Some cars take it to 11. This takes it to 13.
Bull & Bravado: Driving the Lamborghini Aventador
Six hundred ninety-one horsepower. All-wheel-drive. A gearbox so mechanically high strung you instinctively quiver before each pull of the shift lever. And of course, the obscene sheet metal geometry. Enormous in every direction and specification, it makes us pause and wonder if this is what pornographic design is.
You may have noticed that our Lamborghini Aventador film took things a bit further than usual. Part of that is the insane vehicle, but we also worked with the good folks at Canon to equip our crew with the very best gear in DSLR shooting. Here’s a rundown of what we used, and a few insights on how we captured all of the footage you just finished watching (twice).
Pro Tip: Capitalize on the creative dial settings of the 5D Mark III. They’re programmable for instant access to your most commonly used settings. When shooting film, we keep ours set to a shutter speed of 50, aperture of 4.0 and ISO cranked down to 160 — optimal for capturing cinematic video.
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CANON EF 35mm f/1.4L USM, CANON EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM
The Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM lens offers quick and quiet focusing, ultra-sharp pictures and incredible low-light performance that leaves us wondering if there could possibly be a better, more versatile single-focus lens out there.
Buy Now: $1,479
Zoom lenses can make for excellent single-day glass, and the easy-to-use, lightweight EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens is further enhanced by Image Stabilization that can remedy shake up to three full stops. That’s serious performance; plus, with L-level build quality, you’ll never have to worry about durability issues.
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Pro Tip: At f/1.4, the 35mm lens provides hairline focusing distance. That’s dramatic, but it can make for really tenuous focusing issues that are only visible later when footage is reviewed on a large screen. We prefer to keep ours at f/2.8 to f/4 for an optimal blend of dramatic depth of field and versatile in-focus range. For more imperssive daylight shooting, consider adding a single or variable neutral density filter. If your shooting style or setting calls for run-and-gun situations, consider investing in a quality monopod. We use a Manfrotto.
What has 8 rotors, is remote-controlled by an experienced pilot and flies your camera anywhere? Say hello to the Octocopter — piloted by the arial mavens at Octofilms. Thanks to advancements in remote flying, their trained pilots can man the Octocopter to capture shots otherwise inaccessible to the consumer. We mounted our Canon EOS 5D MK III to the copter to capture all our aerials and recreate the crane and glides shots. The price is hefty, but so is hiring a bunch of teamsters and cranes. $1,000 per day | Buy Now: $7,250
Welcome to the Lamborghini Aventador — a car that really needs no introduction, much less any fanfare in its introduction. The Aventador is rolling theater. Its predecessor, the Murciélago, was a competent fighter and R&B lyric mainstay, and especially good toward the end of its career in the bull-fighting ring. But in the broad wake of the Aventador, we can’t help but feel the Murciélago simply pales in comparison. This, ladies and gentlemen, is a proper hyper-car.
Trotting into the ring, the Aventador sits alongside interesting company: the Koenigsegg Agera R, the unpronounceable Pagani Huayra and of course the vaunted Bugatti Veyron. These cars give their owners swaths of exotic accouterment, noise, and speed, but the Aventador provides all that, and for less. Of course, the irony of “less” is not lost on us; we’re talking about flying in the stratosphere of six-to-seven-figure price tags.
And Now Let us Drive
There are three modes to drive a Lamborghini Aventador. Most will stick with Strada or Sport, few will find the opportunity to engage Corsa, and no one will ever turn off stability control. Strada, which is the closest approximation to driving sanity one can achieve in a car like this, is downright approachable for a Lambo. It won’t set off parked cars’ alarms, shifts won’t jar your jowls loose (nor will they inspire confidence, mind you) and you may not actually need to reach for the Ibuprofen. Sport ratchets power into a 90:10 torque split, indulges the exhaust, and allows you a few controlled wiggles on the dance floor. Corsa? In race mode, the Aventador is the automotive equivalent of a 21-gun salute… on a fusion-powered roller-coaster… on the set of Apocalypse Now, day 62. You’ll come to realize that the starter button, tucked away into a fighter-jet style arming flap, isn’t for show.
Here’s a piece of advice. Whether you’re driving on a road or the track, as we had the chance to, be sure there’s plenty of runway in every direction. Not because of its size (it’s wider than a Suburban) or its seven feet worth of front and rear overhangs. Because shoulders and walls come fast when you’re at the helm of an Aventador.
And about that transmission: in a day when even your mother knows why a dual-clutch transmission is superior, Lamborghini confoundingly opted for a Graziano gearbox: a single-speed transmission (an “ISR” in Lambo parlance) that smashes through shifts in as low as 50 milliseconds in Corsa mode. We venture to think it’s because of Lamborghini engineers’ desire to differentiate themselves from their Audi/VW stablemates, but regardless, the ISR snicks and thunks its way through all seven gears with enough passion to make a hot-blooded Italian model demure.
Harsh Words? Hardly.
Does all this sound a bit harsh?
Consider it sage words from an older brother who eschewed the experienced advice of his parents. Yes, the drive was from a harder era, painful to experience and a whirlwind of smoke and confusion, but god, was it great. Have you seen a great vintage black & white photo lately? That’s a bit like this. The Aventador is a car of the old-school order. Brash and scary, yes, but passionate. Today’s cars practically look like wilting marshmallows next to the Aventador.
Let us not bore you with thoughts of other equally competent cars, ones where we wax on about fanciful days listening to turbos and admiring thoughtful ergonomics. The Aventador is not here to serve its owner — or onlookers, as most of us are — purposefully. It is a ferocious, 217 MPH tryst. It is the smoking hot, 48-hour illicit affair with Elisabetta Canalis, but instead of paparazzi, skinny suits and Tony Bennett, you’re hurtling forward in a geometric carbon-fiber tub ensconced in leather, lines red, dialing into the tunes of a short-stroke 12-cylinder drum set.
It’s intoxicating before you even take a sip. We love it.