When Lamborghini first unveiled the Aventador a decade ago, my editor at the time liked to talk about a quote wrongly attributed to Ernest Hemingway. You’ve probably heard of it, the one that talks about bullfighting, mountain climbing, and car racing being the only real sports. I haven’t heard it in a long time, but something about driving the latest edition of this car, the 2022 Lamborghini Aventador LP 780-4 Ultimae, brought it back to mind with the ferocity that only a V-12 Lamborghini can muster.
why does it matter
Between the company’s fondness for naming its cars after famous fighting bulls and the slick bullfighting offerings of a lazy car writer looking to describe an all-powerful supercar, it’s no wonder that the wordplay has been elaborated far beyond the concept of cliché – “Let’s grab that bull of the horns.” ! ”- and fortunately it was mostly abandoned. It hasn’t been applied since Huracán was born in 2014, anyway.
Incidentally, this Hemingway quote is rightly attributed to the American wrestler, author, artist, boxer and nightclub promoter Barnaby Conrad. He wrote a critically acclaimed biography of the famous Matador Manolet, who died at the horns of the Islero, and which became the name of the fourth Lamborghini.
The Aventador, like many others, is named after a famous fighting bull and, like the name itself, is destined to die. It is estimated that only 0.3 percent of fighting bulls survive the ring; Murciélago, the namesake of Aventador’s predecessor, did just that. And although Aventador was honored with the Trofeo de la Peña La Madroñera as the bravest bull in the 1993 Zaragoza season, the award was given posthumously. So, too, I hope the car that bears his name will be honored as the greatest pure Lamborghini V-12.
It is fitting, then, that the company chose to name this final limited-edition model “Ultimae”. Translated directly from Latin, it means “the last”, but it is also the origin of the word “final”. Lamborghini’s latest and best effort not just for the Aventador, but for its heritage.
You see, this is likely the last non-hybrid V-12 you’ll ever make and among the last naturally aspirated non-hybrid V-12s. Emissions and fuel economy regulations are killing them slowly and painfully like a bullfighter’s sword (called Espada or Estoke, as are Lamborghini models). The factory is already retooling to build a successor to the Aventador, which will almost certainly use a hybrid to keep the V-12 legal a little longer.
What is this?
For one final drive, we have the 2022 Lamborghini Aventador LP 780-4 Ultimae. Without a doubt, the Aventador was the bravest V-12 Lamborghini, embracing new technologies and a host of first-class brands. Although the company has experimented with carbon fiber since the 1980s, the Aventador was the first of its road cars to use a carbon fiber monoframe instead of aluminum or steel. It also uses a racing-derived, in-house, thrust-activated suspension system. Later, it will adopt rear-wheel steering, and the Aventador-based special Sián FKP 37 will use a hybrid system based on the supercapacitor. Without the electric bits, the Ultimae is the most naturally powerful V-12 Lamborghini engine ever.
Would you feel an extra 10 horsepower, or 55 pounds of extra weight claimed compared to the Aventador SVJ Coupe? Improbable. If anything, you’ll notice that the Ultimae – an efficient SVJ wanderer model – drives a little differently. The loss of the SVJ’s ALA 2.0 active aerodynamics system seemed to drain a bit of that car’s initial vibes, and the Ultimae felt more urbanized and less insistent on driving like an absolute madman. Adding to the compliment concept is the standard ergonomic seat setup rather than the slim, rigid sport seat.
What losing ALA takes in the car’s sense of urgency, it brings back elegance. The massive rear wings are polarized, and as much as we love the SVJ’s style, it’s easy to love the Ultimae’s softness even more. Returning to the motorized bunker spoiler shifts the focus down to the massive rear diffuser and makes it look bigger and more radical than it does on the SVJ. At the pointed end, the SVJ’s pencil-thin mustache didn’t sit properly, and you don’t even miss what it did as part of the ALA.
Nice change, a lot of the same
Crucially, the Ultimae Lamborghini corrected a minor flaw in the SVJ Roadster’s rear steering system. Driven hard, the Roadster’s rear steering was too much, responding very sharply to steering inputs and requiring you to make mid-corner corrections. As much as the SVJ Roadster fixed the previous SVJ Coupe’s brake defect, the Ultimae addressed the Roadster’s steering error. The rear end again behaves in perfect harmony with the front, making the rear steering invisible to the driver.
The only shortcoming of the Aventador from day one that hasn’t been resolved and will never be resolved is transmission. The operational realities of a single-clutch automatic manual transmission cannot be beat. Lamborghini has tried harder and longer than anyone else, but there’s nothing to hide from the drop in acceleration during gear shifts, especially at low speed. Late Aventadors turn out better than early models, but they’re still a frustrating anachronism in a world of smooth, dual-clutch automatics (including the less expensive Huracán). The key is to drive it like a manual transmission, lifting it almost completely off the throttle before pulling the gear paddle, a tricky dance to master but that virtually eliminates the usual gear shifting. We will not miss it.
There was also no real fix for the Aventador’s low windshield head and massive A-pillars. Since the windshield looks so deep from the outside, it’s always made looking inside a challenge, especially when driving fast. On flat ground, thick poles still block the angle you’re trying to look through, and driving uphill over the low ceiling only makes the problem worse.
Other than that, the view from the comfortable seats remained remarkably contemporary for a 10-year-old car. The Aventador’s introduction of the “rocket-fire” engine start/stop button alone earns it a place in the Lamborghini hall of fame, and even Audi’s old infotainment system is still easier to use than the Huracán Evo touchscreen, even if the dial still spins the menus that appear on the screen incorrectly.
Even more important is the noise activated by the missile launch button. As with emissions laws, the Aventador’s stark 6.5-liter V-12 engine can’t get past the noise laws, even with 769 horsepower — all the more reason to let it sing while you still can. Nothing else feels like a V-12, especially not at 9000 rpm. Just please do this while driving, not while standing at an impromptu car show. You know who you are.
The story of the Aventador has always been as rollercoaster as driving. Personal note: I remember picking my jaws off the ground in Sant’Agata Bolognese after CEO Stephan Winkelmann pulled the plates on the bare carbon-fiber chassis and drivetrain for the first time. I also remember my utter disappointment a few months later when the car managed to fade its massive carbon-ceramic brakes during the now-dead Best Driver’s Car competition while also showing a sinister mood at the corner entrance.
Then came the 2015 Aventador SV and with it a surprising commitment to making the V-12 Lamborghinis a corner as well as speeding it up for the first time ever. This is the car everyone wanted an Aventador. Lamborghini hasn’t always looked so good since then, but it has never gone back on a promise.
Finally, with the 2019 Aventador SVJ, that promise is fulfilled: the Aventador’s drive-like looks, carbon-fiber bodywork, and insane interior suspension. Not just power, but control. Agile more than ever she is no longer prone to stepping out at the entrance to the corner; a seemingly limitless grip; It was a true supercar, not just a masterpiece. Ultimae is all that, one short degree of madness. A huge car still does not deflate around you, but you no longer feel the need to.
The world waits for nothing
For far too long, Aventador best embodied an actual Hemingway quote. He wrote, “Bullfighting is the only art in which the artist is exposed to the danger of death and the degree of brilliance in performance is left to the honor of the fighter.” no more. The 2022 Lamborghini Aventador LP 780-4 Ultimae is the Trofeo de la Peña La Madroñera honoree. Now, the Aventador can rest. It’s suffered enough of the metaphorical criticism of its namesake in the ring, and the company has dealt a fatal blow, a quick blow to the heart.
It is a barbaric sport, bullfighting. Hemingway knew it, loved it anyway, and predicted his end, the same way we love the V-12 despite its impact on air pollution and climate and know his days are numbered too. Hemingway and Ferruccio Lamborghini, born under the sign of Taurus and from which Lamborghini took his company logo, would probably surprise to learn that the V-12 would be the first to go. The 2022 Lamborghini Aventador LP 780-4 Ultimae is a fitting farewell to both the transformative car and the legendary engine. Everything that comes next will build on what the Aventador started, but an era ending with the completely imperfect Lamborghini.
Look well! More details?
|2022 Lamborghini Aventador Ultimae specifications|
|layout||Mid-engine, 4WD, 2-lane, 2-door coupe|
|engine||6.5 L / 769 HP / 531 lb-ft DOHC 48 Valve V-12|
|transition||Manual 7-speed automatic clutch|
|encirclement Weight||3900 lbs (MT EST)|
|Length x width x height||194.6 x 82.6 x 44.7 inches|
|0-60 mph||2.5 seconds (MT EST)|
|EPA FUEL ECON||9/16/11 mpg|
|EPA scope, comb||Unavailable|
|for sale||Now (all sold out)|