Italian masterpiece theatre: Spain plays host to our review of the 2011 Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Superleggera

Seville, Spain — There are many sports cars on the market and, for most drivers out there, these vehicles are plenty fast enough. After all, speed limits in Canada hover around the 100-km/h mark and you don’t exactly need a giant engine to get up to that kind of speed in a relative hurry.

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But for the individual whose need for speed is akin to a crack addiction, there’s only one possible fix: the super-sports car. What we have here is the 2011 Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Superleggera, a  very highly stratified vehicle, one that slots into the very upper echelon of motoring goodness, the market segment known as, yes, the super-sports category.

2011 Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Review

Super-sports cars are distinguished from run-of-the-mill sports cars by one key factor: more performance. Although the defining standards have yet to be set in tarmac, super-sports cars are generally those that can accelerate from 0-100 km/h in less than four seconds and eclipse a top speed of 300 km/h. (This particular car easily meets these criteria—in 3.4 seconds and at 325 km/h, respectively.)

But let’s step back a moment and discuss nomenclature.

For those readers whose Italian is not quite up to snuff, the key word in this Lamborghini’s model name is the last one—“superleggera,” which translates into “super light.” Why the fancy-pants moniker? Well, this car weighs some 70 kg less than the regular Gallardo due to the extensive use of carbon fibre—a material first used on the space shuttle that is very strong, very light and very expensive.

The “570” part of the name also carries some, ahem, weight—this car boasts 10 more horsepower (up to 570) than the base Gallardo LP 560-4 (a measly 560). As for the “4,” it corresponds to the Lamborghini’s all-wheel drive system which distributes power thusly: 30% to the front wheels and 70% to the back to guarantee a tail-happy driving experience.

And the “LP”? Nothing to do with long-playing records, just Italian code for the way the engine is wedged into the back of the car.

Q: But what do all these words, letters and numbers mean? A: They mean this: Grab your jock strap and hang on tight because this thing is a thinly disguised rocket ship and you’re just the monkey on a mission.

2011 Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Review

All kidding aside, the Superleggera is actually incredibly easy to drive at speed, as I discovered during a visit to the Monteblanco Circuit in southern Spain. The car boasts effortless acceleration and its all-wheel drive system chews up the road like a grater. The e-gear 6-speed automatic transmission generally keeps pace with the proceedings, but the hesitation between shifts is definitely on the violent side.

Not too thrilled with being punched in the kidney every time you upshift? Tough luck because the higher you rev this Gallardo—redline is 8,500 rpm—the more brutal the shifts become. But this is all part of the fun as you attempt to wring every last ounce of performance from that roaring V10.

So, too, is sliding the Lamborghini around corners. The traction control system has four settings from fully on to certifiably insane; with the system in the moderately relaxed Corsa mode, the back end can be coaxed around a bit and the front end will wash out if turns are entered with excess aggression.

Given that the Superleggera is such an extreme expression of automotive performance, you might expect a complete lack of creature comforts inside the cabin. This is definitely not the case. Climbing aboard the Lamborghini requires no limbo skills whatsoever, the seats are expertly shaped, the steering wheel tilts into place nicely and the forward visibility is very good.

2011 Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Review

Beyond that, the interior is also incredibly beautiful; almost the entire cabin is swathed in suede-like Alcantara, while nearly every other surface is covered in carbon fibre. Other fantastic touches include the aluminum pedals, leather strap door pulls and flat-bottomed steering wheel covered in suede. Absolutely stunning.

The 2011 Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Superleggera is very special indeed—and as close to a real race car as you can get without bolting in a roll cage and strapping on a four-point racing harness, both of which happen to be on the options list. Pricing for this super-sports car begins at US$237,600.

Learn more – Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Superleggera

Mark Hacking is an award-winning car, motorcycle and motorsports journalist whose work has appeared in Azure, enRoute, Intersection, NUVO and Toro, among many others. He is the former editor of Performance Racing News, the former managing editor of DRIVEN, and a member of both the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada and the Motor Press Guild of California. An avid racer, Mark is a three-time podium finisher at Targa Newfoundland and, this past season, raced in the VLN Series at the Nürburgring with the factory Aston Martin team. His motto in life: Drive fast, take chances.

4 COMMENTS

  1. […] Lamborghini has announced production of an exclusive new special series, the Aventador LP 700-4 Pirelli Edition, created to celebrate the long and ongoing history of collaboration with prestigious Italian tire manufacturer Pirelli. The partnership began back in 1963, the year the House of the Raging Bull was established, and since then all Lamborghini cars have been equipped with Pirelli tires. The two firms share not only their Italian origins but also, and above all, a constant quest for technological innovation. […]

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