The free-breathing 6.5-litre V12, it’s 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 Lamborghinis Aventador LP-780-4s.
The badge in the style of the tricolor italiano, there directly behind the left side window, quietly announces: the end is near. Only 250 roadsters or 350 coupes, then finished the free-breathing V12 without Vent-T or Vitamin E. And that after more than 50 years. Always placed deep in the middle directly behind the driver, always loud, never adjusted. Just Lamborghini. It goes without saying that the swan song is extra wild. With more power than ever: 780 hp. Even ten more than at the lap record holder Nordschleife SVJ.
So now the final edit. It’s not called that, of course, but Ultimae – typically Italian, it probably means beautiful and spooky. Look in the dictionary. Alright, taken – we could have guessed you had that little latinum down, or at least the Google translator on your phone. Because nomen est omen means ultimae “the last”.
This choice is torture
And now we have the ultimate choice between one of the 350 coupes or 250 roadsters. After many back and forths, we’re settling in favor of the latter – for reasons you’ll hear about in a moment. The scissor door opens. Threading, which surprisingly succeeds with dignity. Unlock the start button, press it, and the two rear on-board cannons turn off. First explosive trauma, then goosebumps. No matter how many times you’ve experienced something like this as a foreigner, you only get the full fascination of the twelve pointer when you’re in the driver’s seat. You respectfully raise the front axle above the factory outlet so as not to damage the splitter and the newly formed front spoiler.
Cultural property: Lamborghini
The kinematic chain, still cold, remains initially in Strada mode. Yes, we’re taking it slow, even if that’s the wrong word for both the soundtrack and the exploration of Sant’Agata. Because the seven-speed automatic skips gears, couples into the dry sump and leaves the head nodding with every shifting operation.
The only remedy is a mode change or you can use the stiff, fixed paddle shifters behind the steering wheel. After the short warm-up phase, you usually pull the left paddle to drive at low speed. A short half-burst of gas: The metallic, deaf sawing gives way to a primal hellish scream in a fraction of a second. Then the speed drops again, which the tailpipes celebrate with outwardly burning fuel explosions, which are even visible at dusk.
No, this concert really leaves no one cold. That’s the beauty of Italy: even the hearing-impaired old people on the side of the road in the cafe conjure up a smile on the faces of the V12 show. Even more: Bambini jumps and tries to follow a few meters at each red light. The road construction workers put their shovels aside and even the riflemen nodded politely. Yes, Lamborghini is a cultural asset in Italy – oh what just as sacred as pizza, vino and bella donnas.
A softie deep inside?
At least that doesn’t happen in this country. Perhaps also because one could prematurely confuse such an Aventador with a rude rascal – or the driver – or both. But at the last stage of evolution and after more than a decade, the opposite is happening. In fact, they 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 rides remarkably smooth. Equally surprising: the high and upright sitting position. It feels like you’re enthroned almost Urus-style, when in reality you’re of course only inches above the road.
Man-o-man he’s big, man
And it is barely wider than the rear of 2.10 meters and winds over the hills of the mid-mountains of Emilia-Romagna with the charm of an ancient Roman road. Yes, this is where the goddess of curves herself painted strips of asphalt on the mountains and pierced them with tunnels. Everything made for the flat giant. Because the Aventador handles tight corners with extreme skill thanks to the all-wheel steering and torque distribution at the rear of the Haldex all-wheel-drive system. But exploring the limits of lateral dynamics? It doesn’t work here; not even remotely. For this you would need a running track with clearing areas instead of guardrails and chasms.
Boil winter tires until soft
And summer tires would also help. No joke in Italy winter tires are compulsory until April 15th. Neither the Lambo boys and girls nor the riflemen understand the fun. Thus, the Pirelli Sottozero are already calves after just a few kilometers when spring temperatures are in the double digit range. The 1.6 toner therefore lubricates quickly via the front axle, but communicates it very early through the stiff steering. However, the LP-780 never had any problems putting its 780 hp and 720 Nm on the road. Sophisticated electronics regulate power delivery too perfectly; loosens the reins in sports; breaks the shackles in Corsa mode if needed – something we tend not to feel on tight streets.
It’s only when the streets widen and the rays open that the Ultimae feels as comfortable as a fighting bull in the arena. With increasing speed, the ingenious airflow through the newly designed mouth with outlets above the bonnet pushes the 1.14 meter flat body ever more firmly towards the ground. Air flows over cooling pads and the hyperactive rear wing, which keeps the bull poised in three different positions depending on speed and riding mode. The flexible airflow underbody also generates some of the downforce.
How can all of this be improved? Very simple: open the roof. However, this is not done at the push of a button, but requires real manual work. But, we have time: so open the front bonnet first, because that’s where you store the two halves of the roof, which you remove by pulling the locks behind the head restraints twice. Everything is stored without scratches? Then, in addition to the hurricane aft, a hurricane rages in the cockpit. At a 60 degree angle, the 12 pointer shoots his volleys in time 1-12-4-9-2-11-6-7-3-10-5-8. Turns nearly nine thousand. With its vertical exhaust outlets, it converts tunnels into concert halls, or better: opera houses. A real tragedy whose last act is this free-breathing V12. After all, Lamborghini is doing without turbos, probably also in the near future, but instead betting on politically correct hybridization. This brings even more performance, but unfortunately also costs charm, we have already committed to this.
Speaking of party. Accelerate one last time, which is controlled by launching from a standing start in 2.9 seconds faster than you can say Lamborghini Aventador LP-780-4 Ultimae Roadster. One last time even the fixed paddle wings, like a conductor whose orchestra is unleashed behind you in the ditch for the grand finale. And roaring caught in the limiter. Before the inevitable curtain falls. Thousand Grace, Lamborghini.
Yes, I would enjoy every time I ride there.
No, a car like that would be far too impractical for me.
The bad news, or rather the very bad news at the end? Okay, you wouldn’t want it any other way: even if you had raised at least 400,000 euros (plus tax), you probably wouldn’t even be on the guest list. And anyway, the 350 Ultimae Coupes and 250 Roadsters are long since sold out. But production continues, after all only two Aventadors leave the halls of Sant’Agata per day, where the Aventador is fully built. It remains to be seen, however, whether the 15 models that have been reproduced will receive a new badge.