Lamborghini Gallardo LP570-4 Superleggera at 2010 Geneva motor show

Published: 01 March 2010

This beautiful green beast is the new Lamborghini Gallardo LP570-4 Superleggera, unveiled tonight at the Volkswagen Group’s big party ahead of tomorrow’s 2010 Geneva motor show

This LP570-4 Superleggera will hit 62mph in 3.4 seconds (its predecessor took four tenths longer and the LP560-4 needs 3.7 seconds for the benchmark sprint), dash past 124mph after 10.2 seconds, and reach 202mph flat out. It’s not a harder, faster version of the special edition, rear-drive Balboni Gallardo, but a harder, faster version of the regular LP560-4.

Lamborghini Gallardo LP570-4 Superleggera? That means four-wheel drive and close to 570bhp, right?

Spot on. LP stands for ‘longitudinale posteriore’ and means the glorious 5.2-litre engine is mounted longitudinally behind the driver, as in all Gallardos. The ‘570’ designates the output in PS, and ‘4’ means the power goes to both axles.

Over and above the regular LP560-4 Gallardo there is only a modest increase in power (9bhp), but there’s still 562bhp delivered at a howling 8000rpm. And that 562bhp means the dry-sumped V10 produces 108bhp/litre, along with a total of 398lb ft at 6500rpm. Incidentally, the Superleggera's power output, top speed and 0-62mph time match those of the new Ferrari 458 Italia exactly...

The fact that an E-gear equipped Superleggera will spit of 319g/km CO2 and consume a gallon of fuel every 20.9 miles – it’s 344g/km and 19.6mpg if you pick the six-speed manual ­– might not sound that impressive. Yet put the new Superleggera back-to-back with its 5.0-litre predecessor and Lamborghini claims a 20.5% improvement in fuel consumption and emissions. Thank direct injection for that, and for the increases over the old car’s 523bhp and 375lb ft.

Superleggeras aren’t just about power figures though – how light is the new car?

Superleggera means ‘superlight’ and 70kg has been cut from the kerbweight, giving the LP570-4 Gallardo a dry weight of 1340kg. Some of you might not be too impressed – the first-gen Superleggera was 100kg lighter than standard and tipped the scales at 1330kg ­– but you can't call Lamborghini's efforts half hearted.

The rear and side windows are no longer glass but polycarbonate, as is the engine cover. The rear deck is carbonfibre, along with the side sills, rear diffuser, fixed spoiler, door mirror casings and various bits of the underbody panelling. Inside the transmission tunnel, door cards and frames of the Alcantara-trimmed seats are all carbon. In total the black stuff accounts for 40 of the 70kg Lambo’s engineers have saved.

Air-con and electric windows are standard, you still get mats and you can spec sat-nav, a nose-lift system and a rear-view camera. There are a few showy options too, including a carbon package for the engine bay, or for the interior that trims the centre console, instrument panel, handbrake, wheel and door handles. Also on offer is an R8-inspired LED package that illuminates the V10, plus coloured brake callipers, though the steel roll cage, fire extinguisher, four-point harness and ceramic brakes are the options that caught the eyes of the CAR office.

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Ceramic brakes aren’t standard?

No, and be thankful – the steel brakes offer much better feel than the all-or-nothing ceramics. And the steel brakes shouldn’t leave you wanting either: the discs are 365mm at the front and 356mm at the rear, and eight and four piston callipers respectively clamp them. Whatever you pick, they’ll be visible behind the 19-inch forged aluminium wheels. They save 13kg (and titanium wheels bolts also help shave a few grams of unsprung mass too) and come wrapped in Superleggera-specific Pirelli P Zero Corsa tyres. Other tweaks include stiffer roll bars, reinforced suspension mounts, and in Lamborghini’s own words, ‘extremely firm’ shocks absorbers.

But rather than develop the rear-drive, limited edition Balboni Gallardo into a Superleggera, Lamborghini continues to give its faster cars four-wheel drive: the LP570-4 has a 30:70 front-rear torque split.

A robotised manual (E-gear) is standard, but a six-speed manual is a no-cost option. Spec the former and you get the choice of three modes, including a ‘Thrust Mode’ that launches the Superleggera off the line with 5000rpm dialled up.

Aren’t you missing something? Just! Look! At! It!

So you’ve noticed? Obviously the bright green paint stands out but there’s the black, SV-inspired front splitter that aids cooling and (Lambo claims) increases downforce at the front axle too. There are also black side sills, black wheels, Superleggera graphics, a redesigned rear diffuser, four enlarged exhausts, and a carbonfibre rear wing. But this being Lamborghini, a much bigger and much less discreet carbonfibre rear wing (pictured) is also available.

The cost? Somewhere around £178,000, bang on Ferrari 458 Italia money. It's on sale now, with first deliveries in summer 2010.

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By Ben Pulman

CAR's editor-at-large, co-ordinator, tallboy