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Here's Why the Lamborghini Aventador SV Is Worth $500,000

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author photo by Doug DeMuro January 2017

I recently had the chance to drive a Lamborghini Aventador SV, which is the fastest, most powerful, most insane vehicle in the entire history of Lamborghini. It also costs $500,000, which is a lot of money. That figure could also buy you a 4-bedroom house with a room devoted entirely to removing your shoes.

This opportunity came about thanks to a viewer named Paul, who lives near Washington, D.C. and is perhaps the nicest supercar owner I've ever met. When I arrived to film this video, the first thing Paul did, after greeting me and shaking my hand, was give me the key to his Aventador. This despite the fact that I showed up in an 11-year-old Range Rover with approximately an inch of standing water in the passenger-side headlight.

Now, before I get started describing my experience with the Aventador SV, I'm going to tell you a little bit about this vehicle. This is for those of you whose working knowledge of cars stops somewhere short of "automobiles that cost more than medium-scale public works projects."

So here's the situation: At some point two years ago, Lamborghini decided the regular Aventador -- with a 690-horsepower V12 and a 2.9-second 0-to-60 time -- simply wasn't good enough. So they created an SV version, which has 50 more horsepower, a 110-pound weight reduction, and a 0-to-60 time of 2.7 seconds. It also has many extra styling touches to remind you that it's not simply a regular Aventador, but an Aventador SV -- such as a rear wing that could also be used to keep Delaware dry when it rains.

And then there's the cost. The standard Lamborghini Aventador starts at a measly $400,000 with shipping. That's child's play compared to the SV, which has a base price of $494,000 -- before options. And there are many options. For example: Although a backup camera is standard in a Toyota RAV4, it's an option in a $500,000 Lamborghini. An option that costs twenty-one hundred dollars. Other pricey options include a fire extinguisher ($800), rear air intakes finished in carbon fiber ($5,600), rear decals that say "SV" ($2,800) and something called a "Travel Package." I don't know what's in the Travel Package, but I do know it costs $1,100.

Although I could keep going with these numbers, this will put things into better perspective: I recently purchased a used Aston Martin for less money than the total price of the options on this car.

And once you've finished with the options, there's still more to spend. The gas guzzler tax -- necessary because this car gets 13 miles per gallon in combined city and highway driving -- is $3,700. And Lamborghini's destination charge is $3,495. All told, the manufacturer's suggested retail price of the Aventador SV I drove was $534,809.

For a vehicle. That moves down the street. Next to Nissan Altimas.

Of course, that's an oversimplification of things, because while the Aventador SV does, technically, share the street with regular cars, it drives like it's from another planet. First off, there's the acceleration. This is the single quickest car I've ever driven -- and if you had any doubts about that, you wouldn't once you'd smashed the accelerator. It's wild. It's brutal. It's so fast that I honestly think it could almost injure a passenger with the G-forces slamming them up against the seat if you dropped the gas pedal when they weren't paying attention.

Handling is impressive, too. Although I didn't get the chance to take the car on any especially curvy back roads, the car handled the curves I went through with such ease that it was like it's almost goading you to do more and go faster. The car's limits are far beyond my own personal limits when I'm driving a vehicle that a) belongs to someone else and b) costs more than a government surplus helicopter. The problem is, of course, that these limits are tricky: You think you can do more, and more, and more, and go faster, and faster, and faster, and eventually you end up on the evening news.

But I think there's an aspect of this car that's more important to most prospective buyers than the speed and the handling, and that's the experience. In a normal car, your "driving experience" is largely based on the music you're listening to, or the weather, or the traffic. If you're in an Aventador SV, it provides the experience -- possibly better than any other car I've ever driven. Look in any direction and you'll see some crazy touch that reminds you you're in a ridiculous Lamborghini, like the glass hood strakes in your rearview mirror, or the absurd side mirrors, or the insane gauge cluster that looks like it's borrowed from a fighter jet.

And if you do ever happen to forget what you're driving, well, just look at everyone else. I've driven tens of thousands of miles in dozens of exotic cars, and nothing attracts attention like this one. This car drew stares from the kind of people who clearly never cared about cars for a moment in their entire lives; people who go to the nearest car dealer and say "the blue one." Everyone looks. Everyone stares. Everyone points. Everyone takes pictures. I've driven a lot of cars -- and I have, truly and honestly, never in my entire life experienced anything like the attention I received when I was driving this one.

Are there drawbacks to the Aventador SV? Sure. There's virtually no trunk space or in-cabin storage space, even for an exotic car. The ride is rough. Really rough. There are only two seats. And, most importantly, there's the transmission: Even as every other exotic car has gone to a quick-shifting dual-clutch for increased speed and smoothness, the Aventador still uses a clunky, mechanical single-clutch -- perhaps the only thing I'd really want to change about the car.

But, folks, let's be clear: If you're looking for a car that will thrill you every single time you drive it; every single time you get inside it; every single time you look at it... this is that car, more than maybe any other car currently in production. It's tremendously hard to justify spending $500,000 on any automobile -- but if you were ever going to spend that money on one single car, this is exactly the experience you'd want it to deliver.

Doug DeMuro is an automotive journalist who has written for many online and magazine publications. He once owned a Nissan Cube and a Ferrari 360 Modena. At the same time.

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Here's Why the Lamborghini Aventador SV Is Worth $500,000 - Autotrader