Well, the last couple of weeks have been quite the whirlwind. Monterey Car Week is as awesome as it is exhausting, especially when you run 4 projects during the week.
For our biggest project, Jamie and I had the honor to run the estate for Rimac Automobili, manufacturer of the Concept_One, the brand new electric supercar out of Croatia that just spanked the LaFerrari in a drag race.
In parallel, we ran the estate for W Motors, the Dubai-based manufacturer of the super exclusive $3.4M Lykan HyperSport and the upcoming $1.8M Fenyr SuperSport.
In the middle of all of this, I was also organizing and running Exotics on Cannery Row with the goldRush Rally crew on Friday night.
And last, but definitely not least, Jamie and I helped Valentino Balboni and his team with running the Concorso Italiano unveiling of their new VB brand and their first product: the ultra lightweight full Titanium exhaust for the Aventador SV.
This last project is what lead to my driving my first Aventador.
At. Long. Last.
I have driven many an exotic, but never an Aventador. And for a first, I couldn't really have asked for more. Not only was this an Aventador, but it was an SV. As in SuperVeloce, which means extremely fast in Italian. The mighty LP750-4. And on top of it, it was the first SV Roadster delivered to the Bay Area. And to top it all off, it was the only one in North America fitted with the VB titanium exhaust.
First, my impressions about the car itself. I fell in love with the Aventador the first time I saw it, which was at Monterey Car Week five years ago. To this day, I don't think there is a car that looks better on the market. It appears aggressive and yet refined. It is low sprung, wide and long. It looks like a super sexy missile.
On paper, there's always been one thing that took it off the list of "absolutely must have" though: the fact that it has a single clutch transmission. I have heard countless stories about upshift banging your head back and forth. And well, they're the only exotic/supercar made in 2016 that doesn't have a dual clutch. Come on!
Well, it turns out that the single clutch is not that big of a problem after all. I found the car a LOT smoother than I was expecting. It is not a neck breaker. I tried both the Strada and Sport modes and both modes were more than acceptable. Is it better than a Ferrari or Porsche dual clutch? Of course not. But is it still livable? Hell yes. More than livable. You actually don't realize that it is a single clutch transmission except because an upshift takes a fraction of a second longer than in another exotic fitted with a dual clutch. But my head wasn't rocking back and forth much if at all.
I actually found the transmission quite mellow. Maybe a tad too mellow, even.
In terms of acceleration, oh boy. What joy! After being spanked by an Aventador in a recent drag race (where I was driving a Ferrari F12, not really a slow car itself), I now understand. The Aventador just goes. Passing a Prius parked (well, driving 64mph, same difference) in the left lane happens in the blink of an eye. SuperVeloce indeed.
As for the size and the handling, I've always assumed that the car was better in a straight line than in the twisties. It is after all a big car so it can't really be as agile as a Huracan.
Or can it? Maybe it is because this is an SV and therefore most of the extra weight has been taken out. Or maybe it is because it just was driven with confidence and never completely full on -- I would hate to damage a client's car -- but I found it quite nimble in the hills. When you manage to get a rhythm and pick up on how to drive it, it is a lot of fun as a canyon carver.
And then there's the sound. I've always loved screaming V12s, whether they come from Maranello, Sant'Agata Bolognese or Warwick (Aston Martin's factory) or Stuttgart. There is something about 12 cylinders finding a way to work together. That said, The stock Aventador sound has never grabbed me the way an F12 does. Or the way a Vantage V12 S does. I've always loved aftermarket exhaust for the Aventador as they fixed an actual problem I have with the car. The problem with most aftermarket exhausts is that they only end up being used to rev the engine at a standstill or shoot flames at car shows. And there actually is such a thing as too loud.
An aftermarket exhaust that clears the sound, makes it crisper, lower and deeper at low revs and then higher pitched at high revs is something that I haven't found yet. Everybody loves a screaming exhaust when you get to 6-7,000 rpm, but let's face it, nobody really enjoys droning at 3,000 rpm when cruising at 77mph on the highway. When you go long distance and you get to destination with a massive headache, it kinda takes the fun out of it quickly.
Not so with VB's "A New Dimension in Sound" exhaust!
This aftermarket exhaust is built for the enthusiast who wants a clearer exhaust note while driving the car. Not for the enthusiast who wants to be the loudest and most obnoxious one at the local car show.
VB's exhaust sounds great during cold start, then I would say it is 15-20% louder while operating the car (as opposed to the 50%+ I have experienced in other cars with aftermarket exhausts). Its sound is cleaner and less throaty. Not sure how VB's team got to this sound but I especially like the fact that the sound is deeper (more bass) yet not as raspy as the stock exhaust. It sounds like a good Barry White song or an amazing documentary narrated by Morgan Freeman.
And then there's the look. It takes 350 hours to hand make one unit. It is made out of grade 2 titanium, with some parts being heat treated before assembly and welding to give it its distinctive blue/purple color. This is very aesthetically pleasing. And it also makes the exhaust weigh in at 13 lbs and 4 oz. Compared to a stock exhaust at about 50 lbs, this is quite the weight saving on such a crucial component of the car!
In any case, at only 30 units produced and with a price that will only be revealed to interested parties, this exhaust is becoming the super exclusive aftermarket item to have. VB already has 67 requests for these 30 exhausts so even the lucky SV owners who can afford it will have to fight for it.
Valentino Balboni sure managed to launch his VB brand with a bang.
Many thanks to @yonly65 (IG) for loaning us his Lamborghini Aventador SV Roadster for over two weeks, to install the VB exhaust, unveil it at Concorso Italiano, film and shoot it for upcoming promotional videos, and to allow me to drive it back to him and finally add this exotic to my "driven" list.
Banner picture credits: Jeremy Adams