by Michael Butler
We are the masters of our reality, or so they say. The Lamborghini Aventador makes one believe that statement. With the finite time we have on this planet, some humans dedicate themselves to building creations that, though unobtainable to the majority, inspire and excite beyond what we ever thought possible. Lamborghini has been the masters of concentrating human creativity and ingenuity into creations that garner such attention, that it borders on cultic religions. The Aventador SVJ is one such creation. With a reworked version of Lamborghini's new V12 under the hood, active aero and enough carbon-fiber to build something big out of carbon-fiber, the SVJ represents the pinnacle of hypercar engineering, and it has clearly paid off: the SVJ is the current fastest production car ever to lap the Nurburgring. With only 900 units ever put on sale, you can forget about buying a new one, and if you want to know for how much, then just keep on walking, buddy.
The Aventador had the enviable task of replacing the Murcielago and was the first Lamborghini to feature the all-new V12 engine, replacing the original design, which had been in production (with many updates) since 1963. Knowing the brand, they weren't happy with resting on their laurels, and subsequent iterations of the Aventador have been introduced with more power and lighter weight. The SVJ represents the apex of Lamborghini's super sports car product range.
When Lamborghini was designing the SVJ, they looked to the best examples of aerodynamic performance and extreme futuristic looks, and where else did they turn to but space ships and jet fighters. The SVJ looks so much more aggressive than the standard Aventador, thanks to a redesigned front and rear bumpers with bigger air intakes in the front and side of the car. The front flap, side deviator fins, and rocker covers are all new, and for the first time on the Aventador model, you get an active aero system that controls the lower front lip, rear wing, and its dedicated air duct. The louvered engine cover now features a unique "Y" shaped design, and the rear diffuser looks like it has been borrowed from the exotic Lamborghini Centenario. Overall, the SVJ improves downforce by 40% and reduces drag by 1%, and engine cooling has been improved by 10%.
There are no two ways about it, the Aventador SVJ is a large car and measures 194.6 inches in total length. The front overhang is 48.3 inches, and 40 inches in the rear. The SVJ is 82.6 inches wide, growing to 89.5 inches when you include the wing mirrors. Taller drivers will need to stoop low to clear the 44.7-inch height, and with the scissor doors open, that height increases to 76.9 inches. Track measurements come in at 67.7 inches in the front, and 66.1 in the rear. With its standard ride height selected, the SVJ has an approach angle of seven degrees, rising to 9.9 when lifted. Ground clearance comes in at 4.5 inches in standard mode, and a respectable 6.1 inches when lifted. Lamborghini quotes a dry weight of 3362 lbs, which is 110 pounds lighter than the Aventador LP 700-4.
Looking flashy is 85% of the reason most people buy a Lamborghini, and the exterior paint color plays a massive role in this. Unlike its Italian nemesis Ferrari, which can only really be had in two colors, the Lamborghini Aventador SVJ's color palette is the eccentric's playground. New owners get to choose between no less than five different paint categories, namely Solid, Metallic, Pearl, Special Metallic, and Matt. As there are well over 45 colors on offer, we'll highlight some of our favorites in each category. When it comes to solid colors, you can't go wrong with the lumo-green Verde-Scandal or Giallo Spica, a beautiful off-yellow. Under the Metallic banner, we'd go for the Rosso Mars or Grigio Ater. Pearl looks great on this car, and we'd go for the plum-crazy Viola Pasifae purple or Verde Ithaca. Special Metallic colors such as Blu Nilla and Rosso Bia look stunning, and if you have to go with a matt color, then we'd suggest the Grigio Titans.
The SVJ delivers electric performance, which is amplified by the fact that you have a snarling 8,000 rpm-plus V12 engine in the back that sounds like it wants to massacre entire Honda Civic parking-lot meets. Lamborghini has clearly poured a lot of research, development, and love into the SVJ, and it not only shows on the spec-sheet but on the road and track as well. The numbers are staggering: a top speed of over 217 mph, 0-124 mph in 8.6 seconds, and zero to 62 mph in only 2.8 seconds. It's easy to judge a car by these numbers, but for many, the real test of speed is a Nurburgring lap time. The Lamborghini Aventador SVJ will lap the infamous Green Hell in an astounding 6:44.97 seconds, making it the current record holder for the fastest production car ever to lap the ring, besting a Porsche 911 GT2 RS piloted by Lars Ken who managed a time of 6:47.25. Translating this kind of performance to the road is near impossible, and the SVJ feels like a leashed dog when puttering to the local car show.
Lamborghini is famous for sticking to large displacement, naturally-aspirated V12 engines, and instead of going with turbocharged smaller capacity engines like most of its competitors, Lamborghini has stubbornly stuck to, and improved, the V12, which now produces turbocharged levels of power, but with a far superior soundtrack. The 6.5-liter V12 found under the louvered engine cover of the SVJ is the first new V12 since Lamborghini produced the first iteration back in 1963, and is a race-bred work of art. That's all good and well, but we'll let the numbers speak for themselves. Maximum power output is an insane 759 hp at a sky-high 8500 rpm, while max torque comes in at 537 lb-ft at 6750 rpm. The SVJ achieves this by incorporating a redesigned cylinder head, improved exhaust manifold, and titanium valves. This is one of the best sounding engines ever produced, and revving it out to its limit is the closest mere mortals will get to driving an F1 car. Unfortunately, Lamborghini has stuck to its single-clutch automated manual transmission, which, despite receiving a re-tune, offers long-winded upshifts and isn't as eager to shift down the gears when entering a corner.
The laws of gravity and the SVJ don't see eye to eye; at close to 3,500 pounds when filled with all necessary fluids, this high-performance Lambo should feel more like a ship than a fleet-footed Miata, but throw enough technology at the problem, and you can usually solve anything (what's up, global warming). Lamborghini employs an active aero system, an adaptive magnetorheological suspension, which is 15% stiffer than in the SV, all-wheel-drive, and all-wheel-steering, including anti-roll bars that are 50% stiffer than the SV's and an advanced traction control system that offers three driving modes, namely Strada, Sport, and Corsa. In Strada mode, the torque balance is split 60% rear, 40% front, Sport mode sends 90% of the available torque to the rear, while Corsa splits it 80/20. With all of these elements combined, the SVJ corners like a much smaller and much lighter car. Mid-corner grip is exceptional, and the SVJ manages to put all its power down upon corner exit without too much drama. There's a reason it's the Nurburgring champion. You pay for this on the road, however, and the SVJ is uncompromisingly stiff, and those with lower-back problems will do best to stay away.
The EPA doesn't list the fuel economy figures for the high-performance SVJ, which is probably a good thing because the reality of the matter is that the SVJ will guzzle premium gas at rocket-ship rates. The standard Aventador is rated at 9/15/11 mpg city/highway/combined, which is a bit optimistic in our opinion; real-world numbers will drop into the single digits, and since most SVJ cars will only be let loose on the special occasion, single digits are almost guaranteed. The SVJ has a 22.45-gallon fuel tank, which will allow it to cruise for approximately 247 miles, if we go with the standard Aventador's numbers - but few owners will likely achieve it.
With so much focus placed on the engine, aerodynamics, and suspension, we forgive Lamborghini for not delivering a BMW 7 Series-rivaling interior. The SVJ's interior is a stripped-down space, and closing the doors requires a tug on a strap. Aside from a few buttons and a display in the center console, you don't get much else. Illuminated door sills greet occupants upon entering the cabin, and the Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel falls neatly to hand and includes long rear-mounted shifter paddles that never get lost when pushing hard on the track. Behind the steering wheel, you'll find a futuristic digital cluster that changes its look depending on the driving mode and suits the sci-fi feel of the rest of the car. The seats are power-adjustable, and there's air conditioning, but that's pretty much it. One special touch we appreciated was the starter button, which is hidden beneath a red flip-switch, ala-fighter jet.
Judging by the exterior dimensions, you'd expect the SVJ to offer a decent amount of interior space. Guess again, because the SVJ feels cramped, especially for drivers over six-feet tall, which is par for the course in supercars of this nature. Lamborghini provides an interior length measurement of between 36.8 and 56.6 inches, and there are 56.6 inches of shoulder room between the two occupants privileged enough to drive this thing. Elbow room comes in at 59.8 inches. Once again, taller passengers and drivers won't be pleased with the miserly 36.6 inches of headroom, and if your feet are a size ten or larger, you'll find navigating the foot pedals difficult.
The interior of the SVJ might feel stripped down and bare, but Lamborghini compensates for this by throwing the book of materials at it - especially carbon-fiber, which permeates the cabin of the SVJ. New owners can choose from six interior color schemes, but Lamborghini also offers an Ad Personam range with six exclusive combos, for twelve in total. Personally, we would go with the Leather Giallo Taurus Alcantara Nero Cosmus (black and yellow leather and Alcantara), or the Leather Grigio Cosmus Alcantara Nero Cosmus (black and gray). There's a total of six types of material used within the cabin, the most predominant being carbon-fiber and Alcantara, followed by leather, shiny carbon swirl, shiny forged carbon, and finally, carbon twill matt. There are SVJ embossed emblems on the headrests, and the whole deal reeks of money.
The likelihood of anyone taking the Lamborghini Aventador SVJ on any road trip longer than 100 miles is highly improbable unless it's for a Gumball 3000 type event, and even then, you'll most certainly need a backup car or retro-fitted trailer to carry things like a toothbrush and a clean pair of socks. The SVJ simply doesn't do cargo other than the human type. Since there's a massive 6.5-liter V12 engine stuck in the back where you'd traditionally find the trunk, Lamborghini thought it well to provide a frunk, or trunk in the front. Pop the hood, and you're greeted by 4.9 cubic feet of luggage space. That's enough for a change of clothes and a fresh pack of underwear for both the driver and passenger after hitting 217-plus mph down in Mexico.
Lamborghini places so much emphasis on pure performance that the features list is decidedly biased towards stuff that makes the SVJ faster, instead of things that make it more comfortable and easy to live with. On the outside, it's difficult to ignore the active aero system, which adjusts the front lip and rear spoiler for added downforce when the need arises. A feather-light carbon fiber chassis keeps everything tight, and the gorgeous Forged 20-inch front and 20-inch rear wheels hide a set of carbon-ceramic brakes. Those wheels are attached to an adaptive suspension setup with four-wheel steering, and Lamborghini throws in a set of LED headlights as well. Inside the SVJ, you'll find illuminated door sills, an Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel with rear-mounted paddle shifters, and little red straps to close the doors with. Everything is wrapped in carbon-fiber and Alcantara. Optional rear parking sensors and performance telemetry are worth looking at.
The infotainment system on the Aventador SVJ is a newly developed and class-leading system that makes use of 6.5-liters of capacity and a twelve-piston system to produce one of the most glorious soundtracks you're ever likely to experience. Throw that Josh Groban CD out the window, because you're not going to want to listen to anything else. Seriously though, the infotainment system on the SVJ is an apparent afterthought; Lamborghini has borrowed an old-gen system from the Audi parts bin, which looks cluttered and old-fashioned when compared to some of its competitors. Lamborghini offers an optional four-speaker system that's supposedly better than what you get as standard, but we found that the lightweight carbon fiber doors resonate sound, and made Josh sound awful. We'll stick with the V12's song.
Certain Lamborghini Aventador models were recalled in 2018 for a stalling issue; the car would stall when the throttle is released below 2000 rpm while the transmission was downshifting into a lower gear. The SVJ hasn't been recalled for any model-specific issues. Due to the SVJ's scarcity and exorbitant asking price, the people over at J.D. Power haven't had a chance to rate its overall reliability. Lamborghini covers their halo hypercar with a three-year/unlimited-mile warranty, which includes corrosion and drivetrain cover for a similar period.
The NHTSA and the IIHS would have to pull some serious strings to get their hands on an Aventador SVJ and would have to take out second mortgages on their testing facilities to actually smash one of these Italian exotics. Since the Aventador hasn't been tested by any of the major rating agencies, we'll have to take Lamborghini on its word, but from what we can tell, this Italian supercar, which features a full carbon-fiber monocoque, should prove to be adequately safe.
The SVJ might not feature all the latest active driver-assist tech toys such as pedestrian detection (pedestrians will detect an SVJ long before it comes in contact with them) or blinds -spot monitoring (the entire rear of the SVJ is a blind-spot), but what it does offer are race-proven systems that will keep you alive, even in the most serious accidents. The full carbon-fiber monocoque not only increases the rigidity of the car, but also acts as a type of roll cage, and cocoons its occupants in case of an accident. Carbon-ceramic disks will bring you to a halt much quicker than any family sedan, and the advanced traction control and Haldex AWD system keeps the big Lambo on its feet at all times. Inside, the two occupants get a pair of seatbelts and seven airbags and LED headlights to light the way forward.
The Aventador SVJ represents the pinnacle of performance motoring indulgence and might signal the end of the naturally-aspirated epoch - but we've heard that being said since the early 2000s, so don't bet on it. The SVJ, as with most Lamborghinis, is beautifully flawed. You'll wish you were being pushed around in a wheelbarrow after spending more than a few hours in the driver's seat. The cramped and spartan interior looks good, but offers little, not to mention the pitiful infotainment system on offer. Even the thought of driving the SVJ around town will put a smile on gas station owners' faces, and send your wallet into a full-blown panic attack. The SVJ is the fastest production car ever to lap the Nurburgring, it makes arguably the most beautiful sound ever to emanate from a car's exhaust pipes, and exhilarates like little else can ( legally, at least). If you ever have the privilege of getting a ride in one, nevermind owning one, consider yourself truly blessed.
With a strictly limited run of only 900 units, you can be guaranteed that all 900 have been spoken for long before they officially became available for purchase. What that means is that you won't be able to buy one from the showroom floor, but at this level, these cars will be kept in better than showroom condition for the majority of their lifetimes. Official prices are hard to find, but you can expect to pay anywhere from $517,770 all the way up to the early $600,000 mark, and these prices will only go up as time goes on, as is the norm for limited edition future classics.
There's only one SVJ, so the poor souls who buy these cars will only have the options list to choose from to make their cars unique. On the outside, the ultimate Lamborghini features a revised front and rear bumper with active aero featuring on the front lip spoiler and rear spoiler and air intake. This system offers major improvements in downforce when compared to the SV. The revised exhaust system is mounted high in the rear bumper and was inspired by Italian superbikes. Behind the forged alloys, you get carbon-ceramic brakes, and the whole package rolls on adaptive suspension and a carbon-fiber monocoque shell. Revisions to the newly developed V12 in the form of new titanium valves, a reworked head, and exhaust manifold means that the SVJ is one of the most powerful Lamborghinis ever produced, with a total output of 759 hp at 8500 rpm and 537 lb-ft of torque at 6750 rpm. The interior features climate control, an Audi-sourced infotainment system, steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters, and a digital cluster display with different modes.
6.5-liter V12 Gas
The SVJ is available with a surprising amount of optional extras. Starting with the interior, new owners will be able to select from no less than five exterior color categories with over 45 individual colors on offer. There are two wheel designs available, our favorite being the Leirion Forged pieces, and the brake calipers can be painted in seven different colors. A massive SVJ logo on the rear quarter panel is a classy touch. On the inside, the SVJ can be had with your choice of three interior color styles, and there's even a carbon-fiber skin option for the adventurous. Footplates can be selected in aluminum or carbon fiber, and the steering wheel can be specified with or without mounted controls. The available light package adds illuminated door sills, and the sound package brings a grand total of four speakers to the party.
Seeing as all Aventador SVJ cars were sold even before they were officially made available for sale, we can still dream, can't we? Lamborghini only offered one trim, so every car came equipped with awesome standard features such as adaptive suspension, four-wheel-steering, and carbon-ceramic brakes, but Lamborghini left a lot on the table in terms of styling, so new owners still had a chance to make their SVJ as unique as a snowflake. If we could turn back time and successfully rob a bank, we'd go for one in Rosso Bia red with Leirion Forged wheels, red brake calipers, and a carbon-fiber covered engine compartment. On the inside, we'd go for the carbon-skin upholstery, carbon-fiber footplates, and we'd include all available options such as track telemetry, reverse parking sensors, navigation, and those sweet illuminated door sills. In reality, we'd be happy with any look for our own SVJ, even a pink one with a Hello Kitty vinyl wrap.
The rivalry runs deep between these two cars: not only are they the most extreme offerings from their respective stables, but they represent the hopes, dreams, and egos of two countries. It came as a great shock to Porsche and the German people as a whole, when the Lamborghini Aventador SVJ bested the time set by the Porsche 911 GT2 RS in September of 2017 by driver Lars Kern. The Porsche's time of 6:47.25 was eclipsed by over two seconds. What makes this story even better is the fact that these two cars couldn't be more different, where the Porsche is powered by a 3.8-liter twin-turbo flat-six engine and sends its power to the rear wheels. The Porsche might have lost the title of the fastest production car around the Ring, but living with it on a daily basis is a much easier affair. Yes, the interior resembles that of a Le Mans GT race car, but the instrumentation and design feel more contemporary, and taller drivers will appreciate the extra space. Get the Porsche if you are the person who reads the instructions on your new flat-screen TV first; or get the Lambo if you don't.
Both the Ferrari 812 Superfast and Lamborghini Aventador SVJ are propelled by a naturally-aspirated 6.5-liter V12 engine, but the Prancing Horse has got the bragging rights for having more power. The Ferrari produces an astonishing 789 hp at a lofty 8500 rpm, and 530 lb-ft of torque at 7000 rpm, but only has two wheels to lay down all that power. Gas mileage, not that it really matters, comes in at 12/16/13 mpg, theoretically matching the Lambo, but in reality, you won't see those numbers in either car. The 812 is smaller on the outside, and sits taller off the ground, but offers more interior space. The cockpit of this Ferrari is beautifully crafted but feels similarly spartan, and only offers basic amenities. Where the 812 Superfast will win over many fans is the fact that it actually has a usable trunk that can even fit a full-sized mountain bike when the passenger seat is folded flat. It also rides beautifully and can be set to soak up bumps, unlike the bone-rattling Lambo. For the day to day thing, we'd get the 812, for everything else, the only answer is SVJ.