Pure motoring drama. The Gallardo is not without its flaws, but it is a convincing rival to the Ferrari F430.

What’s new?

Remember the Gallardo SE we got rather lathered up about at the end of last year? Well the 2006-specification takes the mechanical upgrades of that car – an extra 20 horses, new suspension, wheels, steering, gear ratios, exhaust – and applies them to the ‘regular’ production model.

There’s also a range of new trim options and enhancements, such as a rear-facing video camera to aid reversing, and handily, so that you can see the jets of blue flame that shoot out the exhausts when you change up the ‘box at night. Which is nice.

What’s it like?

Bombastic. The extra power and shortened ratios give even more urgency to the Gallardo’s delivery, and the new exhaust is shockingly vocal; you won’t get within 10 miles of a track day with these decibels.

Overall, the whole driving experience has been given a shot in the arm: there’s more feedback through the steering and the car feels more alive and direct to turn. The combination of extreme pace with four-wheel-drive traction is still a ruthlessly effective manner in which to traverse a challenging road, something that never ceases to amaze when you gaze at the dramatic supercar styling.

The Gallardo feels immensely solid and confidence-inspiring, and whilst some of the Audi interior bits might lack a little flair, there’s no quibbling with the way they work.

This particular car had a sports suspension option pack fitted, and although the car was mightily effective on a circuit, it was too stiff to be ideal for road use. That’s a shame, as the Gallardo’s compliance on a typical B-road was one of its trump cards. We’d leave this option pack at the factory gates. The brakes are reassuring in normal use, but can suffer with repeated hard use. Surely ceramic discs will soon be an option?

Should I buy one?

Without wishing to sound flippant considering the huge sums of money involved, the answer has to be ‘yes’. The ’06 Gallardo is a different flavour to its deadly rival – the Ferrari F430 – but no worse for that in this improved guise. This is almost unmatched motoring drama that you could use every day, and we love it.

Chris Harris

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