February 20, 2019 6 min read
When it comes to the ultimate in performance cars, the Lamborghini Aventador is up there with the very best…
From its jaw-dropping aggressive looks, to the thunderous 690bhp, 6.5-litre V12, engine, it epitomises what a supercar should be: brash, exciting and also capable of scaring you a little. The LP700-4 is a raucous, monster of a car and is all the better for it. It will reach 62mph in just 2.9secs and if you keep your foot in, will top out at an eye watering 217mph. But, even a mighty bull has to adhere to strict manufacturer regulations. Which means there’s always a little room for improvement – especially when it comes to exhaust technology.
It’s in this field that Akrapovič excels. With more than 20 years’ of automotive experience and having supported numerous winning motorsport teams (including Audi Sport), the Slovenian exhaust specialists have produced one of their finest systems for the Aventador.
The brief was simple: it had to increase the performance – both power and torque – throughout the rev range. It had to save some weight. And it had to deliver that unmistakable Akrapovič soundtrack. It’s this, last fact that is the key; after all many exhaust companies can make a loud system, but few are able to create the delicate balance of something easy to live with, but that also makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up when you bury the throttle. It’s here that the engineers have utilised special 3D sound maps to fully develop the aural perfection that this high-end system delivers. But don’t just take our word for it.
RE Performance are making a real name for themselves as one of the UK’s most up and coming supercar specialists. Lead by the highly driven and very talented Ricky Elder, these guys focus on making the best even better. With a list of high net worth clients who own some of the most desirable super and hypercars money can buy, RE Performance deliver an extremely high level of service. So they were the perfect fit for PERON, which is why we’re delighted to welcome them as our newest Akrapovič dealer. As if any proof were needed as to the drive of these guys, the first system they ordered was for the Aventador.
So, as soon as we heard the big Lamborghini had been delivered, we headed over to their Swindon HQ to watch this stunning titanium system being installed, and then experience the Akrapovič effect on a test drive.
The installation begins…
With over £200k worth of Lamborghini sat in front of me, it feels a little surreal that in a moment, Ricky will begin to disassemble the rear end. But, with a wealth of experience working on cars like this, I can tell it’s in very safe hands.
The process begins with the engine covers being removed, before the active rear wing and its inner workings are carefully undone. It’s placed on a padded workstation – the first of many expensive parts that must be kept safe. The honeycomb rear vents and their surrounds are next, before Ricky can access the rear lights – they need to come out too. The rear wheels, complete with monstrous 355/25x21in tyres, must be removed to access the clips holding on the rear bumper.
Then, after undoing a multitude of bolts, the entire rear bumper and diffuser is gently prised off, to reveal the rear crash bar and the stock exhaust wrapped in heat shielding. The exhaust surround comes off with the bumper and reveals four aggressive looking tailpipes. Next, the crash bar is removed, allowing free access to the stock exhaust.
Ricky works carefully and methodically, but with an ease and confidence that you only get after many years of working on high-value cars. The odd recalcitrant clip or bolt is soon dealt with and there’s an air of calm in the workshop.
Akrapovič versus stock system
Once the stock exhaust has been unbolted, it’s removed and placed behind the car, next to the Akrapovič system. The difference in the two setups is staggering. Compared with the curvaceous titanium art of the Akrapovič, the stock Lamborghini system seems bloated and ordinary. Which isn’t really surprising, given that this system won a prestigious Red Dot Product Design award back in 2016.
A quick test on a set of scales reveals that the Akrapovič system is 13.8kg lighter than the stock unit (that equates to a 46% saving), and the tailpipe trim half the weight of the Lamborghini item. Laid out on the floor, the system really does look stunning.
From the quality of each weld, through to the exquisitely crafted pipework and the carbon trim on the tailpipe surround – it exudes class.
Manufactured from ultra-lightweight titanium and Inconel straight tubes, the system can be ordered with optional Inconel link pipes. As well as a thrilling sound, the Slip-On Line system delivers a proven +9.9hp and 28.2Nm, further extending the potency of the Aventador’s V12.
The V12 sound – without an exhaust!
Before we fit the new system, Ricky offers to start the engine so we can hear what a V12 sans exhaust sounds like. It isn’t necessary, of course, but who wouldn’t want to experience that? As the starter whirs and the 6.5-litre unit bursts into life, the workshop is filled with noise. A quick blip of the throttle delivers an intense shriek; it takes everyone by surprise and we all stare at this beast as it booms away. It’s not everyday you get to see the inner workings of an Aventador and everyone is fascinated.
Manoeuvring the new system into the space at the rear of the Lamborghini is easy thanks to the much lower mass. It’s been fitted with the OEM heat shielding and slides into place with everything lined up to perfection. There is no jiggling or persuasion needed; it just fits as if it were an OEM component.
Put it back together
Now begins the refit of the collection of expensive components that were removed earlier. It all goes back together very smoothly and I’m impressed by how straightforward the whole process has been.
With the new Akrapovič tailpipe trim fitted to the bumper, it is reattached, together with the rear wing and wheels.
The final job is to line up the tailpipe surround complete with carbon fibre trim.
As with everything, the devil is in the detail and this is given high priority.
The Akrapovič Sound Kit
From here, the last task, before we get to the all-important sound test, is to wire in the Akrapovič Sound Kit. The wiring loom simply connects to the OEM set-up, with the module carefully secured under the offside engine cover.
The neat remote device is then pared to the car, to allow the exhaust valves to be opened or closed depending on the mode selected.
And so to the first start up…
With smart phones at the ready, we give Ricky the nod and he pushes the starter, firing the big V12 into life. The workshop erupts with a crescendo of sound. It’s a deep, bassy timbre that feels urgent and full of latent anger. The engine settles into a rumbling idle that sounds fantastic, but the best is yet to come.
As Ricky prods the throttle, the subtle idle switches to a devilish howl. The sound is pure racecar – an epic, full-bodied shriek that only a V12 can deliver. But it’s more intense, angrier and more alive. The Akrapovič system truly makes the most of what is already a fantastic engine and we’re left giggling like naughty schoolboys.
Time to see what it’s like on the road
As we move out into the busy afternoon traffic, it’s clear that even at idle the new system sounds terrific. But as we get up to speed on a dual carriageway, there’s no drone or boom to be heard; just the delicious sound of that V12 doing its thing. Once we’re free of traffic, Ricky opens the taps and the sound is astonishing. In Corsa mode, everything is harder edged and the valves are fully open. As he pulls back on the paddle shifters there’s a bark from behind us followed by a shrill howl as the revs rise.
It really does sound like an old-school V12 racecar – unfettered and visceral. Nail the throttle in second gear and there’s a mighty shove in the kidneys as this behemoth of a car uses all of its 690bhp to provide epic acceleration. But it gets even better.
As Ricky pulls on the left paddle, it blips the throttle and the sound is incredible. It’s an addictive hard metallic bark that you imagine a Le Mans racecar would make. It’s the kind of sound that you want to hear again and again and, dare I say it, is one of the finest engine notes I’ve ever experienced.
Afterwards, over a much-needed coffee, I join Ricky and the crew to digest the day. The installation took the best part of the six-hours, but it went very smoothly. The Akrapovič system not only fits to perfection, but it sounds absolutely incredible. Bear in mind this isn’t only my opinion – the small gathering of supercar fans that have appeared at RE Performance HQ are all in agreement that it has transformed the car.
The Akrapovič Aventador LP700-4 Slip-On Line system retails for £11,519 including VAT and is available from PERON’s official Akrapovič dealer network. Click HERE to find your nearest dealer.
Here’s some GoPro footage from the test drive and an iPhone video of the car revving. Turn up those speakers! More to follow…