Lamborghini is serious about making cars faster by means other than adding horsepower. After recently opening its Advanced Composite Research Center (ACRC) at its headquarters in Sant'Agata Bolognese, Italy, Lamborghini engineers began work not only on new cars, but also developing lighter versions of current offerings. The first to get their attention was the Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Spyder Performante.
Creating a car that can accelerate from zero to 100 mph before the owner can mutter its entire name (admittedly, a lengthy one) is no easy task. The already high-tech Gallardo Spyder was lightened by 143 pounds with the use of lightweight carbon-fiber components in the body and the interior. The convertible top lid, engine compartment cover, spoiler, side sills, rear diffuser, and even some underbody components were all molded from the black wonder material. On the inside, the tunnel cover, door panels, and seat shells were also remanufactured. The carbon fiber accounts for roughly 40 percent of the weight savings in the car, with the use of lighter mechanical components accounting for the rest. The majority of the body shell is still crafted from aluminum. Total weight tips the scales at a manufacturer-claimed 3274 pounds.
Despite the concentration on weight savings, Lamborghini was not willing to sacrifice the luxuries its loyal customers have come to expect. The Performante still includes power windows, navigation, air conditioning, a back-up camera, and even an alarm system. Efficiency has its limits.
Lamborghini states a 0-60 mph time of just 3.9 seconds and a top speed of 201 mph. The 5.2-liter direct-injection V-10 puts out a whopping 570 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque. The stratospheric V-10 employees a dry-sump lubrication system for less parasitic loss, along with variable cam-timing and intake manifold geometry to achieve the deep breathing necessary for 110 horsepower per liter. Combine that with optimized aerodynamics via underbody panels and a new rear diffuser, and Lamborghini says that the new Performante isn't just quicker than the standard 570-4, it's also cleaner, turning in lower CO2 figures.
Under the car, the suspension has been tuned to deliver higher levels of grip on and off the track. Tires are Pirelli Pzero Corsas, which are as close to dedicated race rubber as you can get while still being DOT legal for public roads. The 235/35 front and 295/30 rears are mounted on the same 19-inch wheels found on the Superleggera, which are roughly 28 pounds lighter than the wheels on the standard Gallardo. Further reduction of unsprung weight was found by using titanium wheel bearings and wheel bolts. The Performante uses the same aluminum A-arm suspension and all-wheel-drive system found on the standard Gallardo. The high-performance drivetrain uses a center viscous coupling along with a 45-percent locking rear differential to deliver power to the ground. In normal operating conditions, 70 percent of the V-10's power is sent to the rear to give the Performante the more traditional feel of a rear-wheel-drive car. Optional six-piston brake calipers and carbon ceramic rotors ensure the Performante stops as well as it goes.
Lamborghini hasn't announced a delivery date or price yet. Still, odds are that Sant' Agata is already sold out. As for price, if you have to ask...