Although it's most likely difficult for most of us to think about a $200,000 automobile as "affordable," this is the squeeze Lamborghini Gallardo finds itself in inside the Lambo product selection. But regardless of -- sports cars with exotic looks and also the performance to complement possess a built-in possession audience.
Just because the 2010 Lamborghini Gallardo is the Italian supercar maker's entry-level model, don't assume it is a lesser exotic sports car. One only has to take a look at the figures to realize that this baby Lambo is the real deal. A mid-mounted V10 that churns out 552 horsepower, acceleration to 60 mph in less than 4 seconds, a 199 mph top speed and a price tag that starts over $200,000 should all do it for you.What the numbers don't say, however, is just as important. Unlike most Lamborghinis from the past, the Gallardo is pretty driver-friendly, with a civilized and comfortable cabin, top-notch materials and tasteful design. By comparison, many precious Lamborghinis were saddled with hot and stifling cockpits, poor visibility and questionable ergonomics.As Lamborghini's kindler, gentler supercar, the Gallardo has outsold every model in the company's history -- at last count, more than 9,000 examples have been built. Since its debut in 2003, the Gallardo has seen its share of improvements, and 2010 is no different. In addition to last year's all-wheel-drive Gallardo LP 560-4 coupe, a new Spyder model joined the lineup late in the 2009 model year. This convertible version features a power-retractable cloth top, along with pop-up roll bars and a glass rear window that also doubles as a wind deflector.For true driving enthusiasts, there is a new special-edition Gallardo LP 550-2 Valentino Balboni model. Named for the recently retired Lamborghini test-driver, this exclusive model (limited to only 250 examples) honors Balboni by embodying his particular driving style. Balboni's ability to artfully slide a car in graceful arcs at extraordinary speeds is legendary, and the Gallardo bearing his name is tailored to deliver that very type of entertainment. By implementing a rear-wheel-drive-only layout along with a revised suspension, limited-slip differential and many other tweaks, this model is sure to bring Balboni's sly smile to any driver's face.Whichever Gallardo tickles your fancy, there's no doubt that this futuristic wedgelike supercar will attract attention and deliver jaw-dropping performance. At its stratospherically high price, there are a few other exotics that compete against the Gallardo. The new Ferrari 458 Italia is its most direct competitor, but we would also consider the higher-end Porsche 911 GT3 variants as well as the closely related Audi R8. In any case, the 2010 Lamborghini Gallardo has proven it can play with the big boys, thereby dismissing any concerns regarding its entry-level label.
The 2010 Lamborghini Gallardo is an exotic sports car. It is offered as the Gallardo LP 560-4 in either coupe or spyder versions as well as the limited-edition LP 550-2 Valentino Balboni model.
Standard equipment for either the coupe or spyder LP 560-4 models includes 19-inch alloy wheels, an automatically extending rear spoiler, bi-xenon headlights, power-folding outside mirrors, dual-zone automatic climate control, power seats, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, leather upholstery, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a multimedia driver interface similar to Audi's Multi Media Interface (MMI) system and a four-speaker stereo with six-CD changer, auxiliary audio jacks and iPod integration.
The LP 550-2 Valentino Balboni model distinguishes itself with a white and gold stripe that runs from nose to tail. This special model also adds a clear engine cover, a rearview camera, a navigation system, Bluetooth and an adjustable front suspension that helps avert front spoiler scrapes -- all of which are available as options on the LP560-4 models.
Add-ons are numerous, with some options bundled into packages. The Travel package adds a cupholder, a luggage net behind the seats and a small storage compartment next to the steering wheel. There are also several packages that add varying degrees of carbon-fiber or leather interior trim. Stand-alone options include upgraded alloy wheels, Alcantara upholstery, fitted luggage and heated seats. Lamborghini also offers its "Ad Personam" customization program, which gives the buyer extensive input into exterior and interior color combinations.
Exotic styling and power, tenacious traction, makes all the right noises.
Less tossable than some competitors, stiff-legged ride, exotic price.
Unlike previous Lamborghini models, the 2010 Gallardo provides a fairly livable cabin, thanks in large part to influence from parent company Audi. Leather and soft-touch materials adorn much of the interior, as one might expect, but the switchgear, gauges and multimedia driver interface are essentially pulled from the Audi parts bin. Some might bemoan this distillation of Lamborghini's traditional Italian character, but most will appreciate Audi's injection of ergonomic know-how into the Gallardo's cockpit. Further advancements can be found in the fundamentally sound driving position and the comfortable and supportive seats.
However, the aforementioned multimedia interface leaves something to be desired, as the control knob and accompanying buttons are placed next to the screen rather than near the shifter, requiring altogether too much driver attention given the Gallardo's fearsome capabilities. Furthermore, storage space is negligible, and only the most limber drivers will find ingress and egress to their liking -- par for the course in this segment, perhaps, but some competing models provide supercar performance without requiring contortionist antics to get behind the wheel.
The 2010 Lamborghini Gallardo's performance is just as otherworldly as one would expect from any exotic sports car. The V10 power plant shrieks off the line as the revs climb toward redline. Compared to models from rival manufacturer Ferrari, the LP 560-4 is slightly less nimble and tossable. It is, however, perfectly at home blasting down the highway and carving through high-speed sweepers.
The LP 550-2 Valentino Balboni is a different beast, altogether. Signore Balboni's reputation for lurid powerslides has found its way into this special-edition model. Breaking the rear wheels loose and inducing wild oversteer is only a quick tap away on the gas pedal, while numerous changes to the suspension and limited-slip diff allow the driver to hold and control this fishtail with considerable ease. Regardless of which Gallardo you may find yourself piloting, excitement and passion are guaranteed.
Two new models join the Lamborghini Gallardo lineup for 2010. A Spyder version of the LP 560-4 was introduced late in 2009 and a rear-wheel-drive version debuts this year. The limited-edition rear-drive model, named for the company's longtime test-driver, Valentino Balboni is a nod to his tail-happy antics.
The 2010 Lamborghini Gallardo LP 560-4 coupe and spyder are powered by a mid-mounted 5.0-liter V10 engine that sends a massive 552 hp and 398 pound-feet of torque to all four wheels. The LP 550-2 Valentino Balboni produces 542 hp, and power is sent only to the rear wheels. All Gallardos feature a six-speed manual transmission with gated metal shifter as standard, while an automated six-speed sequential-shift manual transmission known as e-gear is optional. The LP 560-4 is expected to accelerate from zero to 60 mph in the mid-3.0-second range, with the LP 550-2 following by a few tenths of a second. The EPA estimates fuel economy for Gallardos with the e-gear transmission at 14/20 mpg for the city/highway and 16 mpg in combined driving. The manual transmission is expected to deliver 12/20/15 mpg.
Standard safety equipment for the 2010 Lamborghini Gallardo includes antilock brakes, stability control and side airbags.