"A newly released Lamborghini with a naturally aspirated engine with twelve cylinders in V-formation. Sant'Agata Bolognese. A pulse of 160. And an Italian test driver in a lead-car who claims that the police are his friends."
It's spring and I'm in Italy where a test drive of the Aventador SVJ is on the schedule. If you've ever landed at Bologna Airport, you know that Lamborghini strategically placed a stand with usually two cars at the arrivals. And not unexpectedly, there's a SVJ Coupe and an Urus being showcased. If you you were lucky, you also managed to spot a "Follow me" Lamborghini that leads your aircraft to the gate.
All this build up to you approaching the factory where the Italian flags stand high and Lamborghini's famous logo is fronted on the large modern front of the factory while the birds chirp in the spring sun.
Lamborghini loves to produce different editions of their models. And their customers love to buy. The Aventador does not appeal to all types of buyers, they have always been clumsy and cumbersome to drive and maneuver. But filled with charm, only a brand that Lamborghini with its history can achieve.
How about the latest version then? Has the SVJ added anything worth remembering compared to previous versions of the Aventador? Lamborghini introduced the car along with a lap record at the infamous Nürburgring Nordschleife. Pure facts and a great usp. They know how to sell their latest flagship and have previously done the same with the Huracán Performante and other models.
SVJ has more power and it's lighter than the previous versions and last but not least: ALA 2.0 (Lamborghini's active aerodynamics) and the four-wheel steering which is an incredible feature for such a heavy and large car.
What is it like to drive then?
Writing about a test drive of the Aventador SVJ on Valentino Balboni's famous backroads near the factory cannot be done without your palms becoming slightly sweaty seeing all the pictures and videos from that day.
The atmosphere that the screaming 6.5 liter V12 creates in the cockpit is something from another world, the rumble and all the bangs from the exhaust system together with the rock-hard chassis make everything both feel and sound hardcore.
The test drive took place this time on tight Italian roads led by a test driver from Lamborghini in a Performante Spyder who knew every little hole or defect on the roads. It may not be the best location for a test drive for a big car like the SVJ. The optimal would've been a track with long straightaways and hard braking zones.
Even with all the shakiness and rumbling the SVJ is very stable at full throttle. All of the 770 horsepowers ensure that all 1525kg move at a fast pace. SV stands for "super fast" and J :et (Jota) stands briefly for performance and track ability.
The four-wheel drive system makes it an easier car to drive even for those who do not have much experience. Passing other cars on narrow roads is no problem even if the car is 2.08 meters wide. The brakes are huge and sensitive, such as the steering and throttle response, which makes the SVJ feel like it's always ready to hit the race tracks.
In terms of the interior, there is not much that is new. The glove compartment has been completely removed and the infotainment system is still nothing to cheer about, unfortunately.
But as in all previous models of the Aventador, the interior is very focused around the driver. You never have to stretch your arm or bend forward to reach anything as.
The SVJ is not a car for those who don't like to be seen or heard. Few cars have such sharp lines and features that resemble a jetfighter from both the outside and inside. And if you are going to drive this car it is important that you drive for everyone else around you as well.
Hint: Many fellow road users forget that they are driving themselves when the SVJ catches their attention.
An incredible experience that I'll probably never forget. The SVJ is perhaps difficult to understand because it still has what many call the old clunky gearbox. But Lamborghini still manages to make it the fastest car around one of the world's most prestigious race tracks.
What comes next is the big question if the SVJ will be the last naturally aspirated V12 from Lamborghini?