Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera

Published: 28 February 2007

Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera: the lowdown

Lighter, faster, louder: the most exciting Gallardo yet seems to tick every box. The limited edition baby Lambo – around 350 cars will be built over the next couple of years – was conceived as the ultimate small supercar and a genuine rival for Ferrari’s hardcore Challenge Stradale models, the next of which, the F430, arrives early next year. Prices are still to be confirmed but are expected to be around 10 per cent higher than the standard car, which would make the Superleggera £143,000. Focusing its attention on slashing kilos to achieve a power to weight ratio of 2.5kg/bhp or 400bhp-per-tonne, Lamborghini calculated that the 1430kg Gallardo would have to diet to the tune of 100kg. So some parts of the car that were steel are now aluminium; others that were aluminium are now magnesium. Behind the new DTM-style 19-inch multi-spoke wheels, the normally optional carbon ceramic brakes are standard and there’s more carbon on the bodywork. The engine cover, rear wing, sill extensions and door mirrors are all made from the stuff. In case you don’t spot that lot, you’ll find the word Superleggera written inside a flash running up the flanks and a beefier diffuser at the back. And if you think this car’s metallic grey bodywork is too discrete, you can always have it in black, orange or yellow. Read the new April 2007 issue of CAR magazine, on sale from 1 March, for our exclusive studio shoot on the lightweight Lambo

Why didn't they make it rear-wheel drive?

Despite the need to shed weight, Lamborghini stopped short of switching the Gallardo from four- to two-wheel drive. By removing the prop, front diff and driveshafts the 100kg target could have been easily met and without any further modifications. But Lamborghini’s technical director Marizio Reggiani told CAR Online that all-wheel drive was core to a Lamborghini’s DNA. ‘We wanted this car to be more extreme than the Ferrari [Challenge Stradale], but also a car that you could use happily on a daily basis,’ he said. So with two-wheel drive ruled out, Lamborghini looked to the Gallardo’s interior to save further weight. In fact 50 percent of the total weight saved was removed from a cabin that now has thinner glass, lighter, more sculpted seats, less soundproofing and no radio or door pockets. But it does still have air-conditioning: with so much near horizontal glass area, it would be unbearable to drive in summer without.

This stripped-down Gallardo must really go?

The 100kg weight reduction target met, there was no need for any radical mechanical changes. So the 5.0-litre V10 remains largely untouched except for some changes to the intake and exhaust systems that unleash another 10bhp for a 530bhp total. Torque remains unchanged at 376lb ft, but the success of the weight loss plan means performance receives a small boost. The 0-62mph time drops from 4.0sec to 3.8sec (the bigger Murcielago LP640 does it in 3.4sec), but the top speed remains the same, at 197mph. Both the standard car’s six-speed manual and E-gear paddleshift boxes are available, but on the Superleggera e-Gear is standard and the manual optional; on the production Gallardo it’s the other way round. While the Superleggera might not seem as hardcore as the old Ferrari 360 CS or different enough from the standard car to satisfy the most speed-crazed customers, Lamborghini promises it feels radically different on the road. ‘The effect of losing 100kg is unmistakable,’ Reggiani said. ‘The character of the car is very different, the handling is very different.’ We’ll tell you if he’s right next month when we find out for ourselves.

By Chris Chilton

Contributing editor, ace driver, wit supplier, mischief maker