Lamborghini’s recipe for the Aventador Roadster is brutally simple; take the Lamborghini Aventador coupe, replace the roof with some lightweight removable panels, sell it to rich people and sit back as the money floods in. Our recipe for this review is simpler still — fly out to Miami, hop behind the wheel and test drive the thing without drooling too much.
Lamborghinis are all about drama and so a drop top, manually convertible version is just the thing if you want to turn heads wherever you go – especially as poor people can see more of you with the roof off. People realise it’s just not just for show, either. Everyone will know or at least assume that, aside from the ludicrously expensive Bugatti Veyron Grand Vitesse, the Aventador Roadster is one of very few supercars that can top 200mph with the roof down. But does it live up to the hype?
The Aventador Roadster’s design can be aptly described in a single word: arresting. The Aventador coupe lacks nothing in drama but with the roof down the Roadster it is even more glamorous. Rather than a simple hatchet job the Lamborghini designers worked hard to maintain the impact of the original car; the hexagonal theme runs throughout, including to the roof panels themselves and the windows on the rear deck, which maintain the view of the fabulous engine. The roof panels don’t disturb the flow of the design even finished in matt black, but a body colour option will follow shortly.
You won’t be carrying a baby buggy in in a Lamborghini Aventador Roadster. Or shopping, or anything else for that matter, because there really is only room for a driver, a sexy passenger and a couple of squashy bags, which can be stashed in the luggage compartment in the nose of the car. The roof panels will slot in there too, but this limits the amount of space further still.
That said, the Aventador Roadster isn’t as hard work to drive as you might think. In the softest settings and the gearbox in automatic it trundles along quite happily, and you can even see out of it – not something that was always possible in Lamborghinis of the past.
Performance & handling
Beneath the Lamborghini Aventador Roadster’s rear deck lies the same 6.5-litre V12 that appears in the coupe. It pumps out 691bhp and 689Nm of torque through a seven-speed automated manual gearbox that drives all four wheels. Normally turning a coupe into a roadster results in huge weight gains but the Aventador’s carbon fibre construction has kept this down to a modest 50kg increase, so the performance is nigh-on indistinguishable from the original car.
That means the 0-62mph sprint can be done and dusted in only 2.9 seconds, and it will reach the same 217mph top speed as the coupe – roof up or down. Our road test included plenty of track time and even on the relatively short 1,000ft straight the Aventador would reach 150mph without breaking a sweat.
The Aventador Coupe’s handling belies its size. It still requires a certain amount of respect but even in the most extreme Corse mode with the ESP on a looser setting it remained composed and controllable. The brakes are immensely strong too.
Economy & environment
There’s not a huge amount of good news to be found here. The V12 engine is more efficient and less thirsty than previous Lambo units, but that’s not saying much. Remarkably the Aventador’s 6.5-litre has both stop/start and cylinder deactivation, which causes it to switch between 12 and 6 cylinders, or to switch off completely depending on how hard the engine is being worked, if at all. It’s no Prius, though – the official fuel consumption figure is 16.4mpg and the CO2 emissions just creep under the 400g/km mark. And that’s if you take it easy. Put your foot down, as you certainly will, and you’ll inevitably be visiting a lot of fuel stations.
Equipment & value
There’s no such thing as basic with the Aventador. You’re paying a fraction under £300,000 for the privilege of course but that gets you everything – sat-nav, climate control and even a theft tracking system. The options tend to focus on personalisation, but metallic paint at over £1,500 seems a bit steep.
It’s hard to talk about value for money with a straight face when you’ve passed the quarter of a million mark, but there’s no doubt that the Aventador gives you a lot; the power, the looks, the technology and the kudos. Driving down Ocean Drive in Miami Beach we had a restaurant owner run out and offer us a free lunch if we parked the Aventador outside – how many other cars would get you free food?
It might be capable of 200mph but surrounding you there is a super-strong carbon fibre chassis, four wheel drive, carbon fibre brakes and ESP to help you out (if you haven’t been stupid enough to switch it off). In a car like this it’s very likely you’ll be travelling at speed if you take an unplanned trip through a hedge, but at least you have an extremely tough shell around you.
The differences between the coupe and Roadster versions of the Aventador are slim. Both have outrageous looks and performance, but the open top version is, more than anything, a car for an occasion – a car that provides almost unrivalled pleasure for anyone sat in or looking at it.
That’s worth bearing in mind if you’re in the position to buy something this fast and this expensive. The McLaren 12C Spider is more usable and more focussed, while the Ferrari 458 Italia Spyder offers a great blend of glamour and driving pleasure, but if you want a mad, bad (in a good way) old-school-inspired supercar and need the wind in your hair, look no further.
Model tested: Lamborghini Aventador LP-700-4 Roadster
Engine: 6.5-litre 12-cylinder
Acceleration: 0-62 in 2.9 seconds
Top speed: 217mph
Emissions: 370g/km CO2