Review: Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4

The new Lamborghini Gallardo may be a tad more sophisticated than in previous years but it is still aggressively sexy and tears up the road. We relish the chance to master this marauding beast, which is new but is also the last of its kind

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.

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 “Despite the low-slung profile, visibility is acceptable, a far cry from the neck-wrenching disasters of the past.”

Spine-compressing Excitement

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 Hong Kong island during our test drive was exhilarating but definitely not for the faint hearted.

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.

 

Review Lamborghini Gallardo Lp560 4 5

Introduced at the Paris Motor Show in September 2012, this version is marked by the combination trapezoidal and triangular geomety on both ends

Comfort & Aggression

The Gallardo’s famous aggressively sexy, razor-sharp body has been further enhanced in this makeover. The marque’s traditional trapezoidal and triangular geometry has been tightened up, and a redesigned rear end improves thermodynamic efficiency, making this car a stunner from every direction. No compromises are made to soften the feral aggression of Lamborghini signature lines.

The chassis is a blend of alloy stampings, castings and extrusions, and the panels are thermoplastic-formed or aluminum, including the low-slung doors, making for an elegantly light structure. Inside, the cockpit combines comfort and simplicity, and it is here that the link with Volkswagen stable-mate Audi is clearest. The colorful dashboard is functional and attractive, while a slightly flattened steering wheel provides a dynamic feel for drivers relaxed in comfortable leather, well-formed bucket seats. Despite the low-slung profile, visibility is acceptable, a far cry from the neck-wrenching disasters of the past.

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The rear end gets a new difuser. Note the geometric touches.

Civilized but not Tame

The LP 560-4 may be Lamborghini’s “baby” compared with its larger 12-cylinder siblings, but make no mistake this is a fully-grown classic and world-class exotic in its own right. Ten years of development have ironed out any minor irritations, sales remain strong and enthusiasts will relish this last chance to own one, as it is the Gallardo’s swan song.

The Sant’Agata Bolognese factory intends to produce a replacement next year, yet it will be hard pushed to improve on this beauty. Its manners in and around town are immaculate and there is more than enough in the tank to stretch its legs when asked on the open road. There is something here for every driver, and this flexibility and adaptability makes the car an all-purpose weapon for speed merchants and commuters alike.

The phrase ‘civilized Lamborghini’ may be something of a contradiction in terms, but the new Gallardo is no tame bull. It still snorts and cavorts with intelligence and style with the wildest in town. It just does so with more than a soupcon of class and sophistication.

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It looks a bit spare but we find the interior comfortable for this class of performance car

Specifications

  • Engine V10, 5.2-litre
  • Maximum power 412 kW at 8,000 rpm
  • Maximum torque 540 Nm at 6,500 rpm
  • Transmission Six-speed e-gear system (manual, automatic and thrust modes) to permanent four-wheel drive
  • Suspension Double wishbones front and rear, anti-roll bar, anti-dive and anti-squat
  • Brakes Power vacuum, aluminium alloy calipers and ventilated discs
  • Wheels 19-inch aluminium alloy
  • Top speed 325 km/h
  • Acceleration 0-100 km/h in 3.7 seconds

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