Used 2013 Lamborghini Aventador Convertible
Edmunds' Expert Review
Whether parked or blasting past at more than three times the national speed limit, the 2013 Lamborghini Aventador makes a bold statement.
There is a certain point at which monumental wealth allows some to shrug off the concerns of mere mortals. It's the sort of riches that elicit no more than a raised eyebrow when throwing down half a million dollars on a vehicle that, by all accounts, is a model of impracticality and waste. The 2013 Lamborghini Aventador is a full realization of this kind of decadence, but don't get us wrong. This supercar is also very much an object of desire.
Let's start with what makes a supercar so super: power. With a 6.5-liter V12 producing an astounding 690 horsepower, there are only a handful of cars available in the U.S. that produce more. With lightweight carbon-fiber construction, that power is put to good use as all four wheels spin wildly to get the top-dog Lamborghini up to 60 mph in under 3 seconds, with a top speed of 217 mph. The Aventador also corners with similar aggression, giving racecars a run for their considerable money.
But stunning performance is only half of the Aventador's equation; it's also a stunner when stationary. The sharp faceted bodywork evokes images of stealth fighter planes, as does a cockpit that is equally evocative. But all of this flash has a considerable non-monetary cost, too. Visibility in any direction is hampered by a steeply raked windshield, huge mirrors that dominate the view out the side windows and a rear window that shows but a sliver of what's behind you. Combine this with the car's wide footprint and even basic tasks like parking become nerve-wracking exercises.
Then there's the Aventador's punishing ride quality that transmits every minute flaw in the road directly into your spine. This year, Lamborghini has improved the ride, but compared to most other supercars, the Aventador is still quite stiff. These ride quality changes have as much effect as the new fuel-saving measures (stop-start technology and cylinder deactivation) that resulted in only 1 mpg more on the highway. As it stands, the most important news for 2013 is the debut of the convertible Aventador Roadster, which comes with its own unique set of drawbacks.
But even with these flaws, the 2013 Lamborghini Aventador remains one of the epically effective ways to make a statement. The closest competitor understandably comes from Lamborghini's arch rival in the form of the 2013 Ferrari F12 Berlinetta. Of course, when you have monumental wealth at hand, we see no reason not to simply buy both.
2013 Lamborghini Aventador configurations
The 2013 Lamborghini Aventador is a two-passenger exotic supercar available as either a coupe or roadster.
Standard coupe features include 19-inch front wheels, 20-inch rear wheels, high-performance tires, carbon-ceramic brakes, a deployable rear spoiler, 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.
The Roadster adds a power rear window, a wind deflector and an engine cover with sectioned hexagonal glass plates.
Optional equipment includes numerous carbon-fiber body parts and interior trim, 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.
Performance & mpg
Powering the 2013 Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4 is an outrageous 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 2.9 seconds as it accelerates to its 217 mph top speed. It doesn't get much quicker or faster than that. This year, fuel consumption is slightly improved thanks to the addition of stop-start technology and cylinder deactivation, which shuts down six cylinders when cruising on the highway. Still, EPA-estimated fuel economy is only 11 mpg city/18 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.
At low speeds, the 2013 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 starts throwing you curves, the Aventador eagerly dive bombs into corners thanks to its quick, precise steering and composed chassis. 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.
Sacrifices are few if you decide on the Roadster. The Aventador's body rigidity seems unfazed by the lack of a roof, and the al fresco experience is a treat to all senses. This is one of the rare instances where a convertible supercar is on par with the fixed-roof coupe version in terms of performance.
Echoing the Aventador's aggressive faceted exterior styling, the interior features angular shapes and controls that would look more at home in a stealth fighter jet. Just starting the engine involves a sort of missile-launch ceremony, as you have to lift a red anodized safety cover to access the start button.
To complement the styling and flourish, the Aventador's cabin also features a decent amount of up-to-date electronics. Pulling from parent company Audi's parts bin, the Lamborghini uses a slightly revised MMI infotainment interface to control the audio and navigation systems via a centrally mounted dial. It works just as well as the Audi system, but considering the amount of concentration required to pilot the Aventador, even the simplest tasks may prove too complicated.
Space in the Aventador is what you'd expect in today's generation of supercars. Drivers taller than 6 feet should still have sufficient headroom and just enough legroom, though there's certainly a claustrophobic feel that goes along with its low-slung roof line and limited visibility. Storage is also practically nonexistent, making the prospects of a road trip rather remote.
Opting for the open-air experience of the Roadster reduces practicality even further, but Lamborghini owners are seldom fazed by such trifles. Rather than employ a folding fabric roof or retractable hardtop, the roof comprises two removable lightweight carbon-fiber panels that fit perfectly into the front trunk. And by perfectly, we mean that they leave room for nothing else. The good news is that the Roadster looks devastatingly beautiful with the top stowed, and the power rear window can be lowered so you can enjoy the full V12 orchestra performing behind your head.
Features & Specs
More About This Model
Open-top supercars are guaranteed to divide opinion. On one side of the fence you've got the driving-glove crew who would never have anything that adds weight and reduces stiffness.
On the other side of the fence are those who would happily pay those penalties in return for the heightened sensations that come along with an open-top car: the noise, the smells, the view and, of course, the pose factor.
But with a car like the 2013 Lamborghini Aventador Roadster, it's clear that the hard-core coupe lovers are fighting a losing battle. This roadster's drawbacks have been reduced to such a trivial level that even the most anti-convertible zealot will have to concede that the argument has become one of mere taste, not substance.
A Modern Removable Top
The old Murcielago Roadster was fine for the sun-kissed climes of Miami, where its Aventador replacement was launched. But the Murcielago's ridiculously fiddly top, a jumble of tubes and canvas that had to be erected like a tent, was for emergency use only. Putting it up took so long that by the time you'd finished, the rain would have passed. And, with the top in place, the recommended top speed was just 100 mph, less than half of its top-down maximum.
The 2013 Lamborghini Aventador Roadster makes its predecessor feel as sophisticated as a Jeep Wrangler thanks to a two-piece roof that actually improves torsional rigidity by around 10 percent when in place. Clearly it's not made from canvas. In fact, it comprises a frame constructed of forged composite, the material used in the limited-run Sesto Elemento chassis, sandwiched by two layers of RTM composite.
Dropping the top isn't as easy as in the fully automated Ferrari or McLaren convertibles. It's still a manual affair, but no real chore. Tilt the seats forward, undo the two latches at the rear firewall, and you can withdraw each panel in turn, storing them in their dedicated slots in the nose-mounted trunk. With practice, the whole process takes just a few minutes.
Behind the Wheel
Our first opportunity to drive the roadster was at Florida's Homestead speedway on a layout that took in a section of banking as well as the infield course. We didn't have to get farther than the second corner before it became apparent that the Aventador suffers little from its lack of a fixed roof.
In fairness, we had to drive with the roof in place, but the carbon chassis felt tight and the steering precision even better than in the coupe we drove on track at the Rome launch two years ago. R&D boss Maurizio Reggiani puts that precision down to a new recipe of Pirelli Corsa tires, the road-legal optional rubber designed mainly for track use. The roadster comes standard with 20-inch front and 21-inch rear wheels, the latter wrapped in outrageous 335/30ZR21 tires. Coupe buyers can have those wheels as an option, but otherwise stick with 19s and 20s.
As with the coupe, the Aventador Roadster offers three driving modes: Strada, Sport and Corsa. Strada is for freeways and on those few occasions when you want to lie low, or as low as you can in a 217-mph, $445,300 supercar. The exhaust is muted and the gearshift slowed and softened, and because the transmission is a single-, not double-clutch unit, you still get that nodding-dog sensation that's helped with a lift on upshifts. There is an auto mode, but taking control yourself is the route to maximum smoothness.
Sport is your fun mode. The front/rear torque split switches from 30/70 to 10/90, the ESP loosens its tie and the shifts gets quicker, but can still feel slightly ponderous. At the limit, a place you'll never get to on the road, the Aventador still understeers when pushed hard. Get through that safety net, presuming you've switched off the slightly overzealous ESP, and you might coax a wiggle on the exit, maybe even a slide if you're really trying. But this isn't a car that can be drifted around like a 458, at least not without a lot of room and skill. For all its carbon technology, it still feels like a big, heavy car, and one that could quite easily get away from you if you're not absolutely certain you know what you're doing.
The quickest way round the circuit — and the quickest way to draw a crowd on the street — comes with Corsa mode, which splits torque 20/80. Showoffs will like impressing their friends with the huge exhaust noise and a gearshift so fierce it's like getting zapped by a taser, but the novelty quickly wears off. A setting that split the difference between Sport and Corsa would be ideal.
More Than Just a New Roof
The matte black roof panels aren't the only giveaway that this is a different beast compared to the regular Aventador. The front pillars are gloss black and Lamborghini's designer Filippo Perini has reworked the rear body design, creating an even more jaw-dropping shape than the coupe.
Gone are the horizontal slats placed between the two rear buttresses, replaced by a flat deck lid designed to look like armor. It features two windows, letting passers-by gawk at the 6.5-liter V12.
The engine itself is essentially unchanged, delivering 690 horsepower and 509 pound-feet of torque to both front and rear wheels via a seven-speed automated single-clutch gearbox. The 217-mph top speed matches the coupe's, but the roadster's 110 pounds of extra mass adds an inconsequential 0.1 second to the 2.9 seconds it takes the hardtop to sprint from zero to 62 mph.
Where the roadster scores massively, though, is engine noise. As with the 2012 Ferrari 458 Spider, you can drop the small glass window behind your head at a touch of a button. And once you've heard the V12's unfiltered roar, driving with the window up feels like cruising in a Nissan Leaf.
In common with 2013 coupes, the roadster has stop-start functionality and the ability to shut down an entire bank of cylinders almost imperceptibly, with an eye on saving fuel. Reggiani reckons that the mods are worth a 25 percent savings in real-world driving.
After the track session we had the chance to drive the LP700-4 (Lambo's official designation) Roadster on the road — and on more road-friendly Pirelli P Zero tires. Lamborghini claims to have softened the suspension fractionally on both coupe and roadster in response to earlier criticism, but the ride remains as unyielding as a brick wall on its passive shock absorbers.
Lamborghini is very proud of its race-style pushrod suspension, which it claims brings massive benefits in terms of unsprung mass and tighter control of geometry. But Ferrari's adaptive damping delivers a more discernible real-world benefit.
Is the Aventador Roadster Really a Value?
Compared with other senior-league open-air supercars like the Koenigsegg Agera R and Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport, whose prices run into the millions of dollars, the 2013 Lamborghini Aventador Roadster looks like a great value, as absurd as that statement may sound.
And presuming the eye-watering $65K-plus premium over the coupe isn't an issue, which at this level, it probably isn't, you'd be mad not to go for the roadster. Even if you never removed the roof panels, one run through the gears with that rear window dropped will convince you of the roadster's superiority.
If there's a "but" here, it's Ferrari's incredible 458 Spider. It might lack the Lamborghini's sense of occasion, but it offers a fully automatic folding top, costs two-thirds as much and is more engaging to drive. Oh to be lying awake at night agonizing over that decision.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.
Used 2013 Lamborghini Aventador Convertible Overview
The Used 2013 Lamborghini Aventador Convertible is offered in the following styles: LP 700-4 Roadster 2dr Convertible AWD (6.5L 12cyl 7AM).
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Should I lease or buy a 2013 Lamborghini Aventador?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.