This is the Superleggera for short, or in full, the Lamborghini Gallardo LP570-4 Superleggera, which sounds great when spoken quickly in Italian. Goes quickly too, thanks to a 562bhp V10 and a 1340kg kerbweight; do the maths and that’s 419bhp/tonne.
Think of the Superleggera as Lamborghini’s response to the threat of RS Porsches (GT3 and GT2), a pre-emptive strike against other lightened sports cars (M3 GTS, and R8 GT especially) and a beautifully Italian way of responding to the threat of the Ferrari 458. Here’s CAR’s first drive review.
So what’s the Lamborghini Gallardo LP570-4 Superleggera like then?
I have to limbo into the Lambo (I’m an ergonomically unfriendly 6’8’’) and squeeze into the weight-saving but hip-hugging carbon-backed and Alcantara-lined seats. Old Audi switchgear abounds, and while it’s cramped and the views back and forth fairy restricted, it is pure supercar, instantly making this car feel like an event.
A loud starter motor wakes the even louder engine. And what an engine – the tweaks might not liberate much more power, but it was hardly lacking before. A bit of chip tuning was all it took to squeeze an additional 10bhp out of the Gallardo’s direct-injection 5.2-litre V10. Total now? 562bhp at 8000rpm, 42bhp up on the old Superleggera, and incidentally the same output as the Ferrari 458 Italia, whose total includes a 5bhp boost thanks to the ram effect of its intakes. The torque output (398lb ft at 6500rpm) is unchanged, but up 22lb ft on its predecessor.
More important are the weight savings. Those seats, other bits of Alcantara and carbonfibre scattered throughout the cabin, plus polycarbonate rear and side windows, and more black stuff used for the engine cover, rear diffuser, front splitter and undertray trim a total of 70kg from the LP560-4’s kerbweight. All in it’s 1340kg, which is damn good for a four-wheel drive V10 supercar.
That magic 419bhp/tonne is sent to the tarmac through an automated manual gearbox (dubbed E-gear, track-pattern Pirelli P Zero Corsa rubber and a launch control system that flings you forward with 5000rpm dialled up. It’s one of life’s more radical experiences, 62mph passing in a back-thrusting 3.4 seconds.
And then you can do one of two things: the first of which is pootling around, the E-gear transmission doing a surprisingly good job of keeping everything smooth, and watching everyone else going nuts as you cruise through Italy in a brightly coloured, big-winged Lambo. And because Lamborghini has chosen not to make the new Superleggera as hardcore as the old Superleggera, the suspension can deal with bumps and keep you (relatively, of course) comfortable.
Or option two: you drop a few cogs, select Corsa mode (quicker shifts, louder exhaust) and floor the throttle. In the dry, with four-wheel drive and sticky tyres, it’s easy to put lots of power down, and the suspension tweaks (different damper and spring rates) mean it changes direction better than its lesser LP560-4 sibling.
There’s an uncanny alacrity and nimbleness to the new Superleggera. It takes all the usual Gallardo qualities and magnifies them. Severalfold.
This latest Lamborghini isn’t as extreme as its predecessor, or the equivalent RS-spec Porsche. Instead, Sant’Agata has taken the very competent LP560-4 and improved most aspects of the car slightly, while the styling team has really been to town and done what everyone craves from a Lambo – make it even louder, even more outrageous and even more flamboyant.
It’s a step forward compared to the regular car, but not a giant leap, but it’s still one fine five-star car.
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