In the kingdom of high-end sports cars, Lamborghini takes the crown for outrageous styling. The Aventador Coupe was without a doubt the most stunning supercar out there – until the arrival of the open-top Aventador Roadster. Lamborghini’s intention was to retain the perfectly sculpted shape of the Aventador, but the removal of the roof adds a whole new dimension to both the look and the driving experience.
The marque’s tradition of roadsters dates back to 1968, when Lamborghini made just one Miura Roadster. It would be nearly three decades before it attempted another open-top supercar with 1995’s Diablo Roadster, followed by the Murcielago Roadster in 2006. In 2008, Lamborghini began collaborating with Boeing Aerospace in developing an industry- first monocoque carbon fibre chassis to be used in the Aventador.
Today, the company is possibly the most proficient carbon-fibre sportscar manufacturer worldwide. Carbon fibre is significantly lighter and stronger than aluminium. This translates into better handling with improved acceleration and braking, plus lower fuel consumption and carbon-dioxide emissions. This allows Lamborghini to keep its treasured, naturally aspirated 6.5L V12 engine, which now reaches an incredible output of 700bhp, while fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions are lower by 30 per cent thanks to the incorporation of an intelligent cylinder deactivation system that switches seamlessly between the two V12 banks or alternate cylinders. It works so well that it is difficult to detect its operation. Lamborghini engineers have also included the world’s quickest V12 start-stop system by using a supercapacitor to increase cranking power, allowing the engine to start in just 0.18 seconds instead of the 0.25–0.4 seconds of other V12s.
Remarkably, the Aventador Roadster is only 50kg heavier than the Coupe, thanks to the carbon fibre that provides extreme strength with a low weight penalty, unlike the usual “tub” or backbone construction favoured by its competitors. The monocoque design, which derives strength from the external skeleton rather than the tub, requires substantial reinforcement. The new 12kg roof, meanwhile, is easily disassembled into two halves for storage, and owes its low weight to the use of a new process called forged carbon fibre, which increases a part’s strength without increasing weight. Lamborghini claims the Roadster is a mere tenth of a second behind the Coupe, achieving a three-second 0-100km/h sprint thanks to the superiority of its all-wheel-drive system.
The Aventador Roadster can reach 300km/h in just 25.3 seconds, and will eventually reach a top speed of 350km/h, with or without the top in place, thanks to the well-honed aerodynamics. When the car’s active rear spoiler deploys at speeds over 120km/h, one will notice the increased stability not just in corners but on highways, too. Rather than provide a multitude of drive settings, Lamborghini offers up just three: Strada, Sport and Corsa. Strada (or road mode) is meant for day-to-day use, Sport increases driver entertainment and Corsa (track mode) is for the absolute quickest lap times. As long as you don’t expect the smoothness of a Lexus while in Strada mode, you won’t be disappointed by the ride.
Lamborghini has also attempted to keep a lid on engine noise, and uses an intelligent automatic-shift programme to save fuel. But be warned: there is no truly silent mode in this car. Selecting Sport or Corsa does not mean a punishing ride. In Corsa mode, however, expect to shift manually because there is no automatic programme to help you. What’s more, you don’t have to be going full speed to get a thrill because Sport mode directs nearly all of its power to the rear, allowing one to feel more of the chassis behaviour under full power. All in all, the open-top Aventador is far more user-friendly than any previous Lamborghini roadster. While it does require some degree of contortion for ingress or egress, the signature scissor doors open upward and forward, improving practicality.