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Lamborghini Aventador S Roadster: Defining the supercar

By Ghaith Madadha - Dec 10,2018 - Last updated at Dec 11,2018

Photo courtesy of Lamborghini

Among the most dramatic cars, the second incarnation of Lamborghini’s now flagship model range is every bit as exotically extrovert as expected of the raging bull brand. Introduced late last year and gaining the suffix “S” in place of the alphanumeric model designation from its name, and so dubbed Aventador S Roadster in open top guise, it remains one of the world’s defining supercars. Redeveloped for improved performance and driving, the Aventador S receives new driving modes, more power and most significantly since the Aventador model line first appeared in 2011 as coupe and 2013 as Roadster, four-wheel-steering now sharpens its agility and handling prowess even further.

 

Stealing the limelight

 

Immediately identifiable as a Lamborghini with the same squat, wide shape and sharply angular lines derived from its distant and iconic Countach predecessor, the revised Aventador S Roadster adopts a sharper and more assertive look than the pre-facelift model. With an emphasis on its already significant 20,30mm physical width and low 1,136mm height, the new Aventador’s face is noticeably less snouty and does away with the outgoing model’s vast side intakes and jutting shark-like nose. Instead, it features a more complex face with wider grille and intakes separated by gills and more prominent air splitter below. Meanwhile in profile, it features slightly revised vents and intakes.

A distinctively moody design that looks as fast is goes the low-slung mid-engine Aventador is a feast of jutting edges and sharply angled and defined lines, it has a larger than life persona that steals the limelight wherever it goes and next any other car. The revised Aventador S Roadster meanwhile has a more palpable sense of urgency, with new air intakes at the side of its rear buttresses, revised engine cover slats and a more layered, jutting, pert and now black rear fascia with more horizontal emphasis, slimmer upper heat extractors, and more prominent air diffuser slats and pyramid-like hexagonal central exhaust pipe cluster.

 

Visceral vocals

 

Viciously vocal and searing swift, the Aventador S Roadster is powered by one of the world’s most viscerally charismatic engines. Lamborghini’s second all-new V12 engine and successor to the brand’s original Giotto Bizzarrini developed V12, which increased from 3.5- to 6.5 litres between 1963 and 2011, the Aventador’s new Audi ownership-era V12 also sees a power rise since first used for the Aventador LP700-4. Developing 730BHP at a stratospheric 8,400rpm, it is a decidedly over-square design with more emphasis on top-end power rather than torque. That said, the Aventador S nevertheless packs a mighty 509lb/ft at 5,500rpm, the point by which power peaks in most modern turbocharged cars.

Eager, free and responsive to rev hard and high and wind down, the Aventador S delivers superb throttle control to dial in exacting increments of power and subsequently balance slip and grip through corners. Urgent, insistent and evocative, the Aventador S vast mid-mounted 6.5-litre V12 goes through a charismatic medley of sounds from resonant and metallic staccato to an intense buzz-saw like wail as its reaches its crescendo. One of the last great naturally-aspirated engines in production, it may be a more rev-happy engine, but it certainly isn’t lacking at low-end, and digs deep to deliver a consistently progressive and rapidly escalating torrent of power from tick-over to redline.

 

Escalating aggression

 

Flexible in mid-range, capable of pulling hard in high gear and a 350km/h maximum, the Aventador S Roadster is scintillatingly swift in acceleration from standstill. With four-wheel-drive traction it smashes the 0-100km/h benchmark in just 3-seconds, passes the 200km/h mark in 9-seconds and hits 300km/h in 25-seconds, but is somewhat thirsty, with 16.9-litre combined fuel efficiency. Fitted with standard single-clutch automated 7-speed gearbox with three escalating swift shift modes, cog changes, however, lack the speed and seamlessness of its junior supercar Huracan sister’s dual-clutch gearbox. Nevertheless, it delivers quick and deliberate changes at speed and a charismatic experience, if at the cost of slightly jerky shifts at lower speeds. 

Built on a rigid yet lightweight carbon-fibre moncoque with front and rear aluminium frames and mixed material body including flourishes of exposed carbon-fibre, the Aventador S Roadster is meanwhile underpinned by a sophisticated and exotic double wishbone suspension with horizontal pushrod active magnetic dampers. Set up for a highly sporting character and riding staggered 255/30ZR20 front tyres for good steering feel and enormous low profile 355/25ZR21 at the rear for massive traction and grip, the Roadster is firm on the road and over jagged bumps in particular. Its softest damper setting does, however, keep it sufficiently forgiving. Meanwhile on motorway its, low and wide footprint keeps it impeccably settled and firmly planted.

 

Agility and stability

 

Carrying speed with confidence in abundance, the Roadster’s new four-wheel-steering ensures improved lane-changing stability, while improved aerodynamics and a 3-position adjustable pop-up rear wing provides 130 per cent more downforce at speed and through corners, and considerably enhanced efficiency in low drag position. Road-hugging and buttoned down, it rides like on rails through corners, with low-mounted and ideally positioned mid-engine engine providing a 53 per cent within wheelbase rear weight bias. The result is an immediate and crisp turn-in, highly controlled lateral body movement and huge grip levels when reapplying power by a corner’s apex, while its rear-biased four-wheel-drive automatically reapportion power where needed and ensures excellent road-holding through corners. 

Most significant is the Aventador S’ new four-wheel-steering, which at speed turns the rear wheels slightly in the same direction as the front for added stability, but in the same direction at lower speeds to effectively shorten the wheelbase and considerably enhance agility, manoeuvrability and road-holding. Necessitating suspension geometry and electronic stability and control alterations, four-wheel-steering makes a huge improvement to the Aventador’s driving dynamic and allows it send more power to the rear wheels for a more balanced driving style and to virtually banish understeer. Meanwhile its quick steering is direct and delivers good feel and stability at speed, while huge carbon ceramic brakes are tirelessly effective.

 

True to its kind

 

A unique and individual supercar that wears its unreconstructed machismo and old school charm on its sleeve, but is nevertheless underpinned by very modern technology, systems and development, driving the Aventador S Roadster is an occasion. Refined and well-insulated with its roof in place, it takes a more visceral character when the manually operated roof panels are removed and stowed in its front luggage compartment, but a happy medium is to open the rear letterbox screen to get the full audio experience without the open air exposure. Meanwhile, in the city, the Aventador can lift its front ride height from 115mm to 155mm to safely clear most ramps and bumps.

A defining supercar and a visceral delight for the senses, the Aventador S Roadster is true to its segment, and isn’t the most practical, but one soon adjusts and accepts its idiosyncrasies, width and limited rear visibility. Stepping in past its sexy scissor doors is easy enough, the Roadster is driver focused inside in driving position and numerous buttons across its huge centre console, including a guarded firing button-like starter. Leather-bound and sportily luxurious, its low cabin requires tall drivers to hunker down for headroom and slouch for added visibility, but otherwise adequately spaced. Reversing visibility is meanwhile almost entirely dependent on the backup camera, but there is an admittedly unorthodox workaround technique!

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

 

Engine: 6.5-litre, mid-mounted, dry sump, V12-cylinders

Bore x stroke: 95 x 76.4mm

Compression ratio: 12:1

Valve-train: 48-valve, DOHC

Gearbox: 7-speed automated single-clutch, four-wheel-drive

Ratios: 1st 3.909; 2nd 2.438; 3rd 1,81; 4th 1.458; 5th 1.185; 6th 0.867; 7th 0.844; R 2.929

Final drive, F/R: 3.273/2.867 

Power, BHP (PS) [kW]: 730 (740) [544] @8,400rpm

Specific power: 112.3BHP/litre

Power-to-weight: 449.2BHP/tonne

Torque, lb/ft (Nm): 509 (690) @5,500rpm

Specific torque: 106.2Nm/litre

Torque-to-weight: 424.6Nm/tonne

0-100km/h: 3-seconds

0-200km/h: 9-seconds

0-300km/h: 25-seconds

Top speed: 350km/h

Fuel consumption, urban/extra-urban/combined: 26.2-/11.6-/
16.9-litres/100km 

CO2 emissions, combined: 394g/km

Fuel capacity: 85-litres

Track, F/R: 1,720/1,680mm

Ground clearance, min/mx: 115/155mm

Steering: Power-assisted rack & pinion, and rear-wheel-steering

Lock-to-lock, min/max: 2.1-/2.4-turns

Suspension: Double wishbones, horizontal pushrod active magnetic dampers

Brakes, F/R: Ventilated, carbon-ceramic discs 400 x 38mm/380 x 38mm

Brake callipers, F/R: 6-/4-piston callipers

Braking distance, 100-0km/h: 31-metres

Tyres: 255/30ZR20/355/25ZR21

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