Lamborghini Gallardo LP570-4
Stripped-out 570bhp monster is the Italian marque’s ultimate supercar – and we’ve driven it!
A lot of cars are brutal, yet few boast the Superleggera’s brutal agility. It has brakes to match, with unbelievably hard-biting carbon-ceramic rotors and six-pot calipers. More suspension compliance would be good, as it can struggle to keep touch with the surface over bumps. Still, this is what defines the awesome Superleggera! When the roads aren’t perfect it’s hard to live with the suspension changes. When they are, this Lambo leaves pretty much everything else trailing in its wake.
Few vehicles have a clarity of purpose quite like the latest Gallardo Superleggera. Super-light and unashamedly bullish, it’s a sensational reinvention of Lamborghini’s old-school supercars – and promises all the thrills to match.
But then the snow starts to fall. That wouldn’t be ideal in a normal, 4WD LP560-4, even though you can order it with winter tyres. Yet the 19-inch rubber on the LP570-4 Superleggera isn’t just large – it’s huge. Conceived for the track, the tyres are designed to maximise grip in every direction – so long as the conditions are right.
In the dry, the Pirelli PZero Corsas are simply immense. They have braking, accelerating and cornering covered to such extremes that only half-a-day at the limit leaves your internal organs feeling as though they’ve been pulled out, juggled about and stuffed back in. But a white sheet falling over northern Italy makes life very different. Besides anything else, it covers the country’s finest mountain passes. So where do we go?
Certainly, the car won’t help us answer this. In an effort to replicate the original Gallardo Superleggera’s 100kg weight saving, Lambo has binned the LP570-4’s radio and sat-nav. Also gone are the inner door skins, seat shells, centre console and anything else not dedicated to the generation of extra speed or grip.
The only exception is the air-con. So many people paid extra to put the system back in the old Superleggera that the firm left it there this time. At 1,340kg, the car feels lighter from the instant you open the door. This is easier to fling wide, and you have to close it with a dinky little strap because the original interior handle is ounces too heavy.
Squeeze into the tiny, carbon-shelled seat, with its four-point harness, twist the ignition key and you discover the Superleggera is equipped with a new exhaust, too. The system roars out with a revvy blip, before dropping down into its cranky gruffness.
From the driver’s seat, this model is far louder than the stock Gallardo; sound deadening has also been axed. As we head out on to the road, it’s clear the regular version’s springs and suspension have been discarded, too – for a set-up that’s far less compliant.
The way the Superleggera is sprung, it feels as if Lamborghini has fixed the wheels direct to the chassis, relying instead on the ultra-low-profile Pirellis to manage all bump absorption. At least, that’s how it seems. There’s barely any compression before the whole front end climbs faithfully over any obstruction in the road, no matter how sharp or big it is.
That gives you an instant to brace for the rear end doing the same thing. It gets better with speed – a little. Ferrari’s F430 Scuderia isn’t as well built or its engine as strong, but at least its damping is more sophisticated and better suited to anything except a race track. Even then, this depends on the weather.
Yet the way the Superleggera explodes away from any situation in any gear almost lets you forgive it. There’s more power here, but the lighter mass really brings that 570bhp to life, making the tacho swing to 8,500rpm faster than before.
Crucially, the car is more agile in the way it drops off revs or squeezes them on. This engine knows the difference between the driver asking for 7,815rpm and 7,819rpm – as does the induction-dominated howl. About the only thing that replicates how the LP570-4 hurls you from apex to apex and detonates its way out of corners is a full racing go-kart. This is appropriate, given that the two have similar suspension travel!
As we head out into the snow-covered countryside, the way the car picks up speed and revs out of corners is utterly ferocious. There’s no other description for it. Even in third gear, a rolling full-throttle burst in a straight line can leave rubber marks down a dry road from all four wheels, with the ESP strobing and the chassis chattering with wheelspin. In first gear, the new launch control lets you dial up exactly the right revs, step off the brake pedal and smash out a 3.5-second burst from 0-62mph.
The six-speed e.gear sequential box has no clutch pedal to get in the way. All it asks is that you keep flicking up the right paddle at 8,500rpm to cover 0-125mph in 10.2 seconds. It’s that fast, yes, but straight-line speed isn’t the only important factor.
What matters is that, despite its brutal character, the Superleggera can devour long straights and munch up tight corners. It’s not a case of where to drive, more how fast do you want to go when you get there? So much for that satellite-navigation system!
Rival: Audi R8 GT3 Tipped to hit the streets later this year, the race-inspired R8 will deliver a stripped-out cabin and focused driving experience. It’s likely to be less extreme than the Lambo – and slightly cheaper.