Most things on Earth can be put into better perspective when you look at the numbers. But there are some things that simple analytics just can’t explain – the fact that the brand new Lamborghini Aventador Roadster is already sold out for 2013 in a market that has seen a global downturn is one of them. And this has happened even before the car’s dynamic launch to the worldwide press in Miami last week! In fact the Italian manufacturer of some of the sexiest cars on the planet sold 922 Aventador coupes in 2012 – twice the number of its predecessor, the Murcielago in 2007.
The Murcielago itself was a brilliant car for its time and was everything that you’d expect a Lamborghini to be – fast, powerful and superiorly intimidating. The Murcielago roadster though, wasn’t anywhere close to having the kind of aura that its coupe had and that’s a fact that the guys at Lamborghini fully understand and accept, which is a good thing because when it came down to relieving the Aventador of its roof they were extra attentive.
The thing about roadsters is that they aren’t easy to integrate into a coupe body. It’s way more than just an exercise of chopping the roof off – there’s the bit about structural rigidity that has to be taken care of. Designers also have to figure out a way of fitting in a ‘temporary’ top in case you might want to cover up on a rainy day, which means there has to be place to stow the canopy when it isn’t required. With something like the Aventador, that means tracing back your steps right from the design stage to make sure it doesn’t go the Murcielago way of being an after-thought. The solution is what seems to be mid-way between a targa and a foldaway hardtop.
The two-section top has to be manually placed and snaps into place through a mechanism of locking pins and can be stored in the boot up front. Of course, with the two sections of the removable roof in there you could hardly fit a tiny bag of groceries in the boot, but then again who buys an Aventador Roadster to go shopping?
The Aventador Roadster is all about performance and that it has plenty of. The sides and the C-pillar have been strengthened to compensate for the lost rigidity due to the absence of a proper roof. The Roadster also gets 21-inch rear and 20-inch front wheels which improve all round handling and cornering performance compared to other hardtop-turned-roadsters.
The big V12 in the back remains untouched in terms of power output and with the near 700PS figure that the 6.5 litre naturally aspirated unit belches out, the Aventador Raodster is good for 0-100km/h in 3 seconds and top speed of 350km/h. The brakes are even more impressive with the guys from Sant’Agata claiming that the car will come to complete stop from over 100km/h in just 31metres! In fact the Roadster feels no different from the coupe once you step inside and you could attribute that to the fact that the interiors remain untouched from the transition from coupe to roadster.
We drove the coupe at Sepang in Malaysia (Read: Lamborghini Aventador: First Drive) earlier last year and with the first taste of the Roadster at the Homestead Speedway in Miami, USA, the same feeling of brute power, precise handling and super-adhesive grip returned. A lot of credit for this goes to the fact that despite compensating for the chopped roof with added strength in the rest of the body the Aventador Roadster gains only about 50kg in weight thanks to some very clever engineering.
Modern technology also finds its way into the Aventador range in the form of cylinder deactivation and a stop-start system with a supercapacitor that enables restarts in under 80 milliseconds! All that combined ends up in emissions up to 25 percent cleaner than before. Of course, all that responsible motoring gets thrown to the back of your mind when you switch from the regular Strada mode to Sport and then further on to Corsa with the torque distribution on the four wheel drive system adjusting accordingly. And then there’s also the tiny little window in the rear bulkhead that can be slid open to let that splendid V12 wail in whenever you want to.
The Aventador Roadster is so well designed that even at three-digit speeds, conversations make perfect sense with your passenger – the shape of the cockpit working effortlessly to keep the wind blast away from the occupants. There are compromises that have to be made though – especially since living on a race track is still pure fantasy to most people and everyone has to return to the real world sometime! The stiff suspension makes the ride on normal roads bone-jarringly annoying even in Strada mode. But then again, the pain fades away the moment you realize you’re getting more attention in the Aventador Roadster than Brad Pitt on Hollywood Boulevard!
Recently launched in India at a whopping price tag of a little over Rs4.5 crores, the Aventador Roadster isn’t a car that makes sense. But the point is that it doesn’t have to. This isn’t a car that you buy because it can do everything you want it to. This is the kind of car you buy simply because you can, and you want to. That’s what makes it even more exclusive and if you want to let the world know you’ve arrived in life, the Aventador Roadster will do that perfectly for you. Of course, you’ll have to wait till next year before you can get your hands on one. Till then, dream on!
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