The Audacity of HP

Audacious is this Lamborghini‘s other name. The Aventador LP 750-4 Superveloce Roadster, introduced at Pebble Beach last August and just now coming to the U.S., sets an extreme tone even for a marque known for pushing limits. From its beginning in 1966, the first Lamborghini Miura upstaged the entire Monaco Grand Prix race when Ferruccio Lamborghini parked his car in front of the Casino de Monte-Carlo. Throngs drew close as he revved the V12 engine that would come to de- fine The Bull brand—its sublime wail announcing that Lamborghini was destined for greatness. And the sensuous body (from famed design firm Bertone) was a career masterpiece by a young Marcello Gandini, who went on to design the fabled Countach. The Miura remains as seductive today as when it first stunned a jaded black-tie crowd 50 years ago.

Every V12-engine Lamborghini made has been a show car of sorts, with styling that pushes emotional buttons having nothing to do with basic need or function. The SV Roadster represents the ultimate iteration of the Aventador model range, originally launched in 2011. On paper and on the road, it’s uncompromising, extroverted and unmistakable; a sharply-creased shape adorned with aerodynamic design details. Regrettably, its rarity (only 500 units will be built worldwide; all spoken for) ensures that while it will likely enjoy great exposure in the digital realm, it will be seen in the metal by very few.

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This car is lightning-quick, nimble despite its impressive size and like a big jungle cat, most likely to come out under cover of darkness. Like every vehicle bearing the badge of Taurus (Mr. Lamborghini’s astrological sign), this one is extreme, dominating competitors in the same way Lamborghini’s tractors once out-pulled their agricultural rivals in the fields of Italian farmers immediately after WWII.

This predator wears the Superveloce moniker (Italian for “super fast”), and is, in essence, a “regular” Aventador Roadster that combines more with less: more power (up to 750 hp from 700) and 110 lb less weight (down to 3,472 lb) are the core of a formula that focuses on impeccable handling, aerodynamic efficiency and plain brute force. With 509 ft-lb of torque, the 6.5-liter V12 refuses to follow the forced-induction trend—it’s naturally aspirated and bellows all the way to an intoxicating 8,500 rpm redline. But numbers alone cannot convey the visceral heft and bestial power of a car named after the famous Spanish fighting bull, Aventador. When it charges in earnest, few have the talent to best Lamborghini’s fastest, purest and most sporting series-production car.

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Despite intimidating looks and a roster of state-of-the-art technology, the SV Roadster is willingly led—downright manageable—once one settles into the lightly upholstered carbon-fiber seats and becomes accustomed to Lamborghini’s latest TFT instrument screen with its imposing yellow digital dial. Exquisitely laid-up Carbon Skin material replaces surfaces usually covered in leather, while noise insulation, carpets and the infotainment system (optional at no cost) are absent entirely, helping to reduce weight. The interior is big, wide and inviting; the central tunnel is an adult arcade-game dominated by Lambo’s fighter-style “start” button. Three settings—Strada (road), Sport and Corsa (track)— dial aggression in or back it off. Sport is a happy medium, and this model’s suspension, carbon-ceramic brakes and Pirelli P Zero Sports tires seem even more road-friendly than the Aventador’s, with feedback that’s more communicative and sharper, yet forgiving and refined.

A clutch pedal and gated shifter have been absent from every V12 Lamborghini since the final Murciélago in 2010. But performance and drivability have been considerably improved by a seamless 7-speed ISR transmission (using a dry, double-plate clutch design) that permanently hooks up all four wheels to a Haldex 4WD system. Road-holding prowess is further assured by Lamborghini’s adaptive Magneto Rheological Suspension and Formula 1-style pushrod design. An impossible-to-ignore rear wing aids improved aerodynamics, giving it 170-percent more corner-sticking downforce than Lambo’s standard Roadster and showcases exquisite craftsmanship on a grand scale.

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The Superveloce Roadster is really about exciting the senses. Stow the two-piece carbon-fiber tops in the trunk, lower the power rear window to bring the engine’s music closer still and hit the road. Make it a long one. Pack light and if a passenger accompanies, choose a person of few words. The Superveloce Roadster says it all.

Vital Stats
Engine: Naturally Aspirated 6.5L V12
Power: 750 HP @ 8,400 RPM / 509 LB-FT @ 5,500 RPM
0-62: 2.9 Sec
Top Speed: 217 mph