Irrespective of which country you’re from, if you have been a car enthusiast since the time you were struggling to quit the milk bottle, Lamborghini in all probability was the first car to grace your wall as a poster. A higher probability is that it was also the last one to leave if ever cars did leave your wall. Now Lamborghini doesn’t make the best or the fastest cars in the world but what they make is an emotion wrapped in the form of a stupendously stunning design. There’s no other carmaker that pushes the limit of ‘bonkers’ in terms of car design and always turns out to be splendidly successful. So it isn’t a surprise that every time one sees a Lambo on the streets there are multiple orgasmic explosions all around.
Naturally, who wouldn’t want to drive such a machine that looks as pretty as the ageless ‘Apsaras’ depicted in Indian mythology, sounds like the God of Thunder playing an Iron Maiden song and goes as fast as Sonic The Hedgehog. I was also one of such gazillion people and my prayers were answered when Lamborghini invited me to Sant’Agata Bolognese, their one and only factory in the world. This meant that not only was I going to drive a Lamborghini but I was about to see them being made as well!
Fast forward to my arrival in the plant and I was greeted by the Lamborghini employees who first took me around their museum. The museum houses all iconic Lamborghini models made till date along with some special edition ones including the achingly beautiful Miura. While I did want to spend more time in the museum, I was on a rather tight schedule and had to move quickly.
Next up was the plant and having seen numerous automotive plants in my life, this one was completely different. Yes, there were people moving around with parts trolleys and there were unfinished cars on the moving assembly line. However, a couple of minutes being there made me feel this was a place where people were not manufacturing but creating and crafting instead.
I started off with the Aventador line, followed by the Huracan. First up was the leather cutting station where skilled craftswomen were marking the defects in leather sheets based purely on their vision and experience. Honestly, I couldn’t find anything wrong with most areas she marked as rejected, reflecting her experience and craftsmanship. Next was the step of cutting the leather using a special machine and getting rid of all the rejected portions. Even the slightest blemish or mark is not acceptable as Lamborghini believes in providing the absolute best to its customers. This was followed by the leather being processed and then being hand-stitched, followed by installation on seats.
Lamborghini cars with the exception of the Urus are hand made and hence even tricky processes such as the engine and chassis marriage are done by hand using only help from cranes to handle the weight. The process to bolt the engine is much harder than front-engined cars as the engine here has to be installed from the rear, requiring more precision.
All processes such as installing the dashboard, windshield, upholstery and other parts are done by hand and the only machines used are to handle the weight and tools to tighten or fix parts. Of course, there are machines to ensure zero defects but they do not assist manufacturing. This means the workers on the assembly line are not merely rolling out machines but are handcrafting one of the finest and most loved cars on the planet.
On the day I was at the factory, the Aventador line was to roll out just 4.5 cars while the Huracan line was scheduled for eight cars. That might sound less but that’s what makes Lamborghinis so desirable across the world. Add to this the fact that no single car was the same as every car had different options for colour, wheels, seats, stitching, interior colours and numerous other personalised details. All this was part of Lamborghini’s Ad Personam programme, which allows a customer to customise her/ his car to an extent beyond imagination.
For example, the choice of exterior colours goes beyond 200 and wheel options are more than 20. You can even have your face/ name/ symbol stitched on to seats made as per your choice. It’s hard to explain through words and pictures how this art unfolds at the factory but it’s truly an experience to be had before dying.
Once done with the Aventador and Huracan lines, we moved on to the Urus line, which is driving Lamborghini’s growth right now, especially in emerging markets such as India. The Urus line is very different from the ones explained earlier. First, this line didn’t exist at the time of Ferrucio Lamborghini and has been built recently as part of the company’s expansion. Second, the Urus is not a hand-made vehicle like its low-slung and manic siblings. Instead, the Urus line is automated like it is for most modern vehicles and this makes sense because if Lamborghini wants to create sustainable growth for the future they need to roll out SUVs at a faster rate. On my day of the visit, the Urus line was scheduled to make about 25 vehicles. That’s more than the Aventador line makes in an entire week!
Witnessing the extremely different Aventador/ Huracan assembly lines along with that of the Urus was a great experience for an enthusiast like me. It showed how Lamborghini is successfully progressing to automation for the next phase of growth while ensuring it isn’t diluting the emotion that creates the soul-stirring experience of being in a handcrafted Lamborghini sports car.
Moving on, I was still wondering what car will I get to drive as the Lamborghini team had planned to keep that as a surprise. From the factory and museum section we moved on to the commercial centre of the factory and I saw a grey Aventador S Roadster parked outside the glass entrance gate and instantly started praying that this is the car I get to drive. Turned out a couple of minutes later that it was the car I was to drive for the day!
While I would’ve preferred the yellow colour, the Aventador S was looking smoking hot in this shade of green too. I was given a quick brief on the controls and features, the route I was to drive on and local laws to be aware of. Opening the scissor doors is an experience one cannot get tired of doing and bystanders cannot stop ogling at. These doors are synonymous with the image of a Lambo and look super cool. The sharp and edgy design of the Aventador S lends it a futuristic look and its low-slung stance gives it a stance so aggressive and angry that it would headbutt the horizon if allowed to.
While I would’ve preferred the yellow colour, the Aventador S was looking smoking hot in this shade of green too. I was given a quick brief on the controls and features, the route I was to drive on and local laws to be aware of.
Once you start paying attention to the cabin it’s easy to realise that the dashboard looks as if it came straight out of a fighter jet. It also has a flip starter button just like the ones we see on missile-launch buttons! Flip it open and the motor comes to life with a slight whine, followed by a loud and musical exhaust note. The sound of the engine starting is so loud that if you want to sneak out of home in this without letting your parents or wife know, well it’s impossible.
With the briefing done, I drove out of the factory alone with my heart pounding to the bursting limit amid mixed emotions. While I was ecstatic about being in a supercar with a 6.5 L V12 engine reigning in 730 hp of Italian power, I was also concerned about driving a car so expensive and wide all alone in a place and country I’ve never been to. I drove cautiously for the first 20-odd minutes, getting a hang of the car, the controls and visibility. Surprisingly, I started feeling comfortable soon and started to understand this magnificent machine. Visibility upfront and on the sides was average but at the rear, it was quite constrained. Another noticeable thing around the factory is that one gets to see many Lamborghinis driving around. This is because Lamborghini does not have a test track at its factory and hence all cars are tested on the roads around the factory. A great thing since the world looks so much better with Lambos all around!
Few more minutes into the drive and I started having fun with the V12 engine on the nearly empty streets leading to Bologna. I toggled through the driving modes and found out that the Sport mode was the best since Corsa was a little too aggressive for public roads. Now, unlike the lightning-quick Dual-Clutch Transmissions, the Aventador S features an AMT (Automated Manual Transmission)! It might sound absurd and it actually does but Lamborghini opted for this unit since using a DCT was proving to be too expensive and complicated. Also, this AMT is not like the ones you find in the slow mass-market cars as this one shifts in as fast as 50 ms! Try blinking your eye faster that and you’ll certainly fail.
On the road, the gearbox works fine when driving at city speeds or trying to go quarter or half-throttle. The problem starts when you mash your right foot to the metal and then the gearbox turns out to be a bit notchy around the redline. Even when using the paddles you just can’t get the feeling of seamless shifts like one would from a DCT but yes, the shifts are fast so no complaints there.
Once I got used to the gearbox, I started pushing the brilliant engine, which does propel the car to 100 kmph in just about three seconds and a top speed of 360 kmph. That’s not the point of buying or driving a Lamborghini though as what matters is the visual and aural drama and on those fronts, the car delivers in spades. Acceleration is brutal once you mash the throttle and the Aventador S surges fast enough to give you a sense of warp on single-lane roads within a few seconds. The loud exhaust note and the exploding pops and crackles following every shift make the driving experience a nirvana. A couple of hours later, I was pushing the car in every gear and even at speeds that I cannot mention the Aventador didn’t even feel as if it was anywhere close to its performance peak.
The streets I drove on for the day were mostly straight or had wide curves so I couldn’t push the car much around corners but around some sharp turns I could make out that the Aventador isn’t scary to push around corners. Electronics do a great job of keeping things in check to prevent unwanted sideways movement and the grip on offer itself is impressive. The rear-wheel steering also helps things as the Aventador S despite its size feels agile and while it might not be a car for setting a track record it is THE one to set a dream accomplishment record in your mind.
The car I was driving had features such as reverse parking camera, a decent infotainment system and a satisfactory air-conditioning system as well. I mention these things because these are all you would be bothered about when driving a car as wild and impressive as the Aventador S.
After about six hours of driving on a mix of Italian highways and town roads, many of which were not in good shape my buttocks, back and spine were a bit shaken but I didn’t complain at all. In fact, I was wishing there was more time to drive when I handed over the car back at the factory to take a ride to my hotel in a German luxury station wagon. The reason the pain didn’t matter was that there are cars faster than Lamborghini on sale but I can’t think of many that are as dramatic, desirable and awe-inspiring. This is what the Italian brand is all about and that’s what I got to experience in the factory, museum and the Aventador S itself that day. You don’t buy a Lamborghini to go just fast, you would buy it more for the drama it creates every time you’re in it and the passion that it ignites as it has the ability to reach out to and tingle every sense of your body and eventually your soul.
This marked the end of an epic day that I would remember even during my last moments on the planet. Whoever said money can’t buy happiness clearly didn’t experience a Lambo or this saying would never have been coined.
Stay tuned with Express Drives for more updates! Also, visit and subscribe to Express Drives YouTube channel.
Get live Stock Prices from BSE, NSE, US Market and latest NAV, portfolio of Mutual Funds, calculate your tax by Income Tax Calculator, know market’s Top Gainers, Top Losers & Best Equity Funds. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.