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Lamborghini Aventador SVJ Fast Fleet test – daily driving a £500k supercar

Its Revuelto replacement may have it licked for outright performance, but the 759bhp SVJ is a hardcore Lambo you can enjoy every single day – as we’ve spent the last few months proving

If course it’s ridiculous to run an Aventador SVJ as a ‘daily’. No one in their right mind would do it, not least because if you can afford a £440,000 Lamborghini supercar, you can surely also stretch to something more practical to cover the day-to-day stuff. A Urus, maybe.

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But nevertheless, run an Aventador SVJ as a daily is exactly what we have recently spent several months doing, and just to add to the absurdity of the proposition, those months began back in November, a time of year when the majority of supercars in the UK are already tucked away in dehumidified garages to spare them from the ravages of winter.

> The Lamborghini Huracán replacement will get a 10,000rpm flat-plane crank V8

This, clearly, was a long-term test destined to put the 759bhp, track-focused SVJ out of its comfort zone. Its drivers too, I briefly suspected as I drove FR624ZF away from evo Towers for the first time. Wet, narrow country roads on an inky-black night aren’t the best circumstances in which to acclimatise yourself to an SVJ, its lane-filling width (exaggerated by our car being left-hand drive), feeble headlights and summer-spec P Zero Corsa tyres all giving cause for circumspection.

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But within a few miles, it all started to make sense. Jethro Bovingdon perfectly summed up how to get the best from the SVJ when he tested our long-termer alongside another evo favourite that’s growing old disgracefully, the Nissan GT-R Nismo, in issue 282. ‘Don’t relax and let the car chart its course,’ he wrote. ‘Grab hold and bully it. Then it doesn’t take long for the cold handshake of the SVJ to turn into a big bear hug. It’s on your side. You just have to talk its language.’ And it’s true: show the SVJ a firm hand and you begin to make flowing progress, which in turn means you feel more at ease behind its wheel, which then means you can really start to enjoy what this extraordinary machine has to offer.

Those Corsa tyres proved themselves to not be the handicap you might expect, too. OK, so even with the help of the Aventador’s four-wheel drive system a run to the 8500rpm power peak could remain frustratingly out of reach for days upon end when the roads refused to dry out, but there was always clear information feeding back about how far you could work those Pirellis, and you could very often work them much harder than you might expect. John Barker described their grip in such conditions as staggering, while Richard Meaden went one further and drove our SVJ to the supermarket in the snow…

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And such humdrum tasks can be tackled in an SVJ. The front axle lift enables it to clear speed cushions that even our Focus ST long-termer has scuffed, the four-wheel steering ensures it has a respectable turning circle, and the front luggage compartment is larger than a 911’s. Certainly there was always more effort required than if you were in something more ‘normal’, because in a ‘normal’ car you don’t have severely restricted rearward visibility, slightly abrupt engaging/disengaging of an automated single-clutch transmission during slow-speed manoeuvres, or a rapidly growing audience observing your every move. But working with all of this always made you feel like you were fully invested in the task of driving, regardless of the speed. And, as Barker observed, with power steering, an automated gearbox and stability control, an Aventador is considerably more accessible and exploitable than, say, a ’90s Diablo.

Our time with the SVJ wasn’t entirely plain sailing, though. Early in our tenure, during a long, steady 70-ish mph cruise, I experienced some intermittent power reductions accompanied by a series of warning messages: ‘Catalyst overtemperature’, ‘ESC fault’, ‘Parking brake failure’. Rather than trying to limp the final 40 miles home, I decided to stop somewhere safe and call Lamborghini Assistance, which sent a recovery truck to relay the car to a dealer. A faulty exhaust gas sensor was diagnosed as the cause of the problems and the car was soon back in action… only for it to stumble again a couple of weeks later, this time with JB at the wheel, the car dropping out of gear and announcing a ‘Gearbox malfunction’. The cause this time? A blown fuse.

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Perhaps the SVJ was complaining about being driven in all conditions, living outside 24/7, and not enjoying the typical pampered life of a supercar. Or perhaps its 10,000, often hard-driven miles as a press car – including setting the production car lap record at Hockenheim back in 2019 – were beginning to tell. Perhaps we were just unlucky. But thereafter FR624ZF ran faultlessly.

And I don’t think those blips will be the moments we will remember from our time with the SVJ, anyway. We’ll remember how every single journey in it felt like an event. How its ferocious naturally aspirated V12 set our spines a-tingle every time it worked through the upper reaches of a gear. How its unleashed performance never seemed anything less than utterly sensational. How it looked simply outrageous wherever it was parked and unspeakably cool when covered in a layer of wintry grime. How it brought joy to so many people, young and old, who got to experience such a rarity up close. Ultimately, how it felt like a true, pure, bona fide supercar in every possible way.

It is ridiculous to run an SVJ as a daily, but perhaps that’s missing the point, because if you do, it’ll be an experience you’ll never, ever forget.

Date acquiredNovember 2020
Duration of test5 months
Total test mileage4011
Overall mpg12.3
Costs£0
Purchase price£443,054 (2019)
Value todayc£400,000 (2024)

This story first featured in evo issue 289.

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