Take a Ride in the 2019 Lamborghini Aventador SVJ: Video
It has an old-school V-12 and rear-wheel steering in a perfect blend of old and newby Michael Fira, on
Lamborghini is no more about show over go and the new Aventador SVJ is a prime example of that. Yes, it looks bonkers, as it should, but it also drives great and goes stunningly fast on track, something that’s not exactly a characteristic of classic Lamborghinis.
The folks over at Lamborghini glanced at the Aventador SV with its protruding front splitter, big nostrils, and sizeable rear wing and thought that it’s quite tame, actually, and that they could do better. Late last year, the company thus unveiled the SVJ where J, obviously, comes from Jota which is only attached to those Lamborghinis that have successfully broken out of a mental institution.
Below, you can watch it go around the newly-repaved Estoril circuit in Portugal. The surface is quite slippery due to the lack of racing that has occurred since the repaving, so there’s not much rubber to hold you stuck to the racing line, in spite of the mechanical grip provided by the new Pirelli rubber.
It’s most likely the hottest Aventador you’ll ever see come out of Sant’Agata
The Aventador is Lamborghini’s flagship V-12 monster and it has been since 2011. This may give you the impression that the Aventador is an old girl, but you couldn’t be further from the truth. First of all, it doesn’t look dated and, in this most ludicrous iteration, it most certainly doesn’t move in a dated manner. Plus, let’s not forget that Lamborghini stuck with the Countach between 1975 and 1989...
So, what does it bring to the table? Well, the same V-12, obviously. However, this time by, the V-12 went through some refurbishing and updating and, as such, sports new induction and exhaust systems as well as titanium intake valves, all there to help it develop 759 horsepower and 531 pound-feet of torque which is just 10 horsepower shy off a Ferrari F12 TdF and almost 50 more than what you get from a McLaren 720S or Ferrari 488 Pista.
There’s also the fact that the engine can now rev to 9,000 rpm and you get the torque more evenly throughout the rev range than with the SV or the standard Aventador. Down below, the anti-roll bars are stiffer as well as the dampers although what really makes the car turn sharper is the rear-wheel steering system as well as the Lamborghini ‘ALA’ active aerodynamics technology pack. Oh, and let’s not forget about the tires because Lamborghini now offers the SVJ with super-gluey Pirelli P-Zero Trofeo R rubber although the P-Zero Corsa ones are standard.
The all-wheel-drive system has also been tweaked but all that horsepower still reaches the wheels through a single-clutch 7-speed automated transmission. Ferrari and McLaren have been fiddling with dual-clutch arrangements for years already but Lamborghini likes theirs the way it is. After all, there’s little to fault the SVJ, a car that’s currently the fastest production road car on the Nordschleife with a lap time of 6:44.970. Sure, Porsche rushed to bring to the ’Ring a GT2 RS with the Weissach package as well as some extra wrenching curtesy of Manthey Racing and they shaved four seconds off the Aventador’s time but that’s not really a series production car.
Now, I’ve gone on about the car’s internals without mentioning what everyone will notice at first glance: the gorgeous, dramatic body. It’s still an Aventador as we know it but it received some extra air intakes in the upper front bumper next to the Raging Bull emblem, the nostrils in the lower part of the front fascia are bigger, and there’s a narrow lip crossing through to divide them. Most of the latest add-ons are made of carbon fiber which applies to the even bigger rear wing that has a body-painted central pillar for extra support.
The rear end in itself is an angular maze of vents and strakes with the only circular things being the exhaust pipes that have not been augmented to make the engine sound better. The 6.5-liter unit screams like an enraged lion with ease but it may be the last of its kind to do so without help from at least some electric motors.
We know carbon fiber is expensive and, with the use of it being extensive of the Aventador SVJ, you can’t help but think about the price. If you don’t know it yet, please sit down because Lamborghini will want you to write a cheque for $462,671 before they can start the process of building one for you. That’s $58,000 more than the Aventador SV - of which about 600 were made - and over $65,000 more than the price of a standard Aventador. There will only be 900 SVJs made.
So, how much better is it, then, compared to its lesser brethren? Well, it has 19 more horsepower than the SV but, due to the fact it weighs just as much, the 0 to 62 mph time is down by just 0.1 seconds but that’s from 2.8 seconds to 2.7 seconds so hold your boo’s! It’s also just as fast as the SV but that’s nothing new because the standard Aventador can also do 217 mph in spite of the fact that it has "just" 690 horsepower.
But it’s not all about horsepower, acceleration times and top speed with the SVJ. The Jota name has always been attached to track-oriented Lamborghinis and this one is no different. Furthermore, only two other Bulls received the honor of being called a Jota so you’ve got to imagine that the Aventador SVJ has to raise the bar. To see how good it is, Autocar Magazine took part in a test at Estoril circuit in Portugal.
This FIA Grade 1 2.72-mile-long ex-Grand Prix track is known for its technical corners and is currently the host for the Portuguese MotoGP round. It’s also been recently repaved which means that you’ll hear a lot of squeaking rubber in the video below of Matt Prior wheeling a green SVJ around the track that used to also host F1 winter testing.
His impressions? Well, he’s adequately impressed about the car given the track’s slippery surface although he does note that it takes some time to the car’s rear-wheel steering system that negates the use of trail braking into a corner. He does point out, though, that "the SVJ is fast in the old-fashioned, brutal way, in a straight line, at least. What might be the world’s greatest production engine is exceptionally urgent and feels no slower to me than the crop of hypercars I’ve driven."
Prior also refers to the car’s Achille’s heel, namely the clutch which is "fudging through changes with an inordinate amount of head rock." However, there’s a way to cure a bit of that behavior: the "‘Corsa’ mode, which also puts the dynamic steering into a constant rather than variable ratio – so is something you should absolutely do – and it just punches through shifts with a fairly satisfying venom," Prior says.
Also, it’s worth pointing out that Prior drove the car on Corsa tiers and not the stickier Trofeo R variety but even booted with those the SVJ’s rear steering does its job and you only have to brake in a straight line then gently turn in and apply power, otherwise you will "be winding off quite a lot of the lock that you’ve just applied" if you trail brake as the rear steering works regardless of your inputs so you got to let the electronics do their job and not follow your first instinct this time around.
Is the Aventador SVJ the best "J" ever made by Lamborghini? Well, it’s certainly the fastest and most competent car of the three - the others being the Diablo SE30 Jota and the original Miura Jota which is effectively extinct as there are only replicas left.
Of course, the Diablo is more visceral since all the 595 horsepower and 471 pound-feet of torque are directed to the back wheels, and it’s also almost 260 pounds lighter than the Aventador, but it’s also never going to be as fast around the track. Then there’s the fact that most Diablo Jotas are purple and there are only about 25 to 30 out there, all selling for quite a bit more than the MSRP of an SVJ...
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