Lambo Lite : 2010 Lamborghini LP 570-4 Superleggera [review]

Car Specifications
Engine: 
5204cc, 40-valves
Cylinder Layout: 
V10, DOHC, DFI
Top Speed: 
325 km/h
Transmission: 
6-speed E-Gear or manual
0-100km/h: 
3.4 seconds
Power: 
570 PS at 8000 rpm
Torque: 
540 Nm at 6500 rpm
Features: 
  • Lightweight dynamics
  • Pure aggression

In the pre-Audi days of Lamborghini, their DNA sequence looked like Design, Top Speed, Acceleration and Handling but today it has mutated into its latest form with DNA that has subtly changed to Design, Handling, Acceleration and Top Speed. This according to CEO Winklemann is a necessary mutation for today's world as top speeds over 300 km/h are largely academic and runs counter to the eco-conscious world we now exist in.

Not that Lamborghinis need to be any less intresting. Even in a fast F-1 circuit like Sepang attaining speeds of over 250 km/h is a rare thing especially in an unmodified car and then only briefly. Handling has moved up the sequence right up against design but has not overtaken design for what is a Lamborghini of it looks like a Caterham?

For the cognizant, Lamborghini has tried this route before with their 2007 Gallardo Superleggera. Back then as it is now the formula is to reduce substantial weight and marginally top up power. Superleggera (pronounced super-le-gee-ra) is Italian for Super-lightweight. 

The LP-560-4 is now its starting point. It weighs 1410-kg and Lamborghini engineers pared away some 70-kg dropping its dry weight to 1340-kg, this is 10-kg more than the previous Superleggera which weighed-in at 1330-kg after stripping 100-kg from the original 2003 Gallardo. 

The previous Gallardo Superleggera had set new benchmarks back in 2007 but were all met or exceeded by the 2009 LP 560-4. What the newer Gallardo did not do was remove a lot of weight. This latest LP 570-4 Superleggera takes care of that by removing 70 kg from its already lithe frame.

Could they have removed more? Chief engineer Maurizio Reggiani says another 30 kg could be found if they went the Scuderia-way and removed all sound deadening material and strip out most of the carpeting but they were not really interested in making their Superleggera as unbearable. They wanted the Superleggera to be used daily without getting a headache yet have the extreme level of dynamism that would challenge and entertain its owner.

Much of the car is already constructed from lightweight Aluminum but Carbon Fibre is even lighter, strength for strength. In the case of the current Gallardo design CF can only be used to substitute parts and is not used as the stress bearing parts of the car. For that to happen we would have to wait for the next generation Gallardo replacement.

However even the modest use of CF has resulted in about 42-kg being shed from the interior. It replaces the door panels with a single piece of CF moulding complete with a small leather strap to pull the door shut.

The other items to get the CF treatment are both the front seats and the center console. Alcantara also finds use here as it is considerably lighter than leather. Just a single CF seat saves 10-kg and the pair is worth 20-kg. These fixed back bucket seats are comfy and just a tad wide for our asian frame but they do make it easier to get in and out of.

On the exterior more weight is pared by replacing the wing mirrors, rear diffuser,  rear spoiler, side skirt, body undertray and central tunnel cover with CF and additionally with clear Lexan replacing the rear glass panels and the side panels they managed to save a total of 12-kg.

The new Direct Injection engine has already received the lightweight treatment when it became the LP 560-4 but the engineers found another 3-kgs to pare in the muffler system. They did not go with Titanium because of durability issues associated with the strong but brittle metal.

Looking at the unsprung mass, the new forged wheels with the spindly spokes and the large Carbon-Ceramic Brakes remove another 13-kg bringing the grand total to 70-kg.

Compared to the 100-kg reduction by the first Superleggera, the 70-kg reduction of the new one seems 30-kg shy. However if one compares the weight of the first Superleggera (1330-kg) and that of the new one (1340-kg) one will realize Lamborghini has brought them down to nearly the same weight, the extra 10-kg explained by the added safety equipment and sturdier components needed for the 570 PS power. Also the LP 560-4 was lighter than the original Gallardo by some 20-kgs to begin with.

Weight reduction seems like such an unglamorous topic yet it is the very heart of the Superleggera's persona. Sure the engine has gained 10-PS to reach 570 PS but the real gains have been a result of simply hauling around 70-kg less weight. 

Spring and damper(Bilstien) rates have been increased 20% over the LP560-4 and bushings are much harder to give the Superleggera sharper handling.  And while Lambo engineers can give themselves a pat on the back for the excellent work done, equal recognition must be given to the hardest working components, the new P-Zero Corsas.

They really give the Superleggera its ultimate performance envelope. In the dry they provided amazing grip coupled with excellent progression and readability allowing us to push really hard in corners using "Corsa" mode on the car's ESP. 

Having booked the Monteblanco track for the entire day Lambo was determined to prove that this is where the Superleggera is most at home. However that also meant we had no opportunity to drive the car on the open roads.

On pit lane service road, the set up is firm with no possibility to select a softer damping but it was never harsh. According to the engineers on hand, they assured us the Superleggera is more compliant than the old one despite the higher damping forces and the special hard bushings to improve steering response and accuracy.

On the track, lap after lap the Superleggera goaded, cajoled and entertained us no end. A quick check of the tyres proves that neither end was being overworked and the tread surface remained evenly worn proving the engineers have got the set-up pretty near ideal. 

There is a meaty positive reassuring feel to the steering over the perfectly flat track. Turn-in is sharp and it is easy to read what the entire car is doing thanks to the intimate man-machine connection afforded by the steering, switchgear and CF seats. 

Thanks to the new P-Zero Corsa the rainy afternoon session at the Monteblanco circuit did not halt our trackday fun. There are far more drainage grooves on the Corsas compared to the old one. Except for the high speed dash down the main straightaway, the Superleggera could be driven nearly as hard as when the track was dry. The grip in corners constantly surprised as they kept drift angles pretty much as expected without sudden breakaway.

The Superleggera's engine is a tuned version of the 5.2-litre V10 engine of the LP 560 which now produces 570 PS. It is made entirely of aluminum alloy and even does away with the usual steel cylinder bore liners.

Despite the complex Iniezione Diretta Stratificata (Stratified Direct Fuel Injection) system the swap from cast iron to aluminum netted a 20-kg weight saving compared to the old 530 PS engine. The cylinder bores use a silicone crystal impregnated aluminum alloy surface that is extremely hardy and unitary with the engine block for better heat dissipation and lower internal friction.

The compression ratio is an astonishing 12.5:1 helped by careful design and the ability of the direct injection system to cool the intake charge. CO2 emissions get a neat 20% chop for those who are interested.

Performance figures improve but with smaller increments hitting the 100 km/h mark in 3.4 seconds and achieving a top speed of 325 km/h, a figure  Lamborghini claims is something they may not compete for top ranking in the future and concentrate on handling. The E-Gear is the latest version used in the LP 560 cutting the shift-times to around 100ms. The manual gearbox is available as a no-cost option.

photo-assay by Wolfango Spaccarelli

Fast Facts : MY'10 Lamborghini LP570-4 Superleggera
ENGINE
CAPACITY : 5204cc
CYLINDER LAYOUT : V10
VALVES : 40-valves
BORE X STROKE : 84.5 x 92.8mm
COMPRESSION RATIO : 12.5:1
MAXIMUM POWER : 570 PS at 8000 rpm
MAXIMUM TORQUE : 540 Nm at 6500 rpm

TRANSMISSION
TYPE : 6-speed E-Gear robotized manual
DRIVEN WHEELS : AWD, Viscous center diff, front by ABD, rear with 45% locking torsen type

PERFORMANCE
TOP SPEED : 325 km/h
0-100KM/H : 3.4 seconds

SUSPENSION
FRONT : Double Wishbones, Roll bars
REAR : Double Wishbones, Roll bars

BRAKES
FRONT : 365mm Floating-type Discs, 8-pot caliper (380mm CCB option)
REAR : 356mm Floating-type Discs, 4-pot caliper (365mm CCB option)

TYRES
TYPE : Pirelli P-Zero Corsa
SIZE : f: 235/35 ZR 19, r: 295/30 ZR 19

SAFETY
ABS : Yes.
AIRBAGS : Yes, x2
TRACTION CONTROL : Yes, ESP, ASR, ABD

MEASUREMENTS
LENGTH : 4386mm
WIDTH : 1900mm
HEIGHT : 1165mm
WHEELBASE : 2560mm
KERB WEIGHT : 1340-kg (dry)
TURNING CIRCLE : 11.5m

PRICE IN 2010: (tba) without COE
WARRANTY : 3-years, 100,000 km

Summary
The LP560-4 was a revelation and met or beat the performance levels set by the first Superleggera. In the same fashion the latest LP 570-4 Superleggera sets a higher benchmark(for the future replacement) and is also a stern challenge to the Ferrari F458. The biggest revelation came during the fast laps in the wet. The AWD handling is without doubt a boon for these "slippery surprises" and we can safely say for unpredictable circumstances on the highways as well, AWD is the better route to go. The Superleggera shows its lightweight dynamics to full effect and is a blast to drive hard. Its AWD is a huge confidence advantage on the track and on normal roads. One of the greats of our time. - AL
Photos: 
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