Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera
The Lamborghini was the most expensive car on test. Luckily the super-light Gallardo was also the most rewarding to drive
Carbon fibre is light, strong and very expensive. It’s what Formula One cars are made of – along with much of the new Gallardo.
Superleggera means ‘super-light’, and the Lamborghini has shed 100kg. Carbon fibre has been used to construct the door mirrors, rear wing and much of the cabin.
Last year, the standard model finished ahead of a Porsche 911 Turbo in the final ranking – and here, the two firms went head-to-head in super-sport spec.
As road cars, both are flawed; they’re stiff and noisy with minimal ground clearance and savage responses. The Gallardo is more comfortable, although the modest headroom and slim seats won’t suit all tastes. But anyone can appreciate the start-up procedure. Fasten the four-point harness, turn the key and the starter motor whirrs frantically for a second before the V10 bellows into life. More powerful than ever and mated to the E-gear sequential gearbox as standard, this engine makes the six-cylinder in the 911 GT3 RS feel almost weedy.
On the move, it was raw and mechanical. We heard the front diff working through tight corners, and each pull of a paddleshifter was followed by a clank from the gearbox. It matched the Porsche’s phenomenal lateral grip, and was equally honed and responsive. Sadly, we couldn’t time a lap, but suspect this would have been the quickest.
The suspension wasn’t quite as controlled as the 911’s and the brakes offered less feel – yet in every other way, the Superleggera blew us away. It demands respect and concentration, but is easily the most rewarding car here, despite carrying a £25,000 premium over the standard variant.
(Editor's note: unfortunately the Lamborghini didn't make it to the video session, so the video you see here is the closest thing we could think of - an in-car ride around the Anglesey circuit from the cockpit of the Porsche Cayman S)
- 1Welcome to Greatest Drives 2007We've gathered together this year's hottest cars to fight it out on road and track for the title of Auto Express's Greatest Drives 2007
- 2Mercedes CL63 AMGThe latest Mercedes AMG is a variant of the Bentley Continental-rivalling CL63. Does a two-tonne sports saloon make sense?
- 3BMW 130i M SportAlthough it's the baby of the BMW range, it bears the M Sport pack, giving it a formidable 261bhp
- 4Vauxhall Corsa VXRIt was our top supermini earlier this year, but does the VXR version of the Vauxhall Corsa cut it in this esteemed company?
- 5Audi S5It might not be the most thrilling to drive, but the Audi S5 is one of the easiest cars to drive quickly
- 6BMW M5 TouringThe estate version of the BMW M5 is no slouch, but it doesn't feel as special as previous M cars from BMW
- 7Lotus 2-ElevenThe Lotus 2-Eleven is an uncompromised trackday car - driveable, if not comfortable, on the road, but unsurpassed on a circuit
- 8Morgan Aero 8 AmericaThe most visually distinctive car here, the Morgan Aero 8 may look old-fashioned but it's a precise and powerful sports car with an engine note to die for
- 9Vauxhall VXR8The Vauxhall from down-under is very much an old-style muscle car - and the VXR8 knows how to let you have fun
- 10Nissan 350ZA previous overall winner, the Nissan 350Z still impresses in its current incarnation, even if it's not quite as fresh three years later
- 11MINI Cooper SNow a more mature drive, the latest MINI is slightly less fun than previous Cooper models - which is why it's outside the top 10
- 12Caterham Sigma Roadsport 125It's a perennial favourite of Greatest Drives, and this year's Caterham Roadsport is no different - brilliant on the track, a little rough on the road
- 13Fiat Panda 100HPAs much fun as cars 10 times its price, the Fiat Panda 100HP won't set any lap records, but will leave a big smile on your face
- 14Mazda MX-5 RCIt's the top-selling two-seater of all time, but does the Mazda MX-5 still have the flair to challenge for the title of Greatest Drive?
- 15Renaultsport Mégane F1 Team R26The latest F1-inspired Renaultsport Megane has learnt from previous models' failings, and is now a brilliant all-round package
- 16Porsche 911 GT3 RSThe hardcore Porsche 911 GT3 RS is an unequivocal supercar. With incredible performance, the only doubt is its real-world usability - and price tag
- 17Renaultsport Clio 197 F1 Team R27If you thought the Megane was impressive, the hot Renaultsport Clio R27 manages to force its way into the top 5 with sheer poise
- 18Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera - currently readingThe Lamborghini was the most expensive car on test. Luckily the super-light Gallardo was also the most rewarding to drive
- 19Honda Civic Type RThe Type R version of the Honda Civic is not only the best hot hatch, its chassis makes it one of the best drivers' cars, full stop
- 20Audi R8The hottest car of the year, the Audi R8 isn't perfect, but driving it is such a thrilling experience, you won't care
- 21Porsche Cayman SDespite the presence of serious rivals from Lamborghini and Audi, the amazing Porsche Cayman S retains its title