With unemployment at 9% and the U.S. economy still wobbly, it is difficult for most of us to get too gassed up about the introduction of the latest Lamborghini. Or, is now exactly the right time to let our automotive fancy and dreams of fast cars and super models run away?

The Italian automaker has always been great for automotive escapism, the stuff of bedroom posters for young people with horsepower and growling engines in their dreams. But it's also, for many, an emblem of excess and a true sign that people with fat bank accounts have run out of decent ideas about how to spend their money. After all, just how many hungry kids could we feed with the more than $390K that the car will cost.

For most buyers, it will be their fourth or fifth car. They are also bought by collectors who acquire cars, store them, and hope they appreciate in value.

From time to time, we see one tooling around Beverly Hills, Miami and New York City, and we think ... poser! Probably some jerk driving it. It's the European sports car equivalent of a Hummer.

But let's call a Lamborghini what it is: Car Porn.

View Gallery: 2012 Lamborghini Aventador


Who among us wouldn't accept an invitation to drive the newest Lamborghini on a test track near Rome at the invitation of the company? Autoblog's Matt Davis was among the lucky ones to get track time with the newest Lambo near Rome. Here are two videos, one that shows the car on track, and the other with Davis in the cockpit with a professional driver.





So, what is this car anyway? The Aventador LP700-4s is the latest from the storied automaker, which is owned these days by Volkswagen Group. It is a V-12 (don't even ask the fuel economy), 691-horsepower stallion with 509 pound-feet of torque. The cost: starting price is $390,700, but that is before buyers start asking for custom features like leather seats made from the hides of albino reindeer.

At that price, sales volume need only be small. Too many owners, after all, and buyers might get the feeling the club was not exclusive enough. Then company reports that it has sold over 1,000 already to people who have placed orders. That's an 18-month wait-list. The plan is to average 750 a year.

About Lamborghini

The first models debuted in the mid-1960s. The company gained acclaim and a following starting in 1966 with the introduction of the Miura sports coupé. As is the case with most "super-car" or boutique car companies, Lamborghini has had ups and downs with the world economy. When times get tough and financial markets fall, such automotive baubles are the among the first to feel the fallout.

Between its mid-1960s birth and the 1987, it had gone through bankruptcy and three changes in ownership before being purchased by Chrysler in 1987. Then chairman and CEO Lee Iacocca, at that time the most prominent Italian-American in the U.S. and considered presidential timber, bought the brand to try and add luxury to the company's portfolio. It was a painful and unproductive marriage, though, and Chrysler sold it off in 1994 just as Iacocca was retiring and unable to stop the sale.

Lamborghini's floundering continued through the 1990s under ownership of an Indonesian firm until being sold to German automaker Audi, part of the Volkswagen Group. For the last decade, the company has had stability and produced arguably the best vehicles in its history.

The U.S. is the biggest market for Lamborghini, accounting for about 40% of worldwide sales. The next biggest markets are Germany (13%), Great Britain (9%) and Japan (8%).

View Gallery: 2012 Lamborghini Aventador