Despite looking more like a spaceship than a standard car, the Lamborghini Aventador is now 11 years old. First introduced back in 2011, the Aventador served as the Murcielago’s replacement. According to the road tests of the time, most publications seemed to agree that the Aventador was a huge leap forward in terms of capabilities, replacing a car you feared with one you trusted.
Fast forward, and we’ve seen too many variations of the Aventador to count. However, this week I’ve been driving this V12 supercar’s last iteration. It’s called the Lamborghini Aventador Ultimae, and it’s meant to slot in between the Aventador S and the track-ready SVJ, borrowing heavily from both. Being a brand new variant, it even has a few tricks up its sleeve that might make it the best-driving Aventador ever.
Styling-wise, the Ultimae is more Aventador S than anything else. While the front bumper’s design seems quite angular, it’s entirely intentional. Like in any modern supercar, the goal is to channel as much air as possible to the braking system and the car’s various radiators. The same goes for the rear diffuser, which is pure SVJ. It’s aggressive, and with these subtle red accents, it doesn’t get lost in a sea of dark colors.
I’d say the Aventador is aging exceptionally well. If you handed me the keys and told me it was a brand new design, I would have no trouble believing you. While most vehicles with an overly angular design tend to age like milk, the Aventador’s styling steps into the realm of poster-car looks, making it relevant today. It works incredibly well in this matte gray finish, highlighting all of the various body lines, intakes, and clever aero bits. It’s a $17,500 option so let’s be glad it’s a good one.
Now the wing, yes, there’s no big wing, like on its track-ready sibling, but the Ultimae still has active aero. Like the original Aventador, the Ultimae has a rear wing that moves depending on speed and drive mode. It has three positions, closed, maximum performance, and maximum handling. Aside from its claimed driving benefits, the active aero looks incredible in the rearview mirror as you go along and adds to the car’s overall drama.
The Lamborghini Aventador Ultimae isn’t just another special edition for the sake of being a special edition. It’s the most powerful variant of the Aventador ever made. It also went on a bit of a diet, shaving 55 pounds off the Aventador S’ curb weight. However, it’s simultaneously 55-lb heavier than the SVJ. The Ultimae has the same power-to-weight ratio as the SVJ, thanks to a 10-hp power bump despite the weight difference.
The total output from that 6.5-liter V12 engine is 769 hp and 531 foot-pounds. The Ultimae completes its run to 60 in under 2.8 seconds before charging toward its 221-mph top speed. Aside from having more power, the Aventador’s power delivery has also changed. While peak horsepower comes in at 8,500 rpm, almost identical to the original Aventador, peak torque jumps up from 5,500 rpm to 6,750 rpm, meaning you have to work harder to get the most out of this car. You’ll find yourself grazing the redline, trying to squeeze every bit of performance.
One thing that has certainly not changed is the Ultimae’s single-clutch automatic transmission. There’s absolutely nothing subtle about the way it shifts. Yes, there is an automatic mode you could hypothetically use. However, the car seems confused about which gear it needs and punishes you by lurching back and forth at random intervals. You can solve this by selecting the manual mode, which slightly smooths things at higher revs. However, not even 11 years of development can domesticate this transmission. It’s feral, and you should treat it as such. However, you can lift your foot off the gas like in a manual car while shifting, and it’s significantly nicer to operate.
You can pick between Strada, Sport, or Corsa with a button on the dash in terms of drive modes. For most people, Sport is going to be the sweet spot. The engine isn’t quite in full attack mode, and the suspension is somewhat compliant. Click over to Corsa, and things get properly serious, the whole car becomes twitchy, and the shifts are more brutal than ever. It’s fun for brief periods of time, but I always dialed things back.
Don’t get me wrong, the Aventador’s pushrod suspension setup is pure magic. It now has magnetic dampers, which help it deliver a more pleasant driving experience at slower speeds. Using an inboard suspension means less unsprung weight, which means a lighter feeling car. However, that isn’t to say the Aventador feels small. Despite its claimed 3,400-lb dry weight, the Aventador feels big. Not necessarily heavy, but just big. This car has a massive footprint, and you have to be careful when positioning it on the road, primarily through tighter bends.
The Ultimae borrows from the Aventador S in a very big way: the rear-wheel steering system. While reviews of the original Aventador praised its grip, few touted its quick steering and sharp turn-in. That, however, is something the Ultimae masters. It is so incredibly responsive to even the tinies inputs. One subtle move, and the car attacks the corner. While there isn’t as much feel as I’d want from the hydraulic power steering system. It has a nice weight and gets the job done just right.
Inside, the Aventador Ultimae is also a blend of its two siblings. Lamborghini claims they’ve added a bit more sound deadening when compared to the SVJ, but you can fully hear that V12 behind you as if it was attached to your spine. You can, however, tone things down by driving in Strada mode. On the highway at under 4,000 rpm, the exhaust dies down completely, leaving you with a surprisingly drivable car over long distances. However, one blip of the throttle wakes it up, and you get the full V12 scream.
If you ignore the central infotainment screen, this interior looks befitting of a 2022 model year car. The adjustable digital dash and its multiple modes look crisp and vibrant, while all of the materials used throughout the interior scream high quality. Even the seats are reasonably comfortable, holding you in without squeezing too much. This car, in particular, is all Alcantara and suede, meaning it’ll likely be a pain to keep clean, but it looks stunning with its contrasting red and black colors.
The elephant in the room is the old Audi screen and infotainment screen. While it does have Apple CarPlay connectivity, it doesn’t work very reliably, and the knob you use to toggle through the menus isn’t exactly intuitive. It’s the only thing that dates the interior, but frankly, I don’t care. I’m willing to put up with that for the experience in a car like this.
Now I know I mentioned this car is the last variant we’ll ever see of the Aventador, and that was sort of a lie because while there are just 350 coupes, there are also 250 roadsters as well. Base price? 498,000. However, when you account for the pricey options, such as the paint, wheels, and sound system, this car comes out to nearly $560,000.
Is that a lot for a car? Sure, it’s not cheap, but where else can you get the experience the Aventador delivers. No other car sounds, drives, or looks like this for better or worse. However, both extremes of the Aventador scale have their fatal flaws. On the one hand, the original car was technically capable but a bit dull to drive. On the other hand, the fire-breathing SVJ was too much all the time.
So throughout its journey with the Aventador, Lamborghini left an Ultimae-sized hole in the range. Not quite as extreme as the track monster but certainly more fun than its predecessors, the Ultimae is not only the most powerful Aventador ever, but it’s also the best looking and the most fun to drive. So if Lamborghini made any mistake with this car, it was not calling it the Ultimate because it truly is the Ultimate Aventador