Ever since Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 was born, it had its mission cut out and by no means less tough; upholding the style and attitude of Lamborghini’s 12-cylinder cars but be more livable in everyday use. It has turned out to be one successful strategy, as there’s been no shortage of takers who rightly hanker for such usable yet enticing sports cars. In fact, the Lamborghini Gallardo has become this Italian automaker’s best-selling model ever.
The latest modification in the car’s styling is at once more aggressive and more elegant than before. The front end has been given a bit more of a chin in the form of revised, enlarged cooling intakes for more appetite. The headlamps have been trimmed and no longer take up a majority of the front fenders.
Parent company Audi’s signature can be found in the fitment of LED daytime running lights, which are Y-shaped, perhaps to tie into the taillamps, which now recall those of the Murciélago with their asterisk-like directional light pattern. The body sides and the rear decklid have also been smoothed and filled, with single slits replacing the dozens of gills on the original Gallardo.
The skinnier taillights no longer wrap up onto the decklid, and they now sit atop a wide band of grillwork that visually widens the rear end for adding to its drop dead looks. Taking a page from Ferrari’s handbook, Lambo fitted the decklid with a new plexiglass “window” to allow the curious bystanders a peek of what’s lurking underneath.
In terms of layout and design, the Lamborghini Gallardo is a true exotic. To keep weight down, the chassis is a composite blend of alloy stampings, extrusions and castings. And except for the traditionally opening steel doors (no verticals unfortunately), the exterior is constructed of thermoplastic-formed panels.
Inside, the Gallardo’s handsome furnishings sublimely marry form with function and offer a surprising level of comfort for a vehicle of this type. Credit is certainly due to the influence of parent company Audi, whose expertise with interior design has been of no small benefit since the Volkswagen Group purchased Lamborghini in the late 1990s.
The impact is obvious given the precisely fitting leather and soft-touch materials. Despite the fact that this is an exotic sports car, seating is comfortable enough to accommodate the occasional road trip. Though not as flamboyant as its extroverted exterior, the interior styling still befits a vehicle in this price range. Storage space is tight, though, with a minimal amount of room available behind the seats and in the nose-mounted trunk.
What’s under the window sure isn’t the same thing as before. The Gallardo’s naturally aspirated V-10 has been bored to 5.2 litres (up from 5.0) and fitted with a direct-injection system, enabling a high, nosebleed-inducing compression ratio of 12.5:1, resulting in a significant spike in output to 560 horsepower at 8000 rpm and 540 Nm of torque.
The first twist of the key floods the cabin with an engine note that is sharp and clear. And unlike the Audi R8, with which the LP560-4 shares a few structural bits, the Lambo is loud. Deliciously loud. As loud as legally possible. And thus, perfect.
But once behind the wheel, one will gladly give anything in exchange for the sweet, resounding orchestra of its V10 at full throttle. With 560-plus horses at one’s fingertips, the Gallardo is capable of spine-compressing speed in any gear. Find a straight piece of road – preferably on a race track – select Corsa mode, turn off the stability control, depress the brake pedal with the left foot, and hit the gas. Revs automatically rise to 5200 rpm and stay there; when the left foot is released, and the Gallardo blasts forward, all four Pirellis scorching the tarmac in a squealing, smoking override of the all-wheel-drive system.
Leave it in Corsa mode, and the shifts are brutally, violently quick. At wide-open throttle, the lusty V10 plays a veritable mechanical symphony in keeping with the car’s Italian descent. The big V10 and all-wheel-drive system add quite a bit of mass, but in return the AWD system gives Gallardo drivers extra traction when the road ahead is slick and unfamiliar.
Although only a few lucky ones will be riding the Gallardo LP560, the pleasure it radiates to every car fanatic who catches a glimpse of it can’t be denied. And just about anybody can get into it and start driving fast straight away, it’s that easy. With its Reventon style nose-job, this car might probably go down in history as one of the all time great looking cars.