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Lamborghini Aventador Roadster Quick Drive: A $400,000 Pay Date Earns Its Fee

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Driving a Lamborghini is a different experience from any other car. It's not even about the actual driving, for the most part. It's about the image, the style, the show you put on simply by being there, raising visual and auditory hell.

Driving the Aventador Roadster is even more about the theater of style than a typical Lamborghini. With the top open, you can not only see, but be seen all the better.

And that is the ultimate mission of the Aventador and its drop-top variant: to garner as much attention for the owner as possible. Just like the arm candy that's sure to step out of the passenger seat. It's very, very good at its job.

Fortunately, it's also sure to impress the people inside the car. The 691-horsepower, 509-pound-foot, 6.5-liter V-12 engine rumbles to life with a head-turning blip before settling into an easy lope. Goose the gas and that lope turns into a roar that becomes a scream at full throttle. Bang off a trio of quick shifts with the column-mounted paddles and everyone in a 500-yard radius will think you're at about 80 percent of the speed of light, even though you're (just) nibbling on the 100 mph mark.

Like the hard-top Aventador, the Roadster's carbon monocoque is rigid, as is the suspension. Despite a nominal loss of torsional stiffness, the Roadster's suspension tune is identical to the coupe's and it shows in the car's ride: it's very firm. So firm, in fact, that the car can feel a touch skatey on less-than-ideal surfaces, including the section of California Highway 1 we drove between Monterey and Big Sur.

2014 Lamborghini Aventador Roadster

2014 Lamborghini Aventador Roadster

Enlarge Photo
Even when you're not pushing the car toward its limits, however, the Aventador demands attention, from both passersby and from the driver. This isn't a car you drive lightly; it's an industrial strength dose of extreme, and about as wide as a semi truck.

In Strada mode, the same lagging shifts and jerky low-speed performance evident in the coupe are present, whether the transmission is in automatic or manual mode; we kept the car in Sport/manual mode just to keep our necks from elongating under negative longitudinal forces on every upshift.

Switch over to Corsa and the car fully unleashes its penchant for insanity, hammering home full-throttle upshifts in a way that reminds me of my childhood in tackle football playing special teams. Sacrifice the body, make the play. Nevermind that linebacker coming at you at full steam. Here, the linebacker is shaped like a shift paddle, and you deliver the hit yourself. It's a special kind of masochism.

2014 Lamborghini Aventador Roadster

2014 Lamborghini Aventador Roadster

Enlarge Photo
But that self-abuse is, like a perfect pair of Italian shoes, the dues you must pay to look this good. Especially when dipped in this unique shade of blue, known as Azzuro Thetis, the color of the only Miura Roadster ever built, the Aventador Roadster is stunningly, neck-twistingly eye catching. It's the embodiment of automotive pornography.

Like a freakishly gorgeous, ultra-expensive pay date, the Aventador Roadster earns its fee with more than businesslike attention to detail. It's enthusiastic, it's eager to please, and it leaves you sweaty, exhausted, and satisfied. It's your inner 13-year-old's fantasy come to life.

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