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2019 Lamborghini Aventador S Roadster performance review

By Dylan Campbell | Photos: Alastair Brook, 13 Jan 2019 Reviews

2019 Lamborghini Aventador S Roadster review

Engine, looks – and now it can go around corners

If your car was feathered, on fire, with a dinosaur riding on the roof and AC/DC blasting through the world’s loudest speakers, it would likely still turn fewer heads than a fluoro green Lamborghini Aventador S Roadster.

And in the early days of the Aventador – a car launched eight years ago now – that’s why you bought one. It was a sculpture with a whopping great V12 in the back, a car that felt as if built to do nothing but between 200 and 300km/h, one that found tight and twisty corners a bit of a chore.

All that’s changed somewhat with the introduction of the S variants, which promise an Aventador with more poise. There’s now four-wheel steering, adaptive dampers and a revised all-wheel-drive system that can send up to 90 per cent torque rearward for, says Lamborghini, more power oversteer.

Meanwhile, that riotous 6.5-litre atmo V12 has also had a tickle, power up 30kW to 544kW at 8400rpm, 150rpm higher than the previous droptop Aventador. Lambo also says the much-maligned roboticised manual is smoother and quicker.

Compared to the Aventador S coupe, the Roadster cops a fairly modest 50kg weight penalty, is 0.1sec slower to 100km/h (now three seconds dead – what a slouch) and the top speed is the same, a hair-thinning 349km/h.

With the two targa-style roof panels manually removed and stored compactly in the ‘frunk’ (at which point there is basically no luggage space other than the passenger footwell), the Aventador S Roadster is one car that takes your breath away just parked in front of you. Can you buy a more extroverted-looking car than an Aventador? I don’t think so.

I would struggle to name one higher on drama, too. Lifting the scissor door and slinking inside, the V12 whirrs loudly to life via the red starter button on the centre console – a crisp, exotic sound unfiltered with the roof off.

The Aventador continues to be initially terrifying in traffic owing to its great width, price and blind spots, and the fact everyone is looking straight at you. Old Audi switchgear remains all over the centre console, fortunately contrasted against the awesome TFT instrument display.

It’s quite an impractical car, with some low-speed refinement quirks such as clutch judder on engagement and the laboured, slow upshifts. Fortunately the ride is much better thanks to the adaptive dampers.

Boot the big S Roadster and you are summoning one of the wildest and most distinctive engine notes in the business. It’s how-is-this-legal loud, the big V12 wailing crisply like an old F1 car. The overrun crackles and booms to the point of bordering on insanity – you can feel it through your heels on the floor.

Full throttle in the Aventador S Roadster remains its number one party trick. Acceleration is obviously outrageous and the shifts, particularly in max-attack Corsa mode, brutally fast. Although, it has to be said, with cars like the 488, 720S and GT2 RS, another league of acceleration now exists beyond that of the Aventador.

Hammering along a twisty road, the Aventador sounds like an evil spirit whooshing through the forest looking for lost souls to take to its lair. And thanks to the S treatment, the Roadster is now an Aventador you will want to take beyond the usual urban habitat.

It’s still a big, wide car with a huge footprint, often tricky to place, but dig in and it sits flat with huge grip. The front end is still somewhat forgettable, with not much steering feel, but the S Roadster is fun to belt up a twisty road – if still not the most precise tool in the supercar shed, and always a tad difficult to trust.

This is not really a car whose rear end you tweak with the brakes into corners; nor one you freely deactivate ESP and explore power oversteer. But it wants to be driven harder and deeper into corners – which couldn’t be said of early Aventadors that got upset if you tried as much.

For all its new handling enthusiasm, the Aventador S Roadster still feels made for the highly populated urban strip, attracting unbelievable attention – certainly more than any other car. Feathered or otherwise.

 6498cc V12, DOHC, 48v
Power: 544kW @ 8400rpm
Torque: 690Nm @ 5500rpm 
0-100km/h: 3.0sec (claimed)
Kerb Weight: 1625kg (dry) 
Price: $825,530

Likes: Epic V12 noise, theatre, drama, styling, attention – it’s a proper supercar experience 
Dislikes: Very pricey; no real luggage space; old Audi interior bits; could be more refined 
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

*One thing we have to declare – our test car broke down. The electronics threw a wobbly and we had to call a tow truck in the middle of nowhere. Lambo said it was a minor fix...

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