Pros: One of the most visually -- and viscerally -- stunning vehicles money can buy; unlike past open-air Lambos, the 2013 Lamborghini Aventador Roadster's removable hardtop is an engineering tour de force, not an afterthought; surprisingly civilized decibel levels during most driving conditions; open-air configuration sacrifices virtually no body stiffness

Cons: Single-clutch gearbox is abrupt and, when driven aggressively, downright violent; discreet drivers need not apply -- stealth mode isn't an option here; even with an obscene price, you'll need an optional interior package to keep the trim from feeling plasticky; all that personality can get grating at lower speeds

What's New: Lop the top off the Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4 coupe and you'll get an even more hyperbolic hypercar with the 2013 Lamborghini Aventador Roadster. The roof consists of two removable carbon fiber panels weighing only 13.2 pounds each, and stowage requires the awkward (but eventually tidy) process of wedging them into the front compartment. In addition to structural reinforcements, a re-worked engine cover keeps its peekaboo glass panel setup; the al fresco Aventador also gains engine tweaks, which incorporate cylinder deactivation and a stop/start system for better fuel efficiency. Suspension tweaks also offer refinements in ride quality, and a pop-up rollbar has been added for the invariable Wrecked Exotics cameo.

Like its closed coupe stablemate, the 2013 Lamborghini Aventador Roadster makes a stunning statement wrapped in bodywork that seems straight from the dreams of adolescent enthusiasts. That this chiseled convertible would look at home on a poster in virtually any kid's bedroom wall speaks volumes to Lamborghini designers' abilities to stir automotive desire, but even more motivating than its appearance is how the Aventador Roadster feels from behind the wheel.

With the top in place, you'd be hard-pressed to notice a difference between Roadster and coupe versions; the exhaust note is surprisingly quiet during sedate driving (that is, until you lower the rear window and let the sonorous sounds of the 6.5-liter V12 into the cabin), and the torsional stiffness between the two cars is identical. But ditch the roof and this Lambo's personality becomes more raucous and wild than ever before. It's not just the sound levels (which register at a surprisingly quiet 60 db at 60 miles per hour during top-down motoring), but rather the way this supercar feels when you lay into the throttle.

Thanks to 691 horsepower and 509 lb-ft of torque routed through the automated single-clutch transmission, this Lamborghini can accelerate with ferocious urgency from 0 to 62 mph in three seconds flat. Top speed remains unchanged at an eyeball-drying 217 mph, and the handling never feels as though it misses a beat, with snappy responsiveness thanks to an inboard-mounted pushrod suspension system that has more in common with Formula 1 race cars than virtually anything else on the road.

Priced at $445,300, this wild beast of a roadster is accessible only to a thin slice of motoring enthusiasts who are both well-heeled and adventurous enough to take a deep plunge into razor-sharp exotics. But for those who do, the Aventador Roadster offers an unforgettable combination of style and substance, wrapped in origami-like skin sure to draw plenty of eyeballs and envy.

author photo

Basem Wasef is an automotive journalist, author, and photographer with two coffee table books under his belt, and is a regular contributor to Popular Mechanics, Robb Report, and Maxim among others. When Basem isn't traveling the globe testing vehicles, he enjoys calling Los Angeles home.

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