Challenging Alexandre Mourreau in the New Lamborghini SVJ
What do you say when your friend offers to lend you his Aventador SVJ for the day? Cancel family lunch, cancel date with girlfriend. Hell, cancel morning coffee. You say “yes, yes, so much yes”. For me this was a bigger event than my birthday, Christmas and New Year for the last ten years, put together!
This could potentially be one of the last naturally aspirated V12 cars ever released. I know people have been saying that for years now. Nonetheless, I really do feel as though that moment is dawning on us. Don’t get me wrong, I like where hybrid supercars are going, turbos are great fun and manufacturers are able to pull so much power from smaller engines these days. Every engine and car is a unique experience and, for the most part, I like them all. But to remove the unfettered thrill of a naturally aspirated twelve-cylinder monster from the list of choices is definitely very sad.
Yet, what I realised while driving this car is that the SVJ is not about facts and numbers. Yes, it blitzed the Nurburgring in 6.44:97 and is limited to 900 units. It has 760bhp and develops 720 Nm of torque at 6750 rpm. 0-100km/h takes 2.8 seconds and it will do 0-200km/h in a whopping 5.8. Those are all well and good (ok they’re really good), but that’s not what this car is about. The SVJ completely changes your perception of the road. My senses went completely haywire, as if I were on drugs or something. I don’t know how to express it, but this car changes driving.
There is definitely some criticisms I have of it. The single-clutch gearbox is a bit slow and clunky, the rear spoiler makes it so you literally couldn’t see a truck behind you, and the noise is a little lacking. It’s also an eight year-old car and engine. Bla, bla, bla, I don’t care. It’s a road-legal track car that delivers such a unique experience. At the end of the day I actually liked the gearbox, kicking me in the back every time I shifted. Coupled with the real feeling of the heavy steering and the V12 engine just gives that raw emotion of actually driving the car. It was truly one of the best experiences I’ve had in a car, I just hope I was able to live up to the SVJ’s expectations of me. Probably not.