BMW teams up with Italian styling gurus at Pininfarina for slick new coupe
Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4 Roadster (2013 onwards)
What – Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4 Roadster
Date – February 2013
Where – Miami, Florida
Price - £294,665
Available – Summer 2013
Key rivals – McLaren 12C Spider, Ferrari 458 Spider
We like – the noise, performance, dramatic looks, clever roof design
We don’t like – occasionally jerky gearchanges, the price
Just as we suspected, the Aventador J one-off at Geneva 2012 was a barely disguised nod towards the eventual roofless version of the Aventador coupe. It doesn’t disappoint in the looks department either; Lamborghini has worked hard to maintain the key details, including the view of the engine bay and the hexagonal theme that runs throughout. Dramatic it most certainly is, so be prepared to be stared at.
Because of the total lack of room for a fabric or metal folding roof, the Aventador Roadster has two carbonfibre roof panels that unclip and stow in the boot in the car’s nose. It’s a fully manual operation and in a hurry could be completed in under a minute, but this is still a big improvement over the old Murcielago Roadster.
Thanks to the stiff carbonfibre structure the Roadster weighs only 50kg more than the coupe, so with that mighty 6.2-litre V12 to propel it the performance is truly spectacular.
Even from just above tickover the Aventador pulls hard, and the thrust builds in a relentless fashion as the revs rise. Below 3,000rpm it almost sounds docile, but once that threshold is crossed the classic Lamborghini V12 snarl starts up and carries on right around to the red line.
Firing through the gears flat out can be a relatively brutal experience - the electronically-controlled seven-speed gearbox can’t shift as smoothly or as quickly as a DSG - but the software has been improved for the Roadster and also on 2013 model year coupes and is a marked improvement, particularly in normal driving.
Ride and handling
Lamborghini allowed us to try the Aventador on the Miami Homestead circuit – an unusual privilege for a full-house supercar – and despite its size and weight it performs remarkably well.
There’s a complete absence of body roll through the bends while the steering is full of feel and pleasingly accurate. In the middle Sport mode the rear torque bias is 90%, while in the quickest Corse mode it is reduced to 80%. And with the later selected the Aventador’s balance feels just right. The ESC switches to Sport mode here to allow greater wheel slip but it still intervenes relatively early, which is no bad thing given the car’s width.
Despite the loss of the roof there is an impressive lack of scuttle shake over bumps and although certainly stiff, the Roadster is no worse than any of its key rivals.
The cabin is the same riot of hexagons as found in the coupe, although one useful addition is the option to drop the small rear window. With the roof up this massively increases the amount of exhaust noise coming into the cabin, although with the roof down it’s not worth the effort.
The influence of Audi helps in here, providing solid switchgear that works well and is easy to use. Details such as the comprehensive digital instrument display and the button to raise the nose for speed humps are sensible touches for what is unquestionably a wild machine.
Unclip and stow the roof panels as you will want to do and the remaining boot space is almost negligible, but Lamborghini admits this is not a car for the practically minded.
Economy and safety
Amazingly, the Aventador Roadster has both stop-start and cylinder deactivation, enabling it to run on six cylinders rather than 12 under part load, and true to the claims, it’s virtually impossible to hear the switch between the two. Even so, it’s still going to chew fuel at a spectacular rate, chiefly because exercising the performance is impossible to resist – expect 17.6mpg combined if you really behave yourself and 370g/km.
The Aventador Roadster is as safe as supercars get, with that tough carbonfibre structure, four-wheel drive and carbon-ceramic brakes. The changes over the coupe also include pop-up roll over hoops should the worst happen.
The MSN Cars verdict
The Aventador has always had a flavour of the old-school supercar about it compared to its more purist rivals, and the Roadster version adds even more theatre to the mix.
It’s not an everyday proposition, but on those days when the sun is out and you’re driving just for fun it is a sensory overload without rival.
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