For some reason, the digital clock in the gauge cluster reads September 20, 2000. Factory glitch. This is appropriate, because the Lamborghini Aventador Superveloce is a time traveler of sorts, a car that evokes a bygone conception of an exotic: the definitive Lambo. Like its predecessors—the Countach, Diablo, and Murciélago—the Aventador SV is an impossibly wide, ridiculously low-slung blade of a car, with doors that scissor skyward and a huge V-12 behind the seats. That is the formula. On the cover of his album Mack Daddy, Sir Mix-A-Lot poses with a Diablo, its open door pointed to the heavens. That was in 1992, but it could've been 1982 or 2002, because the top-flight Lamborghini is always on the scene, so long as that scene demands a commitment to shameless decadence. It's a car for all ages. Except, maybe, this one.
The Superveloce seems like a vehicle that should no longer exist. In an era when Porsche, Ferrari, and McLaren build plug-in hybrids, the Aventador gets 13 mpg. While a Volkswagen GTI uses a silken dual-clutch transmission, the SV crashes through the gears with a single-clutch automated manual. Long ago, the Acura NSX proved that comfort and performance are not mutually exclusive, and yet this half-million-dollar Lamborghini includes no stereo, cruise control, or carpeting. It's just a bundle of muscle thrumming with anger, and that's before you even start the thing.
The only reason I notice that nobody set the clock—which would be annoying in a Lexus but is somehow charming in a Lambo—is because I have plenty of time to gaze about the Aventador's stripped-down cabin en route from North Carolina to Miami. An 11-hour road trip in a car that prioritizes speed above all else should be interesting. And, in many ways, challenging. A full day in a Superveloce forces you to examine your own passion: How much do you really love cars?
I don't dare complain about my plight, but let me explain the ways in which the Superveloce is ill-suited to a super-long voyage. The seats are carbon-fiber shells covered in the barest suggestion of padding, with no adjustment except for back and forth. It's like sitting in a melon scoop. The lack of a radio isn't really a problem, since you wouldn't be able to hear it anyway over the constant thrum of road noise. Visibility out the back is nearly nil, and there's no rearview camera. There's also no USB port, which means if you forgot your charger, like I did, using Waze to navigate and find the inevitable cops will quickly drain your phone. In the language of Lamborghini, there are 50 words for speed and no word for cup holder. It's almost as if they never expect anyone to drive this thing 700 miles on the highway.
I try to avoid the interstate when I can, because highway travel denies you the opportunity to meet the fans. And this car has fans wherever it goes. Early on, I'm driving back roads when an Accord pulls up next to me at a light and the woman at the wheel informs me she's been following me for 20 miles just to find out what this car is. In Charleston, South Carolina, a school bus full of kids looks like it might tip over, so fast do they all rush to one side to gawk at the Lamborghini. At a Starbucks in Florida, I walk in and the guy at the counter informs me, "There are two women in here who want a ride in that car. So far." You grow accustomed to glancing out the window and seeing phones pointed at you. You don't want to pick your nose in an Aventador Superveloce. Someone will get it on video.
The constant attention is on my mind every time I get the urge to let 'er rip. And that urge presents itself seemingly every mile or two, each time there's a gap in traffic and a cop-free sight line. Superveloce means "super fast" in Italian, and it's not false advertising. The 6.5-liter V-12 revs so fast that you really need to use the transmission's automatic mode for full-throttle upshifts—using the paddles, it's a fine line between upshifting early and banging into the rev limiter as the engine flashes past 8,000 rpm. I air it out a few times, but never for long. This car can do zero to 186 mph in 24 seconds, so flattening the accelerator is an exercise in willpower, a game of chicken against the oncoming specter of bad consequences. My personal high score, top-speed-wise, is 206 mph, and the SV could obliterate that pretty easily. Are there any salt flats or dry lakes en route to Miami? Because that's what I need. If you can afford $493,095—taxes and delivery included!—then perhaps you can afford to book a facility where you might test Lamborghini's top speed claim, which is "faster than 217 mph."
By the time I get to southern Florida, I have the posture and gait of a wizened mountain hermit emerging from his cave. But I've grown fond of the Aventador in spite of its brutal demands. I now know how to back it up while sitting on the sill with the door open, like I've seen the factory test drivers do in Italy (thus solving the visibility issue while looking preposterously badass). I know that the fuel-saving cylinder deactivation works only up to 87 mph. I know how to play the exhaust note like an instrument, using the paddle shifters and accelerator. Most modern supercars adapt to their drivers, but in the SV that situation is reversed. It makes no apologies for its Lambo-ness. Presumably, you knew what you were getting into.
And what I'm getting into, down in Miami, is a Porsche 911. Three of us are going out to dinner, so I pile into one of the Porsche's backseats. It is, without exaggeration, more comfortable than the Superveloce's driver's seat. We head out into traffic, and nobody looks twice.
This story appears in the February 2016 issue of Seniorhelpline