We’re glad we practiced.
The 2.9-mile, 16-turn track is rated for the fastest cars in the world, and Lamborghini let us strap into one. The SV takes the already-insane Aventador and cuts weight by 110 pounds, adds power and aero, and bumps the price from $404,695 to $493,095. The result? As you’d expect, it’s a beast to drive.
The 6.5-liter 60-degree V12 now spits out 740 hp (up from 691 hp) to go along with an unchanged 507 lb-ft of torque. Power is fed through a seven-speed Independent Shift Rod single-clutch transmission, leading to a physics-bending 0-60 sprint of 2.8 seconds. Getting to 124 mph takes 8.6 seconds, and top speed is well in excess of 200 mph.
The 6.5-liter 60-degree V12 now spits out 740 hp (up from 691 hp) to go along with an unchanged 507 lb-ft of torque.PHOTO BY LAMBORGHINI
What’s it like to drive?
Pulling out of the pits at Catalunya, we mashed the throttle, which in turn mashed our guts into our spine as the SV decided how much power to route to the rear wheels. Up to 60 percent can go forward, by the way, something we were thinking about when trying to negotiate tricky S turns later.
There’s great visceral joy in those g forces pressing on your chest relentlessly. Maybe something in our Cro-Magnon brain that says, “Your body isn’t made for this speed, you must have figured out how to fly!” The bark of the naturally aspirated V12 only makes the adrenaline pump harder, as if a hungry, mechanical dinosaur was hot on your hairy heels.
Acceleration is brutal, and comes in three stages. From 1,000 to 4,000 rpm, you get the feeling that this might be something special. From 4,000 to 6,000 rpm, your brain decides this is the fastest car on earth. Above 6,000 rpm? Most of your circuitry misfires, leaving you just scanning the track for danger approaching at 165 mph. Is it scary? Hell yes. Even for someone who’s used to triple digit speeds.
Scrubbing off the velocity is equally impressive, since you can shave 100 mph off this 3,595-pound time machine in a matter of seconds. During our first set of laps, the pedal felt rock solid, moving barely an inch before bringing things to a halt with the garbage-can-lid-sized carbon ceramic brakes discs. On our second session though, just as we were telling ourselves “these brakes are amazing, they’ll never hang us out to dry,” they hung us out to dry. There were several inches of difference in pedal travel after they heated up, which caused us to panic for split second, making the rear end dance a bit before we locked it into the 70-mph turn one.
Despite the brake dancing moment, grip is superb by all earthly standards, whether during acceleration, braking or turning. When we thought we were about to overcook things, the SV just pointed and went around (even on some of the turns where we went off-track in the simulator). The hard-shelled seats kept us in place perfectly, so don’t spring for the comfort option unless you plan to do a lot of grand touring.
After a few laps, we put the SV in “Corsa” or race mode, which tightens up the steering significantly, buttons down the F1-style pushrod suspension and quickens the ISR transmission to 50-millisecond shifts. We asked why the company went with the traditionally jerky single-clutch transmission and they told us it was both for weight, and for keeping that racy feel. In that latter point they succeeded: At full bore the Aventador SV kicks into the next gear hard, sometimes upsetting your weight balance in a turn. And that’s a scary place to be, knowing you need to upshift as you come out of a corner, but having to prepare for the kick, which could send you careening off the track. It happens less in Corsa than in other modes (which drop even more torque during gear changes). We only used the paddles to shift, but we hear it has an automatic mode too.
We say this car is scary, but “thrilling” is a more apt descriptor. Once you’re locked into a sweeper, you both want to go both faster and slower. You can feel the weight in the rear, wanting to pull you out, but the faster you go, the more it seems to stick. Some of that is all the extra aero help Lamborghini adds to the SV, but credit also has to go to the Pirelli tires, 255/35 ZR20 in front, 355/25 ZR21 in back.
Going back to those practice laps in “Project Cars,” they definitely helped: We could put the rear-engine Porsche GT3 through Catalunya's turn one at about 70 mph -- very close to the speeds we experienced in the SV. Top speeds were similar too. We got the GT3 up to about 170 mph, virtually, before slowing at the end of the front straight, and could muster about 160 mph in the Aventador SV. Braking points were noticeably different though, so keep that in mind should you ever get a chance to test a real car on track you’ve virtually mastered.
Four years after the debut of the original Aventador, Lamborghini has brought a lighter and more powerful version to the Geneva motor show. Dubbed the Aventador LP750-4 SuperVeloce, the SV is meant to ...
Do I want it?
If you do, you’ll have to act fast. Lamborghini is only building 600 examples of this car, and about 500 are sold.
The Aventador SV is the most extreme car from what's arguably the most extreme car company. If you’re in the market for a supercar and you don’t mind people shrieking in delight as you pass by, this should be on your wish list. Just take some practice laps before you head out on to the street.
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