The Aventador is the latest in a long line of Lamborghini flagship V12 cars, a lineage dating all the way back to the Miura in 1966. Well, when I say “long”, I mean in the sense of time but not so much in the number of models – a mere 5 distinct models have been produced over the course of 50+ years. Yet, these headlining vehicles more than compensate for their small numbers with an unabashedly flamboyant style and white-knuckle performance. The Aventador coupe carries on in this tradition, although perhaps not quite to the extent of its predecessors like the Countach and Murcielago.
In a rare move for Lamborghini, an all-new V12 engine made its debut in the Aventador. Manufactured by hand, the 6.5-litre engine makes a healthy 690 bhp to go with a matching 690 Nm of torque. Flip the red fighter-jet inspired switch on the console to reveal the starter button. At this point, you’ll need to prepare yourself, as depressing the button causes the mighty V12 to bark to life with enough volume to wake the entire neighbourhood. Once on the move, the 7-speed ISR (Independent Shifting Rods) transmission bangs off lightning-fast shifts that jolt the entire car. Flat-out, the Aventador can hit a mind-boggling 217 mph, with 62 mph arriving in under 3 seconds. Carbon-ceramic brakes help rein in all of that speed. Steering and handling settings are adjustable via a Drive Select button on the console; options include Strada (road), Sport, and Corsa (Track). Even with all of its staggering performance numbers, however, driving the Aventador coupe is a civil affair for the most part.
Many have speculated that Volkswagen Group’s purchase of the Italian automaker in 1998 had a calming influence on subsequent models, and the Aventador, for all of its impressive performance numbers, seems to attest to that sentiment. Compared to the Murcielago, the Aventador offered a more sophisticated driving experience. A luxurious interior treatment and refined driving characteristics coddle its occupants, whereas the Murcielago had enough jagged edges to make for a more frightening driving experience. Reviewers were split on whether this was a welcome change, with some bemoaning it while others welcomed the Audi-inspired move towards increased civility.  Drivers are not oriented off-centre, the car doesn’t try to swap ends on every corner, and the ergonomics are perfectly executed. It’s up to you if that’s a good or bad thing.
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