Best of the Best 2012: Sports Cars: Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4

The Aventador LP 700-4 is as ferocious as its namesake, a Spanish bull that performed in a notoriously violent fight in the early 1990s. It is big and imposing and no gentle giant. Powered by a new 6.5-liter V-12 engine that churns out 700 hp at 8,250 rpm, and 509 ft lbs of torque at 5,500 rpm, the Aventador rockets from zero to 60 mph in less than 2.9 seconds. It covers the quarter mile in 10.5, and given the freedom, it achieves a terminal velocity of 217 mph.

The car represents a radical departure from the Murciélago. In addition to the new V-12, which is lighter and more compact than its predecessor’s, the Aventador features a new chassis and track-inspired suspension. Indeed, the Aventador is the most radical Lamborghini ever made.

Designer Filippo Perini has created a form that is pure, precise, and powerful—no fat and no frills—and has an almost entomological bent. The roof and top surfaces recall the overlapping wings of a bug, while the centrally exiting exhaust could be the ovipositor of a giant predatory insect preparing to lay a clutch of evil eggs into the body of its helpless prey.

The chassis, a carbon-fiber cage that encloses both occupants, is lighter and stronger than a conventional aluminum structure. Attached to this masterpiece are front and rear aluminum subframes that carry a suspension straight out of Formula 1.

The Aventador has no clutch pedal or gated shifter; seven gears are clicked off with paddles that can be shifted in five modes: Strada, Sport, and Corsa, plus full automatic modes of Strada and Sport. The differential drives all four wheels.

Lamborghini’s trademark scissor doors open upward to reveal a spacious interior that contains tactile leather and the latest electronic TFT-LCD-screen instrumentation. This is the seat of power. The Aventador performs like a giant slot car, yet it is easy and undemanding to drive. A car this incredible deserves special recognition, which is why earlier this year our judges selected it as Robb Report’s 2012 Car of the Year.

Lamborghini, www.lamborghini.com

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