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Detroit show: Lamborghini outs Aventador S

S for slippery: Lamborghini says a new Ego driving mode allows the driver to select “his preferred criteria for traction, steering and suspension” but it is understood to work just as effectively with female drivers.

Modest 29kW tune-up, aerodynamic and tech update for Lamborghini Aventador S

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Lamborghini logo20 Dec 2016

By DANIEL GARDNER

LAMBORGHINI has offered a first look at its new mid-range Aventador S ahead of its official public debut at the North American International Auto Show next month, revealing a slipperier and more tech-packed version of the Raging Bull’s flagship model.

Australian fans of the iconic Italian brand now have an extra option if the entry-level $761,500 LP 700-4 (before on-roads) does not pack enough punch, but the budget will not stretch to the $891,500 LP 750-4 Superveloce (SV), with the S touching down in Australia in early 2017 for $788,914.

With a stonking 544kW on tap, the new addition to the range is just 8kW shy of the mighty SV and 29kW more potent than the LP 700-4. In the torque stakes, the Aventador S equals the SV and LP 700-4 with all three developing 690Nm.

It is not clear at this stage if the relatively modest power increase is the “next” instalment for the historic Lamborghini V12 engine which the company was touting in a short video released last week or whether a more significant evolution is chalked for a reveal alongside the Aventador S.

In addition to a power-up, the Aventador S brings a number of comprehensive enhancements to refresh the model, which is now five years old, including suspension, steering, aerodynamic and chassis control updates.

A facelift is not just in the name of aesthetics says Lamborghini and the restyled nose has lower drag while improving air flow to the radiators which are located ahead of the rear wheels.

At the rear end, a new diffuser – which can be supplied in carbon-fibre – houses a new triple-pipe exhaust in the centre and further reduces drag as well as increasing downforce at speed.

Its rear spoiler can morph to three different positions depending on speed and car settings, and works with chassis modifications to maximise air flow and brake cooling while generating downforce.

With the changes, the Aventador S now produces up to 130kg more front downforce than the LP 700-4, but has a lower drag coefficient.

Like its siblings, the new S gets power to the ground via a permanent four-wheel drive system but the traction is complemented by a new rear-wheel steering set up matched with the existing Lamborghini Dynamic Steering (LDS) at the front axle.

Like many four-wheel steering systems, at low speeds the rear wheels steer in the opposite direction to the front reducing the turning circle and improving agility, while at higher speeds the system turns all wheels in the same direction for better stability.

A revision of the exotic push-rod suspension system has resulted in lower caster and suspension load to better suit the new rear steering, and works in conjunction with an updated electronic stability control (ESC) program for improved stability.

The technology is powered by a new version of the Lamborghini Dinamica Veicolo Attiva (LDVA) central control unit, which now incorporates a new Ego drive mode in addition to the existing Strada, Sport and Corsa modes.

With the new mode drivers can tailor their own recipe of suspension, steering and traction settings from the previous fixed setting in the other three modes.

For the extra power, Lamborghini’s engineers fettled with the variable valve timing and lift and although torque is unchanged, the full 690Nm is available over a wider range of engine speed.

Maximum revs have also been pushed out to 8500 rpm with peak power just 100 rpm below that. Zero to 100km/h acceleration remains at 2.9 seconds and top speed is limited to 350km/h.

The Aventador S is fitted with a new specially developed exhaust system, which has dropped 20kg and adds a unique look to the tail end as well as the classic high-revving V12 sound track. Total dry weight is 1575kg thanks in part to a carbon-fibre monocoque.

Fuel consumption will not win any efficiency awards at 16.9 litres per 100km but a new cylinder deactivation system saves fuel by firing only half of the cylinders when in low load applications.

Pirelli designed a P Zero tyre especially for the Aventador S with the bespoke rubber measuring a whopping 355/25 on 21-inch rear wheels and 255/30 on 20-inch rims at the front.

Carbon-ceramic brakes measuring 400mm at the front and 380mm at the back can haul the big Lambo to a halt from 100km/h in just 31 metres.

Borrowing cues from parent company Volkswagen and the Audi virtual cockpit, the new Aventador has a fully digital instrument cluster that is customisable according to preference and the driving mode.

Apple CarPlay is another new addition with the arrival of the Aventador S, but like all Raging Bull models, customers are invited to make their own personalisations with the lavish Ad Personam range – budget permitting.

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