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Lamborghini Aventador S Review: 3 Days Spent With A Land Shark

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Lamborghini Aventador S Review

There’s no getting around this. The Aventador S for all intents and purposes is a menacing beast of a car but in the best possible way you can imagine.
Our experience with this car was a long time coming (held up in customs coming back from New Zealand and had to re-schedule twice) so anticipation was at an all-time high by the time it came to picking it up from Lamborghini Brisbane. It was warranted though. This car is incredible.

First Impressions

“WOW. Holy semantics Batman – If Bruce Wayne drove a Lamborghini this would be it!?”

The sentiments continued to be echoed by the many people that stopped to chat with us over the next three days with reactions ranging from from “Ohhhhh…..” to “THAT IS ONE SEXY CAR?!?”.

The Aventador S we had been given was metallic black (nero pegaso) and as sleek as they come, but not so shiny that it dazzled in the sunlight like a disco ball. More a subtle hint of metallic that glistened when light caught the angles of the air intakes or the shark-like front splitter.

Aventador S Review 4

The next thing you notice is how incredibly wide and low it sits on the road.

Prior to picking up the Aventador S we had done our research and were aware that it when lowered it hugs the ground at a snug 11.5cm (4.5in) ground clearance above the bitumen. Needless to say we made a mental note not to go flying over any speedbumps in a hurry (to our surprise it actually takes speedbumps like a champion. More on that later).

Driving through the city we encountered several instances where the road narrowed and the Aventador S dominated the entire lane but curiously, you’ll notice drivers in other cars make allowances and will either drive slightly behind or drive wide to ensure they are not within an inch of a damages lawsuit. Even food delivery drivers on their scooters were respectful and waited patiently at traffic lights rather than attempting to scoot up the side.

Leaving the city, Brenon drove the Aventador S and I followed behind in another car. Initially I hovered behind protectively like a mother hen to ensure no car came within scratching distance of our $1 million dollar responsibility but quickly I realised how easily the Aventador S manoeuvred through the city and it was fun to watch drivers peering out of their windows to catch a glimpse as it glided by in strada mode (the quiet setting if you’re not TRYING to attract attention. An oxymoron of a statement if I ever heard one).

Finally we made our way to Mount Nebo, excited for uninterrupted stretches of road and ready to see how it handled the inclines and sharp cornering through the mountains. Again, we weren’t disappointed.

As Brenon explains in the video below, the combination of the 4 wheel steering system and additional downforce (130% more than the previous Aventador) keeps the Aventador S glued to the road and there is no getting tired of the crackling that comes from the 6.5 litre naturally aspirated engine.

Over the next few days we continued to put the Aventador S through its paces and in the process, discovered other features like:

  • Driving modes: The 4 driving modes can be very easily switched between to enhance your driving experience depending on the scenario.

Lift kit: At first glance you can’t imagine driving over anything thicker than a pencil. The hidden secret to getting around town (without cracking the front nose on every kerb that dares raise its head) is the factory lift kit, which engages at the touch of a button and hydraulically raises the nose. This made navigating numerous speedhumps and kerbsides surprisingly manageable albeit at a snail-pace of 3km/ph.

  • Rear camera: This one is an optional extra but in all honesty it should be a standard choice for any owner as it makes parking and reversing such a wide car a breeze.
Aventador S Review 23

Lamborghini Aventador S Driving Modes Explained

In addition to the regular driving modes Strada, Sport and Corso, Lamborghini have introduced a new driving mode especially for the Aventador S known as “Ego” mode.

Strada mode: Also known as “Street” mode, is the “quietest” one that allows you to drive home at night without waking up the entire neighbourhood. Has also been described as the comfort setting best used for daily driving. Exhaust baffles only open at high rpm (meaning you won’t get the crackles at low speeds) and the transmission shifts gears earlier and are automatic. “Cylinder deactivation” works in this mode by shutting down one bank of the engine at a time, effectively turning it into a V6 and alternates engine banks every 2 minutes to ensure even wear. Power is split 40:60 between front and rear wheels.

Sport mode: Don’t let the name fool you and make you think it’s only for the sports track. This mode is completely acceptable for street driving although be pre-warned it will chew through more fuel than the strada mode. In sport, the exhaust baffles open earlier so you’ll get more of the growl and crackles that turn heads at a lower rpm. Gears can be changed up manually using the paddle-shifts and will automatically down shift. Power is split 10:90 between front and rear wheels and the steering and suspension are tighter.

Corsa mode: aka “Track” mode. All gear changes are controlled by the driver via the steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. Gear shifts are 50 milliseconds. Traction controlled reduced. Power is split 20:80 between front and rear wheels.

Ego mode: This mode gives you the most control and allows the driver to select engine, steering and suspension settings separately depending on personal preferences. Essentially the Ego allows the driver to override general settings and pick exactly how you want things to run in your car. The irony of the name is not lost on us.

Lamborghini Aventador S Coupe Fast Facts

  • Vehicle type: Two-door/ two-passenger super sports car
  • Base price: $US424,845 (in Australia, upwards of $900,000+ by the time you factor in on-road costs and extras)
  • Max speed: 350 km/h (217 mph)
  • Acceleration: 0-100km/h 62 mph in 2.9 sec
  • Powertrain: 6.5-litre, V12 gasoline engine.
  • Transmission: Seven-speed automatic.
  • Horsepower: 740.
  • Torque: 503 pound-feet.

Highs

  • Visual appeal. Love the angular lines of this car and the “shark-like” design of the front splitter. Also this particular model had an optional extra transparent perspex engine bay cover which was a nice touch.
  • The stability and handling of the 4 Wheel driving.
  • Instant power when you put your foot on that accelerator.
  • The sound of the V12 engine in ANY mode.
  • That time someone pulled up alongside the car with a handwritten note “What do you do for a living??? Call me!” ….

Lows

  • Limited visibility. The front windscreen give you a feel of being in a fighter jet however the drawback is reduced windscreen real-estate. Same goes for the rear side windows and forget trying to see out the back windscreen. You know the family member you have that freaks out when merging into traffic EVERY SINGLE TIME? Let’s just say there’s a snowball’s chance in hell you are ever going to let them get in the drivers seat of this car.
  • Having to hand it back.

Watch What It’s Like To Drive

It’s all well and good to write down what the experience was like, but we like to take it one step further….watch for yourself what it was like to spend a couple of days driving the Aventador S!

Special thanks to Lamborghini Brisbane for making this video possible.

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20th Anniversary of Pagani Zonda at New York’s Grand Central Terminal

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The Italian Hypercar Atelier, Pagani, does a takeover of the iconic New York location for one week, beginning on November 1, 2019

It’s been 20 years since Horacio Pagani revealed his first hypercar to the world. The ground-breaking Zonda set interest racing as quickly as it set lap records. Today it still has the ability to stop traffic and is setting new records as a collectible asset.

Pagani Zonda in Grand-Central Terminal New York
Pagani Zonda in Grand Central Terminal New York. Credit: Pagani

Although the Pagani Zonda was never sold to the USA, it did become a benchmark for the hypercars that followed. Designed according to the foundations of Pagani’s design philosophy, the Zonda is where art and science meet – it was inspired by everything from Leonardo Da Vinci to Endurance Racing Sports Prototypes.

“As part of Pagani’s worldwide Zonda 20th Anniversary celebrations, the Zonda Collection was always coming to America. When faced with the task of finding a suitable location for such a prestigious display, we performed an extensive search of the country’s most iconic venues to find one that represented the same spirit of engineering, ingenuity and passion that went into the first 20 years of the Zonda,” said Michael Staskin, CEO, Pagani Automobili America. “What we found was Grand Central Terminal, a globally recognized hub of transportation, iconic history, timeless design and passion in one of the world’s greatest cities, New York.”

Pagani Huayra Roadster BC in Grand Central Terminal New York
Pagani Huayra Roadster BC in Grand Central Terminal New York. Credit: Pagani

With more than 750,000 people passing through Grand Central Terminal each day, its Vanderbilt Hall is the ideal location for the Pagani Zonda 20th Anniversary Collection to be displayed. And while cars have been placed there before, this celebration marks only the second time in its history that the Terminal will house multiple vehicles of such significance.

Pagani Zonda Collection in Grand Central Terminal New York
Pagani Zonda Collection in Grand Central Terminal New York. Credit: Pagani

From November 1-8, the Zonda Collection can be viewed by members of the public visiting or passing through Vanderbilt Hall within Grand Central Terminal. There will also be a number of innovative public and private micro events throughout the week organized for invited VIP guests, the media as well as official Pagani dealers and their clients.

Visitors and guests will be able to view the collection of five iconic Zondas, which include the following:

Zonda-C12
Zonda C12. Credit: Pagani

Zonda 001 

The very first Pagani production car. This model recently underwent a complete restoration of the very first chassis, used for the homologation and crash tests of the Zonda. It now bears the same configuration of the first Zonda presented in 1999 at the Geneva Motor Show. The meticulous artisanal work was carried out on the mechanics of the car, the electronic systems and, in fact, on just about every component of the car to recover the authentic look and functionality. It also features the now classic Pagani carbon fiber monocoque and 450hp Mercedes-Benz AMG engine.                  

Zonda-F
Zonda F. Credit: Pagani

Zonda F     

Dedicated to Horacio Pagani’s mentor and friend, Juan Manuel Fangio, the car was built to create a lighter, safer hypercar, shedding 110 lbs while adopting new carbo-ceramic brakes and a titanium and inconel exhaust with ceramic coating. As the lightest hypercar in its class, the Zonda F set a lap record at the famous Nürburgring racetrack in 2007 with its 650hp AMG V12 engine.

Zonda-R
Zonda R. Credit: Pagani

Zonda R

Developed as the ultimate track car, only ten examples were built after the car was unveiled in 2009. Using cutting edge F1 and aerospace technology, this 2360 lbs car set another Nürburgring record in 2010 and still holds the Top Gear Dunsfold track record for the fastest road-car derived track vehicle, thanks in part to its 750hp dry-sump AMG V12 engine.

Zonda-Roadster-Cinque
Zonda Roadster Cinque. Credit: Pagani

Zonda Cinque

Only five examples of perhaps the most extreme Pagani Zonda road car were ever built, combining elements of the Zonda F and R to originally satisfy a special request from a Hong Kong customer. It was the first Zonda to use a new Pagani invention, carbon-titanium, a special fiber purposely created for the Zonda Cinque, and eventually used in future Pagani models. The body was equipped with a longer front spoiler and newly designed rear wing to improve downforce, a central air intake feeding cold air to the engine increased the power allowing the car to speed over 215 mph.

Zonda HP Barchetta
Zonda HP Barchetta. Credit: Pagani

Zonda HP Barchetta

Designed by and for Horacio Pagani himself as the first of a series of three cars, this more refined model was the work of the special Uno-di-Uno division, which builds tailor-made cars. Inspired by the great “barchetta” style racecars of the 50’s, like those in which the five time Formula 1 champion Juan Manuel Fangio competed, this car has no roof and offers a very different and immersive driving experience. It has also adopted iconic elements from other models, such as the Zonda Cinque’s central air intake and high-strength chassis.

Horacio Pagani during The Zonda anniversary in Grand Central Terminal New York
Horacio Pagani surrounded by his creations in Vanderbilt Hall, Grand Central Terminal N.Y. Credit: Pagani

With individual cars valued as high as $18 million, the Zonda Collection offers North American enthusiasts a rare opportunity to see these unique vehicles in the flesh before they move on to the next leg of their international tour.

To make this special event possible, Grand Central Terminal took the unusual step of shutting down from 2-5AM on November 1, 2019. During this time, the five Zondas were moved into Vanderbilt Hall in Grand Central Terminal.

The following evening, Pagani held an opening night reception for its clients to enjoy the exhibition. On November 3rd, the venue will hosted a media and influencer event, allowing private tours to take place. Company Founder & Chief Designer, Horacio Pagani was also present for these activities. Additional special events were planned throughout the week while the Zonda Collection will continue to be available, free of charge, to the general public from 8am-6pm.

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First ever V12 Ferrari with a retractable hardtop.

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2020 Ferrari 812 GTS Rear top view

The new 2020 Ferrari 812 GTS is the spider version of the Ferrari 812 Superfast, from which it takes both its specifications and performance.

Firsts

Not only is the new 2020 Ferrari 812 GTS Spider the first ever V12 Ferrari with a retractable hardtop, Ferrai claims it is also the first ‘production series’ front mount V12 convertible since the classic Ferrari 365 GTS4 Daytona’s of 1969. This all assumes you do not count the 448 examples of the 550 Barchetta Pininfarina produced in 2000, the 559 examples of the Superamerica in 2005 or the 80 examples of the SA Aperta in 2010 as production series.

2020 Ferrari 812 GTS Front 3-4
Ferrari’s first V12 with a retractable hardtop. Credit: Ferrari

Ferrari’s V12 spider history

The Ferrari V12 spider history features some iconic models which began in 1948 with the 166 MM, a competition GT that won the two most prestigious endurance races in the world in 1949: the Mille Miglia and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The last in that long lineage was the 1969 365 GTS4, also known as the Daytona Spider because of Ferrari’s legendary victory in the 1967 24 Hours of Daytona when two works 330 P4s and the NART-entered 412 P took the chequered flag side by side to occupy the top three places.

2020 Ferrari 812 GTS Interior Dashboard Steering Wheel
2020 Ferrari 812 GTS Interior showing the dashboard and steering wheel. Credit: Ferrari

Retractable hardtop features

The retractable hard top opens in 14 seconds at speeds of up to 45 km/h and does not impede upon the interior dimensions, maintaining the same cabin space as the 812 Superfast. The rear electric screen acts as a wind breaker making the car comfortable with the top down. With the roof closed, the rear electric screen can be left open so occupants can still enjoy the naturally aspirated V12’s sound.

There was huge focus on minimising both turbulence inside the cabin and aerodynamic noise to ensure occupants could converse undisturbed even at high speeds. As with the LaFerrari Aperta, two small L-shaped flaps on the upper corners of the windscreen generate a coherent concentrated vortex that creates outwash in the velocity field immediately above the rear screen, thereby avoiding excess pressure behind the occupants’ heads.

2020 Ferrari 812 GTS Front top view
The 812 GTS features a retractable rear screen behind the seats. Credit: Ferrari

Exterior and aerodynamics

Aerodynamically, the 812 GTS posed two main challenges for the Ferrari designers. How to guarantee the same performance as the 812 coupé version with the top up and, at the same time, ensure maximum passenger comfort with the roof down.

In terms of aerodynamic performance, the retractable hard top and its stowage compartment, required that the rear of the car be modified. Thanks to meticulous re-sculpting of the tonneau cover surfaces and, most importantly, the integration of a triplane wing into rear diffuser to create efficient suction (and thus downforce) from the underbody, the aerodynamic engineers were able to compensate for the downforce lost by the removal of the 812 Superfast’s rear wheelarch bypass duct, (the air intake of which was behind the quarterlight on the 812 Superfast).

Drag, on the other hand, was cut by using the air vents on top of the rear flank to efficiently channel excess pressure build up out of the wheel well.

2020 Ferrari 812 GTS Rear 3-4
The 812 GTS’s retractable hard top required that the rear of the car be modified. Credit: Ferrari

Engine and performance

The 812 GTS is the spider version of the 812 Superfast, from which it takes both its specifications and performance, most notably the V12 engine which, thanks to its ability to unleash a massive 800 cv at 8500 rpm, is the most powerful engine in its class! 718 Nm of torque guarantees impressive acceleration virtually on a par with that of the 812 Superfast while the 8900 rpm rev limit means that sporty driving is undiminished.

As on the 812 Superfast, these performance levels were achieved in part by optimising the engine design and in part by innovations, such as the use of a 350 bar direct injection system, and the control system for the variable geometry inlet tracts, developed on naturally-aspirated F1 engines. These systems allowed the increase in displacement from 6.2 to 6.5 litres to be exploited to maximise power output whilst retaining excellent pick up even at low revs.

Overall, performance levels are very close to those of the 812 Superfast, with 0-100 km/h acceleration still under 3 seconds and 0-200 km/h in just 8,3 seconds. The Ferrari 812 GTS’s maximum speed is the same as the berlinetta’s at 340 km/h.

2020 Ferrari 812 GTS Left Side
0-100kph in under 3 seconds, Ferrari 812 GTS. Credit: Ferrari

Exhaust changes for the convertable

Due to the open air nature of the 812 GTS drivers are more able to hear the V12’s characteristics and so the geometry of the exhaust system was evolved to increase and balance the sound from the engine and tailpipes. Exhaust-wise prevalence was given to combustion order harmonics by modifying the geometry of the centre extension pipes. All the pipes in the 6-in-1 exhaust manifold to the monolithic catalytic converter are of equal-length and this optimises the sound by giving predominance to the first order combustion harmonics.

Ferrari 812 GTS Price

Sale date and price are yet to be announced however the price is expected to start northwards of US$335,275.

2020 Ferrari 812 GTS Interior Seats
2020 Ferrari 812 GTS Interior Seats. Credit: Ferrari
2020 Ferrari 812 GTS Rear top view
The 2020 Ferrari 812 GTS. Credit: Ferrari

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Porsche increases ownership stake in Rimac Automobili

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Porsche AG strengthens it’s relationship with Rimac Automobili.

Rimac C TWO top view
The Rimac C TWO all electric supercar. Photo: Rimac Automobili

Porsche has increased its stake in technology and sports car company Rimac Automobili from it’s June 2018 investment of 10 percent to 15.5 percent. This is a clear signal that Porsche is now strengthening a well established partnership. Rimac develops and produces electromobility components and also produces electrically powered super sports cars in-house. Porsche initiated the development partnership with Rimac against the backdrop of its electric mobility campaign.

Rimac Founder, Mate Rimac (31), started developing his vision of a fast, electrically powered sports car in a garage in 2009. Rimac unveiled his most recent electric car, the C Two, at the Geneva International Motor Show in March 2018. The two seater vehicle generates almost 2,000 PS and reaches a top speed of 412 kilometres per hour. It boasts a range of 650 kilometres (NEDC) and can recharge 80 percent of its full battery capacity within half an hour thanks to a 250 kW fast charging system.

Rimac is a rapidly growing company based in Zagreb, Croatia, and employs a workforce of around 550 people. Rimac focuses on battery technology within the high-voltage segment, high performance electric powertrains and developing digital interfaces between humans and machines (HMI). The company also develops and produces electric bikes. This strand of the business was established in 2013 in the form of the sister company Greyp Bikes.

Rimac C TWO
The Rimac C TWO all electric supercar. Photo: Rimac Automobili

What Porsche says:

“Porsche has been supporting Rimac and its positive development for a year now,” explains Lutz Meschke, Deputy Chairman of the Executive Board at Porsche AG and Member of the Executive Board responsible for Finance and IT. “We quickly realised that Porsche and Rimac can learn a lot from each other. We believe in what Mate Rimac and his company have to offer, which is why we have now increased our stake and intend to intensify our collaboration in the field of battery technology.”

What Rimac says:

“Gaining Porsche as a stakeholder was one of the most important milestones in our history. The fact that Porsche is now increasing its stake is the best form of confirmation for our collaboration and represents the foundation for an even closer relationship,” Managing Director Mate Rimac explains. “We are only at the start of our partnership – yet we have already met our high expectations. We have many collaborative ideas that we aim to bring to life in the future. The fundamental focus is creating a win-win situation for both partners and offering our end customers added value by developing exciting, electrified models.”

Potrait of Mate Rimac
Rimac Founder, Mate Rimac. Photo: Rimac Automobili

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