I Think I'm in Love...
I apologize in advance for wearing my heart on my sleeve...
But you know that feeling you get when you meet a woman and you two hit it off just right? And it works out that you hang out all day for nearly a week, spending time together and getting to know each other? And then she has to leave and a longing builds inside you, expanding its ever-growing, leaden coil in the pit of your stomach? And while she's away, you fondly recall the many moments intimately created every day and night just a few days ago. You consider her exotic ethnic mix - Italian, Spanish, Swedish and German - and you realize her roots play a role in both her inner and outer beauty. Your eyes lapse into a listless gaze as your mind fondles her lines, your ears can practically hear her whisper, and your heart races at the memory of the first time you were inside of her. That's merely a fraction of how I feel. And so I'm pretty sure I'm in love
...with a car.
Eternities abound, but it was just a week ago that a friend of mine handed me the fob to his Aventador and gave me important but vague instructions like, "Put it into manual once the temps warm up," "only use street mode if it's raining," and "Do not go to Tijuana." I welcomed the embrace of black and red leather sport seats as I settled into the cockpit. The D-cup tachometer dwarfed all of the other lights on the myriad switches scattered about the dash and center console. And the subtle black start button could do little to hide under its big red cover, emblazoned on the middle of the console like a politician's American flag lapel pin, just begging to be flipped up to expose direct access to a new life.
What could I do but push it? The owner explicitly said, "I don't care if you drive it - just don't do any porno movie stuff with it." I briefly pondered where he might draw the line between Cinemax-like softcore and traditional back-of-the-house video store smut. Then I came ...to my senses and pushed the button. The starter didn't so much turn over as it whirred into overdrive for a moment before the 700-horsepower V12 roared to life - so cliche, I know, "the big, bad engine "roared" to life, ahhh, oh, my God." - but how else do you describe two six-cylinder ventricles that urgently pump life into Lamborghini's decade-later ****-you response to the Enzo?
And thus began the experience that has changed my life forever. Because I didn't just drive an Aventador, I lived with it for nearly a week. I drove it, I parked it, I downshifted it - I filled it up every day, holy ****, screw the caribou and start drilling! But a few stops at the pump in exchange for a work week worth of driving bliss was a small price to pay. And so I shelled out my pittance, however unfair to the rest of the world, to navigate down this new avenue of my continually charmed life. The drive home though was bereft of charm - at least on my part - as I acclimated with this wingless F16. I kept it steady, but shyly declined races posed by everything from a Charger to a 911 Turbo. Don't get me wrong, I had plenty of time and immaturity to get into trouble - I just wanted to learn how to do it properly.
The Aventador is surprisingly easy to drive when you need it to be. Encoded in its ECU is a social contract that tells it how to behave when you require civility. When piloting it on local streets (where the hydraulic nose lifter can be engaged on the fly) or with the highway's flow of traffic, you're not worried about a low-hanging front end or a lane-exceeding width. This car inspires the confidence you need to simply drive it as you would any pedestrian automobile. Once plugged in, you're nearly worry-free - save the unusual concerns that don't plague other motorists: For instance, you steer clear of rural areas fearing that the local PD will be flooded with calls of UFO sightings. You worry about hurtful texts from a jealous SR-71. And tickets? You don't worry about tickets; you worry about strongly worded letters from the FAA. But it is possible to control yourself. Seventh gear at 70mph registers at just 2,500rpm, soliciting a barely audible moan from the patient behemoth that's literally breathing down the back of your neck. But that V-shaped beast doesn't come with egg crate sound-deadening foam - it comes with its own roll cage for a reason.
Racing it on the highway is pointless - but Veyron owners, have your second key at the ready if you want a fighting chance. The proposed 0-60 time in 2.9 seconds makes the law of physics seem more like a theory. But any rolling start into triple digits feels a lot more like a DeLorean at 88mph. There is nothing that can roll up in the next lane over that could possibly intimidate the Aventador. And a few downshifts snap off a snarl from the exhaust that flaunt huge teeth of acceleration, demonstrating to would-be threats the severity of the bite they'll suffer should their challenge be accepted. Among highway "straphangers," the Aventador is Bernie Goetz.
It's not one-dimensional though, there's more to the Aventador than enslaving the 405 - California's coast offers dozens of canyons hosting unsuspecting victims! But seriously, motion is not required to render the masses into obsequium. Its water-into-wine design draws both male and female of all ages. Here, in this collection of deftly penned lines, doors that go up instead of out are more of a traditional afterthought than the hope for a Countach reaction. The roof, with its single crease, conjures an homage to Zagato - and the angles literally fall into place as your eyes descend upon what, to the uninitiated, is "only" avant-garde art sheathing a very violent paintbrush.
The color of this particular car, Grigio Estoque, is actually appropriate for the experience. From old French, estoc literally means point (of a sword) - and that's exactly what this is. A glimmering gray sword, with stabbing acceleration, whose handle dares brandish a sanguine leather that might incite the corrida within. And though named specifically after a vicious bull bred in the early '90s, Aventador, in Spanish, means fan - and of this car I'm just one of many. But the deep, still lust this car inspires is a universal language. One whose hard-to-find words ink love letters in the hearts of everyone who hears and sees it; and the few lucky bastards who might climb behind the wheel.
But enough of this lovey dovey crap, let us return to the carnage. Folks often refer to Lamborghini as the dark side; the tawdry mistress to Ferrari's trophy wife. But 700 horsepower can take anyone to an aphotic point of no return, from which not even its Xenon glare can escape or signal for help. And so the Swedish-crafted four wheel drive helps to keep chaos at bay. But with all the ethnicities blended into the Aventador, which one is most likely to tempt fate? Which one is more likely to throw caution (or a rearview mirror) to the wind, and disregard whatever's behind you? An arrow in the center console taunts you to ditch your inhibitions ...and engage Corsa. Those damn Italians, they can't leave well enough alone. Press it and gears don't merely engage at 50-millisecond speeds, they violently test the strength of the seat backs; scenery blurs with a fast forward urgency; and all wheel drive gets reduced from a feature to an attempt. And if you lack a conscience like yours truly, tunnels promise a twofold opportunity: for one, seven grand on the tach - which is still 1,500rpm short of redline - does an amazing Formula One impression; but two, you can instill the fear of God into those around you, just for the hell of it.
The Aventador shrinks in curves. The AWD, sticky 335s in the rear, and a zero tolerance for body roll give you a crash course in G-forces. They should really forego the luggage option and give this thing a HANS device. Instead of missile launchers, Lamborghini equipped the cockpit with a radio - it's not there so much for listening as it is to remind you that you can take it home and don't need to park it on an aircraft carrier. But home is the last place you'll want to go in the Aventador. In fact, my last night with it bore a sleeplessness fueled by anxiety. My dream life would soon come to an end. I had immersed myself in the experience that is the Aventador, and reality would soon flood back in. But I relished in the time I had, and it sparked in me a renewed fervor to work on securing one of my very own.
...but before I gave it back, I did briefly consider fleeing to Tijuana.
I need an Aventador!