What a simple, brilliant concept. At low speeds, the rear wheels turn the opposite way as the fronts; at higher speeds, they all move in the same direction. The effect is something like a telescoping wheelbase. Hardware and software, working together, in an attempt to offer the maneuverability of a Little Tikes Cozy Coupe one moment, the stability of a limousine the next.
Four-wheel steering isn’t exactly new, but it’s the feature du jour, cropping up in everything from Cadillacs to the Porsche 911. But no machine has benefited from the tech as much as the new Lamborghini Aventador S. Lambo’s engineers claim the system has a wider operating range than rivals’, switching from counter- to in-phase steering at a higher speed and turning the wheels more. The result is a car that, though not perfect, drives like it looks.
So the Aventador S rights many wrongs. It also makes many rights even righter. There’s more power, naturally, from the naturally aspirated 6.5-liter V12. Output climbs from 691 to 730 hp, thanks to a redesigned intake and optimized variable valve timing. Not that you’ll notice. Even the stopwatch doesn’t, Lamborghini quoting the same 2.9-second 0—62-mph time as before. It’s mighty quick, but cars from the class below have caught up.
That said, the blown V8 supercars don’t have the same feel-good factor. Even at the Aventador S’s $424,845 price, there’s nothing like it. You’ll need to step up to a million-dollar hypercar to go sillier. It’s debatable whether any of them look better. A new front splitter and rear diffuser give the Lambo the effect of a much leaner, lower, wider car, and along with a new rear spoiler, contribute to a claimed 130 percent increase in front downforce. You won’t feel that cruising around South Beach, but everybody there will admire the exquisite, multispoke forged rims. They’ll still be lining up for selfies.
I t should be noted that, even by supercar standards, this one is riddled with niggles. The headroom is terrible. The old single-clutch transmission feels lightyears off the pace. The less said about the stereo, the better. But just when the practical points start getting annoying, you hear that V12 roar and watch the new TFT instrument dial register a full 8500 rpm before hooking another brutal upshift, a sensation like being rear-ended at a stoplight. And it all seems somehow forgivable.
After all, isn’t that the point? To be the comic bad guy, the proverbial heel in a WWE match, all pomp and faux meanness. Banging gears home hard, just to show off. Bragging about your V12 because everyone else runs blown eights these days. Lamborghini’s upcoming SUV, which will soon double the automaker’s 3500-car annual output, might be the company’s future. But the brand is built on the credibility of cars like th