By Blair Chang
When I was asked to test drive a Lamborghini, I jumped at the chance. But, this wasn’t just any old Lamborghini; this was the very special Gallardo LP 570-4 Superleggera model. Superleggera in Italian means superlight (the car tips the scales just under 3000 lbs) and the 570-4 stands for 570 hp and 4 wheel drive. In short, this equates to an equation like this: superfast plus super light equals tons of fun. Also, rumor has it that this is the last year of the Gallardo’s production run.
After I was given the walk-thru of all the various controls on the car, I was told it was mine for a week and to go have fun. Wow! This was like Christmas in February. As I hopped into the car, the first thing I noticed was all of the carbon fiber. This machine has carbon doors, carbon side mirrors, a carbon rear wing and a carbon diffuser. The use of carbon helps to keep the weight down. There was also a material called Alcantara on the interior dash and headliner. Alcantara is faux suede, and it’s lighter than leather. This was contrasted by yellow stitching that looked absolutely stunning.
I also noticed a fire extinguisher behind the passenger seat, which was there in case of an emergency. Fire extinguishers are usually found in race cars, and I was hoping this one wasn’t going to come in handy.
All buckled in, I turned the key, and vroom, the v-10 came to life. It sounded great in idol. I engaged 1st gear, and I was off. My first destination was to run errands around Beverly Hills. I knew this wasn’t the kind of car used to run errands, but I would only have it for a week, and I wanted to see how it reacted in all conditions. While I was cruising around town at low RPMs, the car was docile but as soon as I stepped on the accelerator, I unleashed the wild bull and the car came to life. The exhaust growled and the car lunged forward. In case you were wondering yes, this thing is fast. Real fast. Then I came to my senses, switched it into Auto mode and drove it for the rest of the day. In this mode the car was a super cool cruiser and a joy to run errands in.
The next test was to see how it did through the canyons. I awoke early the next morning and met a friend of mine who is a professional race car driver at the corner of Sunset and PCH. He was in his German equivalent and I in the Superleggera. We headed north on PCH until we got to Topanga Canyon. I engaged Corsa (Race) mode and up the Canyon we went. The sight, sound, and feel of the car in full swing was amazing. I have driven almost every exotic sports car there is and nothing I have ever driven was as engaging as this. This felt like my full blown race car.
As we sliced through the canyons I noticed how light the steering felt, as well as how neutral this car was, especially when driving fast. The gear ratios were neither too short nor too tall but just right. From braking, to turn in, and back to power, this car was phenomenal. Not once did I feel like something bad was going to happen. I think this is also aided by its 4 wheels drive.
We continued to slice and dice our way –reaching speeds of over 100mph–until we ended back out on PCH many miles later. All I could think was that this car is fantastic! As we were heading down PCH back towards town we did a couple of 20-80 mph runs that started in 2nd gear and hit redline on the way up. This car was fast and accelerated like a missile. The factory says 0-62mph in 3.4 secs; however I think it is a few tenths quicker.
As I result of driving this car for a week in many conditions, I will say that the Superleggera really excels the harder you drive it. It’s extremely well-balanced and fast, and it begs for you to drive hard. The softer side to this car lets you cruise in auto mode and drive around town to get the groceries. There are, however, other cars more suitable for doing that. If you’re in the market for one of the finest, best handling sports cars in the world, the Gallardo LP 570-4 Superleggera is your car.
Blair Chang on His Passion for Fast Cars and Racing:
For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a fascination for cars, especially European ones. I started racing karts when I was 15-years old, and I spent many years racing them locally, regionally and nationally. I later progressed into cars by enrolling in both the Skip Barber and Jim Russell driving schools. I began racing locally with the Porsche Owner’s Club, and then moved into the Patron GT3 Challenge, Pirelli Cup and the IMSA GT3 Challenge. I don’t think one learns to have a passion for fast cars and racing. I think it’s something you’re born with, and I certainly was.