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Tuesday 12th June 2012


PH BLOG: SUPERCARS - WHAT'S THE POINT EXACTLY?

Too big, too fast, too ostentatious - does a car like the Lamborghini Aventador have any relevance to anyone?


There's a pattern emerging here. Two Lamborghinis in one week (yes, I know...) and my experience with the Reventon should have prepared me for the couple of days in the Aventador's company I've just had.

I approached the Reventon with my cynical hack's hat on (it's a very silly hat, it should be said). And ended the experience giggling like an idiot.

The Aventador ... pointless he says
The Aventador ... pointless he says
Which is what I got from the Aventador. Perhaps the most pointless car in existence.

It is though. Technically impressive, visually gobsmacking, but the Aventador fails in every objective test. It's way too big and fat to really trouble any 'proper' car on a track. And too fast, too wide and too ostentatious to really be much fun on the road. It's not as joyously sharp to drive as a 458, overblown and theatrical compared with a McLaren, emotionally and physically tiring to be in and not even that exciting unless you're well into three-figure speeds. So I'm told. The suspension and gearshift are designed as some form of self-flagellation for folk who think such things mark them out as Real Men, important bits fall off into the footwell and engine warning lights blink on and off in worryingly random fashion.

Meanwhile we delude ourselves into to thinking we're above all that and excited by the stuff that matters. Well, matters to the likes of us. So we'll mutter into our coffee that our GT3 RS 4.0s are 13 seconds faster round the 'ring than regular GT3s. That our 458 Italia reflects the pinnacle of decades of F1-honed supercar expertise. That our shifter paddles on our MP4-12Cs are exactly the same distance (25.1mm) away from the steering wheel rim as Lewis Hamilton's F1 car. And we point and laugh at that bloke in the Lambo. Pointless showing off we scoff.

Visual impact box ticked but what else?
Visual impact box ticked but what else?
All the time ignoring the elephant in the room that, actually, the Aventador's abilities are, after all that, far more relevant than any of that nonsense.

The beauty of the Aventador is that it nails its objectives just as well. And its objectives are, pure and simple, causing a fuss and brightening up everyone's day. It makes no pretence at 'ring lap times. It just needs to make noise, look great and, should it come to it, be able to boast of a suitably silly top speed, probably never, ever to be attained in this life or the next. It does all of these things brilliantly.

I spent last Friday driving the Aventador round and meeting Lamborghini owners and all had one thing in common - as kids they'd had Lamborghini posters on their walls and dreamed of owning one. And all the people - and it was a lot of them - I took out in it over the weekend came away with the same dreamy expression on their faces, whether they were 10 years old or old enough to know better.

It's that kind of car. It exerts that kind of magic on everybody, whether they're into cars or not. Try telling them about your 4.0's 'ring lap time or about your MP4-12C's Pre-Cog gearchange system and see how far you get.

Journey into Lambo heritage reveals much
Journey into Lambo heritage reveals much
I started composing 'proper' stories in my head as I drove the Aventador, fixating on steering feel and dynamic behaviour. And then gave up and started enjoying it for what it is. Taking folk for rides. Giggling at their responses to redlined Corsa gearshifts. Responding to every exclamation, every open-mouthed point, every cameraphone with a big goofy grin and a thumbs up. Because outside of our geeky little bubble that's what matters about the Aventador and there's huge fun to be had being swept away by it.

Now who's pointless!

Dan

Aventador/Miura pic: Antony Fraser

 

Author: Dan Trent