AMMAN — Employing much of the weight-saving measures used for the Lamborghini Gallardo range-topping LP570-4 Superleggera, the drop-top is essentially a cross between Superleggera and the slowest model in the range, the LP560-4 Spyder. Savagely swift, the Performante is naturally faster than the Spyder it is based on, but is not quite as brisk as the Superleggera. Like the Superleggera, the Performante makes extensive use of lightweight carbon-fibre seats, sills, underbody cover, rear wing, diffuser and even mirror housings and at 1485kg shaves 65kg off the Spyder’s weight and features 10ps more power.
However, being that the Performante is based on the Spyder, and employs the same heavy frame strengthening required to keep the drop-top configuration stiff enough, its weight loss isn’t as impressive as the 1,340kg Superleggera in comparison with the basic Coupe version Gallardo.
In any case, the Performante isn’t quite aimed at the same clientele as the uncompromisingly hardcore Superleggera. As a convertible the Performante’s clients don’t really need the extra weight saving, performance and rigidity, as they will likely be less intense drivers who want to enjoy open top driving and be seen in their car, but also would like to partake of the occasional track day.
Bark and bellow
Driven by a mid-rear mounted 5.2-litre direct fuel injection V10 engine tuned to 570ps rather than 560ps, the LP570-4 Performante lets tear its maximum power by 8000rpm, while maximum torque is the same as the base Spyder, with 398lb/ft arriving at 6500rpm.
The benchmark 0-100km/h sprint is a mere 3.9-seconds and on to a 324km/h top speed, the Performante’s engine is considerably more powerful and efficient than early 5-litre Gallardo versions, and develops a whopping 108ps per litre of displacement. Brutally powerful, the Performante hums with a drone-like manner at idle, but is a peaky engine that races trough a barking, bellowing and howling crescendo as it climbs through revs.
With its soft top down, one is privy to the Performante’s V10 soundtrack at a more glorious volume, while on down-shifts, the engine seemingly spits back a petulant burble as engine speed is matched to gear ratio. Coming to life at around 3500rpm, the Performante experiences a long-legged and ferocious surge of torque and power.
Driving the Performante hard, one will feel the urge to change up into the next ratio at 6500rpm, but holding off and allowing the engine to spin up to 8000rpm unleashes a more intensely savage wave of power, and with the new gear one relives the dramatic experience as revs again rise hard and fast.
Claws and corners
Phenomenally swift on track, the Performante favours high rev driving, but can feel less unwilling at under 2500rpm. Using a single-clutch automated gearbox, low speed shifting can be slightly jerky, but is however better suited to the track, where when pushed hard, it assertively kicks in up-shifts after a split-second’s pause.
With a mid-engine layout and four-wheel-drive the Gallardo Performante’s weight distribution is sporting and slightly rear-biased but mostly within wheelbase. In addition to good traction and grip, the Performante is very stable at speed and even with the top down, feels secure and planted at above 200km/h.
It however through fast corners where the Performante more clearly outshines the regular LP560-4 Spyder. With its lower weight, the Performante feels more agile, balanced, taut and eager through corners and on track.
With a sure-footed and crisp turn-in, the Performante is well controlled and stays flat through corners. The Performante’s 57 per cent rear weight bias and 70 per cent rear power bias give it a rear-wheel-drive feel in terms of handling, but when it is on the edge of its handling ability, its four-wheel-drive nature becomes more obvious as the front wheels claw in and pull the Performante back in line after one provokes the rear end out.
Grippy and sure-footed through fast corners, the Performante is also balanced and poised at its grip limit, where a limited slip rear differential sends power to the wheel with best grip as the front wheels regain traction to slingshot one onto the straight.
Lively, reassuring and fast on track, the Performante also features tirelessly powerful brakes and precise and meaty steering. A stiff riding car designed to corner flat, the Performante also features different damper settings for a slightly more supple experience on roads, while different gearbox settings hone throttle responses and gear change times and aggressiveness.
A more dramatically styled version of theatrical and extrovert Gallardo design, the Performante’s carbon fibre body kit lends an edgy feel, which along with dark painted alloy wheels created a stark contrast to the test car’s bright white finish. Angular and sharp with stark lines and uncompromising dramatics, the Performante strikes an imposing pose with its almost tarmac scraping front diffuser and gaping trapezoidal front and side and top air intakes.
The Performante features a rear wing fixed to its high and long rear deck, which increases down-force and high-speed grip, and also directs attention away from the rear deck when the roof is down.
Brimming with carbon fiber trim and Alcantara leather, the Performante’s interior has most modern necessary creature comforts and the feel of a more focused performance car, and isn’t a stripped down racer. Alcantara leather steering wheel and seats provide much grip through hard corners, while instrumentation is mostly ergonomic.
However, the indicator and wiper stalks are close to the E-gear paddle shifters and the left-hand side dash-mounted reverse button is counter-intuitive. Interior space is adequate, but for tall and wide drivers, wearing a helmet with the roof up is not possible, while the body-hugging carbon fibre sports seats are lightly padded and only have slide adjustment.
Engine: 5.2 litre, in-line, mid-mounted, dry-sump V10-cylinders
Bore x stroke: 84.5 x 92.8mm
Compression ratio: 12.5:1
Valve-train: 40-valve, DOHC, direct injection
Gearbox: 6-speed automated sequential, four-wheel-drive
Top gear/final drive ratios: 0.78:/3.08:1
Rear differential: 45% limited-slip
Power, PS (BHP) [kW]: 570 (562)  @ 8000rpm
Specific power: 108bhp/litre
Torque, lb/ft (Nm): 398 (540) @ 6500rpm
Specific torque: 103Nm/litre
Maximum speed: 324km/h
Track, F/R: 1,632/1,597mm
Fuel capacity: 90-litres
Kerb weight: 1,485kg
Weight distribution, front/rear: 43%/57%
Suspension: Double wishbone, anti-roll bar, anti-dive, anti-squat
Steering: Rack & pinion, power assisted
Turning circle: 11.5-metres
Brakes, F/R: Ventilated steel disc, 34 x 365mm/32 x 356mm
Tyres, F/R: 235/35ZR19/295/30ZR19