Remember when it was paddle-shifters? Then carbon brakes? And then, a little later, a carbon chassis was the exotic must have. These days, anybody, who’s anybody in the sports car and supercar sector is using four-wheel steering – and crowing about it like they’ve just invented the wheel, when they haven’t even invented how to turn it. The Japanese had 4WS on everything when you could still buy a Countach new.
Lamborghini’s Aventador is the latest to get the tech. Replacing the original that’s been with us since 2011, the new Aventador S features four-wheel steering at the heart of the update. At low speeds the rear wheels wheels turn in the opposite direction to the steering angle, for enhanced agility, while at higher speeds both front and rear wheels share the same steering angle, increasing stability. And it absolutely transforms the car.
The key difference between the Aventador S and some other 4WS cars is how far Lamborghini has pushed the tech. It doesn’t switch from counter-steering to in-phase steering until much later than something like a 911 Turbo – around 82mph, instead of nearer 50mph. And the system is active at all speeds from 1mph to the 219mph maximum; and it applies more rear steering angle, certainly in-phase, than any other car we can think of.
Finally, here is an Aventador that wants to turn, and does it using half the steering lock the old car needed. We tried old and new back-to-back and the difference was staggering. You’ve still go to be careful when you crack open the throttle on track, and probably not for the reason you think. Clumsily open the taps too early and the front end washes frustratingly away. But keep your cool, choose your moment and S changes direction like no previous Aventador has, SV included. Though the kerb weight is an identical, and still a hefty 1675kg-ish, it feels 200kg lighter.
And now that you can send 90 percent (up 10) of the torque to the back in the fun Sport mode (Corsa, more evenly split, is about laps not laughs), you can jink the tail a little too. Dive in on the brakes, and then give the right pedal death like you’re trying to crush a cockroach all the way to Australia, and it’ll slide. We’re not talking Ferrari 488 thrills; it still doesn’t have lithe adjustability. But it’s a whole lot less po-faced.
The rear steer tech isn’t the only change. There’s a 40bhp power lift courtesy of intake manifold and valve timing changes for a 730bhp total, though since even the stopwatch can’t tell the difference (0-62mph takes the same 2.9sec as before), it's doubtful you’ll be able to.
But the noise it makes getting there is even naughtier and there’s no mistaking the night and day improvement in on-road composure now that that fancy inboard suspension gets adaptive damper tech for the first time (the SV had it, but it was an older system).
It looks meaner too: a two-deck front spoiler and less painted surfaces at the rear give a sharper, leaner look, and more than a hint of SV. Inside you get a new SV-style TFT dash display and an extra configurable individual mode for the suspension and drivetrain controls. Only Lamborghini could get away with calling it Ego.
This is a welcome update. The Aventador always looked sensational, and it’s been a massive success, shifting more units in five years than its Murcielago predecessor did in its entire 10-year production run.
The S is a hugely better Aventador, in its own right, but it also whets our appetite for what’s to come. Swap the road-friendly Pirelli P Zeros for stickier Corsas to stamp out the understeer, scoop 50kg out of the weight and throw an SV badge on the side and it’s going to be an absolute riot.