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Road Test: Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4
Lamborghini has always been rare, fast and exciting. Fast and entertaining cars beloning to an exclusive group of the best supercars around. Cars with a historical background that live for triple-digit speeds. We had to distinguish if this would also be the case with the current Gallardo LP560-4.
Presented to the public at the 2008 Geneva Motor Show it was time to have a closer look at the supercar, which is something between a “face-lift” and an “all-new car” depending on the way you look at it. The name LP560-4 has a meaning of its own. LP stands for Longitudinale Posteriore – the longitudinally mid-mounted position of the engine. 560 is its PS count that equals 552 horsepower. “-4″ reminds you of the full-time four-wheel-drive. So if you ever spot the badges on the side of the car you now know what it means.
Its styling has become more aggressive than before. The elegant part still exists of course. Major changes to the design are the front with its enlarged cooling intakes, different headlights and the artistic Y-shaped LED daytime running lights. The side of the car has a clean and straight design. The smooth design ends on the back of the car where the taillights are placed, next to a rear view camera – which can be used while driving -, four screaming exhausts and rear diffuser. The deck lid is covered with a Plexiglas “window” showing you the heart of the bull.
If you are familiar with the predecessor you will notice that the layout is no different. You still have the choice between a six-speed manual or six-speed E-gear automated transmission. We drove the enhanced 2009 E-gear automatic transmission. It changes gears by way of a rotational selector instead of a fore-aft movement. You really notice that the gear changes happen much more smoothen than before. The 40% decrease in change speed is something you will only feel at a track. The rainy environment in which we tested the Gallardo wasn’t suited for this.
The E-gear has two extra programs called “Thrust Mode” and “Corsa”. Both are mend for any of your wishes. If you have the chance use the thrust mode. This launch control system will catapult you from 0 to 100km/h (62 mph) in 3,7 seconds. 0,3 seconds quicker than the “old” Gallardo.
The true 200-mph supercar has a decent engine. The naturally aspirated aluminium V10 displaces 5.2 liter, is fitted with a direct-injection system and produces 560hp at 8000rpm. The torque is delivered between 376lb-ft at 4250rpm to 398lb-ft at 6500rpm. The low-end torque was one of the things we clearly noticed.
If you climb inside the Gallardo you enter a cabin only ment for one thing. The interior of our test car was fitted with alcantara accents, but you also have the option for leather or carbon-fibre. We suggest alcantara. After entering you will notice several options like the familiar Audi-nav system, A/C controls, buttons and the steering wheel with the cheap silver lining. Decent adding to the interior design are the new gauges, seven switches in the center console and Lamborghini logo.
Starting it, means unleashing the bull. Driving off is easy. It is not a hard car to drive. It feels eager to show you what it is got, but feels ok when you don’t and drive in some daily traffic. Until the moment you hit the throttle it never becomes clear what it can do and what you can experience.
Plant the throttle and you will feel the power building up. Especially in the lower power band it feels strong, stronger than we expected on forehand. The V10 in back sounds like an airplane taking off and gives you smooth and manageable amount of power to the all-wheel-drive system. A system giving us major confidence on the hi-speed turns we made and the braking we did.
The full package was what we expected. One point of advice came up after our drive. The carbon ceramic brakes on our test car took some getting used to. For normal stop-and-go traffic you need a decent amount feeling in your legs. Press the pedal just for one inch and you feel nothing. Press it a little bit more and your ears are squeezed around your nose. Nice to have on a track day, a no-go when you take your girlfriend to the nearby casino. Especially when you want to look at her and not the rear-view mirror checking if anybody is hitting your precious Lambo in the back.
After several hours of driving around the Italian city of Sant’Agata Bolognese, the home ground of the exclusive carmaker, we knew that our thoughts had become reality and that the level of quality has reached above its predecessor.
It is rough around the edges and that is what you want from a Lamborghini. It is what you expect. It is a hardcore supercar pushing you to superb, easy and save entertainment as long as you ask for it!