Dramatic, loud and incredibly quick, the Aventador Ultimate Roadster is everything you could possibly hope for from a Lamborghini, and a fitting send-off for the company’s naturally aspirated V12 engine. Less expected, but equally impressive, is the sophistication in the car’s chassis, which allows you to exploit that staggering engine. The final version of the Aventador is also the best.
Head back as far as you like in Lamborghini’s history, and almost without fail there’s a trend running among Sant’Agata’s iconic vehicles: the final examples of the breed are always the most extreme and thrilling of all.
The brand’s iconic Aventador is no different. This is the LP 780-4 Ultimae, which here we’re driving in Roadster form; it’s one of 250 to be produced alongside 350 coupés. Ultimae, for those of us not fluent in Latin, means “the last”.
It marks a final chapter in another way, too. While Lamborghini has vowed to carry on with its V12 engine, the Ultimae is the last without hybrid tech. So has Lambo quite literally saved the best till last?
The Ultimae takes the know-how learned from an 11-year production run and rounds it all up into one package. The carbon-fibre monocoque provides a rigid structure from which to hang motorsport-inspired push-rod suspension, but also the rear-wheel steering system from the Aventador S.
The Aventador’s dramatic looks have been tweaked with a downforce-boosting front bumper; at the back, a three-stage active wing aids stability. Of course, the Aventador provides wonderful theatre before you even move off. The scissor doors rotate towards the sky to reveal a cabin as low and dramatic as the exterior. The Roadster opens up to the world courtesy of a pair of carbon-fibre roof panels that slot into the front boot when they’re not needed.
On to the engine, then. The 6.5-litre unit has been tweaked from the already-extreme SVJ to liberate an extra 10bhp, up to an astonishing 769bhp, making it the most powerful naturally aspirated production V12 in Lamborghini’s history. For such a large unit, it isn’t afraid to rev, either; that peak is produced at a heady 8,500rpm.
Lift the fighter jet-style flap covering the starter, prod the big red button, and the engine roars into life before settling into a bassy idle. Blip the throttle and the exhaust barks, sending passers-by ducking for cover.
Move away gently to let everything warm up, and the first thing you notice is the gearbox. Compared with the slick dual-clutch systems you’d experience in a Ferrari, Porsche or even the smaller Huracán, the single-clutch seven-speed unit here feels almost archaic. Each ratio thumps home quite ungraciously if you’re just cruising about; the best way to deal with it is to gently lift off the throttle during each upshift. Admittedly, doing this doesn’t make the process any quicker, but it certainly does smooth out the process.
Still, at full-bore acceleration you won’t complain – partly because the gears slot home much more keenly when the throttle pedal is pressed to the bulkhead, but also because the acceleration is so violent, a little jolt marks a brief respite from the forces acting on your neck.
Assess the V12 any way you like – performance, throttle response, noise – and it’s simply astonishing. We’ll start with the first of those, though; it takes just 2.9 seconds for the Ultimae to hit 62mph, and it’ll keep going to 221mph. It doesn’t matter what revs you’re at, the engine responds instantly and pulls relentlessly.
The noise is truly wonderful when you open it up, aggressive and guttural with a spine-tingling crescendo, unlike Ferrari’s operatic 812. The Aventador sounds angrier and more violent.
Downshifts are accompanied by both a flare of revs and, occasionally, a mortar-style boom from the tailpipes. It’s all quite childish, but in the best possible way.
Despite this, the chassis feels quite grown up. Power is deployed cleanly and effectively through Pirelli P Zero Corsa tyres (20 inches front, 21 inches rear), while the steering is precise and makes this 2.1-metre-wide supercar feel less intimidating than you might imagine. It’s even comfortable, too.
With production numbers so low, you’ll be lucky to see one Ultimae on the road, let alone two alike. Thanks to the Ad Personam programme, owners can choose from more than 300 colours. There’s even a paint-to-match service; pay a little more, and you can be granted complete exclusivity on your chosen shade, so nobody else can have it.
|Model:||Lamborghini Aventador LP 780-4 Ultimae Roadster|
|Transmission:||Seven-speed automatic, four-wheel drive|