Although inevitable, even desirable, it's sad that Lamborghini's days as a maker of V12 engines is slowly coming to an end. Tracing a lineage back through the Murcielago, the Diablo, the Countach, the Miura, and the 350 GT, Lambo's bent-12s - originally designed to cock a snook at Enzo Ferrari - have become a legend in and of themselves.
They've powered hip-high supercars, big off-roaders (remember the LM002?), F1 cars (noisily, if not very successfully), and even - suitably waterproofed - offshore racing powerboats. Now, though, we are seeing the end of those days - Lamborghini has announced that the Aventador LP 780-4 Ultimae, just 350 of which will be made, will be its final V12 car that doesn't feature any electric power. The mighty 12-cylinder will live on, in the Aventador's successors, but this Ultimae will be its last outing without batteries. Purists may take a moment, here, to weep quietly.
780hp 6.5-litre V12 engine
Mind you, as you'd expect, the Aventador is not going quietly into the night - the LP (it stands for Longitudinale Posteriore - or rear-engined in Italian) version of the 6.5-litre V12 has, here, seen its power hiked compared to the standard car by 40hp to a mighty, noisy, 780hp, with 720Nm of torque. Meanwhile, extra carbon-fibre panels have been added to the Aventador's structure to ensure that the Ultimae has a dry-weight (that's without fuel, lubricants, or a driver) of 1,550kg.
That means it has truly visceral performance - 0-100km/h in just 2.8 seconds, and a top speed of 355km/h. Optimised VVT (Variable Valve Timing) and VIS (Variable Intake System) setups help with all of that, and the carbon-ceramic brakes can stop the Aventador from 100km/h in just 30 metres.
Lamborghini has also drawn on its Nurburging record-setting SVJ model of 2016 to make the Ultimae handle properly. It gets both four-wheel drive and four-wheel steering, and that steering system reacts in just five milliseconds - way faster than you can blink.
There's a little more aero efficiency and downforce, thanks to a reprofiled nose - which gets a new splitter and an open aero 'mouth' - and the stability control system has been tweaked too. The four-wheel drive system has been adjusted, so that it allows more power to the rear wheels at low speeds, making for easier access to drifting and sliding. In a V12 Lambo... Lamborghini also says that the Aventador has improved cooling for brakes and engine, as well as less aero interference from the tyres.
Active rear wing
There's an active rear wing that moves through three settings - closed, 'maximum performance' and 'maximum handling' - which depends on how fast you're going and which driving mode you've selected. Those vary from Strada (a normal, on-road mode), to Sport (self-explanatory), to Corsa (track mode) and Ego (which allows you to set everything up to your own tastes).
Just 350 coupes and 250 convertibles will be made in Ultimae spec, and owners will be able to choose from 18 standard colours, or more than 300 personal shades from the Lamborghini Ad Personam service. The launch colour for the Ultimae coupe is a two-tone, grey-on-grey (Grigio Acheso and Grigio Teca), with the front splitter's outline and 'teeth' picked out in matt red Rosso Mimi, and with little accent lines on the rear fins of the visible carbon fibre rear diffuser.
Inside, there is black leather and Alcantara with contrast grey stitching, for a rather sober, driver-focused look. The Ultimae name is stitched into the seats, and on the driver's side windscreen pillar there's a notation of which number out of the 600 cars is yours. You can, of course, dramatically modify that interior, thanks to the Ad Personam service, including an almost infinite number of colour combos, and carbon-fibre packs.
As standard, the Ultimae comes with 20-inch and 21-inch (front and rear) 'Dianthus' forged alloys with colour options available in bronze, black and titanium. They're wrapped in Pirelli P Zero tyres, and the brake calipers can be coloured to suit your taste (and wallet).
'A beautiful expression of timeless design
The Ultimae Roadster is being launched in a combo of Blu Tawaret and Blu Nethuns with the roof panels in high gloss black carbon fibre. Inside both models, there's a customisable TFT digital dashboard which displays driver modes as well as controlling in-car connectivity. Apple CarPlay manages voice-activated communications and entertainment, with the Lamborghini telemetry system available as an option for those wanting to celebrate the last Aventador on track.
"The Aventador LP 780-4 denotes the final, purest, timeless naturally-aspirated production V12 Lamborghini," says Stephan Winkelmann, President and CEO of Automobili Lamborghini. "It delivers the essential twelve-cylinder experience in terms of inimitable design, engineering solutions and the most emotive driving experience, and is the definitive Aventador concluding an extraordinary era. It is the last of its kind: it delivers the maximum power and conclusive performance expected from Lamborghini's current V12 engine, combined with our inimitable flagship's design DNA. The Aventador was destined to become a classic from launch, and the Aventador LP 780-4 is the most beautiful expression of timeless design and technical solutions in a final edition: Ultimae."