Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera and Porsche 911 GT3 RS

Greg Pajo

This is definitely not a subtle Porsche. In particular, the adjustable, double-decker, carbon-fiber tail appendage with the contrasting winglets is liable to turn heads. The wingwork hates automatic car washes, but, in combination with the aggressively shaped front apron, it provides enough downforce even for courage-testing high-speed autobahn esses. Other changes that differentiate the RS from the regular GT3 include a wider front track (by 0.5 inch), a wider rear track (by 1.2 inches), a rear window and engine-compartment lid made of lighter synthetic material, a neatly integrated ram-air induction scoop, and a pair of larger-diameter tailpipes. Also contributing to the 55-pound weight savings versus the 3076-pound GT3 are a muffler made of titanium and a single-mass flywheel, as well as detail changes like the low-calorie, single-function steering wheel and a composite transmission-tunnel cover.

The tight-fitting Superleggera makes for an intense driving experience. The one-size-fits-few seats are like suction cups, and the instant throttle response launches the car forward like an ejector. The ultraquick steering feels like a high-voltage handshake, the merciless brakes threaten to inflict whiplash injuries, and the suspension holds the road like an unsprung magnetic field. With go-faster stripes and plenty of drag-cutting add-ons, the Superleggera marks the transition from boulevard racer to hard-core supercar. This Lamborghini straddles the line between punishment and reward. Its exhaust system temporarily impairs your hearing, and its ability to rocket you down the road blurs your field of vision. Phenomenal grip and traction make the mighty orange wedge stick to its flight path as if inertia, mass, and g-force were totally negligible dynamic commodities.

In character and configuration, these two supercars could hardly be further apart. Superleggera versus GT3 RS? That’s all-wheel drive vs. rear-wheel drive, aluminum spaceframe vs. predominantly steel, mid-engine vs. rear-engine, V-10 vs. flat six, 5.2 liters vs. 3.8, direct vs. port injection, automated vs. manual transmission, control-arm vs. multilink suspension, fixed vs. variable aerodynamics, about $243,000 vs. $135,050. The Lambo is the quicker car in all departments, but the 911 feels quicker - in part because it’s noisier and looks more raw.

Hugging the tail end of the Porsche’s substantial behind, the most extreme normally aspirated street-legal boxer engine ever conceived in Weissach develops 450 hp at 7900 rpm. Redlined at 8500 rpm, the 3.8-liter unit requires a steroidal 6750 rpm to whip up the maximum torque of 317 lb-ft. Pushing the Sport button frees an extra 35 lb-ft where you need it most - in the 3000-to-6000-rpm range - with an accompanying increase in exhaust sound. The power output of the RS engine is only 15 hp more than that of the GT3, and the peak twist action is unchanged, although it requires an extra 500 rpm. A final drive that’s thirteen percent shorter knocks 0.1 second off the GT3’s 4.1-second sprint to 62 mph, claims Porsche. The larger frontal area and the revised gearing also knock one notch off the top speed, although 193 mph is certainly fast enough.

*two thumbs up*

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