IT has to be every designer's dream brief. For the Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4 Roadster, Filippo Perini was given absolute freedom when he was told: "Don't care about the utility; it has to be the best-looking." Perini, the head of the Lamborghini Centro Stile or Lamborghini Design Centre, recounted at the Miami launch recently about how he had been instructed to create a car that was not only more beautiful than the Aventador coupé but also more extreme.
The result is an open-top model that is stunningly sensuous, with an intricate latticework to show off the heart of the car - the 6.5-litre V12 engine behind the driver.
An electric metal roof or soft fabric top would have obscured the view of the mid-engined Aventador's power plant. So Perini opted instead for two carbon fibre panels which have to be manually disassembled for storage in the front luggage compartment.
Each panel weighs six kg, but more than being a lightweight solution, they also allow the Roadster to retain the same sensuous profile of the coupé.
In Perini's words: "It is to keep the beauty of the side view."
The panels even play a structural role - when in place, they increase the Roadster's body rigidity.
Without the roof, the Roadster is 25 mm lower than the coupé. With the panels in place, it is exactly the same height. This means there is no performance compromise because convertibles are usually taller than their coupé versions in order to offer similar headroom, says Perini.
But while the profile is eye-catching, the design highlight of the Roadster is the plan view. Its shape changes from the front to the end to "add sexuality".
"The top is very important because the car is so low, especially when you are standing beside it," explains Perini.
As a result, the good-natured designer says that one of the best parts of the Roadster design is the engine bonnet.
This hood has a "spinal column" with hexagonal pieces of glass that, together with the network of geometric panel lines, provides a visual feast for the eyes.
Almost every detail of the huge V12 engine can be viewed without opening the bonnet.
And its design is not only pretty but practical - it helps to drain off rain water.
Like the coupé, the Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4 Roadster has a full carbon fibre body. It weighs in at 1,625 kg or just 50 kg more than the fixed roof version due to additional body reinforcements.
The naturally aspirated V12 punches out 700 hp and 690 Nm of torque. With the high power and low weight, the Roadster zips from stationary to 100 kmh in 3.0 seconds, or 0.1 of a second more than the coupé. Zero to 300 kmh takes 25.3 seconds.
But more than its performance, the Roadster is a moving work of art.
Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4 Roadster
Engine 6,498cc V12
Transmission 7-speed ISR
Max power 700 hp @ 8,250 rpm
Max torque 690 Nm @ 6,500 rpm
0-100 kmh 3.0 secs
0-300 kmh 25.3 secs
Top speed 350 kmh
CO2 emissions 370 g/km
Price from $1.9 million (without COE)
Distributor Lamborghini Singapore