Full 2012 Lamborghini Aventador Review
What's New for 2012
The 2012 Lamborghini Aventador is all new.
The 2012 Lamborghini Aventador is intimidating. It's not the wild paint or the razor-sharp styling. It's not the 690-horsepower V12 lurking behind your shoulder or the Lamborghini lore of punishing overzealous drivers. It's not even the sky-high price. No, it's the indisputably alien nature of the Aventador.
One must maneuver around the scissor door into the low-slung cockpit. The windshield is raked to an absurd degree. The side windows are dominated by angular, wide mirrors mounted to tall stalks and the view rearward is like spying on someone through an air vent. The car is enormously wide, which makes the visibility all the more intimidating. The starter button is hidden under a little red panel as if it launches a bomb; the paddle shifters look like a ninja's weapon. The Aventador isn't so much a car as it is an alien spacecraft.
Lamborghini wanted it this way as a means to produce a car that leapfrogged past its long-running Murcielago. For starters, the Aventador is lighter (by about 200 pounds) thanks to a new carbon-fiber chassis. The 6.5-liter V12 is all new, as is the racecar-inspired pushrod suspension. All-wheel drive is standard, as is a seven-speed automated manual gearbox. Zero to 60 mph is said to take just 2.8 seconds. To haul the Aventador down from speed, Lamborghini equipped it with massive carbon-ceramic disc brakes.
Once you acclimate to the Starship Aventador, you'll realize this is one of this world's most incredible cars. Its handling capabilities are truly extraordinary, and the V12 produces the sort of thrust that once resulted in the words "the Eagle has landed." As incredible as you'd imagine the ultimate Lamborghini would be to drive, it's even better, and you don't have to drive it to its sky-high limits to appreciate its talents. It's also not the scary, punishing beast of its forbearers.
There are downsides, of course. The Aventador's ride is punishing on anything but the most pristine roads, and its cargo space is very limited. As such, it would be difficult to go very far in this Lamborghini. We're also not sure if many drivers will be able to discern and appreciate the performance differences the Aventador affords versus significantly cheaper V8 exotics like the Ferrari 458 Italia and McLaren MC4-12C.
Then again, those cars don't come close to having that quintessential intimidation factor and alien nature of the 2012 Lamborghini Aventador.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2012 Lamborghini Aventador is a two-passenger exotic supercar available in a single trim level. Standard features include 19-inch front wheels, 20-inch rear wheels, high-performance tires, carbon ceramic brakes, an adjustable-height suspension, hill-start assist, automatic bi-xenon headlights, LED running lights, heated and power-folding mirrors, automatic climate control, leather upholstery, a tilt steering wheel, LCD gauge cluster, the Lamborghini version of Audi's Multi Media Interface, a navigation system, real-time traffic, Bluetooth, an iPod interface and a sound system.
Optional equipment includes a transparent engine cover, a carbon-fiber engine cover, the Parking Assist package (front and rear parking sensors and a rearview camera), heated power seats, a multifunction steering wheel (in smooth leather, perforated leather or suede) and an upgraded sound system. There is also an extensive customization program available.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2012 Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4 features a 6.5-liter V12 that produces 690 hp and 509 pound-feet of torque. All-wheel drive is standard along with a seven-speed automated manual gearbox that features five different operating modes: three manual (Strada, Sport and Corsa) and two automatic (Strada-auto and Sport-auto). Launch control and hill-start assist are also standard.
Lamborghini estimates that the Aventador will go from zero to 60 mph in about 2.8 seconds; it doesn't get much quicker than that. Estimated fuel economy is 11 mpg city/17 mpg highway and 13 mpg combined. You'd be hard-pressed to find something much thirstier than that.
Standard safety equipment includes traction and stability control, antilock carbon-ceramic disc brakes, knee airbags and side airbags that cover the head and thorax.
Interior Design and Special Features
The 2012 Aventador has the most flamboyantly styled interior ever to be found in a Lamborghini, but thanks to a full helping of Audi electronics, it also has the most user-friendly interior as well. The Aventador gets essentially the same electronics interface as the Audi A4, featuring a knob, surrounding menu buttons and a corresponding large screen. It works well, though given the concentration required to drive the Aventador, simple tasks like changing a radio station are probably a little too complicated.
Space in the Aventador is what you'd expect in today's generation of supercars. A 6-foot-3 driver found sufficient headroom and just enough legroom, though there's certainly a claustrophobic feel that goes along with its low-slung windows and limited visibility. Storage is also practically nonexistent, making the prospects of a road trip rather remote. Sure, no one's making the family summer trek to Mt. Rushmore in an Aventador, but even a weekend trip with your spouse would be far more pleasant in an Aston Martin DBS.
At low speeds, the 2012 Lamborghini Aventador is pretty disappointing. The transmission is jerky, the ride borders on intolerable and the engine emits a rather unimpressive, whiny mechanical drone. But this is a Lamborghini -- what on Earth are you doing driving it slowly?
Lay into the throttle and the V12 comes alive with a raucous symphony. When the road ceases being straight, the Aventador dive bombs into corners thanks to its precise steering. Unlike some other big exotic cars, however, the Aventador never feels smaller than it actually is. Due to the car's wide girth and poor outward visibility, it can be hard for the driver to build up confidence on a demanding road or racetrack.