‘regular’ LP700-4 version there’s a 6.5-litre naturally aspirated V12 churning out 515kW of goosebump-inducing inspiration, and 690Nm of tarmac-tearing torque. The mid-mounted unit is connected to a seven-speed automated manual transmission that Lamborghini calls an Independent Shifting Rod transmission (more on that below), sending force through an all-wheel drive system.

Being the flagship model it does come with a flagship price. You’ll need to fork out $761,500 and then some for on-road costs and local taxes. This stunning Mars red example is fitted with a few options that take the price to $839,900 (excluding on-roads).

2015 Lamborghini Aventador – THE SPECS

[column width=”47%” padding=”6%”]Engine: 6.5-litre V12
Output: 515kW@8250rpm / 690Nm@5500rpm
Transmission: Seven-speed automated manual
Drive type: All-wheel drive
Wheels: F: 19×9.0, 255/35  R: 20×12, 335/30 (standard – optional 20/21 as tested)
ANCAP: Not tested
Kerb weight: 1632kg[/column] [column width=”47%” padding=”0″]Power-to-weight: 3.1:1 (kg:kW)
Official fuel economy: 16L/100km
Economy during test: Not tested
Fuel capacity/Type: 90L/95 RON
Power efficiency: 32.1kW:L/100km
0-100km/h (claimed): 2.9 seconds
0-200km/h (claimed): 8.9 seconds
Priced from: $761,500[/column][end_columns]

2015 Lamborghini Aventador-rear

2015 Lamborghini Aventador – THE PACKAGE

What do you get for all that money? Aside from decades in pedigree and obvious V12 performance, the Aventador showcases perhaps one of the most intense and surreal exterior designs currently available. The body was styled by Filippo Perini and it is inspired by the limited-edition Reventon. It stands just 1.1 metres tall, stretching a glorious 4780mm in length and spreading 2030mm in width. This means it is wider than a Toyota LandCruiser – 60mm wider in fact. It also wears 19-inch front and 20-inch rear alloy wheels wrapped in 255/35 front tyres and gob-smacking 335/30 rear tyres.

Just reading over some of these stats alone is enough to send goosebumps rippling down your spine. In the metal, nothing can prepare you for the visual feast your eyes are presented with. It is a breathtaking machine, from every angle. At the front the Reventon-style nose creates dart-like aerodynamics, and then at the back it is pure Batmobile exotica. If you don’t notice the exterior while driving, other motorists and the general public certainly will.

During our 24-hour test drive we made about 20 new friends. This was at petrol stations and pretty much any place we stopped. One of the more interesting was a quarry worker that pulled over while we were taking some photos. It turned out he was a Lamborghini collector, owning two of the Aventador’s predecessors; a Countach and an Australian-delivered Muira.

Owning a car like this isn’t all about showing off and going fast. It turns out it is also a great way to engage with the community. Our photo was taken countless times on the road, even from drivers looking backwards just to get a snap of the car. A ravishing lady also decided it would be a good idea to stand out on the road directly in front of us as we pulled out from a driveway just to get our attention. The best (funniest) was a guy that tripped up a kerb while turning his head 180 degrees just to get a full eyeful of the car, and then continued to look backwards even while trying to regain his footing. If we were in their positions we’d be doing the exact same thing. It’s amazing that a car can have such an alluring presence that almost hypnotises anyone that looks at it.

In terms of options, Lamborghini, like many other high-end manufacturers, offers a plethora of customisation possibilities. It’s easy to say the options are overpriced and simply there to boost Lamborghini’s revenue, but on the flip side, the last thing you would want to see when you’ve just spent all that money is another car driving down the street that’s the same as yours. With a wide variety of options available, buyers can rest assured they have built a very exclusive vehicle.

On this test car is a Rosso Mars red exterior colour scheme which adds $19,500 to the initial bill. There’s also black forged wheels measuring 20 inches on the front and 21 on the back, priced at $13,800, and red-painted brake calipers for $2600. At the back is an exquisite glass engine cover ($14,800) which showcases the V12 masterpiece within, featuring a carbon fibre T-shape cover ($4900).

2015 Lamborghini Aventador-onlooker

On-board accommodation is just as mesmerising as the exterior. Even just entering the cabin is a life experience in itself, opening the iconic scissor doors. We found it quite difficult entering the vehicle at a petrol station after filling up without letting in inner smile burst out. And that’s with everyone within a 100-metre radius already staring uncontrollably at you and the car. The scissor doors are just such an unconventional and super-cool feature to use. Getting in and out is an event. They help out in terms of practicality too; with that wide body, car parking can be tight leaving little room for an out-swinging door.

Back to the cabin though, Lamborghini presents the main functions on a bulky centre fascia that houses fighter-jet-like toggle switches and hexagonal-shaped buttons that seem like they are from a spaceship. At the top of it all is a mostly conventional LCD interface and hand controller taken from Audi. It offers the usual media connections and a decent-but-not-extraordinary four-speaker sound system, with satellite navigation. A rear-view camera, which is an absolute necessity in a car like this that offers limited rear vision, is a $9600 option. It includes rear parking sensors.

If we have one gripe with the interior it’s the lack of space to put your things and move about. We get it, it is a hypercar, but it almost seems like the dash is purposely made chunky so the design isn’t ruined by uninteresting things such storage pockets or cup holders. The boot in the front end offers 150 litres of volume, or enough space for a quick weekend away with light shopping.

We’re not entirely convinced on the materials used inside either. At near enough to one million dollars, you’d expect every single switch and every single panel to be crafted from some exotic material. A lot of the switchgear is taken from Audi, which is nice. It all feels very solid and definitely premium. But there are some parts of the dash and door trim that are made with, what feels like, the same plastic that’s used on a Toyota Corolla. Fortunately (or unfortunately), buyers can opt for the full carbon fibre interior package ($19,400), or partial carbon package ($11,600).

2015 Lamborghini Aventador-interior

2015 Lamborghini Aventador – THE DRIVE

Firing up the V12 engine, cold, first thing in the morning in an underground car park is one thing you have to experience before you die. As car enthusiasts, this was the best wake-up coffee we ever tasted. The starter motor whines like an old Formula One car for a few revolutions before the mighty unit shrieks and howls into life. There’s an automatic blip of the throttle which enhances the occasion too. From there, you know you’re going to a have a good day.

Engaging ‘drive’ is not really possible. Matched to the engine is an Independent Shifting Rod transmission, which, peeled back, is actually a single-clutch manual gearbox with an automated clutch. This means there is no ‘drive’ gear, and no ‘park’ gear; it’s either in gear or in neutral. To get it moving you just need to pull on the right-hand paddle to engage first. The gearbox is made by Graziano Oerlikon, an Italian company that also makes the seven-speed dual-clutch unit seen in the McLaren 12C, and the foundations of the seven-speed dual-clutch job seen in the Audi R8.

Lamborghini opted not to go for a dual-clutch and instead enlisted the single-clutch for a more “emotional” driving experience. It certainly is emotional. In city conditions it is a bit of a pig to drive, in a good way. The engine revs while the clutch grabs, and then hauls the long gearing as you build up to speed. If you’ve ever driven a racing car or an old-school manual supercar, this is as close as it gets in modern terms. Except, you don’t have to worry about embarrassingly stalling it.

Once you’re up and running and trundling along in second or third gear, either of which easily takes you to 100km/h, the Aventador is surprisingly civilised. Using the three driving modes, with street, sport, and track settings, you can leave the gearbox in an automatic mode and it will change gear itself. However, if you sit at the traffic lights for too long in first gear it will drop back to neutral automatically.

Visibility out the front is acceptable and it is reasonably easy to interpret the car’s external proportions. The servotronic rack and pinion power steering, tied in with the three driver settings, is light in the city and loads up suitably in the corners. Overall, you could potentially drive this car every day with no major compliant.

2015 Lamborghini Aventador-Australia

Using it as an everyday car is a bit silly though. This one is best reserved for special occasions or weekend sprints, or track days. It is a serious performance car and you need plenty of room to explore its abilities. To give you an idea of the performance, first gear will take you near 100km/h if you give it the full beans. Revving to 8500rpm does take some getting used to as your ears tend to tell you to change up sooner than the engine is designed for.

As part of Lamborghini’s loan agreement we weren’t allowed to “test” the Aventador’s performance. So instead, all we can do is show you. The company claims a 0-100km/h time of 2.9 seconds and a 0-200km/h time of 8.9 seconds. After observing our footage taken on a private road, the factory times certainly seem plausible. (See video below.)

Nailing it up through the gears provides you with insane levels of forward g-force and resulting acceleration. The scenery is blurred immediately and it feels like you’ve just engaged a warp-speed mode. It’ll keep going too, totally relentless, disregarding the laws of physics as it hunts down the horizon like it’s on some kind of mental rampage. It reminds us of a 1000cc super sports bike in that it just yells and screams and takes off with no ‘thinking time’ or hint of hesitation. It is ballistic.

Up-shifting is rather harsh, and “emotional” we guess, taking 0.50 seconds to swap cogs. There is a noticeable moment or gap in forward thrust during changes compared with a seamless dual-clutch unit. Think of it this way though, imagine turning around as a batsman in baseball or cricket and hitting the ball in the same direction as the pitcher/bowler; the car repeats savage momentum with every gear change. And with the slight gap between shifts, you’re made more aware of this epic continuation of building speed.

Around the corners the Aventador remains completely flat and neutral. The steering does get quite heavy, particularly in Corsa mode, but there is always plenty of feel and feedback being directed through to your hands. We wouldn’t say it is the most nimble of cars to toss down a mountain road, but with extraordinary grip from those mega tyres, it is difficult to upset the car’s balance and adhesion. There is of course no body roll, and despite featuring a racing-like pushrod rear suspension setup, it is surprising forgiving over mid-corner bumps. Apply some throttle at the apex and the all-wheel drive system will furiously slingshot you around and off to the next corner. It is amazingly surefooted and confident.

Fortunately, the Aventador comes with 400mm front and 380mm rear carbon ceramic brakes as standard with six-piston front and four-piston rear calipers biting hard to slow things down. It stops on a dime, generating more g-force during deceleration than acceleration (about 1.3 g versus 1.0 g). Pedal feel isn’t ideal, which is a typical side effect of having carbon ceramic discs, but you do get used to it.

2015 Lamborghini Aventador-acceleration

2015 Lamborghini Aventador – THE VIDEO

2015 Lamborghini Aventador – THE VERDICT

What an unforgettable machine. The presence, the speed, the stability, the price; it is all at the pinnacle end of the factory automobile scale. Cars like these aren’t going to be around for much longer due to ever-tightening laws. If you’ve got the money to buy one, this certainly gets our recommendation.

[column width=”47%” padding=”6%”]PROS:
– Exterior design and presence
– V12 engine sound with unbelievably vicious performance
– Everyday drivability; versatile driving modes, nose raise function
– Scissor doors
[/column] [column width=”47%” padding=”0″]CONS:
– Interior storage, no cup holders
– Conventional plastics used on dash and door trim
– Life changing car… not good for those who don’t like change…[/column][end_columns]

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