All Lamborghini Gallardo models are built on an aluminum space frame, with aluminum extruded parts welded to cast aluminum joint sections, and an aluminum body structure with thermoplastic hang-on parts such as fenders and door skins.
From the outside, the Superleggera is nearly identical to the standard Gallardo coupe, with the exception of the Superleggera logo on the lower portion of the doors.
But the shape hides a whole menu of lightweight parts that come on the Superleggera, including a carbon fiber rear diffuser, carbon fiber outside mirror housings, a carbon fiber driveshaft, a polymer rear window and engine cover instead of glass, carbon fiber intake manifold, lightweight exhaust manifolds, forged aluminum wheels, and titanium wheel nuts, to make the car as light as possible.
Inside, the Superleggera has shiny gray carbon fiber door panels, a carbon fiber dashboard panel and carbon fiber console to save weight. The carbon fiber look is becoming a cliche, but the door panels are handsomely designed and fit well. Best of all, it's easy to clean: Simply wipe it off.
The seats in our Gallardo Superleggera were supportive and comfortable. Finished in alcantara with a small dash of body-colored trim, they are very attractive. The seats are equipped with seat-mounted side air bags and three-point seat belts.
The driver and passenger can reach all the audio, climate, window and other controls in the center of the dash quite easily and comfortably.
Audio and climate controls and the navigation system come from Audi. A seven-inch color screen in the center of the dash displays Audi's Multi-Media Interface, or MMI. A dial surrounded by four buttons are used to control most functions. This system gives the driver control over many functions without filling the dash with buttons. Audi's MMI features a shallower menu structure than BMW's iDrive, so you don't have to burrow as deeply through a maze of menus to get to the adjustment you want.
The climate controls are separate, however, and this is a good thing. Heating and air conditioning have more traditional controls mounted below the MMI controller. So you don't have to call up a menu to change the fan speed or cabin temperature. You simply press a button and twist a dial.
Between these two interfaces is a set of power window switches. This is the least ergonomic aspect of the cabin controls; you have to actually look at them to raise or lower the windows, less convenient than having the switches on the doors.
The sharply angled windshield and the deep dashboard give the feeling that you're sitting far back in the car, and you are, just ahead of the rear window and firewall that separate you physically but not aurally from that fire-breathing, V10 engine. We quickly adjusted to this.
Visibility is quite good all around, not as clear as the view from a Porsche 911 Turbo, but far better than that of traditional exotics. For example, we were alert when driving around LAX, one of the world's busiest airports, with shuttle vans, cabs and distracted motorists jostling into neighboring lanes in their efforts to pick people up, but we weren't terrified and would do it again. Big side mirrors offer a good rearward view. The rearview mirror offers a good view; the rear wing on the Superleggera blocks the view a little, and at night it can look like someone behind you is flashing their headlights as the wing obscures and reveals them when the cars bounce around.
The biggest issue with visibility comes with parking in tight quarters. The body work falls out of sight up front so it's difficult to judge where the corners of the car are located when pulling into a one-car garage. Fortunately, you are farther from the object than it appears. The Gallardo is wide, so you don't have a lot of space to work with. Exacerbating this are the touchy carbon-fiber brakes and an electronic gearbox depressing and releasing the clutch for a highly tuned V10. We found it very useful to have a spotter, though we were able to do it on our own. Sometimes it helped to push on both pedals at the same time, other times a light touch combined with experience with the E-gear was best. Familiarization with the throttle, E-gear and brakes quickly improved the situation. But it's not a car you want to drive in and out of tight places in a hurry or haphazardly nor is it one you allow someone inexperienced with it to park it.
Storage in the Gallardo is almost non-existent. There's no cubby storage to speak of. We discovered, however, that the trunk, in the very front of the car, holds a small, carry-on trolley bag, the size designed to fit in an overhead storage bin. So picking someone up at the airport is only viable if he