Lamborghini Aventador Ultimae (2022) review: end of the wedge

Published:06 April 2022

Lamborghini Aventador Ultimae (2022) review: end of the wedge
  • At a glance
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By James Taylor

CAR's deputy features editor, occasional racer

By James Taylor

CAR's deputy features editor, occasional racer

 Last-of-the-line Aventador tested
 600 Ultimaes to be built, all sold out
 A flawed but enchanting diamond

This is the ultimate Aventador in more ways than one. 

The Lamborghini Aventador LP780-4 Ultimae, to give it its full name, is the final variant of the Aventador to be released, bringing the model’s 11-year run to an end. It’s also the most powerful of the lot, with 769bhp (or 780CV, hence the LP780-4 suffix, the ‘4’ standing for four-wheel drive). That’s 10bhp more than the Aventador SVJ, and all without turbocharging. 

Or hybrid assistance; our understanding is that the Aventador’s successor scheduled for 2023 will also feature a V12, with a powerful hybrid system to boost its power output and kerb its emissions.

So apart from being the final Aventador, the Ultimae is also the last V12 Lamborghini supercar to be powered by combustion power alone.

How many Aventador Ultimaes will be built?

Lamborghini is building 250 Ultimae Roadsters and 350 Coupes, from approximately £378,000 and £345,000 respectively. All are sold out.

As a coupe, it’s 25kg lighter than the equivalent Aventador S, giving it the same power-to-weight ratio as the extreme, track-focused Aventador SVJ. 

It foregoes that car’s extreme aero, making the SVJ the faster car around a circuit. The Ultimae instead is a road-focused car with a cleaner shape more akin to the Aventador S, with which it shares its rear-wheel-steering system. 

That said, the top edge of the trailing bodywork is also an active spoiler which can lift from closed into two positions, and there’s a serious diffuser beneath.

What’s it like inside?

Cramped. Even if you’re of average height, you may find your head very close to the roof, whether that’s the removable panels of the Roadster or the fixed-head Coupe. The seats and their position are still compromised; this is a difficult car to get comfortable in. 

Dated, too, with a busy centre console with an adaptation of ancient infotainment from yesteryear Audis – but then, if you’re buying a V12 supercar for its infotainment and its ergonomics then you’re doing it wrong.

How does it feel to drive?

The steering feels alive in your hands, the rear-steer helping to pivot the Aventador’s broad hips into urban roundabouts. On more open roads, that sense of wieldiness is less apparent initially. It takes a while to fully tune yourself into the car and its feedback, and to feel at one with it. But that has always been the way with the Aventador, and as the miles tick past and the initial intimidation fades away you begin to trust it, lean on its enormous lateral grip reserves (even on winter tyres fitted for this chilly springtime test) and revel in the presence of that ultra-evocative engine at your shoulder blades. And, with the roof panels removed and installed in brackets in the front boot (a slightly fiddly job), revel in its sound all around you. It’s a car that enthrals all your senses.

Carbon-ceramic brakes are standard, and pedal feel was excellent in the Roadster we drove although a little more distant in feel in the Coupe we drove later the same day. 

Most of all though, you feel lucky to be driving such a fascinating creation; to feel it, to hear it and to see the reaction to it from everyone you encounter.

The engine is still the star of the show, right?

It certainly is. The 6.5-litre 60º V12 sounds a little industrial at idle but as the revs rise (all the way to 8700rpm if you have the nerve) its note morphs through all kinds of timbres from baleful to zingy to raucous to mellow. It’s a soundtrack unlike any other car. 

An Achilles’ heel is the robotised single-clutch paddleshift transmission it’s paired with. Although it can shift in as little as 50 milliseconds in maximum-attack Corsa mode, in normal driving it’s ponderously slow. After a while, you learn to brace your neck muscles in advance of an upshift, to prevent your head swinging forward like a nodding dog. 

The Aventador’s successor is expected to use a double-clutch transmission system with its hybridised powertrain. 

Verdict

This is not quite the full stop at the end of the V12 Lamborghini supercar story. But perhaps the end of the main plotline before the hybridised epilogue, and an electric second volume in the years to come. Although it feels its age, it’s an intensely evocative car and one it’s impossible not to be enchanted by. 

By the same token, although it’s enchanting it does now feel its age. While its successor’s hybrid powertrain will add weight and complication, it will also be more tractable around town than the ponderous ISR (independent shifting rod) transmission drivetrain in this car, and the traction-managing capabilities of the hybrid system (expected to drive the front wheels electrically) will unlock even more agility and capability.

But it’s difficult not to lament the charismatic Aventador’s passing. It’s far from perfect, but there’s nothing quite like it – especially now it’s gone.

Specs

Price when new: £345,000
On sale in the UK: old out (350 coupe versions and 250 roadster versions)
Engine: 6498cc 48v V12, 769bhp @ 8500rpm, 531lb ft @ 6750rpm
Transmission: Seven-speed automated manual paddleshift, all-wheel drive
Performance: 2.8sec 0-62mph, 221mph
Weight / material: 550kg (dry) / carbonfibre, aluminium
Dimensions (length/width/height in mm): 4868/2098/1136

Photo Gallery

  • Lamborghini Aventador Ultimae (2022) review: end of the wedge
  • Lamborghini Aventador Ultimae (2022) review: end of the wedge
  • Lamborghini Aventador Ultimae (2022) review: end of the wedge
  • Lamborghini Aventador Ultimae (2022) review: end of the wedge
  • Lamborghini Aventador Ultimae (2022) review: end of the wedge
  • Lamborghini Aventador Ultimae (2022) review: end of the wedge
  • Lamborghini Aventador Ultimae (2022) review: end of the wedge
  • Lamborghini Aventador Ultimae (2022) review: end of the wedge
  • Lamborghini Aventador Ultimae (2022) review: end of the wedge

By James Taylor

CAR's deputy features editor, occasional racer

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