Fine Form: Lamborghini’s Aventador

Like the famous bull for which it is named, Lamborghini’s latest model is best approached with wary respect for its raw power and volatility. The Aventador LP 700-4 ($387,000) succeeds the Murciélago as the Italian engineer’s flagship model, packing a burly 6.5-liter, V12, 700-horsepower engine. With a 2.9-second zero-to-60 mph rating, this car is basically illegal to drive on public streets beyond using a third of its capabilities.

Could the streets in the City of Brotherly Love be considered appropriate racing ground for this new beauty of a beast? According to Joe Innaurato, general manager of the region’s exclusive Lamborghini dealer F.C. Kerbeck, the new Aventador is as sought after here as any other market in the US. “All the dealers across the country got the first car at the same time, and its sales were very strong. Right now depending on equipment there is a 12-18 month waiting list for a new Aventador.” And Innaurato notes, “Local buyers [from Center City and the suburbs are] putting down 10-percent deposits. The first one we received as a demo was delivered to a local professional athlete.”

With its obligatory gull-wing door, the Aventador starts with a rumble, and as the speed builds entering the track, the rush courses through the driver’s body, as if the grip on the chunky contoured steering wheel and the foot bearing down on the accelerator are the connection completing a power circuit. The Aventador has no clutch pedal or traditional shift lever, and the seven gears of paddle shifting in the Corsa—or track mode—are a little daunting at first, but quickly become quite organic in use, as if the car is telling you when to make your move—a welcome feeling once in the 120 mph-plus zone.

As the speed builds entering the track, the rush courses through the driver’s body.

Extensive use of lightweight and heavy-duty carbon fiber structural elements and the first-ever Lambo monocoque architecture only spare the car a few hundred pounds (it weighs just shy of 4,000), yet the Aventador’s strength and stiffness, with high-speed stresses distributed throughout the single body piece, make it incredibly light and agile, even on the track’s tightest turns. Using the optimal balance of mid-engine placement with the acclaimed Haldex all-wheel drive system, it becomes a gracious dancer on the track.

After about a dozen laps and reaching a straightway top speed of 150 mph, the Lambo test drive resumes a leisurely tone despite high road-noise levels; a good thing for those fortunate enough to use the Lambo Aventador as a daily driver.