While the riffraff swarmed around the Jacob Javits Center last week for the traditional New York Auto Show unveilings, Lamborghini invited an elite group to the Monticello Motor Club to get behind the wheel of the new Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Spyder Performante and 550-2 Bicolore sans speed limits.

DRIVEN dispatched closet speed freak Michael Williams of A Continuous Lean to put his foot down….

Leaving New York City behind I joined the chosen few heading upstate on I-87 to punish a couple million bucks worth of Italian sports cars at the Monticello Motor Club’s private track. You know, just your average Thursday.

After doing 140 mph I wished I was dressed in a proper tuxedo and a Rolex a la Mr. Bond

Upon arrival we were briefed on the features of the two new cars, making note of their monster V-10 5200cc displacement engines. In an effort to pump up the volume, engineers at Lamborghini went to pains to shed weight and add power to the new models.

Carbon fiber was deployed whenever possible and designers even changed the interior materials because leather was too heavy.

We were (perhaps needlessly) reminded of the potential for adventures not at all possible on public roads. Hammering the point home I was handed a helmet along with the keys to a black, stealth looking Gallardo LP 570-4 Spyder Performante.

Quite a step up from watching Le Mans on Blu-Ray. A few laps around the track and then I switched over to an all-white 550-2 Bicolore. It was like a battle between good and evil.

An Arc’Teryx jacket, jeans, Red Wings and a Nato strapped Luminox seemed like appropriate attire when setting out that morning, but after doing 140 mph I wished I was dressed in a proper tuxedo and a Rolex a la Mr. Bond.

Rounding the chicanes at Monticello made me feel somewhere between a Top Gear presenter and an F1 driver with a supermodel and a baggie of MDMA

The main distinction between the 570-4 Spyder Performante and the 550-2 Bicolore – aside from the former being a convertible – is that the Performante is all-wheel drive while the Bicolore is RWD, and slightly less powerful.

While at face value those differences don’t seem too significant, on the track it was immediately obvious. If given the choice without having driven either car, you know you’d be going for more power and all-wheel drive all day, everyday.

The real play here is the 550-2 Bicolore however. Having only rear wheel drive gives an already eye-popping ride an extra little helping of fun. The car is a little bit looser and harder to control, which just serves to increase the adrenaline and keep you on your toes that much more.

Rounding the chicanes at Monticello while paddle shifting a brand new Lamborghini made me feel somewhere between a Top Gear presenter and an F1 driver alone in a room with a supermodel and a baggie of MDMA – but even if the dream had been demoted to rogue valet attendant on the back streets of Monticello I’d have taken it in a heartbeat.

– MW

Photos by Michael Williams for DRIVEN. Click to enlarge all: