First Look: 2011 Lamborghini Gallardo LP570-4 Superleggera

2011 Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Superleggera

Lamborghinis have long stood for sheer, menacing speed, usually courtesy of a monster engine. It's a solid formula, but any engineer will tell you that you eventually reach a point of diminishing returns. How, then, do you make an even more insane Lamborghini? Make it lighter.

Lamborghini first applied the "lighter is better" approach to the compact Gallardo back in 2007, aptly naming the special model the Superleggera, or "super-light." Extensive use of carbon-fiber and the deletion of such frivolities as a radio and cup holders knocked more than 200 pounds off of the curb weight, allowing the stripped-down, road-legal track car to hit 62 mph in 3.8 seconds. The lack of creature comforts didn't scare away buyers -- Lamborghini moved 618 Gallardo Superleggeras during its one-year production run.

Built on the success of the original and with lessons learned in the new, one-make Lamborghini Super Trofeo racing series, Lamborghini is bringing back the Superleggera, and it's lighter and wilder than ever. The speed freaks in Sant'Agata went over the Gallardo, now in a new generation known as the LP 560-4, with a fine-tooth comb and managed to shave 38 more pounds over the first Gallardo Superleggera, dropping the curb weight to just 2954 pounds and making it the lightest Lamborghini available.

To strip 154 pounds from a standard Gallardo LP 560-4, Lamborghini engineers first turned to the original Superleggera's bag of tricks. The exterior mirrors, the new rear diffuser and side sills, the wing, the engine compartment lid and parts of the underbody are all carbon-fiber, as are the interior door panels, the transmission tunnel, the shifter surround, and the seat shells. Where the last Superleggera used polycarbonate instead of glass for the engine window, the new model uses the lightweight material for the rear and side windows as well. In all, 88 of the 154 pounds lost came from the carbon-fiber and another 28.6 pounds were lost in the 19-inch forged-aluminum wheels.

Of course, this is Lamborghini, not Lotus. They couldn't just go on a crash diet and leave it at that. No, they revamped the engine computer and wrung an extra 10 horsepower out of the 5.2-liter V-10, hence the 570 moniker. That of course refers to metric horsepower. U.S. models will have 562 horsepower available by either measure at 8000 rpm, with 398 lb-ft of torque is available at 6500 rpm.

With only 5.18 pounds for each of those ponies to carry, Lamborghini says it has knocked 0.2 seconds off its estimated 0-to-62-mph time. The Gallardo Superleggera now explodes to 62 mph in a scant 3.5 seconds, blows past 124 mph in 10.2 seconds, and tops out at 202 mph. Those numbers are conservative, because we got a standard Gallardo LP 560-4 to hit 60 mph in just 3.4 seconds. Not bad for a car that also lowered its C02 emissions by 20.5 percent and improved its city fuel economy by 2 mpg on automatic transmission models.

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