Searching for the perfect combination of an Italian sports car with a drop-top roof, increased performance, a mind bending experience and the capabilities of a proper four-wheel-drive system? There is simply one answer; the Lamborghini LP570-4 Gallardo Performante, the benchmark in the most fascinating automobile segment of all – the open-top super sports car.

The Gallardo LP570-4 Spyder Performante is the official name of the topless version of the Lamborghini Gallardo LP570-4 Superleggera, which stands for ‘superlight’ coupé. The convertible gets the same two-fold recipe of reduced weight and increased power. With respect to the ‘standard’ LP560-4 Spyder, the Performante’s weight is trimmed by 65kg to 1,485kg. It gets a carbon fiber program for the side skirts, rear wing, diffuser, underbody cover and even wing mirror housings which contributes up to 40 per cent of the Performante’s overall weight saving. The 19 inch Superleggera-style rims shed another 13kg. The tires on the front are 235/35 Pirelli P Zero Corsas while at the rear 295/30 Pirelli P Zero Corsas provide the grip.

The Performante has some unique features. Designers from Lamborghini’s Centro Stile remodeled the front bumper to including the three-dimensional, deeply recessed elements which form trapezoidal-frames for the large air intakes. The nose is shaped in a V, the diffuser is modified and the optional rear spoiler is a must-have option. The exterior of the Performante has sleek contours complimenting the wedge shape common to the Gallardo. It looks stunning in virtually every single way you look at it. Our personal favorite view is top open, windows down and a corner view of about 45 percent with respect to the front.

Road Test Lamborghini LP570-4 Gallardo Performante 01

The 5.2 liter V10 engine is barely visible underneath the carbon fiber panel with its air intakes and signature emblem. It offers increased performance of 570hp at 8,000rpm and maximum torque of 510Nm at 4,200rpm. The power is converted via an e-gear automated manual gearbox or six-speed manual to all four wheels.

The power train catapults the open-top LP570-4 from 0 to 100km/h in a mere 3.9 seconds and keeps on going to a top speed of 324km/h. The engine with “Iniezione Diretta Stratificata” (direct injection) boasts an impressive push and a near endless supply of spine-tingling sounds.

With the top down, the V10 engine seems to come to life more than we were used to with the coupe. It feels louder, offers a better experience and fuels the passenger’s passionate Italian mindset. The engine begs for high revs and urges you to floor the throttle. It fully comes to life above 3,500rpm after the butterfly in the exhaust opens and provides you with the full maximum torque.

The e-gear transmission changes gears far quicker and more smoothly than human reflexes can muster. Three operating modes are available, of which two can be used in automatic. The differences between the programs are easily felt in the shift changes. In Corsa mode the change from second to third is capable of ripping your head off, while down shifts are a just feast on your ears.

Road Test Lamborghini LP570-4 Gallardo Performante 02

Infinite mountain roads or challenging race tracks, find any of these and the Performante is in its true element providing you with a constant level of sensory overload you will hardly come across in any other roofless super sports car. The grippy four-wheel drive system will keep you on the road, while you take corner after corner. The appropriate levels of stopping power are available via the carbon ceramic brake kit.

The interior offers anything you may request. The lightweight Performante still comes with air conditioning and electric windows as standard. The ageing central entertainment console comes from Audi, it’s similar to other Gallardos and is not our main point of interest. The interior offers a combination between interior elements manufactured from carbon fiber or covered by Alcantara. The center tunnel cover, the door panels and the surround of the e-gear automated manual transmission lever are made from the same high-end material. Same goes for the sports seats’ shells.

Just like the rest of the cockpit, the sports seats are clad in lightweight Alcantara instead of leather. As contrasting colors for seat stitching, customers can choose from green, yellow, orange and two shades of gray. They match exterior paint finishes in Giallo Midas, Arancio Borealis, Grigio Telesto, Nero Noctis and Bianco Monocerus.

Competition? The Lamborghini LP570-4 Gallardo Performante is up against the Ferrari Scuderia 16M, the brand new Ferrari 458 Spyder and the Audi R8 GT Spyder offering the same weight saving package and 5.2 liter V10 engine. Like the Performante, the 16M is the ultimate open-top in the 430 lineup, but it has been overtaken by a new member of the family. This prancing horse, the 458, has a smaller engine, rear-wheel drive and a fully retractable hard top. Its top speed is 4km/h slower, but the sprint to 100km/h is half a second quicker. The German is one-tenth of a second faster to 100km/h and has a top speed of 317km/h.

Until we have driven the new Ferrari 458 Spider, we would opt for the Performante as our Summer road trip transport. We would take it over a Superleggera any time and drive it open-top every single moment of the day. And when it pours, you keep the roof closed, open the little rear bulkhead window and enjoy the sound track. The Performante is the ultimate everyday Gallardo offering that the beloved ultimate driver’s experience.

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