- I test drove a $610,000 Lamborghini Aventador SVJ, a track-optimized version of Lamborghini’s top-of-the-line supercar.
- The Aventador starts a little north of $500,000, but my tester received many thousands of dollars in options.
- The Lamborghini Aventador SVJ is incredibly expensive, but it pulls off a cool trick: it joins the “Big Lambo” virtues of a 770-horsepower, V12 engine with modern aerodynamics and all-wheel-drive to produce a track weapon.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
I’ve driven a lot of Lamborghini Huracáns in the past few years, but no Aventadors. I’ve enjoyed the “Little Lambos,” but I longed for the “Big Lambo.”
The Huracáns, while brilliant, have been a bit too subdued, for the most part — supercars that can handle everyday driving.
Not so the Aventador, which reminded me of Lambos of old. My tester car also had the “SVJ” high-performance treatment, intended to make the Aventador a proper track warrior rather than just a very loud, very fast, and very flamboyant example of what the good people of Modena think of when they think supercar.
Here’s how it went:
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Say hello to the Lamborghini Aventador SVJ, in a “Rosso Mimir” matte-red paint job.
The Aventador is the “Big Lamborghini,” versus the smaller Huracán. The Aventador arrived in 2011. The supercar is named after a fighting bull.
The SVJ logo is— brace yourself — $8,400 extra. SVJ stands for “Superveloce Jot.” Superveloce means “superfast” in Italian, and Jota is a designation used for Lambos geared towards track performance.
The base Aventador is about $517,000, but my SVJ tester car — the second-most expensive vehicle Business Insider has sampled, behind the Rolls-Royce Phantom — benefited from many thousands of options and upgrades, taking the price to $610,000.
The Aventador’s upswinging doors are a dramatic feature.
The doors look cool, but in practice they’re a bit difficult to use.
The Big Lambo is, relatively speaking, rather small (And low!) as cars go. The mid-engine layout pushes the driver’s position forward, close to the front wheels. Fully fueled, it weighs in at just under 4,000 lbs.
Just 900 SVJ’s will be produced in Modena; my tester car was numero uno.
Lamborghini Aventador SVJ that I tested differs from the stock Aventador thanks to an “Ad Personam” custom exterior and exterior, as well as additional carbon-fiber aero elements and a beefed-up engine.
The Aventador’s land-shark design comes through, nevertheless.
The all-wheel-drive Lamborghini Aventador SVJ also has rear-wheel steering. The upshot is that handling is exceptionally stable, despite the incredibly stiff suspension.
This supercar is a wind-cheating wedge. The 0-60 mph passes in 2.8 seconds, on the way to a top speed of over 217 mph.
The Aventador SVJ isn’t exactly a fuel-economy champ. You can expect about 11 mpg, using premium petrol.
The SVJ’s rear is dominated by a massive rear wing, part of the “ALA 2.0” or Aerodinamica Lamborghini Attiva, package.
The wing is really a wing, complete with winglets and an airfoil design that manages turbulence and increases downforce.
I didn’t get the car moving fast enough to take advantage of it …
… But ALA is a compelling system, if you intend to track your SVJ.
The aero extends to the front end, as well …
… Where a “floating” front splitter adds downforce and improves airflow.
Side scoops also contribute to airflow efficiency and engine cooling.
The shark-nosed front is also where you’ll find the Lambo’s raging-bull badge, in snarling gold.
The headlights are bi-xenon units, and the grand scheme of the Aventador’s aesthetic, they could be more flamboyant.
If you can manage to look below the wing …
… You’ll notice that the Aventador has a pair of pretty massive exhaust pipes. Not to mention a major-league diffuser.
These are the end point of the Lambo’s legendary growl, bark, blurp, and shriek.
Carbon-ceramic brakes are a necessity on a car this fast. As are Pirelli P-Zero tires.
A little more carbon fiber can’t hurt, right? The Lamborghini Aventador SVJ has it for the side-view mirrors!
The Lamborghini Aventador’s front trunk or “frunk” is …
… Too small for even a hat. For some supercars, there are trade-offs.
Beneath this louvered carapace is the cruel heart of the Aventador SVJ: a 6.5-liter V12.
It produces 770 horsepower and 720 pound-feet of torque, with a redline at 8,700 rpm.
Let’s slip inside the “Nero Cosmus” interior.
The Aventador door sill lights up at night.
Operating the doors is tricky. Here’s the inside latch.
And once the door is raised, you can pull it down with this red strap.
It’s easy to spot in a sea of carbon fiber.
The Aventador’s steering wheel is Alcantara and perforated leather, with long paddle shifters and a digital instrument cluster.
The cluster changes its look depending on the drive mode.
The modest, Audi-derived infotainment screen sits atop the center console. It’s handles is duties quite well, but it’s a little awkward to navigate using the multipurpose knob-and-buttons interface.
The starter button is hidden beneath a small red hatch, fighter-plane style.
Flip it up and fire it up! The sounds of a Lambo coming to life is one of the world’s great auditory pleasures. The Aventador’s “anima” buttons offer Strada (road), Sport, Corsa (track), and an individual “Ego” mode.
But the premium sound system isn’t too bad by comparison.
Lamborghini callouts are where they usually are …
… As well as on the headrests …
… And there’s an SVJ nod on the seat bolsters.
The interior is nice, but this thing is a race car, so don’t expect cupholders. or even storage compartments. I’m not even sure this depression in the armrest is really intended to hold the key fob.
The Lamborghini Aventador SVJ looks cool, but it isn’t terribly comfy inside.
And you can forget about using the rear backlight.
So what’s the verdict?
With the Huracán, Lamborghini moved decisively away from the signature combination of crude and flashy that had previously defined the brand. The Huracán is, depending in configuration, the easiest-to-drive Lambo ever created.
That’s all well and good, but some Lamboistas crave that old-time terrifying Lamborghini experience. And for them, the Aventador SVJ is just what il dottore ordered.
The Aventador SVJ is, of course, the already insane Aventador optimized to ravage racetracks. As such, it offers effectively no compromises. The SVJ is, without a doubt, the most difficult-to-drive supercar I’ve ever gotten behind the wheel of. For example, with a redline at 8,700 rpm, even in theoretically benign Strada mode, getting the seven-speed single-clutch transmission and the V12 engine to stop kicking you in the tush is a tall order.
Tickling that redline and thereby mitigating the more F1-aspects of driving the SVJ is impossible. You could perhaps get there in third gear, but you’d be afraid that the motor would burst through the firewall and kill you, and also you’d be going 1oo mph in a red Italian supercar on public roads and raising a wail that could back off a starving Tyrannosaurus Rex.
To be honest, it usually isn’t the overt supercars, the automotive big boys, that terrify me like this. Rather, it’s the wild little machines that punch miles above their weight. I consider myself fairly accomplished at getting some satisfying real-world supercar performance out of these four-wheeled aristocratic savages. Not so the Aventador SVJ. This is the Big Lambo that shredded the Nürburgring in just over six minutes and 42 seconds, claiming the title of fastest production car to lap the German Nordschleife circuit.
What we have here is a majestic throwback, modified to be a modern-day track weapon, with enough aerodynamic extras to impress a US Navy fighter jock. The Lamborghini SVJ is, however, at base, a simple idea: take a huge amount of engine displacement, add gas and air, and use that alchemy to produce shattering, noisy velocity. What the SVJ treatment does is refine this familiar Lambo quality to be altogether better around corners and into curves.
That’s great, but let’s be real — this Big Lambo is still insane in a big way. In fact, it’s perhaps the most insane Lambo I’ve driven lately. And it’s definitely the most insane Lambo money can buy.