2011 Lamborghini LP570-4 Superleggera Review

The second-gen Superleggera takes Lambo’s newfound light-weight philosophy to a new level of driving bliss

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2011 Lamborghini LP570-4 Superleggera Review
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In Monterey for the lead-up to the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and with hundreds, literally hundreds, of high-priced Italian exotics in town, you really need something special to stand out. And that’s just what I’m doing, cruising slowly through tourist-packed Cannery Row before heading out to burn premium octane at a far more rapid pace on California’s pacific coast highway in the newest Lamborghini, the LP570-4 Superleggera – painted bright yellow no less.

FAST FACTS

1. In the LP570-4 Superleggera a 5.2L V10 engine makes 562-hp at 8000 and 398 ft-lbs of torque at 6500.

2. Weighing 154-lbs less than the standard production Gallardo, it tips the scales at just 3,015 lbs.

3. Acceleration is listed at 3.4 seconds to 62-mph and a top speed of 202-mph.

4. The Super-G will set you back $242,695 – a $34,700 premium over the LP560-4.

There’s absolutely no denying this is an Italian exotic of the highest lineage. Sitting an almost immeasurably low distance from the ground, it’s wide, angular and looks about as terrifying as A real bull that’s lost a few rounds to a matador.

Accentuating the characteristics of this Lambo are dark painted lower trim items like the Reventon-inspired front bumper and rear diffuser – with matching blacked-out quad exhaust pipes. Exposed high-gloss carbon fiber is used for the side mirrors and for the thin side skirts, while a large black spoiler out back takes inspiration from the Gallardo Super Trofeo racing series cars.

A final note on the exterior of the car is the absolutely stunning set of lightweight forged aluminum 19-inch wheels that save a total of 28.6 lbs compared to the rollers on the LP560-4.

PERFORMANCE THROUGH LIGHT WEIGHT

A follow-up to the first-gen Super-G, this model adapts a Lotus-like formula of high-performance through light weight, using an almost excessive amount of carbon fiber.

Sure there are the aforementioned exterior accents, but pop the engine cover and there’s even more, with this specific model featuring an entirely carbon engine compartment dress up kit – a pricey option. As for the engine lid, it’s made of Plexiglas and is so light you barely even notice you’re lifting it.

In the cockpit it’s a carbon fiber and Alcantara oasis, with the lightweight carbon weave used for far more than detailing. The Gallardo’s standard door panels have been replaced with full carbon fiber units, while the seats are one-piece carbon shells wrapped in a little cushioning and coated in grippy Alcantara. And in an effort to keep weight to an absolute minimum, the seats are manually adjustable. That’s right, you have to shell out $242,695 (a $34,700 increase from the 560-4) for the Super-G and then you’ll have to slide your own but back and forth.

All these components combined and you’ve got a curb weight of just 3,015 lbs. – an absolutely astonishing engineering achievement when you consider the size of the hard-core Gallardo, its AWD drivetrain and the massive mid-mounted V10 engine.

HALF ITALIAN EXOTIC, HALF RACECAR

Slide into the cavernous cockpit, push the ignition button the Superleggera’s 5.2-liter V10 howls to life at a volume that’s equally as conspicuous as its design. Pulling out of the Cannery Row hotel where Lambo has set up base I’m thankful for the air ride suspension on the front axle that allows the pricey bodywork to be raised two-inches to avoid any scrapes. A mathematically precise angle is still required to get out onto the street, but I manage to avoid scaring the metallic yellow piece of Italian artwork. Initially offered on Murciélago models, this convenience feature has tricked down to the Gallardos and we just can’t figure out why more high-end sports cars don’t offer it.

When in its default position (achieved manually by pressing the button again or automatically by exceeding a pre-set speed), the Superleggera sits just off the ground. By comparison, a Corvette feels like a crossover.

The suspension is seriously stiff and with the carbon panels, minimalist carbon fiber racing-style seats and Alcantara-coated steering wheel it feels appropriate. There’s a sensation from behind the wheel that you’re piloting a raw and powerful racecar on the street. And with what this thing’s capable of, who’s going to argue with you?

By comparison, the stripped-down F430 Scuderia isn’t nearly so harsh. Current Lambo owners looking for the next great thing from Sant'Agata Bolognese, aren’t likely to care however, with the Super-G an exaggeration of all things Lambo.

MORE NIMBLE PACKAGE DELIVERS IMPROVED PERFORMANCE, DRIVING FEEL

At first this Italian exotic feels its size. The steering is heavy and when cold and at low speed the pricey $20,000 carbon ceramic brakes almost feel like they aren’t even there, operating with a mechanical feel reminiscent of Lambos past.

Turn up the revs a few notches, however, and this Italian exotic tangos like a pro. At speed the brakes grab quickly and with impressive force, while the car becomes lighter and more tossable.

Lay into the throttle and all 562-hp (a 10-hp bump over the standard LP560 model) rockets you forward in a way that no V8 can. Even at partial throttle it’s more than excessive.

Lambo officially rates the car at 3.4 seconds to 62 mph, but stats like that are irrelevant. The Gallardo shines at higher speeds and revs freely well beyond where you might expect a V10 to. Full power comes on at 8000 rpm, with 500 rpm more available before redline. At first it's easy to shift early out of habit, thinking there can’t possible be more to each gear. But there is, as you wind the V10 out, your greedy appetite for speed rewarded with blistering acceleration and a sound that can only be described as awesome.

At full song and pedal firmly planted the E-Gear transmission shows its true strength, delivering lighting fast gear changes that prove even more rewarding on the down shift and under hard breaking. On modern exotics there’s really no substitute for the paddle shifters, and despite what purists might think, they deliver their own sort of uniquely enjoyable driving feel. Our only issue with the setup on the Super-G is that the paddle shifters themselves are made of plastic. We can’t imagine why they’re not carbon fiber when almost everything else on the car is.

If you do plan to just cruise around and show off then you’ll soon realize why other automakers are switching to dual-clutch setups, with the single clutch having the odd sensation of being a manual without the pedal. You can still feel the car slide into gear, but there’s an uneasy feeling that you’re not in control.

Even on this hard-core Gallardo, Lamborghini has retained the three-stage E-Gear transmission with a fully automatic mode. In addition there’s a Sport mode (your ideal default for fun), while a Corsa mode is also available extending the threshold of the stability control system while further optimizing the shift times. When activated, Corsa mode also allows you to access the car’s launch control program in order to hit that low three-second 0-60 mph time.

THE VERDICT

But after our time with the Superleggera we’re left wanting…. Wanting for a racetrack and an empty schedule.

Yes, the reduced weight of this Italian beast makes it a more nimble machine, but let’s make no mistake, short bursts of straight-line speed are what you’ll get out of this wild ride on a regular basis – if you’re lucky. To truly appreciate the Superleggera, buyers should pony-up for a membership at one of the many motorsports country clubs popping up across the nation, because even after a day at the track, you’ll only just start to be getting an idea of what this machine is capable of.

Thankfully, there’s more than one way to enjoy the Superleggera. While not a daily driver by most folks’ standards, it’s got all the carbon fiber sex appeal to ensure driving it on the street, or even just staring at it in your driveway, is a uniquely enthralling experience.

And for those times, so what if you’re not blasting down a straightaway at 120-mph or clipping a series of apexes in this thrilling Italian beast; you’ll still be having an absolute blast.

As a sign post pointing the way to Lamborghini’s future, the Superleggera is a direction we’re eager to take.

LOVE IT
  • Incredible style
  • Reduced weight improves performance, driving feel
  • Ultra-fast E-gear transmission
  • Airlift front suspension
LEAVE IT
  • Brake feel
  • Seriously stiff suspension
  • Shift paddles plastic, not carbon fiber
  • Very little cargo room

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