2007 Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera
It's even faster. We're not surprised
*That the Lamborghini Gallardo is fast was never in doubt. Even before it shed 150 pounds and gained an additional 10 hp to become the Gallardo Superleggera, it was fast enough to scare the crap out of most people I took for a spin-and loud enough to scare most passers-by. Predictably, the special-edition Superleggera is even faster. And it's just as loud.
According to Lamborghini, this Gallardo accelerates to 100 kph, or 62 mph, in 3.8 seconds, two-tenths faster than the standard model. Give it enough room and it'll run all the way up to a claimed 196 mph.
As with some other performance-enhanced Euros, the North American market will not be getting the sweetest deal. Thank our highway safety bureaucracy and its obsession with side-impact collisions for nixing the carbon-fiber monocoque racing seats, not approved for this market because of their lack of airbags. It's one good reason the North American Superleggera loses only 150 pounds compared to the European version's 200.
We do get the rest of the carbon fiber niceties, though, including a carbon diffuser and underbody coverings, carbon door panels and central tunnel covering, and a carbon and clear polycarbonate decklid (a particularly nice piece). An even more extensive interior carbon trim package is also an option.
Sport-tuned dampers are standard Superleggera fare as well. A six-speed E-gear clutchless manual transmission is also standard, with a manual available as a no-charge option-the computers really are taking over. Other snarky options include a Superleggera rear wing, which is taller and wider than the standard fixed flap, and girthy carbon-ceramic brake assemblies for a trust fund-pounding $15,600.
At launch we had a chance to chase a trio of Murcilago LP640s around the track and really see what this new Gallardo can do. In a straight line, the thing just goes, burying passengers in the confines of those monocoque sport buckets. Braking force is equally massive, the carbon-ceramic brakes weathering ham-fisted shenanigans all afternoon long with only the slightest softening of pedal feel. Thanks to the P Zero Corsas and all-wheel drive, lateral grip is amazing. Makes you feel like that guy from old military centrifuge test footage. You know, the guy with the wiggly cheeks who looks like he's about to throw his guts up. Body roll appears nonexistent-again, predictable. Stomp on the gas at corner exit and the Superleggera digs in and catapults forward, however unsettled it may have been. Ten cylinders egg you on, blaring out the back like Lucifer's personal horn section.
One option we did not get to test was the manual transmission. But used as a proper manual, E-gear is in all likelihood more responsive. In sport mode, it becomes ever more urgent the further you push the accelerator, changing gears at full throttle with magnum force. Fully automated operation, as with nearly any other sequential manual on the market, never fails to irritate. Automatic downshifts on deceleration are clunky and noisy-you're better off doing it yourself-and if you'd like to make a smooth, stealthy launch, you're not afforded the luxury of a clutch to slip. You'll need to practice your finesse.
So the performance is incredible. The road presence is undeniable. Is it all that much more than a standard Gallardo? You'd have to drive them back to back to really consider splitting that hair. And if you didn't already get your order in, you better get started on next year. Only 350 '07 Gallardo Superleggeras will be built, with around 100 or so scheduled to come to the States. All of them spoken for. Ah, to be wealthy and well connected.