I am Batman! At least, that’s how I feel driving the 2012 Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4 in Nero Nemesis matt black. A lethal combination of style and surreptitiousness, I patrol the streets of Tuscany in Italy with a passion and privilege reserved for a superhero. No one is my equal, not even the superbikes that circuit this region of wine country. I am the master of my domain; my light shines brightly upward to the sky. And, I am hopelessly lost. Alfred!
The Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4 is all that you expect when taking it in for the first time. Walking around the car at Sant’Agata Bolognese, I remember fondly being struck by its muscular frame. Quiet and at rest, the absence of power did nothing to quell my understanding of what would happen the moment I pushed the start button. Hell hath no fury like a bull spurred into action. Second only to the Bugatti Veyron in top speed for a production vehicle, 0-100 km/h requires 2.9 seconds. Top speed reaches 350 km/h and I have little doubt it will do it.
Power comes in the form of a 6.5-litre, 60˚ V12 engine equipped with variable-valve timing. The specification sheet indicates 700 horsepower at 8,250 rpm and 507 lb.-ft. of torque at 5,500 rpm.
Harnessing all that power is hard work for the 7-speed ISR automatic transmission, but it is easily up to the task. Paddle-shifts are the most fun, though fully automatic is available and I employ it from time-to-time on the drive down from Bologna. Highways are snow-covered and slippery at this time of year, so keeping the power under control is critical. Even Batman must be careful on occasion.
Exterior style lines are typically angled and abrupt. Other Italian supercars are sleek and rounded, not Lamborghini. It’s as if you are staring at a supermodel and suddenly she turns around and slaps you on the face. Even though it hurts, you can’t help but continue to gawk.
Inside, the same holds true, but don’t let the angles fool you. This is far and away one of the most comfortable driving environments I have ever experienced. Once the door closes and you are alone with your thoughts, there is no place like it on earth. It’s a true man cave.
Losing one’s self is easy in the Aventador. On this day, it takes on new meaning as I am doing my best to arrive at the impeccable Castello Del Nero Hotel & Spa. Located in the town of Tavarnelle Val di Pesa, in the heart of the Chianti wine region, this 12th Century castle has no equal. But for now, I can’t find it.
Streets are narrow and twisted to accommodate topographical inconsistencies, not logic. Backing up in the Aventador is hold- your- breath scary, but made somewhat easier by excellent center console imagery. I am much relieved when two local brothers come to my rescue and escort me to the hotel. Their price is a request for several pictures, which I gladly accommodate as we smile and shake hands at the front gate. Language is no barrier on this day; Lamborghini is our common point of reference with nothing else left to say.
Situated on 265 hectares, Castello Del Nero features 50 luxurious rooms including 18 suites. My room highlights ceramic floors throughout with warm pastel colours on the walls. A full-size bathroom with large sink and bathtub is downright grand by European standards. The sleeping area is a step down from the entrance, revealing a king-size bed, desk area overlooking the Chianti hills and large LCD TV. It is truly the best place to kick back and relax after a long day of driving.
Fine dining, lunch and a sumptuous American buffet breakfast takes place at La Torre Restaurant. Here Executive Chef Giovanni Luca di PirroIt creates the magic Tuscany is famous for. Food is an art form in this part of the world and celebrated with spectacular pairings from the extensive wine list. Casual fare and a long list of aperitifs are served at The Bar located across the hall.
Exclusivity continues at the castle as it boasts the areas first exclusive destination spa, developed and managed by renowned global spa specialist ESPA. The menu of available treatments is vast and I opt for the Castello Del Nero Relaxation Ritual, a 1 hour and 50 minute slice of heaven. It’s been a hard day of driving the Aventador, getting lost and all, so this superhero needs his timeout.
The next day dawns grey and rainy, but it adds to the fun of harnessing 700 horses on the winding streets and highways surrounding the hotel. Four-wheel drive with Haldex generation IV, ESP, ABS, massive disc brakes and Pirelli tires, plus a 3-position rear spoiler with speed adjustment, take it all in stride. But then, what else would you expect from Bruce Wayne’s everyday driver? No, I am not Batman. But it sure is fun to pretend. Now, if I could only find an easy way out of this one way street, life would be perfect. Alfred!
2012 Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4
Configuration: mid-engine/all-wheel drive
Engine/transmission: 6.5L 12 cyl. / 7-spd automatic
Power/torque: 700 hp/ 507 lb-ft
Fuel (capacity): Premium (90L)
Competitors: Aston Martin V12 Vantage, Ferrari 458 Italia, Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG, Porsche 911 Turbo S
Where to stay:
Castello Del Nero Hotel & Spa
Strada Spicciano, 7 50028 Tavarnelle Val di Pesa, Firenze, Italy