There’s been just one engine in the Aventador Roadster range since its launch in 2012, but considering it’s a gargantuan 6.5-litre V12 petrol, performance has never been short of breath-taking.
You wake this monster up using a fighter jet-style engine start button that sits under a red cover. One of the more theatrical ways to fire a car up.
Driven: Lamborghini Aventador Roadster (2012)
Launched with 700hp and a robotised manual gearbox that thumps through the gears, the first Aventador Roadster was more cultured than the Murcielago it replaced, but still not as refined or nice to drive slowly as rival models.
However, ramp things up and the Aventador is an event unlike anything else you’ll experience for the money. The engine howls with explosive performance firing the car from rest to 62mph in 3.0 seconds. Top speed was 217mph.
Driven: Lamborghini Aventador Superveloce – or SV - Roadster (2015)
We’ve yet to drive this model, but it’s powered by a 750hp version of the V12 engine mentioned above and covers 0-62mph in 2.8 seconds, with top speed set at 217mph.
Driven: Lamborghini Aventador S Roadster (2018)
The V12 was ramped up to 740hp with 690Nm on offer at 5,500rpm for the S in 2018. While not quite as powerful as the SV in 2015, this was a series production model without a limited-run build cycle.
It enables the S Roadster to cover 0-62mph in 3.0 seconds, and top speed is pegged at the very same 217mph as the rest of the Aventador models. Performance is similarly extreme, with savage acceleration and the associated visceral noise we’ve come to love about this brute of a supercar’s character.
This truly is one of the greatest engines on sale right now. It’s unusual in that it’s not turbocharged, which means not only does it sound incredibly due to fewer restrictions in the exhaust, but has razor-sharp throttle response to boot, which makes it more fun in corners.
Our only issue with the Aventador’s performance is the seven-speed automated manual transmission. Don’t expect this to perform like an automatic, because it doesn’t. Instead it’s incredibly ponderous when shifting, so left to its own devices in Automatic mode it’s not very pleasant at all – especially in the higher drive modes where its shift speed and the engine’s performance is ramped up.
The best way to drive the Aventador Roadster is in manual mode using the paddles on the steering column, but even then you’ll need a slight lift between gears to smooth out the experience.
The 2018 Aventador S Roadster’s handling is better than you may expect, given it’s so wide. Thanks to the standard fitment of a Haldex all-wheel drive system and racing car-spec pushrod suspension there are unbelievable levels of grip and traction – so much so that it’s almost impossible to reach its limits on the public road.
Its steering is relatively heavy, which helps with the sense of theatre you get driving any Aventador, while standard magnetic suspension allows for next to no bodyroll at all in the hottest Corsa drive mode.
The S Roadster also introduced rear-wheel steering, which at lower speeds decreases the turning circle for easier parking, and when driven quicker adds stability.
Behind the 20-inch wheels sit carbon-ceramic brake discs gripped by huge calipers, and these do a great job of stopping the Aventador from high speeds, but it’s also nicely tractable driven slower too, with none of the jerkiness you got from early systems of this type.
Given the Aventador Roadster is all about the driving, it won’t surprise you to find a cabin that’s aimed squarely at the person behind the wheel.
A digital instrument cluster displays most of the important driving and media information and can be customised to your tastes, while the multimedia, heating, drive modes and such like is controlled via physical switches on the central transmission tunnel between the two front seats.
There’s a small extra screen above the multimedia controls to display gauges for various engine parameters, while the engine start button is hidden under a red cover in the style of a fighter jet – very supercar.
While admittedly the Aventador S Roadster is a two-seat supercar with stunning performance, it’s also comfier than we were expecting, largely thanks to the magnetic suspension.
However, it’s smaller in the cockpit than the Coupe, so ensure you’ll have enough room in there – both with and without the twin, manually removable carbonfibre roof panels. We found a six-foot-tall tester could only just get comfortable using the full range of the electrically adjustable seats’ movement.
You won’t be surprised to learn that there’s a lot of road, wind and engine noise at most speeds as well, but you won’t mind because the latter sound trumps the former two in both quality and volume by quite some margin.