2016 Lamborghini Aventador SuperVeloce first drive review

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Medical science tells us that neck strain is something to be avoided. It can compress nerves, bulge discs, and can lead to numbness and tingling.

Okay, science. We hear you. But we're calling you on your bullshit.

Some kinds of neck strain are acceptable. Gratifying. Mind-altering.

The Lamborghini Aventador SV is the kind of car that will put a big kink in your neck. Not just from trying to get a closer look, but from coping with its huge acceleration and grip.

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Somehow, there's no skull and crossbones on its carbon-fiber body. No warning label stuck to it, either. Would that stop us from trying to push its limits on the track? No, it would not.

Bullish on horsepower

Cars don't get more extreme than the V-12-powered Aventador. It was born looking like the world's angriest lawn dart. Its crushing grip on the ground can pulverize rubber into a cloud of dust. It sounds like a nest of the most unwelcoming, super-sized hornets stirred into attack mode. That's at idle.

And now it's even more outrageous, as a lighter, more powerful version of itself--the Aventador LP 750-4 SuperVeloce, or SV for short. Reason enough to fly over to Spain's Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya to see if we could stump our chiropractor while probing its limits.

Barcelona is layer upon layer of history colliding with the modern, a journey from Gaudi to gaudy in a few short blocks of La Rambla. It's a rock star of a city, with a ham museum, unfettered access to ruby riojas, a place where even the street urchins could sign with Wilhemina for catalog work.

It's also blessed with this spectacular Formula 1 racetrack. The Circuit de Catalunya is 2.9 miles' worth and 16 turns full of wide-open, Formula 1-ready pavement. It's like Austin's Circuit of the Americas, bathed in the light of Spanish sun, not cooked in the Texas heat, though the per capita man-bun count seems to be roughly similar.

The Circuit is the place to conjure up bad things behind the wheel of the Aventador SV. Belted into a bucket with a red spine stitched into its padding, I press the start button hidden under a red cover, and the mild shaking starts--not from the V-12. Not from caffeine. From the notion that 170 mph on the front straight is within pretty easy reach. It's Sunday, for God's sake. Four sets of four laps to go.

Lamborghini's CEO Stephan Winkelmann promised that the SV would be lots of things--mainly, more reactive at lower engine speeds, with an "unmistakeable and emotional engine sound." The impeccably tailored man is on to something. Good grief, is it emotional. Whole gospel choirs could be brought to tears with this naturally aspirated soundtrack. Its unforced induction sounds unearthly--and just sounds better than turbocharged anything. You can hear the alluring V-12 siren song down low, but you feel the top end. It is profound.

Horsepower and aerodynamics take the Aventador SV so far out of bounds, it's clear from the moment we launch into practice laps that the task at hand is just to get it close to the sun. Simple. It's up to 750 metric horsepower from a 6.5-liter V-12; by our SAE ratings, that's 739 hp, which is up 48 hp on the regular Aventador LP 700-4. Redline is up from 8,350 rpm to 8,500 rpm, and the variable valve timing and intake systems have been refined.

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