- Available from £150,000
- 6.5-litre petrol V12, 7-speed automated manual, all-wheel drive
- Carbon fibre monocoque
- Does 0-100 quicker than most cars do 0-60
- Not the best transmission ever made
- As much drama as you can eat
Aventador was the name of a bull in Spain in 1993. They gave it an award for the bravery it showed in the ring while a refugee from a Liberace convention stuck some swords into it. None of that makes much sense. Some might say that the word Aventador actually makes more sense in English because this Lamborghini does indeed have a vent and a door. In fact it has more than one of both. It also has major trouser-bursting appeal, thanks to its dramatic styling and equally dramatic speed.
Launched at the 2011 Geneva show as a replacement for the ten-year-old Murcielago, Filippo Perini's design had to bring a 'new generation' feel to the battlecruiser end of the Lamborghini range. At the same time it had to pay due respect to all the standout Lamborghinis that had adorned so many bedroom walls over the previous four decades.
Containing all the Aventador's heavy stuff within the confines of the wheelbase allowed Perini to pen a single top line connecting the front and the back of the car, just like the cars from the sci-fi TV programmes he watched when he was a lad. The connection between the front bumper and the beltline was equally fluid, and aeronautical influences obviously played a big part in the overall look, the reversed angles of the rear surfaces being more associated with the wonky, illogical forms of stealth aircraft.
In plan view the 'V' shape that established a new front end look was reflected in reverse by zigzag shut lines on the engine cover. The rear spoiler that had been such a visible element in the Countach was replaced by a spoiler that would only appear when required. Old-school Italian supercar showiness was giving way to a new brand of subtlety, but the overall look was still jaw-dropping.
Lamborghini aesthetics were obviously massively important but they couldn't be allowed to conflict with functionality. The end result was a superb blend of muscular tension, sensuality and power. The preceding Murcielago was insane, and a car that nobody expected could ever be topped, but the Aventador managed it. It was a genuine show stopper. Its naturally-aspirated 6.5-litre V12 engine - the company's first all-new V12 for over a half a century - banged out 691hp at 8,250rpm and sounded like death in a bad mood. At a time when everybody else was downsizing to more compact turbocharged engines, the Aventador's big aluminium heart was a rambunctious 'up yours' throwback to more carefree times.
Lamborghini had accepted that the times were a'changing, though. They revealed that the traditional order of priorities for a Lamborghini - top speed above all else, followed by acceleration and then handling - had been turned on its head in the Aventador. Given that its top speed was set at a hardly snail-like 217mph, its 0-62 time was 2.9sec, and its 0-100 6.4sec, you wondered what miracles could possibly have been wrought on the chassis side. The answer to that was a carbon fibre monocoque, top-drawer Ohlins-damped suspension, and an electronically-controlled Haldex all-wheel drive system.
The first generation Aventador was released in late 2011, a Roadster version arriving in 2013 with the roof replaced by two 6kg carbon fibre panels that could be stored in the front luggage compartment. Its engine cover was new, as were various external trim pieces in gloss black. Even with extra sill- and pillar-strengthening the Roadster was only 50kg heavier than the coupe. Its quoted performance figures were the same as the coupe's. That weight difference was reduced to zero in the SV Roadster, 500 of which were built between 2016 and 2017.
2013 was Lamborghini's 50th anniversary and they commemorated it with a special edition LP-720 50 Anniversario Aventador. All 200 cars (100 Roadsters and 100 coupes) were painted in Giallo Maggio, or May Yellow to you and me, and they featured more aggressive bodywork with bigger front intakes, a new splitter, a bigger rear diffuser, extended rear-end meshwork and an engine recalibrated to 720hp. A year later an official 'Accessori Originali' race exhaust was made available, reducing overall weight by a claimed 21kg and increasing low-rpm power by a claimed 10 percent. Recommended for track use only, it cost the thick end of £10,000.
For the 2016 model year there was the new hardcore SV (LP 750-4 SuperVeloce) coupe. With a claimed weight reduction of 50kg from more extensive use of carbon fibre inside and out, plus a new rear wing, modded undercar aero and more power (740hp), the 0-62 time dropped fractionally from 2.9sec to 2.8sec and the SV secured a 6:59.73 lap at the Nürburgring, the second-fastest for a production car. A Roadster SV followed shortly after. Both cars had a new track-focused dash display and the option of centrelock wheels. The SV was touted as a limited edition, but the 600 they made was three times more than the total number of Murcielago LP670-SVs built.
For the 2017MY the straight Aventador got a big refresh in the form of the 730hp S (LP740-4S). An extra 'Ego' mode was added to the new LDVA-controlled (Lamborghini Active Vehicle Dynamics) suspension to let the driver set up their own custom settings for the dampers, drivetrain and steering. Once again both ends were restyled. Up front there was a bigger splitter and new air ducts; at the back, a new diffuser and triple-tip exhaust that was 20 percent lighter than the old system. Most importantly, the S was the first Aventador to get four-wheel steering. That allowed Lamborghini to make the steering more direct and give the back axle a bit more power to play with.
In 2018, the most powerful Aventador ever was announced, the 759hp SVJ (LP770-4 SVJ). New, it was priced from £360,000, quite a hike on the £248,000 an Aventador cost in 2011. Lamborghini's determination to keep production levels low and steady at around 8,500 cars a year - that's the projected number for the whole range, including the populist Urus SUV - means that dealers can, to a degree, still call the tune on new SA and SVJ and nearly new Aventadors, so pricing tends to be fluid. Today, a new SVJ will typically cost you between £345,000 and £380,000 in the UK.
That throttling-back of production has helped to keep Aventador values strong, but the playing field is shifting. In 2018, right-hand drive Aventadors were hard to find below £200,000. By the end of 2019, early cars were down to under £170,000. In 2020 it's possible to pick one up for under £150,000. Our buying guide will be looking at Aventador LP700-4s on sale from 2012 to 2017.
SPECIFICATION | LAMBORGHINI AVENTADOR LP700-4
Engine: 6,498cc, V12, 48v
Transmission: 7-speed automatic, all-wheel drive
Power (hp): 691@8,250rpm
Torque (lb ft): 509@5,500rpm
0-62mph: 2.9 secs
Top speed: 217mph
MPG (official combined): 16.4
Wheels: 9x19 (f), 12x20 (r)
Tyres: 255/35 (f), 335/30 (r)
On sale: 2012 - 2017
Price new: £248,000
Price now: from £150,000
Note for reference: car weight and power data is hard to pin down with absolute certainty. For consistency, we use the same source for all our guides. We hope the data we use is right more often than it's wrong. Our advice is to treat it as relative rather than definitive.
ENGINE & GEARBOX
The 60-degree V12 L539 engine was the company's first all-new V12 since the 350GT's 3.5 of 1964. It's the heart and soul of the Aventador, mechanically strong and reliable, and as deserving of the word 'epic' as any production motor from the last decade.
As noted, the external noise even on standard pipework is bombastic. 2013 cars came with a software option to increase noise and boost power by 8.5 per cent. If the sound still wasn't enough for you then firms like Capristo or Akrapovic were only too happy to provide you with titanium-inconel pipery that was sure to make you the best-known early riser in your neighbourhood.
The Aventador was the first Lamborghini with no manual transmission option. Its single-clutch ISR (independent shifting rods) transmission could disengage a gear while the next one was being engaged, and was claimed to shift gears nearly 50 percent faster than a comparable dual-clutch box while weighing quite a bit less than a DCT unit.
Sure enough, gearchanges were achieved in under a twentieth of a second, which was good for a single-clutch paddle transmission of the time. Unfortunately, like many automated manuals, the ISR SCT box wasn't happy in urban environments, suffering from a low-speed jerkiness which could make parking awkward and city driving a literal pain in the neck. Changes were spine-jarring in any mode, and that was still the case by the time the S came out in 2017.
2015-on Aventadors knocked some of the raw edge off the change but the crudity of the shift at low speeds is pretty much ever-present irrespective of what shift mode you were in. Many took the view that Corsa mode was practically unusable on the public highway until a 2018 software upgrade came along. In terms of driving refinement the ISR really couldn't compete with state of the art twin-clutchers like Porsche's PDK and indeed Lamborghini's own DCT Huracan unit.
For some, the banging-in of gears that you get in an Aventador but not in a Huracan or a 458 enhanced the sensation of brutal performance, but if you're of a mechanically sympathetic nature the clunkiness of the change and the nagging suspicion that the clutch might not be up for repeated employment of the launch control function could quickly turn into a niggling background worry.
Lamborghini planned to sort this out on 2013 model year cars, but faulty solenoid packs for 3rd, 4th and 5th gears got in the way of that idea, some cars jamming in 5th gear within the first 300-500 miles of their lives. Shutting the car off in the hope of resetting it only resulted in a failure to restart because the car couldn't get itself into neutral. Sometimes the ISR would fail entirely, most commonly on 2012 cars as a result of a leaky seal.
Factory software upgrades and better transmission fluids did improve matters over the years and a new ECU was fitted to 2013 models but it's very much something to be aware of on non-S/SV Aventadors. If you're going to be doing a fair amount of slow urban driving you may get a 'Clutch Overheat' message. Just about any gearbox repair will be an engine-out job, in which case you shouldn't expect to get out of the dealership with anything smaller than a five-figure bill.
1,400 cars from 2012-17 were recalled to rectify a fuel system problem on cars whose tanks were brimmed. Fuel could come into contact with the carbon canister, preventing the EVAP system from managing fuel vapours correctly. This would potentially allow those vapours to meet hot exhaust gases, especially on cars with aftermarket exhausts. A 6.5 litre V12 is always going to generate a heap of heat, as the noise from Aventador cooling fans after a city drive will attest. Parking an Aventador on a baked field of grass after a long dry spell is probably not the best idea.
The Aventador's carbon tub chassis gives it a clear weight advantage over the steel-chassised Murcielago (1,575kg v 1,650kg), and the Murcie was also 119hp down on the Avent, but because neither car is exactly short of power and both have all-wheel drive, real-world performance differences between the two outside a racetrack or runway won't be that obvious.
The Aventador's F1-style pushrod suspension with Ohlins dampers and aluminium double wishbones combined with massive tyre contact patches to deliver monumental grip. Even without the rear-wheel steering of the later S models (which made the car easier to place on the road) the response to driver input was faithful. The four-wheel drive platform that Lamborghini reckoned was the only safe option for a car as powerful as the Aventador meant that all you had to do to chew through a corner was turn the wheel. A progressive and safe dose of power-on tailout was on offer for those willing to give it a go - a more difficult trick to pull off in a Murcielago.
The ride quality eventually became better than you might expect from a supercar, but the suspension on early cars was a bit stiff, making the car skippy on bumpier roads and nobbly more or less everywhere. 2013 models came with the option of 20/21in Dione wheels in silver, gloss black or matt titanium.
A hydraulic lifting system hoisted the front end by 40mm for negotiating obstacles. A 2018 recall addressed a loss of power steering and braking assistance resulting from an engine stall when the throttle was released at engine speeds below 2,000rpm when the gearbox was shifting down.
An Aventador has carbon ceramic brakes but even these can fade in heavy use. The discs should last for 80,000-100,000 miles. Disc wear is measured by weighing. Secondhand ones are available on the usual sites and start at around £2,800 (each).
At launch the Aventador was the only production car with a full CFRP (carbon fibre reinforced polymer monocoque) monocoque, and Lamborghini was the only company making such a thing in-house. The whole tub and roof monocoque weighed 147.5kg and had aluminium subframes front and rear to mount the suspension, engine and transmission. The complete assembly weighed under 230kg.
Scissor doors make getting into an Aventador less difficult than you might think, but you will need to develop your own strategy for getting out of one if you don't fancy plopping your right hand onto wet dirty roads all the time. The Roadster's two-piece carbon roof is much less afterthoughty than the Murcielago Roadster's softtop.
There was a recall on the headlights on July 2011-April 2012 cars to sort out a problem with the vertical beam adjustment.
You can see how cabin technology has moved on since the first Aventadors. The driver display is a trifle tacky, the navigation screen is a good advert for £50 TomToms, and the Bluetooth only worked for phones rather than music.
Cabin quality is decent enough however, with Audi's influence noticeable even on early cars, but the Germans didn't really start to make a serious difference on Lamborghinis until the later S and SVs and the Huracan. The MMI system on the early cars looked too much like the one you might get in an A6 and a lot of the switchgear was either plasticky or actual plastic. On the positive side, Lamborghini's Ad Personam Studio customisation programme has created a pretty much infinite number of possible colour, material and stitching combinations.
Electrical issues are by no means uncommon. Warning lights and messages could appear in an apparently random fashion. Many were of the 'cry wolf' variety, but others, including the worrisome Check Engine Light, were real enough. The CEL could be lit up by failure of the start-stop system, by buildup of oil on the spark plugs, or by the fitment of an aftermarket exhaust. Capristo, Novitec and the like sold plug-in O2 spacers to sort it but it wasn't a guaranteed remedy.
At least one US owner's start button refused to do any such thing. A new one had to be flown over and installed, after which there were no more problems. Visibility is not bad at all by supercar standards, but new owners of Aventadors may be wishing they had blind spot monitoring to help ease them into ownership.
Some owners find the race buckets more comfortable than the comfort seats, but only when a set of reclining spacers had been fitted. Without those you could imagine them being the perches of choice for someone like Grand Inquisitor Torquemada or the Marquis de Sade. Neither seat would win any prizes for comfort on a long drive. Some owners reported incorrect wiring for the heating elements, resulting in butt-frying temperatures.
The Aventador is not for everybody. Not everyone will be comfortable in one, either physically or psychologically. Some will be surprised by the size of it when they first get in and then decide that it's too much of a special occasion car. For some, the Aventador's transmission characteristics and general girth might cause them to regard it as the very antithesis of the daily driver. Some will drive one and be too daunted by the power and performance, both of which are considerable. Others will say that it's not as bulletproof as a Gallardo or a Huracan.
If you can get past all that stuff, and you manage to zone in on a properly inspected specimen that's free of all the well-documented issues, there are few cars of any description that can compete with an Aventador for drama and impact. The ones that can will generally be hypercars and an order of magnitude more expensive. Even then it'll still be a toss-up as to which would attract more attention, his Veyron or your Aventador.
And you can double down on that impact value when you factor in the entry price of an Aventador. Its predecessor, the Murcielago, is a much rarer car and has a strong following, both of which solidify values, and the V12 experience is pleasingly raw in the Murcie, but those who have tried both tend to see the earlier car as more of a weekend cruiser than the Aventador.
Relatively plentiful supplies of the 'Vent have brought its starting price down to under £150,000. That's still a big number, so technically there's still the potential for money to be lost, but it takes a real effort of will to imagine a car as utterly spectacular as this one wearing a £99,995 price tag despite the efforts of entitled twerps in London streets giving it death in first gear. That sort of low-gear abuse hasn't helped the car's image and the SCT/ISR gearbox is really poorly suited to it, adding extra risk to the idea of an early (and especially 2012 model year) car. 2013 cars arguably offer the best balance of value and reliability, but only if they're up to date on all the various module upgrades.
If you like the idea of a Lamborghini but are trying to achieve it without Lamborghini-sized running costs it might be better to concentrate on a Gallardo. Stop-start was standard on post-2012 cars (reducing the car's weight by doing away with the bigger battery), but even with that 5mpg is all too achievable. That's right, five miles per gallon.
Taking a wider ownership view, a cheap Aventador could turn out to be a very expensive definition of false economy. They are very expensive to maintain once the 3-year/unlimited mileage warranty has expired. Most owners would put their cars in for checking every 5,000 miles, or even 3,000 if they're using it hard. The first free service at 1,500 miles changes the oil in the diff and transmission as well as the engine. After that, costs will be what you would expect from a car with such a pedigree. The engine takes 13 litres of oil and 25 litres of coolant. A set of plugs is £900, and you can only get them from Lamborghini.
If you're being honest with yourself and you're buying an Aventador mainly for peacockery rather than driving pleasure (which is totally fine, why wouldn't you?) then the Roadster is a good choice if you don't mind the slightly less pure styling. They were outsold by the coupe by a factor of around three to one, so their relative rarity should help to keep values firm. If they were originally bought new for showing off, there's a good chance that they will have been optioned up to the gills with carbon, ideally on the engine rather than in the cabin because the first owner will have paid a fortune for that, and an even bigger fortune if it's gloss carbon because then they'll have had to stump up for the Style package.
Few cars beat an Aventador on crowd-drawing potential, which is great if that's what you want, but if you're not looking for attention on a drive to the shops or a restaurant or you're worried about human contact in these virusy times, think carefully, because much of that human exposure will be to teenage boys, some of whom might not be as hot on personal disinfection as you'd wish. Plus people do seem to love parking right next to expensive cars, which is a constant concern for nervous Aventador owners.
If you'd like to be one of them, here are some beauties plucked from the PH Classifieds. First up here's a very early 2011 in matt nero with black leather and 17,000 miles at £148,955. If a Roadster is more your style, here's a rather lovely 2014 example with 11,000 miles at just under £180k. There was an orange 2012 20,000-mile coupe with Capristo exhaust and Dione wheels here for under £150k - but that's sold. Shows you what's available though. There's no shortage of coupes around for between £150k-£160k. What a way to spend an inheritance.