Big, brash and a bit bonkers the Lamborghini Aventador is everything Lamborghini's V12 range-topper should be, but with age comes maturity, so the Aventador's compromises are not quite as explicit as its predecessors'.
In the metal 5/5
Not since the Countach has Lamborghini's V12 machine been such a riot of surfaces, vents and sharp edges. Like an even more chiselled version of the Murcielago-based (and loony money) one-of 21 Reventón, the Aventador mixes curves with creases like nothing else this side of an F-117 Nighthawk stealth attack plane. You could spend a long time poring over the details. From the serpent-eye aping headlamps with their hexagonal indicator inserts to the three-pane slats over the engine and central exhaust the Aventador is an absolute visual feast.
That drama is carried over to the interior, the heavily edged, sharp lines and bold surfacing apparent from the simplest switch to the shape of the instrument cowl. 'Dramatic' barely covers it, but its extrovert styling isn't at the expense of usability, so the digital instruments are clear and the centre console's switchgear all intuitive to use - and familiar if you've ever sat in an Audi. That German inclusion doesn't intrude; indeed, if anything it's welcome, adding to the feeling that the Aventador is properly sorted.
Driving it 5/5
Revel first in the moment of the scissor door action and climbing over the deep sill and dropping into the carbon-fibre constructed tub. Make no mistake, Lamborghini's sometimes agricultural past has been banished with the Aventador, it feeling very senior indeed. Before lifting the red flip cover on the starter button you need to feel your feet onto the pedals - thanks to a heavy offset to the left. Such is their positioning left-foot braking is the most comfortable way to drive it, the standard paddle-shifted seven-speed automated manual meaning your left foot would be redundant otherwise.
Press that start button and there's a moment while the engine goes through the motions of getting 12 cylinders fired up, the mechanical cacophony replaced quickly by the rasp of the 6.5-litre V12 flaring into life. It's packing 700hp, developed at a heady 8,250rpm, so it requires some restraint. The initial feeling of being in a big car wanes as you pull away, visibility out not quite as shocking as you'd imagine, while the nose-lifting function is useful when pulling out over steep driveways (or repeatedly turning around in pot-holed car parks for a photographer).
Below about 4,000rpm the noise from over your shoulder is a mix of the engine's workings with the V12 as a backing track, pushing the accelerator deeper into the floor resulting in a far more rousing soundtrack from the 6.5-litre unit. Do so and it's ridiculously accelerative, the 700hp combining with the Aventador's relative lack of bulk to give it a quite sensational ability to gather speed - that demonstrated by the sub-three-second 0-100km/h time Lamborghini quotes. If you're getting anywhere near the redline in any gear on the public road then you're looking at jail time. The Aventador feels like it could give chase to its Bugatti Veyron cousin. Seriously.
The similarities don't end there, the big Lamborghini's steering offering the same fine weighting and surprisingly detailed feedback at the rim. You'll not breach its grip levels on the road, as its traction (four-wheel drive remember) is immense. The paddle-shifted seven-speed transmission (single clutch as opposed to dual) isn't the quickest or slickest, though opt for the Sport mode and the throttle map seems to suit the shift better than Strada - Corsa is a bit uncompromising. Overall, it's all very usable, so long as you can exercise restraint.
The biggest limiting factor in the Aventador's driving make up is its suspension. It's firm, uncompromisingly so at low speeds, the sort of rippled, broken tarmac that makes up a typical back road resulting in a jiggling frequency that gets tiresome, and the only way to remove it is to up the pace. Do so and the ride smoothes out considerably, as do your chances of being followed by a police helicopter. This Lambo is epic and talented, but ultimately frustrating, as its ability is so great it's impossible to find anywhere to really enjoy its incredible reach of performance.
What you get for your money 5/5
Five stars for something costing nearly twice the average Irish house price and significantly more with some options might seem like insanity. Consider though the Lamborghini's hugely exotic carbon-fibre construction and it doesn't seem so silly. It's got all the presence of its Reventón relative, can hold its own alongside cars like Pagani's fastest Zondas and monsters anything in a straight-line fight wearing a black pony on its badge. Worth every cent, no question.
The suspension might be the Aventador's biggest failing on the road, but it's seriously trick. On-board damping and pushrod arms like those on a single-seat racing car feature, and we reckon it's worth the rather uncompromising ride just to look at the beautifully engineered system. It's just a shame it's not set up with a bit more compliance to give a more supple ride for our horrible roads.
The Aventador is a phenomenal car and one that remains a supercar to the core. While Lamborghini has added visual creases, it's ironed out the numerous ones that defined the Aventador's predecessors - for the wrong reasons. If that's created a more usable V12 flagship then that's to be applauded - and it's certainly not a car that's lacking in drama. Just as it should be.