Road tests 22.8.2018 12:00 pm

DRIVEN: Lamborghini Aventador Roadster S – track sharp meets open road pleasure

An invitation to drive this magnificent supercar around the Kyalami race track made my week.

Monday is that day of the week you start dreading from about the time the sun rises at the start of the weekend.

It’s the day that normally signals the start of another torturous week grinding out a living.

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You do this just so your kids can go to school and you can put food on the plate in front of you at night, while you wait for the grim reaper to finally put you out of your misery one day before you enter the adult nappy phase of your life.

I know this sounds somewhat horrific and exceptionally negative, but that was my point. Mondays suck, but I have so much to be grateful for. I do a job I love, and this past Monday, this love came in the form of an invite from Lamborghini South Africa to drive their new Aventador Roadster S at the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit.

So instead of praying that time would stand still over the weekend, I wished my weekend away, in anticipation of being let loose on a world-class race track in a howling, R8 695 000, 6.5-litre, naturally aspirated V12 supercar, that churns out 544kW of power and 690Nm of torque.

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And, make no mistake, this is no “only good for posing” roadster.

The car weighs only 50kg more than the slightly more hardcore Coupe model, produces the same power, and this translates into Lamborghini claiming that their topless model can hit 100km/h in a mere 3.0 seconds, 200km/h in 9.0 seconds, and 300km/h in only 25 seconds, while the top speed is quoted at bug splattering 350km/h.

Perhaps, at this stage, you might be wondering what the “S” suffix brings to the party. The bottom line is that it is mostly about advancements in design and technology of the new model.

The roadster now features four-wheel drive, new active suspension, new four-wheel steering system, and the new EGO (I will explain this mode later, and no, it’s not what you think it is) driving mode, as introduced on the Aventador S Coupe.

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I am not going to pretend to sound like I know more than the engineers at Lamborghini, so I am going to give you the technical upgrades pretty much just as I got given them.

You get enhanced lateral control from the new four-wheel steering that also provides improved agility at low speed  and more stability at high speed, combined with Lamborghini Dynamic Steering (LDS) for responsive feedback and sharper turn-in.

And trust me, although we only had a few laps in the car, it was this LDS system that really made itself known.

You do not need to manhandle the roadster, gentle inputs on the steering wheel is all that is required to nail the apex of any corner on the track.

Improved vertical control comes from updated pushrod suspension, new rear springs and Lamborghini Magneto-rheological Suspension (LMS) with revised kinematics adapted to the new four-wheel steering.

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A new real-time variable damping system optimises wheel and body control and balance and ground stiffness is maximised.

How this translates onto the road, I can’t tell you, but I can assume that it means, thanks to the various driving dynamic modes available, that you can dial the car down soft enough to cruise around in comfort and then dial it up to be razor sharp when required.

An optimised Electronic Stability Control (ESC) system improves longitudinal control for faster and more precise management of traction control and vehicle dynamics depending on the driving mode you have selected once again, and thereby maximising grip in all conditions and further enhancing handling.

The permanent four-wheel drive’s calibration allows for the stabilising effect of the rearwheel steering, allowing more torque to the rear axle: when powering off, less torque is shifted to the front axle to allow a sporty but safe drive.

Once you get used to the exceptional sharpness of the steering and minimal input required to hustle around a race track in a hurry, you will appreciate the extra grip all these systems offer.

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And I can say that I never once had a “moment” when I thought I was going lose control and put a very expensive piece of high tech machinery into the barriers.

About those driving modes, the Aventador S Roadster offers you four choices, and being typically Italian, they go by the names of Strada, Sport and Corsa and the new Ego mode that I have already mentioned.

Strada means road, so basically everyday use, Sport, well means sportier driving, Corsa means race, and Ego has nothing to do with cruising around in a very sought after car, it is simply Lamborghini’s way of saying Individual mode.

And this means you can configure the dynamic settings of your roadster exactly as you want them.

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You also get a seven-speed lightweight Independent Shifting Rod (ISR) transmission that provides for robotised gearshifts in up to 50 milliseconds.

Think automated manual transmission, and I have to be honest, this system did take a little getting used to as it can be quite abrupt if you don’t lift off the accelerator at the right time.

Carbon ceramic brakes are fitted as standard, and the Dione 20-inch and 21-inch rims are wrapped in sticky Pirelli P Zero tyres that have been especially developed for the Aventador.

I seldom, if ever, comment on styling, as this is what the pictures you see are there to do, but I can tell you that on this car, nothing is there just for show.

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The active rear wing optimises the car’s aerodynamic balance depending on speed and the selected drive mode, and it not only significantly enhances overall aerodynamic design, but more importantly, improves front downforce by more than 130% over the previous Aventador.

One thing is for sure, the Lamborghini Aventador is a very lively, very fast and powerful supercar that only a select few will ever own and drive in true anger.

Model Pricing

  • Aventador S R7 895 000
  • Aventador S Roadster R8 695 000
  • Huracán RWD R4 595 000
  • Huracán RWD Spyder R4 995 000
  • Huracán 4WD R5 295 000
  • Huracán 4WD Spyder R5 795 000
  • Huracán Performante R6 095 000
  • Huracán Performante Spyder R6 795 000
  • Urus R3 495 000

Pricing including a three-year / 100 000km Driveplan

 

 

 

 

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