Imagine a place where modified Ferraris and Porsches are so commonplace the locals hardly bat an eyelid when you drive past. Monaco? Marbella? LA?
No. This is deepest Bavaria, around the towns of Stetten and Pfaffenhausen where Novitec Rosso and Ruf ply their trade, turning spectacular supercars into automotive haute couture for wealthy enthusiasts.
Today, however, ears accustomed to the scream of a flat-plane crank Ferrari V8, or the wail of a Porsche flat-six prick up as an unfamiliar soundtrack permeates the air.
Resonating with a distinct intake and exhaust, the deeper voiced, more guttural growl of a Lamborghini V12 swivels heads as the pearlescent white Aventador streaks past.
Eyeballs are riveted to its futuristic visage as the interloper from Sant' Agata Bolognese passes through their world. So radical is the basic Aventador in both shape and detailing, compared to the daily dose of Ferraris and Porsches, that this might as well be an alien spacecraft.
Because the Lamborghini flagship comes with a wow factor of 11, casual observers seeing an Aventador for the first time might never guess an aftermarket tuner fettled the car. However, Lamborghini owners and enthusiasts will undoubtedly recognize the difference. Enter Novitec Torado, the new offshoot of Novitec Rosso - the renowned Ferrari specialist.
The more discerning Ferrari owner hates the idea of seeing an identical car at their exclusive country club, so Novitec Rosso's boutique customization options have made the company a successful niche enterprise. And now Novitec Torado aims to deliver the same service to Lamborghini-owning counterparts.
The new Lambo program was the result of numerous requests from Novitec dealers and clients around the world. "In the past, Ferrari and Lamborghini owners were different people," Novitec sales manager Dirk Moersdorf explained. "However, it's no longer unusual for clients to own both, and a customer with several of our modified Ferraris recently took delivery of the 1000th Aventador to roll off the production line."
"In fact, Novitec founder Wolfgang Hegedorn used to own a Diablo and a Ferrari himself, so there's a precedent for both these Italian marques within our company," he said.
Torado is an unusual name and Dirk explained how it came about: "It is a fantasy name," he said. "We sat around brainstorming and came up with something that sounded Italian and suitable for a tuning company. Some of our clients guessed it was a combination of Toreador (bullfighter), and Tornado, but that's a coincidence."
When looking at the first performance options to offer customers, bespoke wheels always make a good impression. So Novitec Torado scored with its three-piece NL1 forged wheels, which feature five double-spokes and a deep offset at the rear. They not only look good but also allow cool air to reach the factory ceramic brakes.
The standard Aventador wheels and tires have been increased one size by Novitec, which has fitted 20x9" front and 21x13" rear wheels shod with 255/30 ZR20 and 355/25 ZR21 Pirelli P Zero rubber.
While the wheel centers are available in silver or black, they can also be colour-coded or fitted with carbon fiber rims to match the aero components.
Owners after a simple suspension upgrade can opt for sport springs that drop the ride height 20mm, but full adjustability is available with Ohlins coilovers, as fitted to this car, providing a full range of compression, rebound and height adjustment.
The Novitec Torado Aventador looks sensational even when parked thanks to 16 carbon-fiber aero parts that take styling cues from the factory equivalents, but are extended for visual effect.
"The air intake scoops in the nose increase the ram air for the radiators, while the front spoiler lip, which fits to the factory bumper, looks like a larger version of the factory one. It produces extra downforce over the front axle required to counterbalance our large, fixed rear wing," Dirk told us. "A central strut between the original bumper and extended spoiler supports it against the extra downforce."
The company has also provided a new front luggage compartment lid with operational air ducts that help to create negative lift. But if you don't go for this replacement lid, you can add extended air outlets on the standard one. And unlike the rest of the components, which come in carbon fiber only, the front lid can be ordered in fiberglass to be painted body color.
The carbon mirror covers are the only part of the Torado kit added purely for looks. Otherwise, a plethora of parts replace or add to the Aventador's aggressively angular shape.
The new carbon sill covers, for example, draw your eyes rearwards to the larger intake scoops and side window scoops that direct more cooling air into the engine bay.
You can have either a new engine cover with air ducts, or use the original cover with extended air outlets. There's also a roof-mounted air scoop to funnel more air into the engine bay.
Most supercars look unfinished without a rear wing, and the Aventador is certainly no exception. Here you have the choice of either a single or double-plane rear wing, with downforce aided and abetted by a single or double underbody diffuser. Meanwhile the air outlets in the rear bumper are extended for smoother airflow.
Many tuners put aesthetics before practical issues, or are simply unaware of the technical issues, such as the protocol programmed into the factory ECU that deploys the factory rear spoiler whenever the car is running below 68mph. This is to ensure adequate engine bay ventilation when the car is in traffic or unable to generate cooling airflow.
Most tuners who add a rear wing disable this function, which can lead to engine overheating in hot climates such as the Middle East, Far East and USA, where many of these cars live.
The Novitec Torado Cantronic ECU, however, allows the rear wing to be lifted by the factory-designated 20mm for ventilation. This also avoids the ECU showing a fault code. The company even devised a module that locks the spoiler in the raised position when the car is at rest with the engine off. This makes it easier for the dealers to remove the rear bumper during installation of the sports exhaust.
"We always research why the factory does certain things with their active and passive cooling systems, and then ensure we enhance rather than remove some of the cooling capacity with our new parts," Dirk explained. "This is vital because the extra power we extract from the engine produces more heat."
On that score, Novitec Torado offer four stages of power increase to unlock more of the potential of the 6498cc V12 that develops 700hp at 8250rpm and 509 lb-ft at 5500rpm.
"We found some big gains by addressing the ECU mapping and reducing back pressure with our free-flowing exhaust, which uses 100-cell sports cats," Dirk explained.
Strangely, Novitec Torado has chosen to annotate its conversions backwards, so stage 4 is the least powerful...
Stage 4 is an exhaust-only conversion that relies on the latitude built into the stock ECU to compensate for the lower backpressure of the Novitec exhaust.
Weighing 40 lb less than the factory exhaust, the stainless steel system has no flap to alter its decibel level for town and country. Its 100-cell metal sports cats reduce back pressure enough to generate a claimed 22hp and 3 lb-ft.
Options to this spec, and indeed the other three, are flap regulation, high-temperature heat protection, or the use of Inconel in place of stainless steel, for a further saving of 4.4 lb.
Stage 3 adds cat replacement pipes with Novitec's Tectronic coding to avoid a fault code. This pares a further 4.4 lb and takes power to 728hp at 8200rpm with 523 lb-ft at 5400rpm.
Optimising the fuel and ignition curve of the ECU together with the stage 4 exhaust results in 743hp at 8100rpm and 528 lb-ft at 5400rpm.
As with stage 4, this is the preferred conversion for EU countries and Switzerland, where emissions controls are rigorous. It's also, therefore, the default conversion for California.
Finally, stage 1 has the stage 3 exhaust and stage 2 ECU to realize 748hp at 8100rpm and 532.5 lb-ft at 5400rpm. The extra output and weight saving shows just how restrictive and heavy the stock exhaust system is.
Even without the full retrim in fine leather and alcantara to an owner's individual requirements, the cabin of the Novitec Torado Aventador looks more complete thanks to the carbon fiber on the steering wheel, dashboard, center console, armrest, door panels and footboard. However, the more important side of the conversion becomes apparent when you flip up the red 'safety' cover over the start/stop button and fire the V12.
The noise of air and fuel combusting sounds even more explosive, and the growl that accompanies the rock steady idle is an octave deeper and more menacing. The extra power and torque isn't apparent at normal road speeds, except in terms of the crisper throttle response, thanks to the lower exhaust back pressure and the more aggressive low-speed ignition curve. However, when the last village disappeared in the rearview mirror, and wide country roads opened up ahead, I was finally able to use all the revs in second and third gears and look for the enhanced top-end.
As the revs build, more instruments join the orchestra, adding extra layers of induction, combustion and exhaust noise to the soundtrack that reaches a screaming V12 crescendo. The greater incisiveness of the throttle response and the extra horses at the top-end are felt as the rev counter swings past 6000rpm towards the 8500rpm redline.
Without the benefit of the active damping that the Ferrari 458 Italia and McLaren MP4-12C and are blessed with, the stock Aventador has a rather choppy ride by contemporary supercar standards. However, the Novitec/Öhlins suspension can easily be tuned to alleviate that. It was apparent on our test drive that some of the bumps that would normally be uncomfortable in a stock Aventador were being rounded off, despite the larger tires.
The Aventador has been a sales success for Lamborghini, with a six-month waiting list several years after its introduction. And that success means it's not unreasonable to see another Aventador cruising your patch. So Novitec Torado is able to fix that problem by giving you the unique sports car you always wanted.
2014 Lamborghini Aventador
Engine 6498cc V12 with Novitec Torado ECU, stainless-steel exhaust and larger air intakes
Drivetrain Lamborghini seven-speed ISR transmission, 4WD
Brakes stock ceramic
Suspension Novitec/Öhlins coilovers
Wheels & Tires 20x9" f, 21x13" r Novitec Torado NL1 wheels, 255/30 ZR20 f, 355/25 ZR21 r Pirelli P Zero tires
Exterior 16-piece Novitec Torado carbon-fiber aero kit including front air intake scoops and lip spoiler, front luggage compartment lid, mirror covers, sill covers, side intake scoops, engine cover, roof-mounted scoop, rear wing, diffuser and rear ducts
Interior Carbon fiber steering wheel, dash cover, console, armrest, door panels, footboard, sill plates