Fear. Fear is good. It dilates the pupils, quickens the pulse, clears the noise, heightens the senses, and amps everything up to 11.
That is the abiding effect of the savage Lamborghini Aventador Superveloce Jota or SVJ for short.
I thought I knew fear when an 18-wheeler overtook me on the autostrada on the way to Automobilii Lamborghini in my little rented Fiat 500, a car with the wheelbase of a shoe and the high-speed stability of a vase struck by a football.
This, however, is terror on a whole other level.
Sitting here even a few hours after driving the Aventador SVJ, my fingers are trembling on the keyboard.
All my nerves are aflame, my ears are ringing, and I feel like I have just had an intravenous infusion of 100 espressos. It will be a while yet before my adrenalin levels return to normal.
Is the Lamborghini Aventador SVJ a good car? Heck I don’t know. It is at least a million times better than I am a driver.
It did smash the Nurburgring production car record, so I will take it on faith that Lamborghini’s professional track driver finds it brilliant.
In fact, while I am braking poorly and missing apexes, depending on the Aventador SVJ’s enormous envelope of ability to haul me out of trouble, the car is probably shaking its head. Review this car? Bah. It reviews me.
So instead, I will talk about it in the manner of a tourist at the Duomo Di Milano. Slack-jawed and agape in awe at the magnificence well beyond my comprehension.
I start by effectively lying on the ground and rolling into the car. The Lamborghini Aventador SVJ is no taller than my hip.
Extremely low, phenomenally wide, and absolutely blanketed in menacing aero, it looks the absolute business, emanating malevolence as it crouches eyeing its prey. I dare not turn my back lest it mauls me.
Tourists at the Lamborghini Museum certainly loved it. Full paparazzi treatment ensued as I tiptoed out of the carpark. More than just another expensive supercar, this is an Aventador SVJ, arguably the absolute pinnacle of supercardom.
The awe and goodwill this car will engender over the next two days everywhere it goes flows like a waterfall. Thumbs-ups and waves are proffered, cones are removed, invitations to park right up front are extended.
The first 10 kilometers or so are spent between trucks through the industrial district of Bologna, rumbling in straight lines interrupted in regular intervals by roundabouts.
The A-pillar wipes out huge swathes of my vision, and the rear-view mirror presents nothing but a faceful of engine cover.
The Aventador SVJ’s V12 threatens to eat me if I don’t speed up. I am simultaneously wary of placing the right wheels off the road and the left fender in the path of an oncoming trailer.
Sassuolo, the town that follows, only angers the Lamborghini Aventador SVJ further. It profoundly hates going slowly, and the infernal single-clutch robotised manual (yes, they still exist), makes the car’s displeasure abundantly clear.
It hunts and shunts and lurches and all but screams in frustration. Did I mention the leviathan size, and that you can’t see out of it?
Finally, we turn left into the hills on Strada Provinciale 19, a tightly knotted series of rutted pavement leading up to the sleepy town of Pigneto.
I hit the “Sport” button and mash the throttle. Air is knocked clean out of my lungs as the car lunges ferociously at the next corner and all but overshoots.
I yank left in panic and the big Lambo claws its way around, rearranging my brain entirely to the right.
“Corsa” mode tempts me. Instant regret. The Lamborghini Aventador SVJ hammers me hard in the back and bellows hellfire, then lurches and chokes on its own impatience.
Even with my best effort to let the car clear its throat, I cannot get out of second gear. Hairpins arrive faster than you can think. It is all elbows and knees and whimpering in the cabin.
Bigger roads are needed, which, after wincing my way, butt clenched, through another small town, magically appear higher up the Tuscan hills.
Called SP63, this series of beautifully paved blacktop etched artfully into the side of Tuscany’s sun-bathed mountains is welcomed by the Lambo with relish.
Poor visibility begins to matter less. Somehow you know where every single wheel and corner is at all times, such is the vividness of the mechanical experience.
Dipping a little deeper into the Aventador SVJ’s massive reserves, I learn to trust the feedback. Turns are consumed in enormous gulps, some series without even lifting off.
Massive Pirelli P-Zeroes, four-wheel-steering, and Italian magic see to my safety. Active aero that varies from side to side act as an aerodynamic torque-vectoring system of sorts.
I probably did not reap their benefits at these speeds. Touch the brakes, even in the middle of a corner like a moron, and the car approximates being driven into a patch of wet cement. No drama, no squirrelling.
The 8500rpm point is a rarefied place rarely visited but when it is, the pulverising viciousness utterly saturates you.
You get a dopamine shot so hard you go cross-eyed. Does it suffer for a lack of turbos? Maybe in seventh gear on the Autostrada at the piddling speed limit.
Everywhere else, the Lamborghini Aventador SVJ’s throttle response and climbing revs are so sharp and searing they can make you bleed.
This car is a thinly disguised race machine. Whoever thought to put number plates on is a bit of a sadist.
As such it is relentlessly a total sensory assault.
The hills are alive with the sound of music. Shrieking, heavy metal music hybridised with the most hypnotic opera. Then the audience gets brutally beaten up.
I cannot get enough.
Lamborghini Aventador SVJ 6.5 (A)
ENGINE 6498cc, 48-valves, V12
MAX POWER 770hp at 8500rpm
MAX TORQUE 720Nm at 6750rpm
POWER TO WEIGHT 505hp per tonne
GEARBOX 7-speed automated manual with manual select
0-100KM/H 2.8 seconds
TOP SPEED 350km/h
CO2 EMISSION 452g/km
PRICE EXCL. COE $1,910,425