Our man, Steve Sutcliffe, is first to drive the new Gallardo
14 May 2008

What is it?

The new LP560-4 Gallardo doesn’t look dramatically different from its predecessor. But in reality it’s not far off from being a brand new car, which is extraordinary when you consider how small, relatively, Lamborghini’s budget is compared with its rivals.The LP560-4 Gallardo boasts, as the name suggests, 560PS (the '4' refers to four-wheel-drive). Translate that figure into regular bhp and the number drops to a rather less catchy-sounding 552.Either way, the important things to note are that the new 5.2-litre V10 has a completely different firing order from before and therefore sounds even better than ever. It also produces a chunk more power and torque and, according to Lamborghini, is a lot more driveable into the bargain.The Lamgorghini LP560-4 Gallardo has had a minor cosmetic rethink inside and out, around the nose and tail especially. Aerodynamic upgrades include a new rear diffuser, which improves the car's stability at speed by around 30 per cent.The nose has been given the Reventon treatment and now features more open, aggressive-looking nostrils while the rear lights have been ‘rationalised’ in an attempt to make the car look lower and wider, although the effect is reminiscent of a big Audi.

What’s it like?

The LP560-4 Gallardo is pretty special, even if the new gearbox isn’t quite all its cracked up to be. Shifts occur more quickly than they did before but not as smoothly as they do in some rivals.Performance has taken a notable step up - and the previous Gallardo wasn't exactly slow. The handling and ride have also been improved to a point where you wonder what else they could do to improve the Gallardo’s dynamics other than to fit it with a fully functioning time/space bending machine.The new engine weighs around 10kg more than the old 5.0-litre V10 (simply because it is that much bigger physically) yet overall the LP560-4 weighs some 20kg less than its predecessor.Once again, Lamborghini has found ways in which to slash all-important kerbweight from the Gallardo, this time without resorting to Clubsport tactics as it did with the Superleggera (and which the 560-4 now beats on overall power-to-weight ratio).It has achieved this by changing several key components in several key areas. The 4WD system has been completely revised and features new, lighter driveshafts and a brand new gearbox that weighs 10 kg less.The suspension has also been rethought, not only to give the Gallardo sharper responses, but also to make it lighter and stiffer at each corner. The tyres have been designed in conjunction with Pirelli, not merely to offer better grip than before across all conditions, but also less rolling resistance at any speed. Result? Overall the LP560-4, says Lamborghini, is a whopping 18 per cent less polluting and significantly more economical – to a point where it beats virtually all its competition on emissions. Not bad considering the 0-62mph time has dropped to a scant 3.7sec, while the top speed has risen past the magic 200mph barrier – to 202mph officially.Despite the more refined ride and significantly improved refinement, the LP560-4 still feels every inch like a Lamborghini. The noise made by the new V10 is utterly delicious, yet it has a broader, more sophisticated voice than before.The steering is sharper but less prone to kickback over rough surfaces as well. Steel brakes come as standard, unfortunately. Buyers will have to fork out a sizeable supplement for ceramic stoppers.That means the LP560-4 is a fair bit closer on price to the Ferrari F430 Scuderia (which has ceramic stoppers as standard) than it first appears.

Should I buy one?

If you've ever lusted after a Gallardo then this is the best yet - and not merely because it's also the fastest. It's good to see that Lamborghini is taking its future seriously and fronting up to green issues - without diluting the basic appeal of its cars in the process.

Steve Sutcliffe

Price: £122,000Power: 552bhp at 8000rpmTorque: 398lb ft at 6500rpm0-62mph: 3.7sec Top speed: 202mphCO2 emissions: 327g/km Combined economy: 19.2mpg

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Comments
2

14 May 2008

Still a stunning shape after years in production and with just enough power to keep it ahead of the 911 Turbo and justify the price premium. Can't help thinking what a shame it is Lotus didn't relace the Esprit years ago with something close to the Gollardo!

15 May 2008

They're working on it aren't they? The old Esprit was a cool shape - somewhere I've seen a video of one with a 4.2L Audi V8 fitted in place of the 2.2 4-pot, my god it sounds good.

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