First Drive: Lamborghini Gallardo LP550-2 Bicolore & LP570-4 Spyder Performante

I know I'm confused during my first forays onto the south course at Monticello, an amusing amalgam of turns and elevations with some spring rainwater lurking in the low corners. I'm riding shotgun as another journalist tries valiantly to keep up with our instructor, the ridiculously handsome Indy Lights driver Richard Antinucci, who's driving a Superleggera coupe with what he says are nearly bald tires. This doesn't stop him from keeping the V-10 on full boil and from braking late, exiting corners early, and generally thrashing his Gallardo mercilessly.

What does the Superleggera coupe have to do with today's exercise? Not much, except that the LP570-4 Spyder Performante (seen here in white with a black fabric roof) represents the first time that the carbon-fiber-intensive, weight-saving program of the Superleggera (superlightweight) coupe has been applied to the ragtop Gallardo, resulting in a car that weighs some 143 pounds less than the stock Spyder. Wouldn't, couldn't, shouldn't such a car simply be called the Lamborghini Gallardo LP570-4 Spyder Superleggera? Perhaps, but don't you think a car that costs $248,000 plus $2995 in delivery plus $2100 in gas-guzzler taxes deserves an exciting new name like Performante? And, hey, it's got a new front bumper for better aerodynamics, stiffer bushings and dampers, and it squeezes 562 hp out of the 5.2-liter V-10. Lambo says it will reach 62 mph in 3.9 seconds, one-tenth of a second quicker than the stock Spyder.

Back to the Bicolore. You distinguish it from other current Gallardos by its all-black top half (A-pillars, roof, engine cover, and rear spoiler) and one of five colors for its bottom half: white, yellow, blue, gray, or orange. The black-over-orange combo seen here is cool, but if you prefer a more stealthy look, a black-over-gray Bicolore is as sleek and elegant as a Prada boot and far more desirable. I swap back and forth between the rear-wheel-drive, 542-hp, two-tone, black-roofed Gallardo LP550-2 Bicolore coupe and the all-wheel-drive, 562-hp, winged Gallardo LP570-4 Spyder Performante, all the while trying to keep pace with Antinucci.

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