Rumour has it that the production line marked ‘Gallardo’ will glide gently to a halt in August this year to allow tooling for the all-new baby Lamborghini to begin, which may or may not go on sale before the summer of next year depending on (a) who you talk to at Lamborghini, and (b) if you believe what they say to be true.
Either way, and despite the imminent ceasing of the now 10-year-old Gallardo’s production, this is the last time that Lamborghini will breathe new life into its smallest but biggest-selling car. And as last hurrahs go, this is not exactly one to take your breath away.
What we are talking about is a mild redesign of both nose and tail, one that introduces the weirdly triangular, some say slightly vulgar, design themes that appear pretty much all over the Aventador and the limited-edition Sesto Elemento.
There’s also a new design of 19-inch alloy wheel and larger air intakes have been carved into the bodywork just ahead of the front wheels, again drawing on the sharp-edged visual themes pioneered on Lamborghini’s most recent creations.
Alongside the bigger rear grille – which, says Lamborghini, “improves the thermodynamic efficiency” of the V10 (without providing it with any more power, torque or ecological credentials compared with what’s gone before) – the overall effect, visually at least, is subtle yet dramatic, both at the same time.
You can spot the 2013 Gallardo fairly easily compared with its predecessors, old or recent, but whether the design tweaks are a step forwards or a step sideways is another matter – or could they even be a step backwards?
Whatever your take on the way that it looks (personally, I think the Gallardo has become less good looking as it has grown older) what lurks beneath the skin hasn’t really changed.
Apart from the new, fractionally lighter alloy wheels, it hasn’t really changed at all, in fact. You still get the same 5.2-litre V10 that produces a thoroughly rousing 553bhp at 8000rpm and 398lb ft at 6500rpm. That’s good enough to fire the 1625kg, four-wheel-drive LP560-4 to 62mph from rest in 4.0sec and to a top speed of 201mph.
Trouble is, in the case of the test car, you also get the same old six-speed paddle-shift gearbox, which feels even more antiquated in its operation than it did before, especially compared with what’s on offer in most, if not all, of its rivals at the same price (£165k).
And unfortunately, much the same can be said about the rest of the way this car now drives – and operates inside – relative to its key competition.
There’s still an underlying sense of excitement about looking at, listening to and driving the Lamborghini Gallardo – because anything that makes this much of a fuss about merely going down the road still deserves its place in the heart of the true enthusiast.
If you look closely at what’s actually on offer between the cracks, however, the truth is not that pretty compared with what’s available from not just Ferrari and McLaren nowadays but also Porsche and even Audi.
Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4
Price £164,444 Engine V10, 5204cc, petrol; Power 553bhp at 8000rpm; Torque 398lb ft at 6500rpm; 0-62mph 4.0sec; Top speed 201mph; Gearbox 6-spd sequential manual; Kerb weight 1625kg; Economy 20mpg; CO2 330g/km