2019 Lamborghini Aventador SVJ first drive review: The life you save

I didn’t kill the little orange traffic cone on purpose, but nor did I have much regret for its demise, which was in the name of science. Or at least, research.

Lamborghini requested that I run my first laps in the new track-centric Aventador SVJ (Super Veloce Jota, a name borrowed from its classic Miura) at the Grand Prix circuit in Estoril, Portugal in the street-focused Sport mode rather than Corsa, which is better tuned to the greater demands of track driving.

Driving in Sport meant the $517,770 (base price) Aventador couldn’t corner at its best because the car saves all its techno-trickery for Corsa. So when I drove through the Parabolica turn onto the track’s front straight, the car began sliding on the slick, recently repaved surface. The trajectory was still good to make it onto the front straight, but Lamborghini’s track team had set out cones to shepherd journalists onto the correct line, and one of those lay in the Italian rocket’s path.

ALSO SEE: Lamborghini Aventador SVJ sets 6:44.97 Nürburgring production car lap record

2019 Lamborghini Aventador SVJ first drive

2019 Lamborghini Aventador SVJ first drive

In subsequent laps, running in Corsa, the SVJ was magnificent. It adhered closely to the intended path and responded to both the steering wheel and the throttle to make adjustments as needed. Lesson learned, Sport is for the street and Corsa is for the race course.

It also showed the value of the wizardry Lamborghini has deployed in its latest iteration of its V-12 flagship that can produce such disparate performance in the same car.

READ: Lamborghini Aventador SVJ Roadster all but confirmed

Supercars in general and Lamborghinis in particular are at least as much about show as about go, and the Lamborghini Aventador SVJ delivers more of each than previous iterations. As evidence of the go part, the car is the current Nürburgring lap record holder for street-legal production cars, achieving an astounding 6:44.97 lap to displace the Porsche 911 GT2 RS that toppled the Lamborghini Huracán Performante last year.

Vibrant paint colors and ostentatious carbon-fiber aerodynamic aids provide instant notice that this is a special version of an already special car. The SVJ’s rear wing is a more flamboyant display of plumage than a peacock’s fan of tail feathers. The all-encompassing experience of driving the car on the racetrack proves that the SVJ delivers on the promise of those cues and its Nürburgring claims.

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