2012 Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4 Official Photos and Info - Auto Shows
Lamborghini’s 691-horsepower tour de force is finally revealed.
BY AARON ROBINSON
Pages: 1 Photos
Visit Our Buyer's Guide »
Aston Martin DBS coupe
Audi R8 coupe
Ferrari 458 Italia
Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG
VEHICLE TYPE: mid-engine, four-wheel-drive, 2-passenger, 2-door coupe
BASE PRICE: $379,700
ENGINE TYPE: DOHC 48-valve V-12, aluminum block and heads, port fuel injection
Displacement: 397 cu in, 6498 cc
Power (SAE net): 691 bhp @ 8250 rpm
Torque (SAE net): 509 lb-ft @ 5500 rpm
TRANSMISSION: 7-speed automated manual
Wheelbase: 106.3 in Length: 188.2 in
Width: 79.9 in Height: 44.7 in
Curb weight (C/D est): 3800 lb
PERFORMANCE (C/D EST):
Zero to 60 mph: 2.9 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 11.0 sec @ 130 mph
Top speed: 217 mph
FUEL ECONOMY (C/D EST):
City/highway driving: 10/14 mpg
It’s called the Aventador LP700-4, and it’s Lamborghini’s newest V-12–powered suckerfish. From its scything mandibles to its gawping monopipe, the 691-hp V-12 replacement for the Murciélago is all-new, we’re told. That flushing sound you hear is Swiss bank accounts being emptied in anticipation of its August 2011 arrival at a price of $379,700.
The styling for Lamborghini’s latest Concerto for Creases and Trapezoids borrows much from the 20 Reventón coupes that preceded it. The full-figured lines of the old Murciélago have been pulled out and toned up, as if the big goombata has discovered Pilates. Naturally, the scissor doors endure, while a buyer can choose from three au courant matte-finish colors (black, white, and brown), along with the usual assortment of metallic and pearlescent paints.
Overall, the Aventador is one big Lambo, longer by almost seven inches than the car it replaces, with an NBA-sanctioned 1.4 inches added to the wheelbase. (Overall length is 188.2 inches.) The roof height is unchanged at a low-flying 44.7 inches, but the car is slightly narrower. The dry weight is a claimed 3472 pounds which, if accurate, and with a full tank of 23.8 gallons and a full oil sump of 13.7 quarts, plus coolant, should put the curb weight somewhere between 3700 and 3800 pounds, a few hundred pounds lighter than the old steel-frame Murciélago.
Lamborghini’s flagship finally joins the carbon-fiber club founded by cars such as the McLaren F1 and Ferrari F50, encircling occupants in a molded structural tub. Said to weigh 325 pounds naked and 506 with body panels attached, the Aventador’s passenger cell will be made in-house at Lamborghini’s own Sant’Agata plant.
The tub is assembled from carbon-fiber panels, boxes, and tubes with foam and aluminum reinforcements, using a variety of molding techniques. They include high-pressure resin-injection for many of the core structural parts and “prepreg,” or mats of carbon-fiber pre-impregnated by the supplier with heat-curing liquid resin, for surfaces that need a smoother finish for painting or ornamental clear-coating.
Lamborghini builds up the tub in part by employing already-finished carbon-fiber parts as molds for the next pieces to be added. Epoxy foam strengtheners are added at strategic points to increase stiffness of the monocoque and to dampen noise and vibration, while aluminum inserts are laminated into the front and rear of the tub as mounting plates for the front and rear subframes, which support the powertrain as well as the front- and rear suspension. The arrangement cuts production costs and simplifies crash repair, relatively speaking, of course.
Aluminum upper and lower control arms support the body. To centralize and lower the mass as well as reduce un-sprung weight, the Aventador uses inboard coil-over shocks laid horizontally and actuated by pushrods. The front units are at the base of the windscreen, the rears lie just aft of the engine.
Lamborghini says the rigid mounting of the shocks to the body also allows engineers to dial back spring rates for a more livable ride. A pushbutton jacking system on the front axle allows the driver to raise the nose by a crucial 1.6 inches for speed bumps or steeper driveways.
The steering has hydraulic assist with three boost modes tied into the driver-configurable stability and shift controls. The 19-inch front wheels and 20-inch rears are encased in 255/35 Pirelli P Zeros up front and huge 335/30 hunks in back. The carbon-ceramic brake discs—satellite dishes, really—measure 15.7 inches in front, 15.0 inches in back, with six-piston calipers doing the clamping at the front and four-piston calipers at the rear.
A New Engine, Backwards as Usual
Although it’s described as a clean-sheet design, the 6498-cc V-12, known internally as the L539, carries over several key aspects of the Murciélago’s engine. They include its 60-degree V angle, port fuel injection, chain-driven four cams, unusual quad-throttle-body intake, dry-sump lubrication, and backwards mounting, the latter trait descending directly from the original Countach. At 76.4 mm, however, the stroke is much shorter, which helps make it possible for the engine to rev past 8000 rpm. (Click here for our full story on the Aventador's powertrain.)
With a compression ratio of 11.8:1, you’ll definitely want to spring for premium fuel, especially to reach the 691-hp power peak at a frantic 8250 rpm. The torque crests at 509 lb-ft at 5500 rpm. Unlike the Gallardo’s V-10, the V-12 will be assembled entirely in Italy by Lamborghini.
Between the seats is a new single-clutch, seven-speed paddle-shifted automated manual that Lambo dubs the ISR (Independent Shifting Rod). No manual will be offered. The 154-pound ISR uses four hydraulically actuated shift forks, and its software hastens gear changes by overlapping the motions of the forks of successive gears during shifts, a technique that has already been embraced by Ferrari in its single-clutch gearboxes. Lambo claims shift times that are 40 percent quicker than in an e-gear–equipped Gallardo.
The Aventador’s transmission also operates as a full automatic. As with the stability control, the shift profile can be altered by the driver depending on whether he or she selects the “Strada” (street) or “Sport” modes. There is also a “Corsa” (track) setting, which is manual-only and includes launch control for maximum acceleration from a standing start. During upshifts, it probably makes the car feel as if it’s being rear-ended.
As denoted by the 4 in its name, the Aventador is all-wheel drive. Power transmits to the front axle via an electronically controlled Haldex clutch; zero to 60 percent of available torque is sent forward depending on the surface conditions and speed.
A More Intimate Cockpit
A more focused dashboard positions digital displays and warning lights around a large central combination tach/speedometer. At the driver’s whim, the thin-film transistor (TFT) display in the cluster can be toggled to show either a large tach or a speedometer. Navigation, Bluetooth connectivity, an iPod port, and other modern conveniences are standard.
Options include a transparent engine cover, a stereo upgrade, parking distance sensors, a rear-mounted camera, and brake calipers painted in wild colors. (The parking sensors and backup camera are pretty much required for any Lambo.) A package of contrasting two-tone leather is also available, or, as has always been the case at Lamborghini, you can go in and order whatever psychotic combination of colors and materials your wallet and bad taste can realize.
Forsaking steel in Lamborghini’s V-12 flagship is both a substantial and long overdue change. With its German-built aluminum space frame, Lamborghini’s smaller Gallardo was technologically years ahead of the pricier Murciélago. With buyers asked to lay out almost 400 large for the big Lamborghini, now is the right time to add F1-like technology to the F1-like price tag.