Automotive

Published on April 17th, 2017 | by Subhash Nair

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Driving The Aventador S and Huracan on the Track

When it comes to supercars, only one brand seems to have its eyes on ‘insanity’, and that brand is Lamborghini. A week ago, we were given a dose of this famed Italian madness at the Sepang International Circuit. After four rounds and a slalom behind the wheel, we were thoroughly convinced – there’s nothing like a Lambo.

A little history first. Lamborghini have been following the two-model system for a while now. Under this system, the company sells two models, each with a number of variations, trim levels and options. So if you’re thinking of driving something special on a day-to-day basis, they offer the Huracán with a V10 engine.

But for those looking to make a statement, a V12-powered supercar is the only way to go. For five years now, the Aventador has been the company’s flagship, and boy has it been successful.

To put its mass appeal into perspective, consider this: its V12 predecessors are usually kept around for about ten years. During that time, only about 2000-3000 units are sold. But in just 5 years, more than 5000 units of the Aventador have been sold.


But you can’t keep a car around for that long and expect the same amount of attention. That’s why Lamborghini has come up with the Aventador S. This takes the car to a whole new level by improving a number of aspects, including enhancements to the car’s aerodynamics, aesthetics, and usability.

These improvements may just scratch the surface of what’s new with the ‘S’, but they’re really quite significant in their own right. Compared to the standard model (if you could call it that), the Aventador S, overall efficiency at high downforce is improved by over 50% and by 400% in low drag. Front downforce too has been improved by 130%.

Standard equipment now includes carbon ceramic brakes, a new TFT digital instrument cluster, a new ‘EGO’ driving mode (basically a Custom setting, but with Oregano seasoning), plus there’s even Apple Carplay!

On a more serious note, there are 4 major changes that Lamborghini really want to highlight – the naturally aspirated V12 engine, the 7-speed ISR gearbox, the 4-wheel steering system and the Pirelli P-Zero tyres.

The best place to start is with that engine. Lamborghini have managed to crank the power up from 700PS to 740PS as well as increasing high-end torque. This machine doesn’t stop giving until it reaches 8400RPM. Take a minute to digest that.

Lamborghini have doubled down on their single-clutch transmission, but have changed the gearing strategy a little. It’s now a little more comfortable to use in automatic mode and a lot more accurate in its shifts.

The new Pirelli P-Zero Tyres are definitely a big change. The name hasn’t been altered, but the performance and tread pattern sure have. Internal benchmarks show improvements in every area – from steering and braking responsiveness to lateral grip. We’re prepared to take their word for it.

What’s really awesome about the Aventador S is the inclusion of four-wheel steering. This is the first time this sort of technology has found its way into a Lambo, and it sure does help these behemoths in the corners.

 

It’s a pretty complex system that ties in with some of the other technologies like Lamborghini’s Dynamic Steering and Magneto-rheological Suspension. But without getting too technical, what it does is

 

  1. Turn the rear wheels in the opposite direction of the front wheels at low speeds. This practically reduces the wheelbase and allows for greater maneuverability in town and when attacking very tight corners.
  2. Turn the rear wheels in the same direction as the front wheels at high speed. This extends the wheelbase, making the car more responsive and stable.

 

Add these two technologies to an always-on all-wheel drive system and what you have is a slightly tamed bull – or at least one that you can control when it’s at its maddest. To demonstrate its capabilities, we went for through a slalom course with it as well as a couple of guided laps around the Sepang circuit.

It’s definitely a lot crazier than some of the other supercars on sale in 2017. That single-clutch and V12 combination is definitely to blame, not that we’re complaining. Even in ‘Strada’ mode, which is supposed to be a ‘Comfort’ mode of sorts, the transmission has zero chill. Shifting from first gear to second whips you forward and then back, even in the pit lane. It’s quite scary.

But as soon as you get going, that fear sort of melts away. Once your neck begins to anticipate gear changes, driving this huge, raging bull around a former F1 track is pretty easy. It’s an extremely compliant car, and we’re half convinced that the instructors were just there to make sure we knew what our limits were, as the car’s limits seemed to be very far off.

So the Aventador S is, in short, an extreme version of the original. One that’s not only extremely fast (0-100km/h in 2.9 seconds, 100-200km/h about 5 seconds later), but easier to get a handle of. But the inclusion of Apple Carplay is a little misleading. In fact, it’s a little unnecessary. You’ve got a V12 that just won’t keep quiet right behind your ears. Whatever podcast you’re listening to is going to be rightfully drowned out.

The Aventador S is not going to be your daily driver. It’s probably not even going to be your weekend driver.  That single clutch gearbox is simply not going to let you relieve stress. It’ll kick you in the back of the neck and remind you that you’re in something very special.

No, if you want something you can live with, go with the Huracán. The model we drove was a downtuned V10, but it’s still a fantastic supercar in its own right. In fact, the LP 580-2 is a lot more fun than the Aventador S in the hands of a novice. Having over 550hp being sent to the rear wheels in a mid-engined car gives it a more pronounced ‘sensation’ of power. Just keep your eyes off the actual numbers, and you’ll actually have a better time in the Huracán. The 7-speed dual clutch transmission in here’s actually very smooth.

None of that merciless back-breaking you’ll find in the Aventador, but still accurate and dramatic enough to be worthy of the Lamborghini name.


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