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Lambo's new composite raging bull

2011-03-01 12:16

CONTEMPORARY COUNTACH: Naturally aspirated V12. Manual (okay, it is semi automated) transmission. Scissor doors. Lamborghini’s new headline product is very much a study in old-school Italian supercar values.

Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer Lamborghini
Model Aventador
Engine 6.5l V12
Power 515kW @ 8 250rpm
Torque 690Nm @ 5 500rpm
Transmission Seven-speed automated manual
Zero To Hundred 2.9 sec
Top Speed 350km/h
Weight 1 572kg
Tyres F: 255/35R19 R: 335/30R20
Front Suspension Double wishbones, inboard dampers
Rear Suspension Double wishbones, inboard dampers
It's hard to keep a secret when you're one of the world's most iconic supercar brands.

After an embarrassing amount of leaked information and images (courtesy of a Croatian magazine) Lamborghini’s officially disseminated all you could ever want to know about its Murciélago replacement, the Aventador, set for public debut at the 2011 Geneva auto show this week.

Sant'Agata’s new supercar cues a classic mid-engined profile, with its wedge silhouette and exquisite detailing borrowing much from Lamborghini’s limited-edition Reventon and Sesto Elemento show cars.

Although the shape is instantly recognisable as a Lamborghini supercar, the detailing contains a strong geometric line work theme. The car’s four exhausts, for instance, are all housed in the centre of its rear diffuser, framed by a hexagon.

In terms of overall dimensions, the Aventador is identical in height to the Murciélago, with the new car 170mm longer but 27mm narrower – all in the interest of aiding high-speed stability.  


True to its billing as Lamborghini’s new headline model, the Aventador LP700-4 has V12 power in true Miura/Countach/Diablo/ Murciélago tradition. Although the Aventador’s 6.5-litre engine has a similar swept capacity to the outgoing Murciélago’s V12, this is an all-new, 60-degree cylinder block powering up to 515kW, supported by 690Nm of torque.

Despite the fact that nearly all rival manufacturers are employing forced induction on smaller capacity to provide the required performance for their supercars, Lamborghini’s Aventador keeps it traditional. The Avendator’s V12 is not even direct-injected, relying on good, old-fashioned multipoint fuel injection to deliver its diet of 95 unleaded...

Running an extraordinarily high compression ratio of 11.8:1 for an engine of its size, the Aventador’s V12 has substantially increased bores (95mm versus the Murciélago’s 88mm, facilitated by a stroke reduction from 89 to 76.4mm), which Lamborghini says enables its new supercar to accelerate effortlessly from crankspeeds as low as 1000rpm in fifth gear – if necessary.

ITALIAN STYLE, GERMAN LOGIC: Audi switchgear is clearly evident, especially on the centre console. New instrument binnacle houses digital display, with switchable positions of prominence for either engine- or road-speed values…

Shifting power to all four wheels is a new transmission and here Lamborghini’s again opted for traditional mechanical engineering, eschewing the option of running the Aventador with a dual-clutch transmission.

The Aventador’s seven-speed ISR transmission (supplied by Graziano) is able to shift gears 50 milliseconds faster than the current Gallardo’s e-gear system.

Lamborghini’s designers opted for a single-clutch system to retain the mechanical feel so characteristic of the company’s supercars when driven at the limit.

Lamborghini says the Aventador will be agile, too, thanks to its double-wishbone suspension on all wheels, with oscillation control managed by inboard Öhlins dampers. This competition car-biased suspension set-up is seen in very few road cars, Aston Martin's One-77 being one of the very examples of a current hardtop configuration production car with inboard pushrod dampers.

So, is it quick? Obviously. The Geneva auto show’s most keenly anticipated display car does 0-100km/h in a whisper less than three seconds (2.9 on a high-friction surface, to be precise) before powering on to a tyre warping top speed of 350km/h.

Harmonising the Aventador’s performance is a new master electronic control unit (ECU) controlling transmission, engine and active damping; instead of the more traditional approach of having separate ECU modules for each. As a result throttle-engine response, the car's Servotronic steering system's counterweight, rear differential slip tolerance (managed by fourh-generation Haldex technology) and gearshift timings are altered by pressing one of the three buttons (Strada, Sport or Corsa) that fall easily to the driver’s right hand.


The Aventador will show the way forward for future Lamborghinis in terms of composite construction, as its chassis is a carbon-fibre tub, designed with input from aviation giant Boeing. In fact, so advanced is the Aventador’s composite chassis construction that if you were to damage one, your local Lamborghini dealer would be powerless to effect repairs of any sort. A specialised composite craftsman technician will be sent to aid any Avendator damaged by its exuberant owner.

The entire chassis, with front and rear aluminium crash protection bits in place, weights only 229kg. Add the Avendator’s drivetrain, suspension, wheels and trimmed cabin and its licensing mass swells to 1572kg; hardly a lightweight, but 90kg lighter then the car it replaces. Truth be told, one would expect the weight saving to be significantly more considering the volume of carbon-fibre constituting Avendator’s construction.

As the world moves to borderline 1000kg supercars, running small capacity engines boosted by unfathomable levels of forced induction, Lamborghini shows there is still some magic (and purpose?) left in the old-school supercar formula. The man credited with making Lamborghini profitable after it was bought by Audi, Stephan Winkelmann, is either a clairvoyant automotive visionary or a man about to take a tremendous risk, operating against the current thinking pertaining to supercars, which says they have to be smaller, more efficient and less flamboyant.

The first Avendators are expected to be delivered to customers by October 2011 at an international export price of R2.7-million - before country specific taxation…

More 2011 Geneva auto show reports.

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