Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4
Flash Gordon. I’m sure you’re familiar with the name. Not? Let me fill you in. Flash is a comic-strip hero, born in 1934. His adventures happen to play out in the sci-fi realm. Flash was inspired by Buck Rogers; both were early exploiters of the comic genre, helping to establish larger than life space age heroes. And they did so via the medium of art as illustration, or illustration as art. So, here’s an extenuation of that very legacy: the Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4.
And we say this for three good reasons: (1) the Aventador really belongs to the world of comics, not only because it is comically fast, but also because it is larger than life; (2) the Aventador has been pencilled – or illustrated, if you want – as a form of supreme art; and (3) the Aventador is not from Planet Earth. It is not even from Mars or Jupiter. No. It is from deep space. You know, that part of the uni verse where Flash Gordon met Ming the Merciless, evil ruler of Mongo, w ho has bombarded Planet Earth with fiery meteors. We’re talking Star Wars, then. Or in the Flash Gordon vernacular, Skorpii Wars, which took Flash to other star systems, using starships faster than light for transportation. Great balls of fire, Jerry Lee Lewis might have called them.
That’s the Aventador for you, if you focus on only one of those great balls of fire. From a standing start, the car’s mighty 6.5-litre V12 pumps 522 kW of power and 690 Nm of torque to all four wheels, to smash the 0-100 km/h run in 2.9 seconds! Holy cow! That’s faster than Flash Gordon’s starships! Check your watch and try and bracket 2.9 seconds. It’s over before the timing count has started.
Which does not mean that you should stop there. You’ve gunned past 100 km/h now, and suddenly you’re up to 200 km/h. Then 300 km/h looms and the car is still pulling strong. The relentless pursuit of speed slings you beyond 330 km/h and eventually the electronic readout settles at 350 km/h.
At this point you’ve obviously entered a new realm, a new dimension, a new space. It sounds like you’ve broken the sound barrier, to begin with, and it seems like you’re submerged in a land of fast-forward blurs and streaks. The world literally flashes by at such a speed that you can’t help but to think of yourself as… Flash Gordon, who else?
And there you go. The Aventador is not a bull, as Sant’Agata claims. It’s a bullet. It rips open the heavens like Superman would rip open an envelope before making a bolt for whatever lies beyond. This car is, in two words, demonically quick. Along the way, it’s also helped by the fastest gear change in the business, bar those in Formula One cars. And herein lies another revelation. The Aventador’s got three shift programmes, swopping cogs in a fairly leisurely way when in Strada (or street) mode, then very quickly when in Sport mode, and then absolutely instantaneously when in Corsa (or track) mode. The latter, in fact, is viciously fast – and brutal. Cogs smash into each other, the whole car shudders, the front axle threatens to lift clear off the ground and your brain is squashed against the back of your skull as the Aventador picks up speed like a laser beam heading to outer space: boom!
Okay, the ride on less-than-very-good surfaces is stiff, very very stiff, like a triple tot of Scotch with no water or ice. You’ll be awfully aware of exactly how the vertebrae in your lower back were designed to fit into each other. The strange thing, though, is that the car is surprisingly comfortable on anything better than a fairly decent road, especially at speed. If nothing else, it is also extremely stable. There is never the sensation that slight ripples in the road might unsettle either the nose or tail.
Handling is equally excellent and steering ever so nicely weighted, with sharp, willing and precise turn-in; it’s easy to follow the ideal line, even with drive through all four wheels, which normally induces quite a bit of understeer. Grip and traction, on top of that, is phenomenal.
The soundtrack is also something else. It might not be the extreme scream that you’d expect, but it is a solid steely wall of ever-mounting thrust enveloping the cockpit like a great big fist. Hey, after which you have to slash speed, don’t you, which is executed with extreme intent and purpose by four big sets of callipers and brake discs. Speed, then, is one half of the Aventador’s defining gene.
The other half is looks. Now, many many years ago Ferruccio Lamborghini asked Marcello Gandini to design a car that would make Ferraris look like Trabants. Gandini went forth and designed something that made Ferraris look like wheelbarrows. In appearance, see, the Countach was not exactly a car. It was a stealth bomber, shaped like a jet fighter. It was edgy and angular like so many blades put together to form a fighting machine that would be good for the type of action Flash Gordon was geared for: travelling to far-flung celestial destinations. The Aventador is the Countach updated, and how! This car is modern and precise in a way that will make cut glass look blunt. Lines and pleats and scoops and planes accumulate to form an image that glints like the hard edge of genius – which is what it took from Filippo Perini and his small team of artists to create this modern masterpiece. For the Aventador was not sculpted. It was chiselled from slivers of future rock, to blast open the aesthetic senses in a way that can only be rivalled by the Lambo’s own blast from 0-100 km/h, or the blast, eventually, into new dimensions, new spaces.
And guess what? Ensconced in a cockpit reeking of Battlestar Galactica, you’ll be reminded over and over again that the appropriate word to describe your quicksilver trip to outer speed and deep space ain’t “fast.”
But “flash”… Price of the Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4: R5.7 million.
by Egmont Sippel
Published by Playboy SA May 2012