Lamborghini Gallardo reviews

* LP570-4 Superleggera/Spyder Performante * High-performance Gallardo models * On sale now, from 183,948...

24 Oct 2011 09:50 | Last updated: 14 Jun 2018 00:03

What are they? These are the sportiest, priciest versions of Lamborghinis Gallardo supercar.

The LP570-4 Superleggera coupe and LP570-4 Spyder Performante convertible have different names, but share the same engine and chassis modifications over the LP-560 models theyre based on. There are identical cosmetic tweaks, too, aside from obvious differences around the roof and engine cover area.

Both cars use the same 562bhp 5.2-litre V10 engine and automated e-gear transmission. Power is up 10bhp on the Gallardo LP-560, although theres no more torque. Extensive use of carbonfibre for various exterior and interior panels gives a weight reduction of 70kg for the Superleggera and 65kg for the Spyder Performante.

What are they like to drive? Both models have the performance and handling to live up to their supercar looks. Theres incredible grip through corners, and the standard four-wheel-drive system gives remarkable traction, so you can get back on the power as early as possible.

The steering gives a quick turn-in, so theres a real point-and-go feel. The steering weights-up usefully at speed, too, and provides a good communication between your palms and the road.

The V10 engine sounds fantastic. Perhaps not quite as sonorous as a Ferrari 458 Italia or Maserati Gran Turismo MC Stradales, but it still has the power to make the hairs on your neck stand on end. Its unintrusive at low revs, but erupts into a wonderfully hard-edged roar when you put your foot down.

Performance as a 0-62mph time of 3.4 seconds for the Superleggera and 3.9 seconds for the Spyder Performante suggests is brutal. The e-gear transmission offers the choice of automatic shifts, but its much more effective in Sport or Corsa modes, which give quicker sequential manual shifts and open a valve to make the most of that exhaust note.

Both cars are happy enough trundling along in slow traffic, but the e-gear transmission could be smoother. Its jerky when youre trying to manoeuvre into a parking space and you get the occasional shunt through the transmission when slowing to a standstill.

That apart, both cars are easy to live with and much of that is down to a surprisingly compliant ride. Yes, the upgraded suspension is firm, and theres a bit of fidget over continuously broken surfaces. Body control is superb, though, and even some bumpy, uneven roads on our test route failed to truly upset either cars composure.

In fact, these cars feel unusually suited to the patchy UK road surfaces, while the Spyder Performantes body is impressively shimmy-free for a drop-top.

What are they like inside? Swathes of carbonfibre give a suitably race car-inspired look. The centre tunnel and door panels are made of it, while there are also lightweight sports seats, trimmed in Alcantara. Fixed backrests means that youll either find them comfortable or not, but at least the steering wheel adjusts for both height and reach.

Build quality is good throughout, but the Gallardos interior doesnt feel as special as a Ferrari 458 Italias. Most of the switchgear is supplied by parent company Audi: thats not necessarily a bad thing, but its the same stuff youll find in the current, about-to-be-replaced A3 that costs 10 times less.

Should I buy one? At 183,948 and 188,388 respectively, theres a hefty premium over the LP560 4 versions of both cars - 26,280 for the Superleggera and 20,760 for the Spyder Performante. For the increase in attitude both visual and dynamic its just about worth it.

Theres some tough competition at this price, though, and thats where these Gallardos appeal starts to wane. The Ferrari 458 Italia and McLaren MP4-12C are both more exciting to drive, newer and cheaper. Then theres the Audi R8 V10, which also has a 5.2-litre V10 engine and costs nearly 76,000 less.

Rivals:
Audi R8 review
Ferrari 458 Italia

What Car? says

Leo.Wilkinson@whatcar.com