• 2018 Lamborghini Aventador S

Lambo’s flagship supercar gets more power, rear-wheel steering

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The Lamborghini Aventador was unveiled in early 2011 and replaced the Murcielago as the company’s range-topping supercar. Its styling is inspired by the limited-edition Reventon and the Estoque concept car, while motivation is provided by Lamborghini’s second V-12 engine design in 50 years. Like its predecessor, the Aventador spawned Roadster and higher-performance SuperVeloce versions, with the latter gaining a drop-top variant of its own. The supercar was also used as a base for the Aventador J concept and the Veneno, a limited-edition model that stands out for its outlandish design and ludicrous price tag. In late 2016, Lambo unleashed a mid-cycle update for the Aventador, also adding an "S" badge to its name.

Spotted testing on public roads since early 2016, the Aventador S prototype didn’t have much to say about the changes Lambo had in store and it was believed that the update will be about minor nips and tucks. However, the Italian brand had completely different plans for the coupe, giving it a complete makeover in the aerodynamics and chassis department. It’s also significantly more powerful, moving very closer to the beefed-up SuperVeloce thanks to a 30-horsepower bump.

“This is the next generation Aventador as well as the expression of new technological and performance milestones in super sports car development,” said Automobili Lamborghini Chairman and CEO Stefano Domenicali. “The Aventador S is visionary design, cutting-edge technology and driving dynamics in pure harmony, and elevates the concept of super sports cars to a new level.”

The Lambo Aventador S will reach its first customers in Spring 2017 as a 2018-model-year vehicle.

Updated 01/25/2017: Lamborghini dropped a series of new images, plus a new video taken during the cars global debut at the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia (Spain).

Continue reading to learn more about the Lamborghini Aventador S.

  • 2018 Lamborghini Aventador S
  • Year:
    2018
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V12
  • Transmission:
    7 speed ISR
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    730 @ 8400
  • Torque @ RPM:
    508 @ 5500
  • Displacement:
    6.5 L
  • 0-60 time:
    2.9 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    217 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    421350
  • car segment:
  • body style:
  • Overall:
    7.7/10

Exterior

2018 Lamborghini Aventador S High Resolution Exterior
- image 698832

Although the facelifted Aventador looks identical to its predecessor from a distance, a closer look reveals many new features. Up front, we can see a more aggressive nose and a significantly redesigned bumper. The nose is no longer a body-colored panel, but now features a black insert shaped around the splitter and smaller side vents. The splitter, on the other hand, is now longer and extends toward the sides of the bumper. These modifications redirect airflow for better aerodynamic efficiency and improved engine cooling.

Onto the side, Lambo kept most body panels intact, but it did introduce a new rear wheel arch design inspired by the original Countach. Specifically, the arches are a bit squared off at the top and include a big cutout toward the side skirts. Needless to say, it may not seem to similar to the Countach given that there’s no cladding, but Lamborghini gearheads will most definitely notice a resemblance.

Overall, the revised Aventador boasts 130% more downforce at the front compared to the previous model

Bigger changes are in store around back, especially below the taillights. The center section between them is finished in black rather than body color like on the outgoing model, while the side vents are slimmer. As a result of the intakes being smaller, the bumper is taller toward the sides, which gives the supercar a more muscular look. Down below, Lambo added a larger, motorsport-inspired diffuser with three fins on each side of the exhaust. The new diffuser reduces drag through pressure recovery. Speaking of aero features, the active rear wing is now movable in three positions depending on speed and drive mode. Finally, the black diffuser — which can also be ordered in carbon-fiber optionally — houses a three-outlet exhaust.

Overall, the revised Aventador boasts 130% more downforce at the front compared to the previous model. When in optimum position, the new wing improves overall efficiency at high downforce by over 50 percent and in low drag by more than 400 percent.

COMPETING DESIGNS

2013 Ferrari F12 berlinetta
- image 696704
2018 Lamborghini Aventador S High Resolution Exterior
- image 698908
The F12berlinetta is as classic as they get, but that's not to say it's not aggressive enough

Although it’s radically different from the Aventador as far as engine placement goes, the F12berlinetta is the Lamborghini’s main competitor in this niche. The rivalry between the two brands in this segment goes way back to the 1970s and until Ferrari discontinued the Testarossa in 1996, both companies had mid-engined supecars. The Testarossa’s last iteration, the F512 M, competed against the iconic Diablo, but in 1996 Ferrari decided to ditch the mid-ship layout in favor of a front-engined design that survived to this day through the 550, 575M, 599, and now the F12berlinetta. Naturally, the first thing that you’ll notice is that the Ferrari has the more traditional long nose that comes with the grand tourer configuration. Compared to the Aventador S, the F12berlinetta is as classic as they get, but that’s not to say it’s not aggressive enough. On the contrary, the big gaping mouth and the sweptback headlamps up front give it a menacing appearance, while the sculpted side panels and the muscular rear haunches add a touch of elegance. The rear end is somewhat simpler, but the T-shaped bumper and the single, round taillights give it a retro stance that the Aventador can’t provide. Granted, it doesn’t look like a proper supercar, but this only makes the F12berlinetta the more deceitful, cool vehicle.

Lamborghini Aventador S Ferrari F12berlinetta
Wheelbase (Inches) 106.29 107.1
Overall length (Inches) 188.86 181.81
Overall width (Inches) 79.92 76.45
Overall height (Inches) 44.72 50.11

Interior

2018 Lamborghini Aventador S
- image 698837

Inside, the Aventador remains unchanged as far as design goes, but Lambo did introduce a few new features. For starters, there’s a new, all-digital instrument cluster that can be customized in many ways. The TFT screen also display different images for each driving mode. When the car is being used in the new Ego mode, which we will discuss in more detail in the next section, it reveals further options on pop-up digital screens, allowing the driver to choose his preferred settings.

There's a new, all-digital instrument cluster that can be customized in many ways

Apple CarPlay connectivity comes standard, allowing both the driver and passenger to manage voice activated communications and entertainment from personal mobile devices. The revised Aventador can also be had with the Lamborghini telemetry system, but only at extra cost. Developed for customers who want to take their cars to the track, the telemetry can be used to record lap times, track performance, as well as trip data.

Just like before, the interior specification of the Aventador S is virtually limitless through Lamborghini’s Ad Personam customization program. All you need is a lot of cash to spend on special upholstery colors and contrast stitching.

THE COMPETITION

2013 Ferrari F12 berlinetta Interior
- image 440303
2018 Lamborghini Aventador S
- image 698909
You can customize just about anything given you have a fat wallet to throw at Ferrari

Much like the Aventador, the F12berlinetta is a nice place to spend time in. Almost every surface is wrapped in leather and Alcantara, and every inch that’s not is either aluminum, carbon-fiber, or high-quality, smooth-touch plastics. There’s contrast stitching all over the place, and both the dashboard and door panels can be had in two-tone finishes as start. Naturally, there are unlimited upholstery colors to choose from and you can customize just about anything given you have a fat wallet to throw at Ferrari. Beyond the luxury features, the F12’s cabin is rather clean and simple compared to the Aventador’s. Whether you like it or not is obviously a matter of taste, but you simply cannot ignore the fact that it looks classy enough to rival offerings from Bentley and Rolls-Royce. There’s a lot of tech in there too. The big, all-digital instrument cluster is split in three and includes the infotainment system, satellite navigation, stereo with Bluetooth streaming, and voice-activated audio controls on the right side. On the left side, you get access to the Vehicle Dynamic Assistance functions, car status, potential performance, changing between RACE, CT-off and ESC-off modes, and other features. In the middle you have a massive rev counter and gear indicator.

Drivetrain

2018 Lamborghini Aventador S High Resolution Exterior
- image 698835

Fortunately, Lamborghini didn’t spend all its Aventador facelift budget on the exterior and inside the cabin. Some of it went under the shell too, where the supercar received an extensive drivetrain upgrade. As you might have already guessed from the LP 740-4 name, the Aventador S’ 6.5-liter V-12 cranks out 740 PS, which converts to 730 horsepower. That’s exactly 40 horses more than the outgoing model and only nine horsepower less compared to the wild Aventador SV. Torque remained unchanged at 690 Nm or 509 pound-feet.

The Aventador S' 6.5-liter V-12 cranks out 740 PS, which converts to 730 horsepower

The extra 40 horsepower comes from the addition of optimized VVT (Variable Valve Timing) and VIS (Variable Intake System) systems. Additionally, Lambo increased maximum engine revs from 8,350 to 8,500 rpm. The oomph travels to the wheels through the familiar Independent Shifting Rod (ISR) seven-speed gearbox, which shifts in as little as 50 milliseconds. Despite the added power and new aerodynamic features, the sprint from 0 to 60 mph is achieved in the same 2.9 seconds. Top speed also remains unchanged at 217 mph.

While performance is about the same, Lambo changed quite a lot beyond the engine

While performance is about the same, Lambo changed quite a lot beyond the engine. There’s a new exhaust system that’s 20 percent lighter and provides enhanced engine note and an improved ESC strategy with faster and more precise traction control and vehicle dynamics. The permanent four-wheel drive has been recalibrated for the stabilizing effect of the new Lamborghini rear-wheel steering system, allowing more torque to the rear axle. Specifically, when powering off the throttle, less torque is shifted to the front axle to allow oversteer behavior and a sporty, but safe drive.

Lamborghini engineers have also integrated the smart Lamborghini Dinamica Veicolo Attiva (LDVA) control unit to manage the systems above. Essentially the new brain of the car, the LDVA which receives real-time and precise information on body motion via input from all sensors of the car and it instantly defines the best setup of all active systems. Another novelty is the addition of the Ego mode to the familiar Strada, Sport, and Corsa. While Strada continues to deliver maximum comfort for daily use, Sport is tuned for spirited driver and a rear-wheel-drive feel, and Corsa is setup for extreme track performance, Ego mode provides additional, customizable setup for engine, gearbox, steering, and suspension.

Just like the outgoing model, the Aventador S features a stop-start system and cylinder deactivation for optimized engine efficiency.

COMPETING PERFORMANCE

2013 Ferrari F12 berlinetta High Resolution Exterior
- image 467200

The F12berlinetta may look like a slow and heavy grand tourer, but this impression will quickly disappear once you see it in action. For starters, the coupe tips the scales at only 1,525 kg (3,362 lb), which makes it 50 kg (110 pounds) lighter than the Aventador. Second, under that long hood lurks a 6.3-liter V-12 engine rated at no less than 730 horsepower and 509 pound-feet of torque. Believe it or not, that’s the same output as the Aventador S.

Although lighter and as powerful, the F12berlinetta is actually two tenths of a second slower

Does this mean that the Ferrari is quicker? Despite the number logic; no! Although lighter and as powerful, the F12berlinetta is actually two tenths of a second slower than the Lambo, needing 3.1 clicks to hit 60 mph. And that’s because the Ferrari is a pure rear-wheel-drive machine, whereas the Aventador S has an all-wheel-drive system. Also, the F12berlinetta doesn’t have rear wheel steering. Ferrari only recently introduced that feature and it’s not yet known whether it will be made available on this model or not. Finally, as far as performance goes, the Ferrari is also slower when it comes to top speed, reaching "only" 211 mph.

The F12’s power travels to the rear wheels through a race-bred, seven-speed dual-clutch automated gearbox operated by paddle shifters behind the steering wheel. Compared to other Ferrari models, the F12berlinetta uses shortened gear ratios to match the power of the engine.

Lamborghini Aventador S Ferrari F12berlinetta
Engine 6.5-liter V-12 6.3-liter V-12
Horsepower 730 HP @ 8,400 RPM 730 HP @ 8,500 RPM
Torque 508 LB-FT @ 5,500 508 LB-FT @ 6,000
Transmission 7 speed ISR F1 dual-clutch
Acceleration 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) 2.9 seconds 3.1 seconds
Top Speed 217 mph 211 mph
Weight 3,472 Lbs 3,362 Lbs
Weight distribution (front/rear) 43%/57% 46%/54%

Chassis and Suspension

2018 Lamborghini Aventador S High Resolution Exterior
- image 698838

The Aventador S may look menacing and put more than 700 horsepower on the tarmac, but it wouldn’t be much of a supecar without a well-built chassis. Although the outgoing model was pretty solid in this department, Lambo decided it’s time to upgrade the unique and extremely rigid carbon-fiber monocoque with attached aluminum frames. Arguably the most important update is the four-wheel steering, a first for a production series Lamborghini. A feature already seen on Porsche and Ferrari sports cars, it delivers improved agility at low and medium speeds and more stability at high speed

Arguably the most important update is the four-wheel steering, a first for a production series Lamborghini

Lamborghini also revised its Direct Steering system, which has been specially adapted to integrate with the new rear-wheel steering system and now reacts to the driver’s steering movements in just five milliseconds, allowing real-time angle and cornering stiffness adjustment. The list continues with updated pushrod and Lamborghini Magneto-rheological Suspension (LMS). The latter includes revised kinematics adapted to the new four-wheel steering. There’s also a new suspension geometry optimized for Lamborghini Rear-wheel Steering with upper and lower arm and wheel carriers to reduce caster and load on the system. A new real-time variable damping system optimizes wheel and body control, while maximizing balance and ground stiffness.

Finally, the Aventador S rides on new, specially developed Pirelli P Zero tires that respond to the dynamic behavior of the... yup, you guessed it... rear-wheel steering system. Stopping power comes ventilated and perforated carbon-ceramic discs and carbon-ceramic calipers, they stop de car from 60 mph in just 31 meters (101.7 feet).

THE COMPETITION

2013 Ferrari F12 berlinetta
- image 696704

Unlike the Aventador, which uses a carbon-fiber tub, the F12berlinetta is built around an aluminium space frame chassis co-developed with Scaglietti. The chassis is made up of 12 different aluminium alloys and improves structural rigidity by 20 percent over its predecessor. The center of gravity has been lowered by around an inch. Although not dated, the technology is obviously a bit behind the Aventador’s — something that Ferrari probably won’t fix until the nameplate is replaced.

The Italian coupe comes with ABS, SCM-E magneto-rheological suspension, an electronic limited-slip differential, ESP Premium stability control, and F1-Trac traction control. The car’s stability and traction control, suspension, and other settings are controlled by the Manettino dial mounted on the steering wheel. The F12berlinetta is fitted with Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires, while stopping power comes from Ferrari’s third generation CCM3 carbon-ceramic disc brakes.

Prices

2018 Lamborghini Aventador S High Resolution Exterior
- image 698842

Pricing for the Aventador S begins from $421,350, a sticker that includes the gas guzzler tax. This means that the facelifted supercar is almost $20,000 more expensive than its predecessor, but it sounds right given all the updates. European customers will be able to purchase the Lambo from €281,555, while British enthusiasts will have to pay £225,955 before options.

COMPETING PRICES

Although I can rarely say that a Ferrari is more affordable than the competition, this certainly applies here. The F12berlinetta retails from around $330,000 in the United States, which makes it a whopping $90,000 cheaper than the Aventador S. That’s a massive difference judging by the numbers only, but I can’t say that the Lambo is overpriced. After all, it has the more advanced chassis, newer features inside, and it’s quicker too. On the other hand, if lighting-fast acceleration is what turns you on and you don’t care about luxury features, you’re better of with a Caterham 620R, which you can buy for way less than $100,000, including import taxes.

Competition

Porsche 911 Turbo S

The 911 Turbo S isn’t exactly the kind of car that most Lamborghini buyers would cross-shop with the Aventador, but it’s pretty fast and it comes with a well-appointed interior. Not to mention that it’s exterior design is already iconic and appealing to a wide array of supercar enthusiasts. Moving on to what makes the Turbo S a machine that both Lambo and Ferrari should be worried about, the 2017-model-year update brought a revised twin-turbo, 3.8-liter flat-six engine that cranks out 580 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque. While down by a full 150 horsepower as far as power goes, the 911 Turbo S gets a few extra pound-feet due to forced induction. What’s more, when equipped with the Sport Chrono package, it becomes the quickest of the bunch, needing only 2.8 seconds to hit 60 mph from a standing start. Top speed is inferior at 205, but who cares when you can beat both the Aventador and F12berlinetta in a straight line. Of course, the all-wheel-drive system plays a key role here. Another thing that makes the 911 Turbo S a more appealing choice is the $188,100 sticker. It might not have a Ferrari badge, but at this price point, you get a full-fledged supercar without having to rob the bank.

Find out more about the Porsche 911 Turbo S here.

Conclusion

2018 Lamborghini Aventador S High Resolution Exterior
- image 698839

I must confess that I did not expect the Aventador to get too many updates for its mid-cycle refresh. It turns out I was wrong, as Lambo not only made a few minor adjustments, but redesigned the whole aerodynamic system of the car and made major improvements to the chassis, with the most important being the rear-wheel steering system. Not only do these changes make the Aventador a more comfortable car on the road and a quicker racer at the track, but it also puts it a few steps above the F12berlinetta on the technology ladder. Granted, it’s a bit pricey by comparison, but if you want the best there is in this segment, the Aventador S is the best option if you have. As long as you’re not on a budget, because as I said, the Porsche 911 Turbo S can bring you way more bang for the buck.

  • Leave it
    • Very expensive compared to the F12berlinetta

Spy Shots

October 4, 2016 - Facelifted Lamborghini Aventador caught testing at Nurburgring

July 19, 2016 - First testing session

Ciprian Florea
Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read full bio
About the author

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