By on November 14, 2007

l2832.jpgAs their respective logos suggest, driving a Ferrari requires courage and finesse; piloting a Lamborghini means taking the bull by the horns and hanging on for dear life. In fact, driving a Lambo is something of a pistonhead rite of passage. It says you’re able to control– or at least survive– a monster. Anyway, that’s the old rep, before Audi started playing with the bull’s balls. I mean, finding a way to harness automotive testosterone for more “civilized” progress. Though enraptured, Farago wasn’t entirely convinced by the Gallardo’s Audiefied manners. Nuts to that.

The baby bull certainly looks the biz. During my tenure, the beast of Bologna attracted the wide-open throttles of two Texas-bred Taurii eager to bask in the limelight of their bovine overlord. The Gallardo’s creases are a youthful interpretation of the family bloodlines. The trim lines and eager headlights are puppy-dog cute against big brother Murcielago’s stern-faced mug. 

l2854.jpgSurprisingly, when highway stunt turns to stationary floss, bedazzled bystanders don’t notice the Gallardo’s lack of upwards opening doors. It’s a brand hallmark that turns heads faster than a Kanye West performance at a Republican Party fundraiser. Still, it’s a fair exchange: scissor doors for adorable. And there’s still less chance that onlookers will mistake the Gallardo for a “normal” car than Kayne West will perform at a Republican Party fundraiser.

Supercar interiors are known for yards of fragrant leather, exquisite metalwork, Alcantara decadence and an aesthetically incoherent smattering of modern amenities, usually lifted from someone else’s parts bin. Check. More to the point, the Gallardo’s aromatic thrones are g-force ready and boulevard compliant, and its rearward visibility puts the Chrysler 300 to shame (as if it needs help). 

l2814.jpgThe Audi-sourced interior bits are no bother– especially when contemplating the joys of a 512hp V-10 that shares an occasional blueprint with das mittel Audi sedan. Twist-up the quad-cammed meisterwerk capolavoro. The unfiltered engineering loosens your bowels even as it intoxicates your soul. Let the idle settle, put your hand on the aluminum shifter and the aft-mounted pistonage persuades your heartbeat to match its elevated cadence. Sweet.

With all wheel-drive and enough torque to launch a yacht, the Gallardo does a lot more than accelerate. It MOTIVATES. Stay in the sauce past 4000 revs and a tidal wave of forty-valve madness churns your mind and pummels your kidneys, The psycho-somatic assault doesn’t let up until the 8000rpm redline arrives. Zero to 60 takes 4.2 seconds, but who’s counting? Certainly not the driver, whose mind is occupied with a lot more serious matters than keeping track of numbers on a stopwatch.

l2921.jpgRF tested a Gallardo with E-gear, which is a bit like having sex with a bad hangover. The Lambo’s conventional six-speed manual is the perfect dance partner; never once did the driveline wince from a misplaced command. Whisking through the metallic gates was effortless and accurate. Even better, the sound of aluminum clacking against aluminum provided peerless mechanical intoxication.

Even with massive 19” hoops underfoot, the Gallardo’s ride adds enough compliance to give the impression there’s an A6 badge on the rear. Let the throttle plates relax and this Lambo takes pavement poundings with charm school restraint.

l2933.jpgThe Gallardo has the mad cornering skills to justify the bills. Yes, the effortless control of a 911 is absent. Whereas the Porsche has that hot knife through butter gestalt, the Gallardo’s helm is more akin to pushing a vario-speed Dremel through a sheet of balsawood. You get all of the Porker’s capability, just not as much tactile satisfaction. That said, like any good super car, extra speed makes everything better. The Gallardo’s power-on cornering is mostly unflappable.

It should come as no surprise that the Lamborghini Gallardo cuts corners like Motown’s finest bean counters. But the car’s idiot-proof dynamics are a big bonus. Make no mistake (so to speak9); I pushed the Gallardo hard. Its Quattro-esque driveline planted me in my seat, patiently waiting for my right foot to catapult us out the apex. The traction control knows its place; its mildly intrusive manners are summoned only when your bacon must be saved. 

l2878.jpgNever before has a carbon-based body been in such perfect harmony with four Pirelli gumballs. It’s quite surreal; thrashing a vehicle that flirts with the limits of one’s prowess and then yanks you down to reality with nary a hint of drama from the 14” rotors. The Gallardo is a supercar that doesn't require superhuman effort to extract maximum pleasure from the asphalt. 

And it’s a total babe magnet. OK, you might not want to sleep with any woman/man who wants to sleep with you because you own Lamborghini Gallardo. But there’s plenty of inter-personal pleasure to be had as the driver of a one-car advertisement for Italian automotive heritage. But the real thrill comes from wringing the neck of a supercar that lets you live to tell the tale. Yes, the Lamborghini Gallardo is a beast, but it's about as friendly as a 500hp+ sports car can be. And that's no bull.

[Momentum Motorcars provided seat time in the vehicle reviewed]  

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38 Comments on “Take Two: Lamborghini Gallardo Review...”


  • avatar
    imafrk

    Aside from sitting as a prop for driveway candy when yr house is featured on MTV’s ‘Cribs’ the typical Gallardo owner will prolly never see the track and its average speed on their daily drive to work is 49km/h. A shame really. Its almost the perfect daily driver…

    If you gotta have it, and you got ‘money in the bank’ this car’s for you.

  • avatar
    ajla

    For TTAC you’ve reviewed:
    1. Lamborghini Gallardo
    2. Mercedes CL65AMG
    3. BMW M6
    4. RUF Kompressor
    5. Z06 LPE
    6. Z06

    You seem to have liked all these cars, but, money no object, which one has been your favorite?

    Also, you were really able to see well out of the back of this car? I had always assumed visibility in these things was atrocious.

  • avatar

    NOTE: The back office boffins have switched us to the latest version of WordPress. All the comments made during the transition, and the first posting of this review, got eaten. My apologies.

    I will post on this in more detail, as soon as I, uh, iron-out a few kinks. Thanks for your patience and understanding.

  • avatar
    Redbarchetta

    Yay its back, I need to read about something that gets bad gas milage, green design is boring.

  • avatar
    brownie

    I have probably seen more Gallardo’s on the streets of Manhattan than all other supercars of any vintage combined. That probably means something, but I don’t know what. Maybe some kind of Audi magic makes it a fair match for our god-awful roads? Maybe only the kind of guy who buys a Lambo would be dumb enough to drive a supercar in Manhattan? Not sure. In any case, I guess I’m jaded, but it just seems strangely… common.

    The Murcielago, however, is pure awesomeness. That thing can be heard from as far away as a fire truck. It is the anti-Prius.

  • avatar
    Redbarchetta

    Nice review, makes me want to get out and have some fun in my Subie, great reading. I’m still a Ferrari snob, but I wouldn’t turn down a free one or even a ride in one. Makes me wish I had become an investment banker or broker, so I could afford one.

  • avatar
    brownie

    Not that I dislike the Prius, mind you – the world has room for both.

  • avatar
    Redbarchetta

    What’s the gas milage on this one?

  • avatar
    dean

    You dog, Sajeev. The odds I’ll ever have the privelege of driving such a beast at anything greater than 3/10ths is pretty slim.

    (The 3/10ths would come if my cousin happened to buy one. That’s about as close as I’ll ever get.)

    The Countach was my dream car as a kid. I’ve always had a soft spot for the bull ever since.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    How many sheckels will this thing set one back?

  • avatar

    jkross22 :

    How many sheckels will this thing set one back?

    Our stars and snarks function is broken. It’s $175k. The back office guys are on it.

  • avatar
    Jim H

    $175k…hmm…just $150k above my budget…darn! ;)

  • avatar
    Jordan Tenenbaum

    You guys need to do vintage car reviews and do a review of the Countach. That would be greatness.

    I will own a Lamborghini someday, even if it is a Jalpa.

  • avatar
    shortthrowsixspeed

    i second the vintage car reviews . . . i’d love to hear what you guys think about some of the classics.

    sheckels? $175K? this thing may as well cost a pound of flesh.

  • avatar
    Justin Berkowitz

    @shortthrowsixspeed:
    If I could do that on a payment plan, I’d think about it…

  • avatar
    drifter

    0-to-60 in 4.2s on a $175k car?
    That is twice as long as a 600cc sportbike which can be yours for $7.5k.

  • avatar
    Jordan Tenenbaum

    I’d rather have a car.

  • avatar
    BEAT

    In the old days if you want speed and looks you have to buy the Lamborghini. But now you can buy a fast car with 1/2 of the Lambo price with a 4 cyclinder Engine.

  • avatar
    Justin Berkowitz

    1/2 of the Lambo price for an Evo? Ouch. I thought you were going to say Elise.

  • avatar
    BEAT

    Actually The price is cheaper around $50 to $75 thousand but I rather buy the cheap 4 cylinder engine, Theft free and cheaper on gas.

  • avatar
    bdoperations

    Nice review!

  • avatar
    thetopdog

    Justin:

    You can do a 144 month lease, check it out:

    http://www.donlleasing.com/detail-2004-lamborghini-gallardo-1194061.html

    I’m actually crazy (or stupid) enough to do one of these, maybe in a few years once I’ve finished paying off my Vette

    And I would like to third the classic car reviews, I’ve always wanted to see reviews of classic cars, or maybe even cars that aren’t ‘classic’ but are interesting and predate TTAC. I would be interested to read pretty much any sports/luxury/exotic car from the 90s or early 2000s.

  • avatar
    philipwitak

    this is the car i’ve fantasized about more than any other – a lot more – since the day i first laid eyes on one. based solely on its appearance. to me, there is nothing on four wheels more beautiful or desirable.

  • avatar
    Sanman111

    Sajeev,

    Just another boring everyday car you, huh. When are they going to give you something fun to test?

  • avatar
    adrift

    Hey automoton, try http://www.consumerrepports.org.

    It sounds more your speed. I don’t think you really “get” the 99.9% of the folks on this site.

  • avatar

    Sajeev, we’re still waiting for the Ford GT.

  • avatar
    Terry Parkhurst

    Whenever a Lamboghini appears at auction, invariably the mileage is low. What a waste that seems to be. This is, of course, a machine that could reduce the size of Montana to a postage stamp, speaking figuratively.

    Having last (and first time) driven a Lamborghini back when the hot ticket was the all-wheel drive Diablo, it seemed then that the car could indeed “leap tall buildings in a single bound” (to borrow a line from the intro to the old “Superman” television show, favorite of Baby Boomers everwhere). I’d never had a salesman actually encourage me to hit 100 mph; and yet, he did.

    I backed off at 90 mph, when a tiny vintage Datsun trundled out in front of us, in the midst of mid-day traffic. I remember telling him that the engine would probably do well in an off-shore raceboat and he concurred, adding that someone had indeed done that swap.

    I expected that most people would have given us thumbs-down, for conscipcuous consumption. But instead, the purple – what it looked like to me – Diablo elicited air horns from Class 8 truckers and a lot of inquiries from drivers, when the salesman and I stopped at a Federal Express facility to ask directions. When you drive a Lamborghini, it seems that people who appreciate interesting machinery are automatically your friends. For that alone, the $246,000 (cost of the Diablo, in 1995, before tax and license) might have been worth it; just don’t expect to see that much money coming back at you, if you sell a Lambo, five or ten years out.

  • avatar
    Captain Neek

    Absolute design magnificence.

    General engineering excellence.

    Pure autmotive extravagance.

    Massive financial exhuberance.

    Gives me an instant “protuberance”!

  • avatar
    BEAT

    Speaking of Classic Cars.

    Ralph Lauren showed off his Classic Car Collections in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.
    From the Classic, Exotic and the Fastest.

    I can’t believe he has collection of cars that I never seen before. I think he own the one of a kind Ferrari FI and Jay Leno is another story to tell.

  • avatar
    dolo54

    Have to say, this review is the main reason I come to TTAC. That is, living vicariously through the description of exotic and rare cars that I may never get to drive. I’ve mentioned it before… would love for this site to review rare cars from all eras. I find those the most interesting.

  • avatar
    LamborghiniZ

    The Gallardo is amazing. Not as amazing as the Murcielago LP640, but it’s up there. I love it’s looks, its charm, the way it drives, EVERYTHING. Boy do I love Lambos.

  • avatar
    blue adidas

    “I have probably seen more Gallardo’s on the streets of Manhattan than all other supercars of any vintage combined.”

    Probably a lot of them are exotics from the New York Classic Car Club on Hudson. They get a pretty decent rotation of these beauts.

  • avatar

    Sorry for the late reply, my cubicle job had me traveling. I’m glad everyone liked the review, hopefully my access to the exotic car toy box continues apace.

    —————-

    ajla : No, I didn’t like very much about the M6. Since you asked, out of the ones you listed, I’ll go for the LPE Z06. It’s amazing what exhaust, cam, real seats and Pilot Sport Cup tires did to the C6 Z06. Its gotta be Enzo-worthy, even if its only $80k or so. Wow.

    And yes, the Lambo’s visibility was amazingly good…or modern family sedans are pretty terrible. Your choice.

    Redbarchetta : I like Ferrari’s, but something about the Lambo’s style really speaks to me. They’ve done a great job connecting to the original Countach’s wedge profile, and they stuck with the mid-engine configuration I love about exotics.

    Jordan Tenenbaum : Find me a Countach I can (gently) drive and I’m on it. That and the Testarossa were the dream cars of my youth, and I seriously doubt anything can top them…even if they are rather tame by today’s standards.

    drifter : Sport bikes don’t come with an Alcantara lined roof. And this is TTAC, not TTAB. :-)

    philipwitak : Luckily, its appeal is more than just styling. Sure a Corvette Z06 will whip it, but its impossible not to love this ride.

    Samir Syed : I’ll do a GT redo after a significant milestone in the Ford Death Watch series. I don’t expect the milestone to be especially pleasant, but at least the GT will warm the soul.

    Terry Parkhurst : Lambos are great for short term purchases when you buy them used. Drive it for 6 months and 3,000 miles, then sell it with a high end auto broker doing the deal. You’ll lose few grand, but not much. (from what I’ve seen and heard)

    dolo54 : I do like driving the exotics, but I *might* get more satisfaction from telling a good story about mainstream cars. Its easy to go on and on about a Lambo, but the Buick Lucerne and its connection to Electra Waggoner Biggs? That’s the story to tell.

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    Luckily, its appeal is more than just styling. Sure a Corvette Z06 will whip it, but its impossible not to love this ride.

    Give Jason Heffner in FL a call, and drive one of his TT Gallardos. That will pretty much negate the one issue I have with the G….soft bottom end, and not enough peak power for an exotic….well at least compared to the aforementioned Z06.

    Great article, BTW. I love the line about the Taurii and their bovine overlord….well done!

  • avatar
    casper00

    I never really understand the real of these exotic cars…..what are their intentions….is it the horsepower, the speed or the look or maybe to some people it’s a way to show off….”hey look and me I drive a lambo, so i have money” And the price tags are insane….i could buy a old use car for $5-10k and spend another ol $20k fixing it up, that’s how much it cost to tune the engine for high horsepower….in the end you got a lambo killer at a fraction of the cost. I just love the look on those lambo owners face when their car just got dust by a toyota.

  • avatar
    kjc117

    I think it should be re-named to the Audini Gallardo.
    It is about as Italian as Winkelmann.

  • avatar

    kjc117: I was expecting heavy German overtones in the Gallardo, but I never felt it behind the wheel. The engine doesn’t perform/sound like an Audi, its different enough with the Lambo cams and 4V heads. Steering, throttle and overall chassis dynamics are more like an older performance car: no electronic critters dulling the driving experience.

    It only feels German in the high quality interior bits and the controlled ride. I’m pretty much okay with that.

    Hopefully you can experience one for yourself, but take it from me, its still an Italian beastie even with the Audi-polish on it.

  • avatar

    Just in my grasp! 


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