Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4 Preview: 2011 Geneva Motor Show

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After an absurd week of leaks and broken embargoes, the Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4 is officially here. Replacing the Murcielago as the flagship Lambo, the Aventador represents the pinnacle of the company's design and construction capabilities. Its performance stats reflect that.

All-wheel drive and lots of power is a surefire recipe for brilliant acceleration, and the Aventador doesn't disappoint. With its new Independent Shifting Rods (ISR) transmission swapping cogs, it hustles to 62 mph in a scant 2.9 seconds. Power-to-weight ratio sits at 4.96 pounds per horsepower, reflecting the 700-horsepower output and 3,472-pound curb weight in a single stat. Priced per pound, that's steep, but anything that runs $379,700 is expensive however you slice it. If you've got the cash, the car will start deliveries late this summer.

Top speed is 217 mph, enabled by the wailing 6.5-liter V-12 engine behind the bulkhead. Despite the wicked performance and power figures, the Aventador is 20 percent more fuel efficient than the Murcielago.

Fifty-millisecond shifts, a healthy dose of carbon fiber (the entire carbon monocoque weighs just 325 pounds), and aluminum just about everywhere else should make for a car that's quick in every direction, not just straight forward. The motorsports-inspired pushrod suspension system should also help with its cornering ability, while a carbon fiber ceramic brake system hauls it down from top speed.

The ISR gearbox is not a dual-clutch, but a robotized manual. Lamborghini says it's smaller than a traditional manual and lighter than a dual-clutch--making it ostensibly the best of both worlds.

The 6.5-liter V-12 engine screams out its maximum power at 8,250 rpm, while max torque of 509 pound-feet arrives at 5,500 revs. The engine, despite its displacement and power, weighs in at a relatively light 518 pounds.

Getting it out on the road or track might be a fear-inducing proposition given its exotic build and maniacal capability, but Lamborghini knows its target market, and has equipped its Haldex-derived all-wheel drive system with advanced stability and traction control. Three settings in the Drive Select system allow the driver to tune the engine, transmission, differential, steering, and dynamic damping from the cockpit, with Strada (street), Sport, and Corsa (track) options.

As with any flagship Lamborghini, there will be no shortage of customization options, including 13 different exterior colors, including three matte finishes. Two-tone interiors in Sportivo and Elegante versions, a premium audio system, and a backup camera are also available. And all of that's before you get to the Ad Personam indivdualization service.


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