We've never complained that the Lamborghini Aventador is too slow. It produces 690 hp and hits 62 mph in 2.9 seconds. Not bad. The new Aventador S, at 730 hp, is more powerful and, Lamborghini says, no heavier, but there are also no stated improvements to acceleration times — even the 217-mph top end is static. But that’s not what you take away from driving the Aventador S. Instead, it’s the newfound agility that puts a gulf between the two: A new rear-wheel-steering system is key here.
Rear-wheel steering has been around for decades — 1980s Honda Preludes and R32 Skyline GT-Rs ran it — but it’s back in vogue, notably with the Porsche 911 and the Ferrari F12tdf. Similar in concept to those cars, the Aventador S’ version turns the rear wheels opposite the fronts up to 3 degrees below 81 mph, virtually shortening the wheelbase and adding agility. Above 81 mph, the wheels turn up to 1.5 degrees in the same direction to effectively elongate the wheelbase, increasing stability. Lambo claims lower-speed steering inputs are reduced 30 percent with a variable-rate steering system.
To underline the point, Lamborghini let us drive an Aventador back to back with the new S on a slalom at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Spain. The original Aventador never did fulfill its dynamic potential—it feels dim-witted and cumbersome, veering from left to right through the cones. In comparison, the S jinks and shimmies, feeling lighter and more energetic, and you sense the tires on tiptoes, hungry to change direction. You’re also more aware of the weight of that mid-mounted V12 shifting around behind you.