Road Tests

First Drives: Kyalami turns bull ring with Lambo Aventador S

How was your Monday morning?

Arrived at Kyalami in the unmistakeable crisp air of approaching Spring to a trio of Lamborghinis gurgling and pointing arrow-straight down the pitlane. The colour coordination is best described as flashy.  Aventador S roadster leads regular Aventador S ahead of Huracan – sadly not the Performante with those cerebral aero vectoring devices. Aventador models clad in judicious carbon fibre to make a low wide car, lower and wider.

Lambos at Kyalami. That’s a perk of LSM distributors.

Of course, although not limited to other brands – as we’ve seen. Track days have never been this good.

What other benefits for Lamborghini SA under the new guard?

Actual media and owner interaction is one thing needed to expand on the 3000 Lamborghinis sold last year – expect Urus to grow that a few notches into wealthy untapped databases – but the general buzz around pitlane is that Lamborghini owners now feel ‘looked after’. There’s a newfound clarity to the organisation and how cars get serviced, as well as things like preserving resale value.

Sensible stuff, but how do they drive?

First a business presentation. I’ll paperclip the relevant points:

Huracan: 5.2-litre V10 with 450kW and 560Nm for 0-100km/h in 3.2 seconds and Three driving modes residing under ANIMA (soul). Dual-clutch gearbox. All-wheel drive, rear-locking mechanical differential. Lots of lightweight, strong carbon fibre.

Aventador S: 6.5-litre V12 with 545kW and 686Nm for a 0-100km/h in 2.9 seconds and many incremental driving modes under CHARISMA (charisma). Single-plate clutch (lightness, ostensibly) rear-wheel steering. Lots of lightweight, strong carbon fibre.

Now is it time to drive?

Huracan first because it’s prudent to progress up the scales of insanity. Foot on brake and right paddle to select first (in the absence of a pointy, stick gearlever) and follow the Aventador S ahead which proves feasible in the corners but becomes a red speck every time the throttle is deployed for longer than three seconds. For a Lambo there’s a surprising (Audi R8) civility to it, much like a 911 but with a little extra drama, particularly in the way the cockpit ensconces you.  Friendly gearbox is Lambo’s everyday usability patch. Other impression? Altitude does sap power. A turbocharged super saloon produces 200Nm more torque at the expense of spine-tingling noise.

The Aventador S is an affront to the Huracan’s calmness. The theatre of the up-swinging doors, then the red cap you need to lift before pressing the start button. Lots of hexagonal shapes, little shards for mirrors. Big and intimidating – a fair warning to the drive.

Which is like locking it in a cage and taunting it with a stick. The Aventador S does not suffer fools gladly. Like all supercar clichés, it feels uncoordinated at low speed with heavy, choppy shifts that quickly dent your confidence. So you swallow a brave pill, rev it to the limit to clean up the shifts and then adapt to the car’s absurdly eager, slightly unnatural, rear-wheel steering. Now this takes some getting used which our limited time around Kyalami didn’t provide but I’m not a  big fan; from Renault Megane RSs, to 911 Turbos, the advantage always seems better suited around town than it does, say, at Kyalami’s Crowthorne corner.

So two very different cars?

Yep, credit to Lamborghini for juggling such extremes while maintaining a brand synergy. I’m not sure either feel born out of a motorsport cauldron since they’re still a little too flamboyant for the necessary purity; Huracan is modern, supercar luxury and Aventador S is 90s supercar dinosaur controlled by a very clever ESC to trim the spiky edges. No surprise really, but Lamborghini is better at playing the intangible, emotional side than McLaren is.

Verdict?

You want both because you can’t live with the Aventador’s size and schizophrenic gearbox below 7/10nths. The Huracan’s street cred, with conventional doors, is slightly muted for max insta likes. If you have one lap around Kyalami, go for the Huracan but if you only ever drive one supercar in your life, the Aventador is earth shattering.

 

 

 

 

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