It was a case of courses for horses with Lamborghini choosing the fast, flowing Phillip Island grand prix circuit as the venue for the Australasian launch of its Aventador S.
The ‘S’ suffix could well stand for ‘super’, ‘special’ or ‘sensational’, because this bold, brash newcomer’s 6.5-litre, normally-aspirated V12 pumps out 552kW of power – 37kW more than its ‘regular’ LP700-4 Aventador sibling. It also comes bristling with new aero styling, redeveloped suspension, sharper driving-dynamics and rear- wheel steering. Claimed 0-100km/h time is 2.9 seconds, while top speed is 350km/h.
Unfortunately, the Bureau of Meteorology’s forecast of ‘100 percent precipitation’ on the morning came true. With steady rain falling and the track awash, there was little chance of experiencing the absolute potential of the S’s many enhancements.
What we can verify is how secure and stable it felt and performed under such low grip, poor traction conditions. While top end speeds were (understandably) down about 40-50km on what we experienced in the LP700-4 on a dry track three years ago, the S amazed and reassured in equal measures in the way it braked, turned in, carried its speed and exited Phillip Island’s many mid and high-speed corners.
So much so, that within a lap we ditched the default Strada (street) drive mode, ventured to Sport and then upped the ante by invoking Corsa (race). With the S thus highly sensitised, the smart, satisfying (and fast) way around was to work as one with the car: roll the throttle on and off smoothly and take the corners a gear higher to surf the 6.5-litre V12’s fat torque band that peaks at 690Nm @ 5500rpm.
Lamborghini claims its Independent Shifting Rod (ISR), seven-speed transmission – capable of providing robotised gear shifts in up to 50 milliseconds – remains ‘the best solution in terms of dimensions and weight’ for the Aventador.
They say changes have been made to improve its shifting in manual operation and smoothness in auto, but to our mind it still feels harsh – brutal even – compared with the dual-clutch units of other similarly-endowed supercars.
Regardless, so utterly enthralling is the Aventador that buyers are unfazed. Since the model’s launch in 2011, the LP700-4 has become Lamborghini’s most popular V12 model of all time, 5500 units having been sold. The S – with more of everything – can only add to this success.