by Sebastian Cenizo
Fast and Loud. Capitalized for emphasis, and not to promote a car restoration television show, the words that open this review are all that the Lamborghini Aventador SV is about. Free of creature comforts and amenities, with the exception of dual-zone climate control, the big, rapid, bonkers Lambo is focused exclusively on getting from one point to another as quickly as possible. Powered by a 6.5-liter V12, the 740-horsepower engine sends 509 lb-ft of torque through a seven-speed automated single-clutch transmission to all four wheels. Limited to just 600 examples, this half-a-million-dollar supercar has the designation of Superveloce, literally meaning super fast. Where it fails to deliver on comfort and daily usability, it exceeds expectations when it comes to living up to its name.
In order to justify the hefty price tag and the limited run of production, the SV dispenses with an infotainment system and navigation and instead offers a more powerful engine with a freer-flowing exhaust system. A bright new instrument cluster is also added, while a CFRP manually -adjustable spoiler works with redesigned bodywork to provide up to 180% more downforce. In addition, weight has been cut, with the SV tipping the scales some 110 pounds less heavily than the regular Aventador.
Angular and aggressive bodywork is a defining trait of the Aventador's styling, and the SV turns that up to 11, with much sharper air dams up front, a more aggressive rear diffuser, and a huge spoiler on the rear. Forged DIONE wheels are fitted in a staggered 20/21-inch sizing, while some SV decals and the standard LED lighting system enhances its presence.
The Lamborghini Aventador SV is a rather large vehicle, measuring 190.4 inches from gaping front splitter to massive rear wing. The wheelbase is 106.3 inches, while the width is akin to that of a bus, measuring 79.9 inches across, excluding the mirrors. Height is the only diminutive figure in terms of dimensions, measuring 44.7 inches. Curb weight is 3,868 lbs, around 110 less than that of the regular Aventador.
A number of special paint options are available for the Lamborghini Aventador SV, with yellow, green, blue and red being the most striking. Typically, these all have flamboyant Italian names, like Rosso Bia, Verde Ithaca Pearl Effect, Blue Sideris Special Metallic, Arancio Atlas Pearl Effect, and Nero Aldebaran. Also available is a pure white, called Bianco Isis - a name that may bring to mind the Middle East, an area well-populated by oil barons who can afford this type of vehicle. One of our favorites is New Giallo Orion Pearl Effect, a rich yellow that is reminiscent of the paint typically associated with the Murcielago SV, while Arancio Atlas is not too far off the original Diablo SV's orange hue.
With run-out special editions, particularly those from manufacturers of fine Italian exotica, performance is arguably the most important aspect of the vehicle. Nobody wants to buy an extremely expensive supercar with outlandish styling if the bite doesn't match the bark. Speaking of bark, that hulking 6.5-liter V12 is a phenomenal power plant, hurtling you from 0-62 mph in a scant 2.8 seconds. Top speed is claimed to be "in excess of 217 mph", and we don't doubt the boast. With astonishing throttle response and peak power at 8,400 rpm, just 100 rpm before the redline, the Aventador SV is a monster of high-speed ability that loves to be opened up. Thanks to improved aerodynamics, weight saving, and a lot of time perfecting the suspension and improving the gearbox, not only can the SV launch hard and keep pulling, it can do corners better than its more pedestrian and "common" Aventador baby brother. In fact, the Aventador SV is so good, that some million-dollar hypercars like the Porsche 918 Spyder will require ultimate focus and commitment to keep the SV in the rearview mirror.
If you've read any review of any version of the Aventador, you'll likely recall that the weak point on these cars is the ancient and disturbingly clunky transmission. An automated seven-speed single-clutch gearbox is a very complicated way of saying 'awful.' However, the SV benefits from an improved version of this transmission that is slightly more agreeable with normal road use. That said, you still have absurdly slow and sloppy shifts in the most relaxed Strada setting, with Sport improving things and Corsa (or Race) being phenomenally quick, but also unbelievably harsh. If you're not used to it, it will feel like something is wrong with the car. The shifts are so jolty that they feel as if a rifle is being jammed into your back. The engine is similarly, uh, characterful. That's not to say that it's bad in any way, but below 4,500 rpm, the tone is less than exciting. After that, it's a blend of heavy metal and London Symphony Orchestra, and the shove in the back is a good one. Having revs to play with and being able to enjoy the sound of an unimpeded exhaust is one of the joys of car life, and the reason that the aging Aventador still has so much charm - even when some turbocharged alternatives produce more power. With 6.5 liters of capacity from the V12, 740 hp, and 509 lb-ft of torque, output isn't exactly mediocre anyway. Combined with launch control, every blast in the SV is a visceral and adrenaline-inducing moment to be savored.
Thanks to a pushrod suspension that is improved by active magnetic dampers, the Aventador SV is a brilliantly handling thing that is far more capable than its size would suggest. With a Nurburgring Nordschleife lap time of under seven minutes, the SV can truly hustle around corners, with only the elite of the hypercar world, cars like the 918 Spyder and McLaren's P1, proving fractionally quicker for double the price. Thanks to enhanced aerodynamics and a manually-adjustable rear spoiler, the Aventador SV is more than just a badge-engineered marketing exercise - it's a genuine racecar for the road. Extensive use of composite materials has helped drop the weight, and the dynamic steering system has been updated too, which allows the hulking beast to turn far more sharply and quickly than you may expect. In addition, the suspension is relatively compliant over broken pavement and stiffens up further in the more aggressive drive modes of Sport and Corsa. It's no daily driver, but it's liveable. With great power and exceptional steering, you need a resolute chaperon when it's time to bring things back to a more pedestrian pace, and the huge carbon-ceramic discs are impressively up to the task, proving relatively easy to modulate and fade-free under all but the most testing circumstances. Keep pushing mercilessly for lap after lap, and they will eventually tire, fade, and even smoke if you have no mechanical sympathy, but for the most part, they'll hold up well.
We don't recommend driving a limited-edition supercar worth half a million bucks on your regular daily commute, but if you choose not to heed our advice, be warned that manufacturer claims indicate that the Aventador SV will only return 11/13/18 mpg on the city/highway/combined cycles. Coupled with a 23.8-gallon gas tank, mixed driving will only return around 428 miles of range. However, in real-world situations, and particularly with a bit of hooning, those figures could even drop as far as low single digits. A Porsche 918, with its hybrid drivetrain, will be better suited to city driving, offering electric-only propulsion if you prefer to keep things calm or are stuck in traffic.
Alcantara, carbon fiber, and a hint of leather are the materials of choice in the SV's cabin. Weight-saving is clearly evident here, with the infotainment system being deleted, this leaving nothing on the doors and a badge in place of the missing media screen. Even the door-pulls are gone, with straps in their place instead. As a result of this weight-saving, insulation from the noises of the road and engine is also reduced, thus making for a less than pleasant cruise if you value silence. In addition, the seats are fixed-back carbon pieces, with no adjustment for bolstering or thigh support, so you sit lower than you may like, and after extended drives, you're uncomfortable and irritated. On the track, these work wonders, but away from it, all these racecar cues are frustrating.
The Lamborghini Aventador SV takes all of the usual thoughts about the impracticalities of supercar ownership and exacerbates them. Getting in and out is a chore and an exercise in contortionism. Headroom, legroom, and visibility are poor for anyone near six feet tall, and the driving position is set in stone (or carbon fiber in this case) unless you bring a cushion along with you. With narrow and skinny seats, comfort isn't great either. With two seats, at least you don't have to suffer in solitude.
Alcantara is the dominant material in the Lamborghini Aventador SV's interior, with almost every single panel unapologetically swathed in the stuff. Carbon fiber also makes a guest appearance with lots of accents, with aluminum featured in a small cameo. In terms of colors, you can spec a theme that your seatbelts will correspond to, with Arancio Dryope, Bianco Polar, Blu Cepheus, Blu Sideris, and Rosso Alala as your options. Regardless of your choice, the interior is sure to carry an air of exoticism balanced by motorsport. While comfort may not be a primary concern in the SV's cabin, style certainly is.
The Aventador SV is not what you'd call practical, with just 4.9 cubic feet of storage space in the front-mounted trunk. You could potentially fit a duffel bag - maybe two - in the frunk, but ideally, you'll need someone to follow you with your belongings if you intend to drive this car any considerable distance.
The cabin is not much more accommodating, with no space in the doors, no glovebox whatsoever, no cupholders, and only a small notch in the transmission tunnel that could potentially hold a small smartphone.
As standard, the features are minimal on this exclusive supercar. A 12.3-inch digital driver display, variable drive modes, and speed-sensitive rain-sensing wipers are only accompanied by keyless entry, adaptive dampers, and dual-zone climate control. The USA doesn't even get access to a nose-lifting system to save the front splitter from speed bumps and driveways, and with such an aggressive design, that front end is guaranteed to get scraped at some point. At least the mirrors are electrically adjustable and heated. Features here are limited almost exclusively to performance enhancements, with a manually adjustable spoiler and an advanced stability control system. Introduced prior to the amendment in law that requires a rearview camera, the SV does without one and doesn't get parking sensors either, so be careful when backing up.
If the sound of a roaring V12 is not music enough to your ears, you'll be disappointed with the fact that Lamborghini does not offer a sound system as standard with the Aventador SV. It has the wiring and preparation in place as standard, but you have to pay extra if you want to make proper use of a radio and Bluetooth. The system you get is also an older version of the Audi-based MMI interface, sans touch, so don't expect the intergalactic looks to match the tech in this car. Rather, go fast and listen to the V12 wail.
The Aventador SV has been subject to a single recall that may have affected eight of the run of 600 models. The recall was issued in July 2018 for loose wheel bolts that could cause the wheel to detach; no issues have since been reported.
Lamborghini's warranties offered with the sale of new vehicles do not have a mileage limit, with their limited, powertrain, and corrosion warranties applying for the first three years of ownership.
Lamborghinis are too expensive and special to be submitted by the manufacturer for crash testing. Hence, neither the IIHS nor the NHTSA can report on the Aventador's safety credentials. However, with a carbon fiber monocoque, as well as advanced stability and traction systems, the Aventador SV will do its best to keep you out of trouble.
The Lamborghini Aventador SV is stripped out and focused on going as fast as possible. As with most other supercars, driver aids and advanced safety systems are, therefore, nowhere to be seen. Instead, you get seatbelt pretensioners, a carbon-fiber monocoque, a centrally-mounted gas tank, advanced stability and traction control programs, and four airbags (two front- and two side-impact airbags).
The Lamborghini Aventador is marketed as being designed for a specific buyer. While that is true, it's not what its credentials would have you believe. While Lamborghini insists that this is a focused track car that is intended for spirited abuse around a circuit, the truth is that this car exists as a way of inflating revenue. While it does have all the makings of a phenomenal track weapon and has proved it with a sub-seven-minute Nordschleife time, most buyers will show interest because of the fact that, on its release, it became the most powerful Lamborghini road car ever. With limited production, it's a wise investment that will only appreciate in value. So is it worth racing and using daily? It's too uncomfortable for the latter and too expensive for the former, but as an 'item', as a guaranteed appreciating asset, it makes perfect sense.
Before any options, the base price of the Lamborghini Aventador SV is a whopping $497,895. With paint options that cost more than some small cars and interior options not far behind, it wouldn't take much effort to spec an SV that costs over $650,000. While this may seem excessive, there is no doubt that its limited run of production and its global desirability make it a highly sought after model that will only grow in value as time passes. However, similarly powerful cars can be had for less money.
The Lamborghini Aventador SV coupe is available in a solitary trim level, with the roadster that was released later being considered separately. A 6.5-liter naturally-aspirated V12 engine is mounted midships, producing 740 hp and 509 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent through an unrefined automated single-clutch transmission with seven gears. All four wheels are propelled in dramatic fashion, thus offering 0-62 mph times of 2.8 seconds, while the engine can run up to its 8,500 rpm redline in pursuit of the supercar's 217 mph+ top speed. Aggressive bodywork and a large rear wing increase downforce by 180% over the regular Aventador model, while extensive use of carbon fiber and other lightweight materials help trim 110 pounds of excess mass. The trade-off is a stunning, but sparse, cabin, with no infotainment system as standard. While these features help maximize performance, the Aventador SV is plagued by impracticality, even for a supercar. However, with just 600 units produced, its rarity and special designation have helped cement its status as one of the greats at the end of the naturally aspirated era.
6.5-liter V12 Gas
Limited-edition supercars are usually specced by the manufacturer for the most part, as they don't want you messing with the DNA of the car they've worked so hard to refine, lighten, and enhance. However, some concessions must be made in the interest of relevant comfort and convenience, and a radio and sound system can be fitted for an added fee. In addition, a nose-lifting system can be added to raise the front of the SV at the touch of a button, thus helping prevent unsightly scrapes on the honed bodywork. In addition, carbon fiber is the staple of any supercar, particularly a lightweight limited-run model, but that doesn't mean that the manufacturer won't withhold some of it to charge you for it later. The composite can be added to elements of the interior and exterior at a typically exorbitant fee.
Since this is a limited-edition model that is doubtless going to be worth a huge amount of money, even more so than it its base price clearly indicates, we'd highly recommend protecting your investment, or at least its front end, with the optional nose-lifting system. We'd also specify carbon fiber accents for the interior trim, as well as carbon add-ons for the exterior bodywork. While this will be expensive, it will pay dividends when the car is inevitably auctioned off for a profit.
So should you spend a ridiculous premium on a limited edition version of the Aventador and only gain 50 hp? Well, it depends on the purpose of your purchase. The regular Aventador, although not practical by any means, can at least be had with electrically-adjustable heated seats, and it's a less conspicuous vehicle - if such a thing exists in the world of Lamborghini. For nearly $100k more - and let's not pretend that's a small amount of money - you get a less comfortable and less usable vehicle. However, if you look past these things and ignore the future value that this investment would be guaranteed to hold, the SV is also the most special Aventador. It's a car capable of astonishing feats on racetracks and it's truly a special edition. More than just its wings and decals, the SV is a celebration of the raucous nature that is core to the Lambo brand. Yes, the regular Aventador is cheaper and more livable, but the SV will always be special - no matter what you park it next to.
In the VAG empire, many of the world's best-ever performance cars have made their mark. Among them is the astonishing Porsche 918 Spyder. Also only available in limited numbers (although not as limited as other super hybrids like the McLaren P1 and Ferrari LaFerrari), the 918 starts at a base price of almost $850,000. Its specs are similarly daunting, with its 4.6-liter V8 race engine and hybrid setup producing an astonishing 887 hp and not much less than 1,000 lb-ft of twist. Nevertheless, with all its technological wizardry and clever suspension, it's barely quicker around the Nurburgring's Nordschleife circuit than the cheaper and less powerful SV. So why consider it? Well for a start, unlike the Lambo, its seats are far more comfortable, and most notably, you can use it day to day. With satellite radio, navigation, power-adjustable seats, and the ability to convert it to a drop-top, the 918 is the better car. Still, is it worth almost $400k more? Yes. Even if you plan to make a profit some day, this car is the herald of a new dawn in Porsche's performance focus, and will always command respect, not to mention a large asking price.