Bulls on parade - exploring Yorkshire in a brace of Lamborghinis
It’s been torrential rain of Biblical proportions for the last four hours as we thundered through the Yorkshire Dales in darkness, navigating glorified single-track roads whose concaved, worn ‘tramlines’ are saturated rivulets flooding from the overflowing hedgerows lining the way.
Finally we find our destination, shining in the gloom; The Yorke Arms at Ramsgill-in-Nidderdale. I can’t resist it. I blip the throttle one last time just to hear the big 6498cc V12 inches from the back of my head in the Lamborghini Aventador S.
I glide the upward-lifting scissor door open, ease myself out, and gaze at the sensual lines of the Lambo. Simply stunning. But what sets this image apart from the traditional, glossy images of Lamborghinis you see in magazines, is that this car has both sides splattered in mud.
The weather has been atrocious. Having started out in sunshine from the newly-opened Lamborghini Leeds, operated by Glasgow-based Park’s Motor Group, and briefly touching Harrogate, Skipton and Broughton Hall, before a photo opportunity as the sun set behind the dramatic Grade II-listed Ribblehead Viaduct, conditions rapidly deteriorated.
Forty-eight hours later, many of the roads we drove had become impassable as the weather worsened further and huge swathes of the area became flooded.
For now though I was able to reflect on a day’s driving like no other. The bare figures are head-scratching: four Lamborghinis; a total of 2,800bhp; 22,196cc; average 0-62mph of 3.075 seconds (fastest 2.9s, slowest 3.6s); and a combined value of £1,056,926.
I started with the smallest of the four; smallest, but by no means the least significant. The £165,256 Huracan Evo (£212,046 with 'options') is Lambo’s latest evolution of its super sportscar. Delivering 640bhp from its 5204cc V10 to all four wheels via a seven-speed dual clutch gearbox, the Evo might sound daunting; the reality, however, is quite the opposite.
So easy is it to drive — at least in normal conditions — that I have no doubts your favourite granny could safely drive the car. As long as they could perform the necessary gymnastics to get in and out of the door. It’s a challenge all Lamborghini occupants face, unless you opt for the Urus SUV; more of which later.
The Evo introduces rear-wheel steering and torque vectoring for the first time to the Huracan. It also gets the same engine as fitted to Lambo’s high-performance, lightweight Huracan Performante. The eagle-eyed amongst you will also have spotted revised bodywork which improves aerodynamic efficiency. And with a 0-62mph time of 2.9 seconds, and top speed of 201mph, it’s mightily impressive.
Next-up, the barnstorming Aventador SVJ Roadster. Whisper it: £385,213 with options, and 16mpg combined ... much less today! Having almost immediately felt at ease in the Huracan, I expected to require some time to recalibrate to the wider footprint of the Aventador.
I needn’t have worried. Bigger than the Huracan it might be, but the Aventador also has that ability to fold itself around you and appear to shrink its dimensions. Powered by a naturally aspirated 6.5-litre, quad-cam, 60-degree V12, it’s no shrinking violet. With a whopping 759bhp under your right foot, it matches the same 0-62mph time as the Huracan Evo.
Boy do you sit low. The roofline of the SVJ is 60mm lower than a McLaren 720S … and the McLaren is low! And while it looks dramatic from the outside, with its architecturally stunning rear wings, inside the drama continues. This is a car with a seriously outlandish personality. Oh. And don’t forget it’s a roadster, with an easily removable roof panel.
Of course, if you didn’t want the 760bhp of the SVJ — but why wouldn’t you? — there’s always the 730bhp of the ‘standard’ Aventador S. Both models are powered by a 6498cc V12, with power going to all four-wheels via a Haldex Generation IV system. And guess what? Yes, the Aventador S cracks the 0-62mph sprint in … 2.9secs. top speed? An eye-watering 217mph. But if you want one, you’ll need to wait till 2021, such is the demand.
Over dinner prepared by Frances Atkins, the first female British chef to win a Michelin star, I chatted with Andrea Baldi, the youthful-looking CEO of Lamborghini across Europe, Middle East and Africa. Traditionally the UK has been the Italian super sportscar company’s second-largest market, behind only the USA. But now he admits Brexit is likely to scupper the UK’s record.
“I don’t expect Brexit to destroy the market, but it will definitely impact on us,” Baldi stated. “Actually the Brexit issue is probably going to give the advantage to other markets to overtake the UK in terms of sales. This year I expect Germany to be the biggest market in Europe for the first time.
“Historically, the UK has been a very big market and when it comes to super sportscars, in terms of population and the size of the country, the concentration of super sportscars in the UK has no equal anywhere else in the world.”
Turning to Park’s Motor Group, already a global award-winner with rival supercar manufacturer McLaren in Glasgow and Leeds, Baldi stated: “We are not the kind of manufacturer that says ‘oh, you are with another manufacturer who is in competition, so I won’t consider you’; it’s actually quite the opposite.
“They understood very clearly the difference between a McLaren and a Lamborghini. And so they appreciated there was part of their customer base that was going to be very interested in owning a Lamborghini."
Next morning it was back to Leeds, again in the Urus. Whoever thought an SUV could be such fun? Think 650bhp from a 3996cc V8 Bbiturbo, capable of carrying five adults and their luggage, hitting 62mph from standstill in 3.6 seconds and carrying on to a max of 189mph.
If you’ve seen a Lamborghini on the road recently, it’s likely this is the car. It accounts for by far the biggest percentage of all Lamborghini sales, and is the car which has, unequivocally, attracted more female buyers to the marque.
The female share of the Lamborghini market in the UK is still below double digits. Since the launch of Urus, it has though grown to numbers the company has never seen before; around 6-7 per cent, compared to less than 1 per cent before.
According to Baldi: “Attracting women drivers is also an important challenge for us, and one in which we have certainly already delivered positive results. But that’s still not enough, and it’s an effort we still need to keep increasing.”
Merely mentioning the name Lamborghini is enough to fuel desire in anyone, male or female, who has an interest in driving cars, whether or not they can ever even dream realistically of owning one. To drive four in less than 24 hours, in conditions as far removed from the sun-kissed weather normally enjoyed at the supercar maker's HQ at Sant'Agata in northeastern Italy, was not only a thrill, but an education into how easily it would be to live with one. Now; where's that Lottery ticket?