Things to consider up front about the 2019 Lamborghini Aventador SuperVeloce Jota LP770-4, known colloquially as the SVJ: The 6.5-liter V-12 makes 760 naturally aspirated horsepower and 531 lb of torque. This frenzied, astonishingly angry bull has all-wheel drive, all-wheel steering, active aero, active aero vectoring, gooey Pirelli Trofeo R tires, and several square meters of carbon-fiber parts. Also, it was painted a stunning shade of matte green. Not sure that makes the SVJ quicker, but who knows? All the gory details of the SVJ are in our First Drive, but just know that the SVJ is the Nürburgring Nordschleife production car lap record holder, taking the crown from the Porsche GT2 RS.
In 2016 we tested the then-new 740-hp, 509-lb-ft Aventador SV, which I called Lamborghini’s bloodiest axe. (The SVJ is bloodier, rest easy.) That particular monster weighed 3,900 pounds. The SVJ is heavier, by 2 pounds (3,902). The SV hit 60 mph in 2.6 seconds. The SVJ does it in 2.5. The SV ran the quarter mile in 10.4 seconds at 134.7 mph. The SVJ clips its predecessor by 0.1 second and travels at 136.4 seconds. You can see the new iteration is marginally quicker, but every little bit counts. Moreover, 10.3 seconds in the quarter mile is one of the quickest cars we’ve ever tested. The 3,167-pound, 711-hp McLaren 720S (which probably makes the same amount of power as the SVJ in reality) smashes the quarter in 10.1 seconds at 141.5 mph. Want to go quicker? You’re looking at near 1,000-hp hybrid hypercars (918 Spyder, P1, LaFerrari). The 1,001-hp Bugatti Veyron went a quarter mile in 10.4 seconds at 139.9 mph.
When it comes to stopping, the SVJ is a mixed bag. Yes, it stops from 60 mph in 94 feet, which is world class, truly. However, no one among us likes how the brakes work. The stoppers just don’t invoke confidence, and under real high-speed braking, the car squirms around. While our test team was running the SVJ around our figure-eight track, features editor Scott Evans rang me to say how much he didn’t like the brakes. Seems as if he couldn’t get the big bull whoaed down in time for a corner and ran wide enough to call me. Testing director Kim Reynolds told me the SVJ’s brakes held it back from setting a truly remarkable figure-eight time. The SVJ took 22.5 seconds to complete a lap, which is an excellent time but behind several cars that make less power, notably its sibling, the 630-hp Huracán Performante (22.2 seconds), the 592-hp McLaren600 LT (22.2 seconds), the 520-hp Porsche GT3 RS (22.0 seconds), and the Porsche GT2 RS (21.9 seconds, the quickest ever around our figure eight). The SVJ was able to pull 1.10 g on the skidpad. That used to be one hell of a big number.
As much as MotorTrend staffers didn’t like the SVJ’s brakes, our pro driver, Randy Pobst, hatedthem. I’ve known Randy for nine years, and he doesn’t swear much. He’s as close to a “golly gee willikers” type of guy as I’ve ever met. So imagine how badly my and Evans’ ears were burning when Randy came in from his hot laps and angrily barked, “The fracking thing wouldn’t stop!” Only he didn’t say fracking. Just think how awful the Italian gentlemen who flew in from Sant’Agata to assist us with our laps felt. Yes, they were in earshot. And bilingual.
Randy’s best lap of Big Willow three years ago in the Aventador SV was 1:25.42. I was hoping that the SVJ with Pobst at the helm would be able to beat the record he set in the GT2 RS, a crazy-quick 1:21.08. Alas, not even close. The new SVJ lapped the big track in 1:24.92. Quick, sure, but behind stuff like a Porsche GT3 manual (1:24.86), Corvette ZR1 (1:23.70), and the new Ford GT (1:23.69). Long story short, the brutal Lambo is the 15th quickest car we’ve ever run around Big Willow. Brakes were part of the issue, but I have an educated hunch that the SVJ’s magnetorheological dampers weren’t optimized for Big Willow’s bumpier-than-crocodile-hide surface, further compounding the braking issues Randy experienced.
I was hoping the SVJ would be able to set the lap record, I really was. Not because I have any special love for Lamborghini, but because I just like when records get set. But, as a friend of mine who has owned several Lamborghinis always tells me when I bring up numbers, “Owners don’t care.” I don’t totally agree with him, but I’ll leave you with an anecdote. A friend of mine and her husband are thinking about buying an SVJ. She tells me that they know two people who recently took delivery of Jotas. One guy thinks it’s the best Lamborghini he’s ever driven. The other guy had it a week and returned it. “Let me guess,” I said. “The guy that loves it actually takes the car up on winding canyon roads, and the guy who gave it back only drives around town hoping to impress people, yeah?” Yup! Makes total sense to me.
After spending nearly two weeks with this green beast the SVJ remains one of my favorite supercars and one of the greatest road cars I’ve ever driven. You just have to remember to push it. Hard. As for an absolute numbers car, you’re going to have to look elsewhere. But do you care? I think not.