The free-breathing 6.5-liter V12 is doomed. Not only figuratively, after all, not only hundreds of VWs and Audis sank in the belly of the “Felicity Ace” car ferry on the way abroad, but also 15 Lamborghini Aventador LP-780-4s.
The Italian tricolore-style badge, just behind the left side window, quietly announces: the end is near. Just 250 roadsters or 350 coupes, then no more free-breathing V12s without T-vents or vitamin E. And that’s after more than 50 years. Always placed in the middle directly behind the driver, always strong, never tight. Lamborghini only. It goes without saying that the swan song is extra wild. With more power than ever: 780 hp. Even ten more than in the Nordschleife SVJ lap record holder.
So now the final edit. It’s not called that, of course, but Ultimae, typically Italian, probably means beautiful and terrifying. Look it up in the dictionary. Okay, stuck: one would have guessed you have that little latinum downstairs, or at least Google translate on your phone. Because nomen est omen means ultimae “the last”.
This election is torture.
And now we have the ultimate choice between one of the 350 coupes or 250 convertibles. After much back and forth, we decided in favor of the latter, for reasons you’ll hear in a moment. The scissor door opens. Threading in, which makes it surprisingly worthy. Unlock the start button, press it, and the two onboard cannons in the stern fire. First blast trauma, then goosebumps. No matter how many times you’ve experienced something like this as an outsider, you only get the full fascination of the twelve-pointed cannon when you’re in the driver’s seat. Reverently lift the front axle over the factory outlet so as not to damage the splitter and newly formed front spoiler.
Cultural asset: Lamborghini
The drive train, which is still cold, initially remains in Strada mode. Yeah, we’re taking it easy, though that’s the wrong word for both the soundtrack and the Sant’Agata crawl. Because the seven-speed automatic transmission engages the gears, engages in the dry sump, and lets its head settle with every shift.
The only remedy is a mode change or you can use the steep, fixed paddle shifters behind the wheel. After the brief warm-up phase, you generally pull back on the left paddle to drive in low gear. A brief burst of gas: Muffled metallic sawing gives way to a hellish primal scream in a fraction of a second. Then the speed drops again, which the tailpipes celebrate with explosions of externally burned fuel, which are even visible at twilight.
No, this concert really does not leave anyone indifferent. That’s the beauty of Italy: even the hard of hearing old people on the side of the street in the cafe conjure up a smile on the faces of the V12 show. Even more: Bambini jumps and tries to stay a few meters at each traffic light. Road construction workers put their shovels aside and even the carabinieri nod politely. Yes, Lamborghini is a cultural asset in Italy, oh how sacred as pizza, wine and beautiful donnas.
A softie in the background?
At least that doesn’t happen in this country. Perhaps also because one could prematurely mistake an Aventador for a rude scoundrel, or the driver, or both. But in the last stage of evolution and after more than a decade, the opposite happens. In fact, they have developed a lot of comfort in the chassis in Italy over the years and under German influence. Of course, the Ultimae is not a sedan chair either. But for a sports car with low-profile 20- and 21-inch wheels, it rolls remarkably smooth. Just as surprising: the high, upright seating position. It feels like you are enthroned almost like Urus, while in reality you are, of course, just a few inches above the road.
Man-o-man is fat, man
And it’s barely wider than the rear 2.10 meters and winds through the low foothills of the Emilia-Romagna mountain range with the charm of an ancient Roman road. Yes, this is where the curve goddess herself painted strips of asphalt on the mountains and pierced them with tunnel holes. All made for the flat giant. Because the Aventador handles tight corners extremely competently thanks to the all-wheel steering and rear-heavy torque distribution of the Haldex all-wheel drive system. But exploring the limits of lateral dynamics? That doesn’t work here; not even remotely. For that you would need a race track with run-out zones instead of safety barriers and chasms.
Boil winter tires until soft.
And summer tires would also come in handy. It’s no joke, in Italy winter tires are mandatory until April 15. Neither the Lambo boys and girls nor the carabinieri understand fun. Therefore, the Pirelli Sottozero are already boiled after a few kilometers when spring temperatures are in the double-digit range. So the 1.6 toner quickly lubricates through the front axle, but communicates it early on through the stiff steering. However, the LP-780 never had a problem putting its 780 hp and 720 Nm on the road. Sophisticated electronics regulate power distribution too perfectly; loosen the reins in sport; it breaks the chains in Corsa mode if necessary, which we tend not to feel on narrow streets.
Only when the fairways widen and the spokes open up do the Ultimae feel as comfortable as a fighting bull in the arena. As speed increases, the ingenious airflow through the newly designed scoop with over-the-bonnet outlets pushes the flat 1.14-meter body ever more firmly to the ground. Air flows to the cooling pads and hyperactive rear wing, which keeps the bull balanced in three different positions depending on speed and riding style. The flexible airflow underbody also generates some of the downforce.
How can all this be improved? Very simple: open the roof. However, this is not done with the push of a button, but requires real manual work. But we have time: so open the front hood first, because that’s where the two halves of the roof are stored, which is removed with two pulls on the locks behind the head restraints. Everything saved without scratches? Then, in addition to the hurricane in the back, a hurricane hits the cabin. At a 60-degree angle, the 12-point pistol fires its volleys on beats 1-12-4-9-2-11-6-7-3-10-5-8. It turns almost nine thousand. With its vertical exhaust pipes, it turns tunnels into concert halls, or better: opera houses. A true tragedy, whose final act is this free-breathing V12. After all, Lamborghini dispenses with turbos, probably also in the near future, but relies on politically correct hybridization. That brings even more performance, but unfortunately it also costs charm, we’re already committed to that.
Speaking of celebrating. Accelerate one last time, which is controlled from a standing start in 2.9 seconds faster than the Lamborghini Aventador LP-780-4 Ultimae Roadster can tell. One last time even the fixed paddle wings, like a conductor whose orchestra is furiously playing behind you in the ditch for the grand finale. And roaring stuck in the limiter. Before the inevitable final curtain falls. Mille Grace, Lamborghini.
Yes, I would enjoy every time I get on it.
No, such a car would be too impractical for me.
The bad news, or rather the very bad news at the end? Granted, you wouldn’t want it any other way: Even if you had scraped together the at least €400,000 (plus taxes), you probably wouldn’t even be on the guest list. And anyway, the 350 Ultimae Coupes and 250 Roadsters have long since sold out. But production continues, after all, only two Aventadors leave the halls of Sant’Agata a day, where the Aventador is completely built. However, it is not clear if the 15 models that have been reproduced will receive a new badge.