Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera and Porsche 911 GT3 RS

Greg Pajo
2011 Lamborghini Gallardo LP570-4 Superleggera and 2010 Porsche 911 GT3 RS

The 911 plays a catchy jam session of new and familiar tunes. Idle speed is erratic and uneven, the lightweight flywheel hums along like a tipsy, out-of-tune supporting act, and the multivocal intake and exhaust systems deliver a particularly noisy version of their trademark shouting match. It’s this aural background that makes the Porsche feel fast even before you’ve dared to engage first gear. The RS is kind of an unplugged GT3, and since it depends on even higher revs to deliver, the impression of warp speed becomes almost physical as you work that resinous gear lever through its gate. Although even 4500 rpm sounds illegally fast, this engine needs to be whipped past 6500 rpm before it explodes, and if you haven’t seen 8000 rpm, you’ll never understand the moral conflict that hard-core Porsche Turbo fans go through after having tasted a drop of GT3 RS blood.

But guess what? It’s the pricier Lamborghini that makes you work harder, sweat earlier, and fear more sustainably. For a truly uncompromising driving machine, look no further than this tarmac peeler. This car is stiff, edgy, impatient, and aggressive, a corner-greedy pothole-hater that’s ready to pick a fight and is always on the prowl. Like the 911, the Superleggera needs to be pushed to shed idiosyncrasies like the lumpy low-speed ride, the grotesque tramlining, and the initially passive handling. But as soon as the wide track, the long wheelbase, and the low center of gravity push open that critical velocity window, minor inputs yield major effects. This is a beautifully modulated car gifted with sensuous steering, sensational speed-induced stability, an almost feline feeling for the complexities of the pavement, and a magic maneuverability that pivots around an interplay of invisible axes as though inspired by an M. C. Escher drawing. True, the Superleggera scribes an embarrassingly large turning circle, and its brittle front axle lacks the compliance that Porsche has thankfully rediscovered for the GT3 RS. But the Lambo’s brakes are more progressive, torque feed is much more seamless, and being really quick doesn’t automatically require grand gestures and superhuman saves.

The winner? Take the Porsche if you are brave enough or good enough. Take the Lamborghini if it fits your size and style. In terms of overall competence, both contenders score a solid ten. In terms of value for money, however, you may be better off with a base 911 GT3 or a no-frills Gallardo LP560-4. Quite a bit better, in fact.

Porsche 911 GT3 RS
450 hp at 7900 rpm
317 lb-ft at 6750 rpm
0 to 62 mph in 4.0 seconds*
193 mph top speed*
$135,050

Lamborghini Gallardo LP570-4 Superleggera
562 hp at 8000 rpm
398 lb-ft at 6500 rpm
0 to 62 mph in 3.4 seconds*
202 mph top speed*
$243,000 (est.)

*per manufacturer

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