Lamborghini has launched some wicked V-12-powered wedges into the world, but the quickest, fastest, and most technologically advanced of the breed is always the latest—in this case, the freshly updated Aventador S. The new open-air Roadster model uses two removable carbon fiber roof sections to welcome the elements (and those glorious twelve cylinder sounds) into the two-seater’s low-slung cabin.
We were tossed the keys to an Aventador S Roadster in a striking shade of Blue Cepheus, joining four other Lambos in sun-soaked Malibu to form a Skittles-colored armada of shock and awe. Every inch of Lamborghini’s flagship supercar screams drama, from the upward sweep of its scissor doors to the act of firing up the massive 6.5-liter V-12, which requires lifting a small red shield over the engine start button. From there, switching the Lamborghini’s drive mode selector to “Corsa” (Italian for Race) transforms the engine into an even louder, more responsive beast.
Roof off, there’s surprisingly little wind noise when the are windows up, where they show off their neatly cut bezeled edges. But the snorts, pops, and growls from the V-12 spill in melodiously, especially when driving through rock-lined canyons where the sound waves bounce into the cockpit. Without turbos to muffle the engine sounds, the powerplant sounds raw and mean, an increasingly rare quality in this age of rampant turbochargers that have boosted efficiency but diminished musicality. There’s little to distract from the Roadster’s oversized charisma, though the interior tries by making zero concessions to practicality; with no storage bins beyond the tiny glove box, stowing the smallest of personal effects, even a pair of sunglasses or a tube of sunscreen, becomes a challenge.
But the Aventador’s drivetrain and chassis refinements go a long way towards making those practical shortcomings shrink in the rearview. Thanks to a new four-wheel steering system that helps the car corner by turning the rear wheels, the Roadster feels smaller on tight canyon roads, cornering with a newfound sense of maneuverability.
The Aventador still feels physically long and wide compared to other supercars, but its massive sticky tires help it grip the road more surefootedly than before. The 6.5-liter V-12 has been tuned to crank out 729 horsepower, a 38 horsepower gain. That output, coupled with the fact that power is driven through all four wheels, enables the Aventador to lurch forward with incredible thrust, clawing into pavement with its grip that, according to Lamborghini, dispatches sprints to 60 mph in under three seconds. And the gut wrenching doesn’t quit until the Aventador S reaches its terminal velocity of 217 mph.
The al fresco Aventador S achieves palpable performance improvements over its predecessor, though hardcore driving nuts will still likely prefer the smaller Huracan Performante Spyder, which is nimbler and more entertaining to drive on a racetrack. Regardless, there’s nearly nothing on the road that matches the Aventador S Roadster’s visual and aural impact. Our day-long test drive through Malibu left a trail of camera phone-wielding fans snapping at our phalanx of Lamborghinis. If you’re fine with the attention and can stomach the neck-straining acceleration, Lamborghini’s latest Roadster is one fantastic way to blow $460,247.