2013 Lamborghini Aventador: First Drive Page 2

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Push the next button to get to Sport mode, and you're still in automatic, though in either, you can also hit the button to switch into manual mode, letting you select your own gears with the steering-column-mounted paddles. Either way, you're treated to slightly less negative g-loading on a city-style 1-2 shift. It's still not smooth or refined, but it's better.

Then you get gutsy and go for Corsa. All it takes is a couple of shifts in this mode to put you back to Sport, because unless you're used to taking gloved fists to the back of the head, that's all you'll be able to tolerate.

So you've heard this before? Well, it's true. It's also our only real gripe with the Aventador--the ISR gearbox.

You see, this is not just the supercar of your childhood dreams. It's the supercar of your second, trust-funded/IPOed/Golden Parachuted childhood. It's really quite brilliant--with the caveat that we haven't yet tested it on track to look for something approaching its outer limits.

On the street, fast doesn't even begin to cover it. The car barely feels like it's moving until you hit 100 mph, but it's engaging and fun to drive below that, unlike many 200-plus-mph cars we've driven. Rip off a quick 1-2-3 shift and you'd better apply the brutally effective brakes or you're shouting "Arrest me!" to the nearest patrolman.

Sure, there's nowhere to put your stuff, and it's a bit of a rough ride around town--the seats don't help much, but they do an excellent job of holding you in place. Once you're there, that is.

Slithering into the cabin through the scissor doors isn't easy, especially if you're anything over six feet in height--but it's far less injurious to your precious noggin than the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG's gullwing doors. Which is good, considering the pounding given once you're shifting gears in Corsa.

Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4

Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4

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The steering feel is surprisingly good, again, on the street, without any of the floaty, over-boosted feeling you get in many modern cars, even though it does gain up the assist in slow-speed maneuvers. Better yet, there's no perceptible ramp-up in artificial steering force like you get with a typical modern pure electric-assist system; that's because Lamborghini employs the Servotronic electro-hydraulic variable-assist (speed-based) power steering system.

None of this minutiae, however, really captures the essence of driving the Aventador. It's like instantly becoming famous; being a rock star in the Rolling Stones/Led Zeppelin/Beatles/Elvis sense of the word. Crowds of screaming, nubile teenagers chase you wherever you go. Or at least that's what it feels like in your own head, under your sweaty palms, and inside the heart trying to hammer its way out of your chest.

The Aventador is fantasy brought to life, and like most fantasies, reality gives it a few rough edges. But that won't stop us from dreaming.

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