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?
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.
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.
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.
Now who's pointless!
Aventador/Miura pic: Antony Fraser