At six years old, Lamborghini’s useable V10 supercar has dropped to half its original price and can be had for around £60,000. Now’s the time to buy, says James Ruppert. Here's what you should be looking out for:
An issue on ’04 cars, but all should now have been upgraded. With a manual you can gauge clutch health by a visual inspection and pedal feel; an e-gear needs to be electronically interrogated. Replacement will cost £3000.
Pre-2006 e-gear models can have a lumpy gearchange. That could be a clutch issue in the majority of cases, but could also be the pump actuator on its way out. Paddle-shift system can be adjusted, but that won’t always solve your problem.
Tyres really do need to be the right sort. Pirelli P Zero Rossos are the ones to have; if Corsas are fitted it affects the traction control. Also, look at the alloys for damage and check the brake discs for scoring or warping.
Numerous examples have been damaged on track days and wild nights out, so it’s vital to look at the fit and finish of the car’s panels and investigate the history. There is a five-year bodywork and corrosion warranty. Look for respray telltales too.
If you hear creaking and cracking from the ball joints, they may need replacing. See if you can drive over potholes reasonably quietly. It will cost around £500 a side and is a fairly common occurrence.
V10 is a fabulously reliable unit. Provided it has been serviced properly — £1200 annually, £2500 every two years — there should not be a problem.
What we said in the original road test - 16/23-12/2003
Design and engineering
The Gallardo uses an entirely new aluminium bodyshell. At 1420kg, it is not lightweight. That weight comes from two places: the four-wheel drive transmission and the V10 engine, which seems to take up half the car.
Finding the correct driving position can be tricky if you’re short of leg, with a clutch that requires a stretch for slow-speed changes and a bite point which is too high on the move. Audi switchgear is of the highest quality. There’s enough space for a half-set of golf clubs behind the seats and a bag in the bonnet.
The numbers tell you that the Gallardo outpunches a 911 Turbo and 360 Modena, but neither of these can match the Lamborghini’s real-world flexibility and low-down torque. Through the six near-perfect ratios, the razor-sharp V10 will pull from idle and rip to the 8200rpm limiter.
Ride and handling
Body control is the Gallardo’s ace, loving British roads with handy reserves of wheel travel and suspension compliance. Traction and grip is well beyond the domain of the public road, but there’s just a little too much understeer for perfection.
Buying and owning
The Gallardo will struggle to return more than 16mpg, but will potential purchasers of a £117,000 supercar really care? Residual values should reflect the incredibly strong demand, the expectation of Audi build quality and a three-year warranty.
Everyday capabilities and any-weather performance outweigh the limited luggage space and ambitious price. The interpretation of every car nut’s dream.