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Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Spyder Performante review (video)

If you’re looking to buy the most powerful drop-top Lamborghini currently on the market, look no further, this is your car. It’s the Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Spyder Performante.

2012 LAMBORGHINI GALLARDO LP 570-4 SPYDER PERFORMANTE – PROS AND CONS

PROS:

  • Incredible engine sound
  • ‘Corsa’ transmission mode
  • Gorgeous styling
  • Handling

CONS:

  • ‘Automatic’ shift mode
  • Options are pricey
  • Multimedia interface is starting to age

2012 LAMBORGHINI GALLARDO LP 570-4 SPYDER PERFORMANTE – OVERVIEW

Built as the rigid convertible version of the lightweight Gallardo LP 570-4 Superleggera, the soft-top Spyder Performante is Lamborghini’s pinnacle of open-air speed and agility. With a consummated focus on injecting your ears with as much animalistic V10 noise they can handle, this unrelenting supercar is about as good as they get.

The Spyder Performante boasts a 65kg weight saving over its non-lightweight Gallardo sibling. Up to 40 per cent of the weight saving comes courtesy of carbon fibre exterior and interior panels, not to mention the aluminium body and space-frame. Even the wheels contribute a 3.3kg weight saving at each corner.

In the back, power comes from a screaming and howling 5.2-litre naturally aspirated V10 engine producing 419kW and 540Nm. It’s matched up to a six-speed E-Gear sequential automatic transmission, sending power to all four wheels.

Naturally, the best place to sample such automotive erotica is in the hills of the Glendora mountain range, just outside Los Angeles, California, USA.

2012 LAMBORGHINI GALLARDO LP 570-4 SPYDER PERFORMANTE – TEST DRIVE VIDEO

2012 LAMBORGHINI GALLARDO LP 570-4 SPYDER PERFORMANTE – ACCOMMODATION AND EQUIPMENT

Inside the cabin you will find masses of suede covering the dash, the seats, and parts of the door trims, all finished with colour-coded stitching. There’s also loads of carbon fibre around the place, including on the door trims, centre console and dash.

The suede seats can only be adjusted forwards and backwards. Luckily, the sport seats mould perfectly around the body, keeping the driver and passenger steady while tackling corners at physics-defying pace.

Traditionally, the Superleggera and Spyder Performante don’t come with a radio, CD player or satellite navigation. Instead, the gap is filled with a carbon fibre backing and Lamborghini emblem. The modern luxuries of life can be optioned if required, but expect to fork out around $7,000 for satellite navigation and a reversing camera.

Despite the low-slung roof, there’s plenty of headroom with the roof up. There are a few hiding places to store sunglasses and knickknacks too, but like most supercars, space is a precious commodity inside the cabin.

Under the bonnet, a modest space for a car cover, power outlet and two tissue boxes is more novel than practical.

2012 LAMBORGHINI GALLARDO LP 570-4 SPYDER PERFORMANTE – DESIGN AND SAFETY

Identifying the Spyder Performante in traffic isn’t hard. The razor-like angles of the front splitter are complemented by ‘Performante’ labelling, while a dual stripe runs from the front of the car to the rear. The dual stripe encases three symbols in the shape of the tail lights, finished in the colours of the Italian flag.

In terms of safety, the folk at Australia’s ANCAP have not tested the Gallardo, and nor have the people at Euro NCAP. Most of the body is made from high strength aluminium and carbon fibre, while passengers are kept safe with dual front airbags and side airbags.

2012 LAMBORGHINI GALLARDO LP 570-4 SPYDER PERFORMANTE – ON THE ROAD

Suitably matching the age of Lamborghini’s six-speed automated manual E-Gear transmission, the car is simply started with a key. There’s also no gear selector as such, with the reverse button nestled behind the steering wheel. Drive is selected using static paddle shifters.

Cracking out an impressive 419kW of power, the raging bull shoots from 0-100km/h in just 3.9-seconds, or 3.4-seconds for the Superleggera coupe. Lamborghini’s mid-mounted 5.2-litre V10 has a unique sound that never gets old. Even at idle, the V10 sounds meaty and ready for action.

With the roof retracted and windows down, it is impossible to not laugh like a possessed mental patient each time the rev needle approaches the V10’s sonorous 8500rpm redline. Deafening blips during down shifts and viciously brutal up-shifts only add to the almost theatrical experience.

Everything about the Spyder Performante feels right during cornering. The razor sharp steering communicates the road and tyre position with fluent accuracy.

Despite sporting 235mm-wide front tyres, 295mm-wide rear tyres, and all-wheel drive, the rear end still manages to squirm when the throttle is prodded on the exit of a corner.

The lucent feel through the steering wheel and chassis makes it easy and enjoyable to manage though, while front and rear limited-slip differentials keep traction in check at all times.

With three transmission modes – Auto, Sport and Corsa (that’s Italian for race) – choosing Corsa for our Glendora mountain run was a no brainer. Keep in mind that a traditional six-speed manual is available as a no-cost option.

Gear shifts in Corsa mode are fast and seriously brutal. Measuring just 120ms in duration, the single clutch E-Gear gearbox can be heard swapping cogs with the roof down – only adding to the excitement of the drive. Gears can be manually selected using the static paddle shifters mounted behind the steering wheel.

Measuring 365mm up front and 356mm at the rear, eight-piston front and six-piston rear calipers wrapping around aluminium rotors are standard equipment.

Those after a fade-resistant affair can spend just over $40,000 for optional carbon ceramic brakes (as tested) sporting six-piston calipers and 380mm cross-drilled rotors on the front, and 356mm rotors and four-piston calipers on the back. The carbon stoppers bite with continuous and reassuring pressure, even when tortured to their limits.

The stiff chassis remains composed through corners, but it tends to bounce around when presented with mid-corner bumps and deviations. Otherwise, suspension firmness is spot on the money for fast, corner-laden driving.

2012 LAMBORGHINI GALLARDO LP 570-4 SPYDER PERFORMANTE – VERDICT

Driving the Spyder Performante is an entirely emotional experience. There’s an open feel of communication between car and driver, with the mood heightened during each crackle and pop of the exhaust.

At $577,300, the Spyder Performante isn’t cheap. But, one thing is for certain, the engine’s deafening roar will never grow tiresome or become any less erotic.

2012 LAMBORGHINI GALLARDO LP 570-4 SPYDER PERFORMANTE – THE COMPETITORS

Ferrari 458 Spider – 4.5-litre V8, 419kW/540Nm – 1430kg – $590,000
It produces the exact same amount of power and torque as the Lambo (coincidence?) and it is slightly lighter in weight. No all-wheel drive, and no exposed carbon fibre though. Also over $10k more expensive.

2012 LAMBORGHINI GALLARDO LP 570-4 SPYDER PERFORMANTE – SPECIFICATIONS

MODEL
2012 Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Spyder Performante

ENGINE
5.2-litre naturally aspirated V10

ENGINE SIZE  / COMPRESSION RATIO
5204cc / 12.5:1

BORE X STROKE
84.5mm x 92.8mm

POWER
419kW@8000rpm, 540Nm@6500rpm

POWER TO WEIGHT RATIO
3.54: 1 (kg:kW)

DRY WEIGHT
1485kg

HEIGHT / WIDTH / LENGTH
1184mm / 1900mm / 4386mm

DRIVETRAIN
Six-speed sequential automatic transmission, all-wheel drive

BRAKES
F: 380mm carbon ceramic cross-drilled discs, six-piston calipers
R: 356mm carbon ceramic cross-drilled discs, four-piston calipers

WHEELS / TYRES
Front: 19-inch alloy, 235/35
Rear: 19-inch alloy, 295/30

FUEL TANK CAPACITY
80 litres

FUEL TYPE
Premium 95 RON

FUEL CONSUMPTION
Tested average: Not tested
Official average: 13.8L/100km

PERFORMANCE
0-100km/h: Not tested (3.9 seconds [manufacturer’s time])

PRICED FROM
$577,300

WARRANTY
Three-year/Unlimited kilometre

(Photos by Paul Maric)

Paul is a contributing road tester at PerformanceDrive. He is an expert in supercars and luxury cars. From Melbourne, Paul's journalism experience is vast, covering not only the auto industry but also travel and tourism. He test drives over 70 new vehicles every year, with reviews appearing in prominent magazines, newspapers, and online. He is one of the founding team members at CarAdvice.com.au.

  • Benjie

    Love this review. The car is a wicked colour and the sound is absolutely to die for!!!!