The new Gallardo LP560-4 is the ultimate expression of Lamborghini’s transformation from an idiosyncratic manufacturer of wild, unpredictable raging bulls into a sophisticated producer of affordable supercars for the modern age. Ignore purists who bemoan the passing of fly-by-the-seat-of-the-pants monsters that took bare-knuckle courage as well as skill to keep on the road at speed. Rejoice instead that even this so-called ‘entry-level’ model in the Gallardo range maintains, for drivers of all abilities, the unalloyed joy and excitement of mastering a feisty Italian thoroughbred.
Though this means inevitable compromise from the original outlandish vision of Ferruccio Lamborghini, and a move toward the centre with regards performance specifications, it is difficult to spot the downside. This is a machine that thrills, allures, enthralls and amazes in equal measure with a welcome and wary eye on safety, usability and stylistic excellence.
“Despite the low-slung profile, visibility is acceptable, a far cry from the neck-wrenching disasters of the past.”
The 5.2-litre V-10 engine mounted amidships packs a mighty punch, screeching with sweet, sonorous sensuality at low speed and barely-concealed menace near the red line. Though the power delivery is smooth and well managed, there is no lack of spine-compressing excitement to be had. Acceleration is brutally and deceptively fast, and the car needs every bit of the help its aluminum alloy brakes provide, especially when coming upon unexpected obstacles at speed.
The single clutch may not match the state-of-the-art double clutches found in some of its rivals, but using the paddle shift on the steering column to control the six-speed e-gear system with its slight delay releases the beast within. Keeping the rev counter up while turning at high speeds on the twisting back roads of
A dedicated suspension system allied to Lamborghini’s permanent four-wheel drive boasts viscous traction control and firmly plants the new Gallardo on the road - on wide sticky tires with new 19-inch ‘Apollo polished’ aluminum alloy rims. The lack of body roll and the pin-sharp steering boost confidence even further, especially for those prepared to be gentler on the throttle.