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CNET On Cars: Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Superleggera

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CNET On Cars: Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Superleggera

7:30 /

Take a ride in the Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Superleggera, a sports car that weighs less than its name.

-Now, if you don't recognize a Lamborghini on site, you probably don't recognize your own mother. These cars are iconic and they've had this certain look since the days of the Countach, kind of like this partly open Swiss Army knife on wheels, just edges everywhere. This car is the Gallardo. It's their entry-level car if there is such a thing in their line. Let's decode what its name tells. LP is Longitudinale Posteriore. That's the odd way the engine is in the back inline with the car with the transmission in the rear of that. 570 is the power output, but that's in metric horsepower. Four means it's all-wheel drive. And then, there's Superleggera, super light. It's the key to our store. That shaves off 154 pounds bringing this car in at just 2954. That's 355 pounds less than a Nissan Z, which is not exactly a big car. Now, as you may have noticed, the main course on this Weight Watchers program is carbon fiber, the real deal, not those appliques you stick on your car. This wing, this lid, this is normally aluminum, carbon fiber here, polycarbonate over the engine as well as the rear backlight. The shells of the seats are carbon fiber with thin Alcantara upholstery and damn little padding. All that adds up or adds down to 154 pounds saved and all of it mounted to the same aluminum body shell and space frame design of a standard Gallardo that all spells light, but it also spells tremendously strong. This isn't just a fast car. It's also a very safe one. That's how you'll get permission from your wife. Yes, if you look like this, you deserve to have the world look at you through a glass cover. This is the 5.2 liter Lamborghini V10. It was actually developed for the introduction of this car, a clean-sheet design, not a rehash of the Audi V10, contrary to rumors. This guy has 562 horsepower, 398 foot-pounds of torque. Big difference there. This is a revving motor, not a grunting motor. Zero to 60 happens in under 3.4 seconds in the hands of the right driver, 14.20 MPG if you care. R transmission is the much more common 6-speed automated manual. It's a single-clutch design, which we can evaluate in a minute. You can also get a manual gearbox in this guy, also, with 6 cogs. They're exceedingly rare. If you're a collector, that's your choice. If you're a driver, Lamborghini says, "This the one you want." Now, once you wedge yourself into a Gallardo, it's pretty tight quarters and you can't do a whole hell of a lot about it. In this car, Superleggera, you've only got basically one seat adjustment, a mechanical fore/aft, no motors to go any other way to save weight. Once you're seated, plenty of things to tell you. This is a distinctive Italian car that does things its own way. The power window switches, push up to go down, push down to go up. Huh? Your transmission controls are right here in the center console except for reverse, which leaves over here by the front hood release. And when I got in this morning, all that rainwater on the roof was conveniently run not down a rain channel, but down the back of my shirt and partly inside the seat. These are Italian cars. The main event in terms of technology in the cabin is this dated, but functional Audi head unit. They haven't used this in an Audi in quite some time, but of course, Audi owns Lamborghini, and this is about all you can make work on the data bus within this relatively aged car. The optional head unit gets you an iPod connector into the glove box, and if you pop the screen, you will find two SD card slots there as well. Don't get excited about the DVD player, that's a data drive for the map, not for watching movies. This rear-view camera is optional. It's one of the worst I've seen in terms of resolution, poor dynamic range, and very crunchy resolution, but you do need it in this car because, well, it's the only way to see out the back, but this is not why you buy a Lamborghini. Things that connect to these buttons are: Here your transmission controls for the automated manual, the A button toggles between automatic mode or shift it yourself with the paddle mode. That's their idea of manual. Sport is a layer on top of that. It's gonna sharpen your throttle response, back off stability control quite a bit, and also open up the exhaust baffling to sound like some kind of belch from hell. Finally, there's Corsa track mode that cancels almost all stability control and probably your insurance. This little button here is interesting slice of life with the Lamborghini. You press that to raise or lower the front of the car that gets you over speed bump without leaving 20% of your Gallardo behind. The SD card slots and little bluetooth thingies, those are not why you buy a Gallardo. This is. So, what's it like to drive a Gallardo. In general, violent, stiff, and visual. The car is incredibly light, and I don't just mean in terms of weight, but I mean the power-to-weight ratio. Sometimes, the car falls a little flat on its face. That's the nature of a single-clutch automated manual. They just can't do that ping-pong thing that allows the car to have seamless application of power, but, wow, does it go. Now, you might think this car is never really at home unless it's on the track, but as senior Lamborghini said famously years ago, "We have no test track. Our cars are built for the road, and that's the way it should be." This is not a car that you drive to work everyday, but on the days you do, you smile from 9 to 5 just waiting for the drive home. All right, before you race down to the deal, let me help you price out our bumblebee friend, CNET style. Based on a Superleggera is about 238, it's a high-end Gallardo of course. $2,995 delivery charge that must come in a velvet-lined box or something. $2,100 Gas Guzzler tax. But at this price, you don't care. Now, the tech toy, navigation, bluetooth, and media inputs $3,510. If you want those painted body color, add $850 more. If you want the rear camera plugged into that, that's another $2,600 bucks, $4,150 for the full carbon fiber kit inside in addition to the door panels and $15,600 for carbon ceramic brakes.

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