2007 Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder Review




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SEE ALSO: Lamborghini Buyers Guide

Road Test:Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder
By Andrew Frankl
European Bureau Chief
The Auto Channel

Every year I tell myself that these European trips simply cannot get any better. Well, I was wrong yet again!

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Monaco, Cannes, Maserati, Ferrari and now - for the first time ever- Lamborghini! Yes, Senior Editor Nicholas Frankl and I finally made it to S. Agata Bolognese, about 20 minutes from Modena.

Many readers will be familiar with the story of Ferruccio Lamborghini, an engineer and manufacturer of tractors. One day he complained to Enzo Ferrari about the various problems he had with his car and the Old Man told him to take a running jump. Instead Ferruccio decided to build his own cars to rival that most famous of all Italian makes. Over the years he made a series of beautiful but by and large not particularly well built supercars. The marque had its own following and the specialist Press simply loved the Miura , the Espada and the other exotica but money was always short. In the end two things could have happened. Either the factory had to close or it had to be sold. Luckily for us, auto aficionados it was the latter. Audi of all people decided to take the plunge and set about quality standards hitherto unheard of.

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When we went to see the plant it was virtually identical to the ones at Ferrari and Maserati. Highly professional young men and women were assembling cars with love and care. Even the sewing machines used by the ladies (Adler) were identical to the ones we saw at the other plants.

Once more of course the proof of the pudding was in the eating. An off white convertible was wheeled out, we got in and were off! The seats were surprisingly comfortable even for my 6 ft frame and the pedal shifts fell perfectly to hand. Make no mistake, this Lambo was no poodle. It is powered by a 90 degree V engine. It is a ten cylinder unit with a displacement of 4961 cc and a maximum output of 520 horses at 8000 rpm! The top speed is 195 miles per hour with the roof up and 190 miles per hour with the roof up! 0-60 comes up in 4.3 seconds.

Amazingly enough Lamborghini succeeded in making a fast, dramatic automobile which does NOT look like a Maserati or a Ferrari. No mean task. Lots of edges and straight surfaces make the Gallardo a very exciting looking proposition. All well and good but how does it go? Like smoke! Like lightening. Like magic.

We took a left turn out of the factory and a few hundred yards up another left. Narrow, straight, inviting and empty. Boom. Straight through the gears we were flying within seconds before breaking for Castelfranco, one of those adorable little Italian villages. The map suggested some Tuscan hills and who were we to object? Zocca, Tole, Savigno, hairpin after hairpin, bits of opposite lock here and there, one huge smile after another, when we finally got back to the factory we were ready for another run.

The permanent 4 wheel drive glued the Gallardo to the road, the steering-as one would expect- was razor sharp and the whole experience was immense.

The drivetrain is designed in such a way that when going uphill more drive torque is applied to the rear axle.

The Gallardo is full of the latest engineering gizmos. Drive-by-wire accelerator, fuel injection management, variable valve timing, even a black box recorder. Even though the car is good for nearly 200 miles per hour it still complies with the very stringent Euro 4 exhaust emissions standard.

So at the end of the day what do we have? A supercar like few other. Quick, responsive and highly desirable.

Is it practical?

It depends on where you live. I cannot think of many cars that would give you this much pleasure on a run to or from Aspen in Colorado. I’ve done the journey in a Ferrari and coming down those sweeping hills on empty roads is what motoring is all about. If on the other hand you live in Manhattan or San Francisco-forget it. Either the huge potholes or the hills would make short shrift of the car’s front.

Luggage-well, if you’ve purchased some luggage from the factory you may have enough room for a weekend. And that,, in my opinion is what car is made for. Forget commuting, for that get a Prius. Come Friday afternoon or Saturday morning open the garage, start this baby up and start living.

The price, well, if you have to ask you can’t afford it. For those who can you are looking at around 200 thousand dollars. For the rest of us there are always the bicycles.

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