The war of the supercar is one that has traditionally been fought between three countries: Italy, Germany and the UK. The odd French car might have tried to muscle in on the act, and the American’s have their own take on what a supercar should be, but it is from those three countries that the main contenders have always emerged.
Take Italy – Ferrari, Lamborghini and Maserati lead the way, with the odd Alfa Romeo and now Pagani entering the fray. Then there’s Germany, with Porsche, Mercedes Benz, BMW and, contentiously, Bugatti. As for the good old UK, how about Aston Martin for a long term contender?
Of all these names there is one that stands out as a committed supercar maker, a marque that perennially offers spectacular, sensational and often quite amazing cars that aim for performance rather than luxury and prestige: Lamborghini, the Raging Bull from Sant’Agata, Bologna.
Lamborghini Aventador – The 21st Century Countach
Let’s take a trip back in history: It’s early in the 60’s and you are a successful manufacturer of tractors and agricultural equipment with a good share of the Italian market. Your wealth allows you to experience the best of prestige cars, and you eventually buy your first Ferrari. Disappointed by the lack of refinement in an otherwise excellent car, you decide the only option is to build your own.
That’s how Lamborghini began, around 50 years ago. The problem is that the above paragraph bears some odd inferences: the main one being that Lamborghini’s should be refined. Is a Countach refined? A Diablo, a Murcielago, a Gallardo? Perhaps, in some way, they are more refined than the Ferrari’s of the ’60’s, but Lamborghini’s, by and large, are not aimed at buyers looking for refinement.
Take the Lamborghini Aventador, the current flagship model in the Lamborghini range. It’s brutish, bold and brash, fast, furious and frivolous, it’s a car designed for indulgence, a true supercar that is built to go fast, and little else. It’s a 21st century icon already, and it’s been on the road for less than a year!
Now under the VW Group wing, Lamborghini is better placed than ever to target the chosen audience, and the car has been marketed at the very people who can afford to spend £200,000 (€255,000 or $380,000) on a car that is not really suitable for shopping. The company promises to make only 4000, and has sold out for over a year in advance.
So what is it about this admittedly sensational car that endears it to the supercar fan?
Lamborghini Aventador – In A World of Its Own
Let’s be honest, if you want a ‘pretty’ car you will not buy an Lamborghini Aventador. You might go back a few decades and try your hand with a Lamborghini Miura, a Marcello Gandini masterpiece that is perhaps the most beautiful car ever built, but an Aventador is simply not pretty. It’s stunning, yes, but it’s not going to win a beauty contest.
Of course, it’s not designed to; it’s intended to take its occupants around the streets – or tracks – very, very quickly indeed. And to turn heads. It does both in equal measures. Turn on the ignition and the amazing 6.5 liter V12 bursts into all too obvious life, a magnificent roar that will have lovers of fast cars with big engines gaping in awe. It’s enough to say that the Lamborghini Aventador is as impressive when it is standing still as it is when on the move. The engine, a new design for Lamborghini and the first all-new V12 the company has introduced since the 1960’s, offers you 691bhp to play with, and it is those horses that make the glorious racket you have just woken up the neighborhood with. Here’s a great video of the Lamborghini Aventador taking on two of its natural rivals!
Wait a minute, you’re saying, 691bhp? Only 691bhp? Very well, we know that the Bugatti Veyron packs four figures, but that’s a different type of supercar. The Veyron is a showcase; the Aventador is a show-off. Just shy of 700bhp is enough to propel this amazing machine to a top speed of 217mph (349 km/h) and from a standstill to 62mph (100km/h) in 2.9 seconds. For the extra speed of the Veyron – and the couple of tenths it saves you in acceleration – you could buy another handful of Lamborghini Aventadors, one for each day of the week.
Who Buys a Lamborghini Aventador?
That’s a good question; who does buy a Lamborghini Aventador? The thing about Lamborghini is that the brand has a loyal fan-base. Some wealthy people like to keep their garages updated with a new Lamborghini every couple of years. The new brand of Chinese super-wealthy are snapping up Aventadors on a regular basis. Russian oligarchs are fans of the brand, but so far the lure of the Lamborghini has remained limited in the overpaid football star circles. No, the Lamborghini Aventador is a car that will appeal to the extravagant exhibitionist, and with those looks, is it any wonder?
The sharp, aggressive and shark-like front end and brutally cut, functional and clipped rear end are 21st century Lamborghini trademarks, and the Aventador has carried on where the Murcielago left off. It’s a design that works in many ways – it achieves the stunning visual effect it aims at and is effortlessly memorable – but it does split opinion.
The thing is, driving a Lamborghini is about being on the edge, about finding the limits and trying to push them – on the track, of course, not on the road – and where the previous models had this allure in spades, for some reviewers the Aventador lacks that certain edge offered by the Countach, the Diablo and the Murcielago, its direct forebears.
Is this a product of 21st century refinement? If so, founder Ferruccio Lamborghini, who so desired the refinement his Ferrari could not offer, would approve, even though he relinquished control of the company as long ago as 1972. But we don’t think it is; like many reviewers, we think the Aventador is simply a victim of the changing wishes of drivers of supercars.
Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4 Official Commercial
Contemporary reviews, while raving over the quite sensational – and still unsurpassed in terms of utter outlandishness – looks and specification of the Countach, also pointed out that the car was, quite simply, not very nice to drive. Heavy, awkward, and with limited vision, the car was practically dangerous at speed and was really a showcase only. The same cannot be said of the Lamborghini Aventador, for today’s supercar buyers actually want to drive their cars. So, the hard-line reviewer looking for the sense of danger and extremeness in the Aventador will be disappointed, while the buyer, looking to impress on the school-run, will see money well spent.
Lamborghini Aventador – Bring It On!
So, with clever management by the VW Group, who have understood the history behind the marque, we have a car that is actually a somewhat refined Lamborghini. It is undeniably different, there is nothing else that looks quite like it on the market today, and it is worthy of the name. It is a sensational car, and one that hits all its targets without a doubt.
There is something lacking, though, in Lamborghini’s history that rivals Ferrari, Maserati, Porsche and others can claim, and it is also something that came about thanks to Ferruccio Lamborghini’s vision. He wanted a refined ‘Grand Tourer’, which is what all his earlier models were (and the Aventador certainly is not) and he specified that the engine, in particular, of his first cars be designed specifically for road use, as opposed to the race derived motors in Ferrari’s of the day.
To this day, Lamborghini’s motorsport heritage has remained limited. That is something that, for many buyers of supercars, leaves it trailing behind – in particular – Ferrari. For the record, things could have been different. In 1993, when Lamborghini was owned by Chrysler, Ayrton Senna tested a Lamborghini-engined McLaren in secret. The engine had been used by other smaller teams to decent effect, and Senna declared himself impressed with the engine. Some say a handshake deal was made, but the combination never came off, and McLaren plumped – disastrously – for the new Peugeot engine.
So, back to the Lamborghini Aventador, and those quite sensational looks. In a world where supercar designers strive to produce the most memorable and startling designs few can touch the Lamborghini back-catalogue, and the Aventador will undoubtedly go down in history as another success story for this legendary, iconic maker.