Since its debut in 2011, the Aventador has been Lamborghini’s flagship production model of the V12 engine. Yes, there have been some limited-production specials, but it was the Aventador that flew the Italian sports car maker’s V12 flag. Now, Lamborghini is sending this classic in style with a limited edition Ultimae Edition, which will include a $350 498,258 coupe and a $250 546,847 convertible.
As part of this final upgrade, the Aventador’s powerful V12 engine gets a final performance upgrade, with a 10 hp increase, to the 770 hp SVJ, which was the previously more powerful version. When the car debuted, the engine was rated at 690 horsepower.
The Aventador replacement will retain the current car’s V12 engine and complement it with plug-in hybrid electric, so it will be more powerful. It will also have the ability to drive short distances using electric power alone, which will maintain access to European cities whose cores are solely electric. As a hybrid, it will be more complex and heavier.
Traditionalists would say the hybrid is less pure, even with the V12 engine still on board, so the Ultimae really is the end of the line for them. The hybrid will also replace the Aventador’s Graziano automatic manual transmission with a smoother dual-clutch arrangement. Or at least it will use the electric motor to fill in torque so that shifts are smoother than the current car.
Variable shifts are more noticeable during everyday driving, with the vehicle mode selector set to Strada (street). Sport mode speeds up shifts, making them faster, but harsher, and Corsa mode makes them faster. On the racetrack, in Corsa mode, shifts look smooth, but on the roads around Lamborghini’s headquarters in Sant’Agata Bolognese, the familiar old folly of casual shifts remains until the end.
As always, there’s a sense of occasion when you flip through the Aventador’s scissor door and lower yourself into the driver’s seat. The start button is located under a bright red protective cover in the center console. The available driving mode buttons are located directly above it, providing the driver with the ability to navigate through on-screen menus or cycle through selections. The driver of the Aventador presses the left or right buttons to illuminate their choice of mode and it is done.
Engage first gear by pulling the right-shift paddle and the Aventador can sprint to 60 mph in less than 2.8 seconds. This is partly due to the lower mass of the carbon fiber bodywork, which the Ultimae has been optimized for to help reduce another 55 pounds. of vehicle weight compared to the Aventador S.
Like the Aventador S, the Ultimae features rear-wheel steering. On the indirect mountain roads outside of Bologna, rear steering helps the Aventador chase its tail around sharp cornering corners where you might expect a car of this length to struggle when cornering. Most importantly, it provides that help without feeling intrusive or noticeable in its functioning.
Flip the car over and go, without any scruples from some variable-ratio steering or other steering-related technology.
As Lamborghini engineers explained, the Aventador’s massive brakes are optimized for street use, so it’s no surprise that you’ll find the Ultimae’s brakes feel progressive and confident on public roads. The SVJ, when tested on the track, reveals the shortcomings of this approach, with the brakes becoming spongy and erratic in track speed. But the payoff is on the road, as a realistic Lamborghini is used almost entirely. Here, the brakes look great, there is no grip, as on the Ferrari brakes, and there is no squeaking.
In keeping with the model of the last edition, Lamborghini designers have created a new color palette of 18 standard color options for the Ultimae. Customers can, of course, choose from an endless selection of shades from among the 300 available in Lamborghini’s Ad Personam personalization programme. My test car was finished in a two-tone gray configuration for the launch version, with red accents on the vehicle details.
No matter how they are decorated, each Ultimae will be the ultimate expression of Lamborghini’s V12 expertise.
“The Aventador LP 780-4 marks the ultimate production, purest, and timelessly naturally aspirated Lamborghini V12,” said Stefan Winkelmann, President and CEO of Automobili Lamborghini. “Providing the ultimate twelve-cylinder experience in terms of unique design, engineering solutions and the most emotional driving experience, it is the ultimate Aventador that concludes an exceptional era.”
It’s a definite conclusion!