“Welcome to Bologna, Mr. Byberg.” With these kind words, a very special week was initiated. Half an hour later, my driver Piero parked his car outside the Automobili Lamborghini headquarters in Sant’Agata Bolognese, and I had already noticed a striking blue Aventador S parked up front. And, as I was greeted by the kind and efficient receptionists and scribbled my name in the required locations on the agreement, I couldn’t help but feeling very, very lucky. I mean, having an Aventador S at your disposal for five days is pretty much fantastic. Never mind the frisky temperatures and somewhat wintery forecasts; this was going to be good!
Keep an inquisitive and critical mind, I reminded myself, having been a passionate Lamborghini enthusiast since boyhood. But how on earth would I be able to be objective about the experience? The whole point of a Lamborghini is the sensations and perceptions of its occupants and on-lookers, isn’t it? I mean, the boxes ticked by the Aventador S are not the boxes commonly used in deciding on a sensible car purchase, so talking about fuel consumption, luggage space and ride comfort would be like focusing on the healthy side of enjoying the most luscious and delicious cioccolato. You simply can’t have it all.
What you do have in an Aventador S, though, is a proper Italian driving machine with heaps of power and dazzling looks, rumbling along with the magic power of making just about anyone smile at it. To be honest, I had my concerns about fitting my rather tall self into the driver’s seat, but with a bit of adjustment and good will, I settled in as the kilometres whisked by. Not being able to play the music I brought on my USB stick was a minor let-down, but the musica from the able and willing V12 just behind my head was more than decent compensation. So, with the GPS set to Geneva’s Palexpo, I headed west and north across the Po plain towards the Mont Blanc tunnel.
Visibility was surprisingly good, bearing in mind I had been informed by previous articles and driving impressions that it shouldn’t be. The wing mirrors give a good view of overtaken cars, and the windscreen offers peace of mind about things to come. The steering wheel has the right feel and grip, and my inputs never went astray, rather the opposite – the steering inspires confidence and reassurance with its directness and apparent ease. Having the rear wheels join in on the turning makes the Aventador S easier to manouver around town or, say, if you need to exit a Palexpo parking facility with ten cm concrete curbs on both sides.
After Mont Blanc, Geneva was soon in sight, and I had time for a quick preview of the Motor Show, which is the place to go to see new cars, especially the ones in the sportier and pricier ranges. After having met up with some friends and admired some cars at the salon, I headed towards my hotel, situated in the hills above Lake Geneva, some 40 km northeast of Geneva. That “hills” bit had me a bit worried, as darkness was now ruling and I hadn’t driven the car in the dark, especially not on local roads heading up Swiss hills. Once again, though, the Aventador S had my back, and transported me to my hotel without any drama. However, the lack of drama at given points was beginning to nag me, the culprit being the gearbox.
The gearbox has indeed been the focal point of many critics, as the single clutch system on the Aventador S appears to be a few steps behind the common dual clutch solution found in the competition. When you’re treating the throttle with decisive and solid input, the gearbox plays along well, but if you’re moving along in automatic mode at, say, 80 km/h and wish to accelerate smoothly to 100 km/h, you might find that the throttle response is a downshift but that the speed doesn’t increase unless you push the throttle further down. Compared to the ease of driving in the Huracán, this was rather unexpected and somewhat annyoing. Rest assured though, the gearbox is a delight to use in manual mode.
One morning, I found the Aventador S covered in snow and somehow decided it was the right day for shooting some videos. The serenity of the snowy hillsides and villages along the local roads combined with a stunning view of the Alps across the lake made the drive towards Geneva all that more memorable. Doing the accelerating-from-standstill action shot was also made more exciting, as the bits of snow on the road meant the wheels wouldn’t always find traction. Good fun, in any case. Oh, and the Blu Nila paint with its pearlescent finish really came out to play when the rays of sunlight came knocking.
Due to the rather variable driving styles I subjected the Aventador S to during the week, it turned out be be a heavy drinker. If you’re doing any sort of invigorating driving or rush hour traffic in the Aventador S, don’t expect it to go easy on the petrol. A quick and rough calculation told me it had burned three litres for every ten kilometres in average. However, as mentioned above, worries about fuel consumption are nowhere to be found when the V12 growls behind you and the world moves by at silly speeds. Speaking of speed, the winter tyres meant it wouldn’t be sensible to venture into the far end of the speedometer’s numbers, but I was still able to acquire my very first speeding ticket. It appears doing 127 km/h in a 120 km/h zone is frowned upon by the Swiss speeding cameras.
The last night was spent in a motel near Milan. No, not the kind of shabby motel you see in the movies, but rather a very nice place to stay. Having the car parked right outside the room was a pleasant feature. Then, with my trolley bag placed in the front boot, I figured it was time to return the Aventador S to its home. Having spent several hours inside it, I now felt quite well acquainted with this supercar. It’s a car that will turn heads anywhere, both for its looks and its sound. The doors opening upwards and outwards will never get boring, nor will pointing it into the next curve on the road. The Aventador S shines when it’s pushed hard with a firm grip, and if you ask it whether it does business or pleasure, the answer is both.
Once again parked outside the Sant’Agata factory, having done a few spy shots of an Aventador testing mule near the factory, I bid my big blue friend farewell after having spent 1,575 km and many moments together. It later dawned on me that that number was the same as the car’s dry weight. So, I had covered one metre for each gramme of Aventador S. Coincidence? I think not. Really? No.