The beastly Lamborghini Aventador makes some noise in Bologna, with Cindy-Lou Dale at the controls.
“Take one liberty with this car and she’ll take you down,” says Moreno, Lamborghini’s test-driver, as the closest thing I’ve seen to a stealth fighter rolls through the factory hanger doors in Sant’Agata, Bologna, its Y-slanted headlights glaring, its sunset orange carbon fibre body and flared air-intakes angry looking. This is Lamborghini’s new maxi-car, the Aventador: already as much a legend as the marque’s flagship battlecruiser, the Murciélago, it’s the perfect union of beauty and beast.
I slide into the high-tech cockpit, trying to find an ignition to slot the keys into. “You push the button there,” says Moreno. “No there. Mama mia, the button on the centre console!” He points to a Top Gun-esque starter button under a red flip-up cover which, when depressed, triggers what sounds and feels like, a seismic event. And away we go.
Following a half hour of instruction on how to drive a supercar, I return Moreno to Lamborghini’s factory, and shifting the car into drive mode, I set off. I fly through the factory gates like an Exocet missile, creating scenes reminiscent of the streets of Pamploma during the running of the bulls. Visitors to the Lamborghini Museum flee in terror before me as I inadvertently chase a flock of tourists off a pedestrian crossing.
Now, relatively calm, I head for the hills. The Aventador steers with what feels like telepathy: the power of suggestion. The rear-mounted 6.5-litre V12 engine is framed by a carbon-fibre chassis, delivering 700 menacingly powerful horses and all-wheel drive via a seven-speed automated manual gearbox which is sharp, with remarkable traction and fierce pulling power in the corners.
For a bit of fun, I drop it into track mode (Corsa), step on the accelerator, and throw the beast into a few tight corners, which it just shrugs off without me needing to brake or change gear. And did I mention its oozing aggression and jaw-dropping looks? The Aventador is longer, lighter, narrower and slightly taller than its predecessor, but that’s irrelevant really when all you’re trying to do is keep it on the road.
Emboldened, I decide to really test out the Aventador’s F1-grade power plant on an open stretch of tarmac devoid of other road users. In seconds it goes from fun to exhilarating, to somewhat unsettling (this US$500,000 rocket does 0-62mph in 2.9 seconds, with a top speed of 217mph). As the horizon begins to warp, every fibre of my being screams that I lift my foot off the accelerator.
Lamborghini is a car of dreams, a dream shared by all of Italy. Yet, looking at the Aventador makes me feel sad. I can’t help but think of the economy, the environment, the war on speed, oil prices, European Union rules – cars like this will soon be extinct, restricted to the history books, and motoring museums. But until then I make the most of this beautiful driving machine. After all, “the road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom”.
For more Auto inspiration click here.