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See evil; hear evil. Image by Alisdair Suttie.

See evil; hear evil
Lamborghini ups the ante in the Gallardo with a bigger, more brutal engine. We approve.

 



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| First Drive | Stirling, Scotland | Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 |

Few revisions of an original manage to improve the looks, but Lamborghini has pulled it off with the LP560-4, turning the almost delicate features of the Gallardo into something harder, meaner and more downright aggressive than a bouncer in a bad mood. Along with the new looks, there's a revised 5.2-litre V10 motor spitting out 552bhp, yet Lamborghini has made it cleaner and more fuel efficient. The best of both worlds?

In the Metal

There's a simple test for supercars: drive through any town and you'll soon know if it's a hit or miss by the reaction of other road users. Ferraris can attract too much hand gesturing, while Porsches inspire outright indignation. A Lamborghini LP560-4 on the other hand just leaves onlookers' bottom teeth shattering on the pavement. It's gorgeous, malevolent, brutal and seductive all at once, and it's the only supercar that lets you get away with a lurid paint colour. In fact, the more outlandish, the better. Of course, there is a purpose to all of the jutting scoops and sculpted bodywork and that's to make the LP cut through the air more efficiently. It's also lighter, has re-jigged suspension and new tyres to make it faster and yet kinder to the environment.

What you get for your Money

The heart of the Gallardo LP560-4 is its new 5.2-litre V10 engine, which produces 552bhp at a howling 8,000rpm, along with peak torque of 399lb.ft coming on stream at 6,500rpm. There's a Sport button too that makes the engine faster to respond to your right foot and makes it louder. Much louder. There's also an automatic option in the form of the sequential E-gear transmission and the front end can be raised electrically to negotiate speed bumps without fear of an expensive sounding crunch. The driver and passenger nestle in supportive seats that don't rely heavily on huge bolsters, just simple good ergonomics. These are underlined by instruments that are easy to read and a centre console that is easily understood - not a given in supercars. There's an optional reversing camera and excellent satellite navigation for a price, though full ESP traction control and front and side airbags are standard, as you'd hope.

Driving it

With 552bhp on tap, it's a given that the Gallardo LP560-4 is quick. Nought to 62mph comes up in 3.7 seconds regardless of whether you choose the manual or semi-auto gearbox and top speed is a 202mph. Those are sensational figures, but much more impressive is the way the LP goes about its business among mere mortals. Overtaking slower traffic is laughably easy thanks to plenty of this Lamborghini's power coming on song in the low- to mid-range. In any of its six gears, the LP pulls strong and fast, and if you work the engine as hard as possible it rewards with blinding pace.

Four-wheel drive keeps the power pouring through the tyres and on to the road and helps tuck the nose into corners. There's a shade of understeer as the Gallardo approaches its limits, but it's there more as an initial warning than any major concern. As for the rear end, it's planted and confidence-giving. On snaky roads, the LP's steering strikes the right balance between weight, feel and power assistance, while the ride is just supple enough to cope with long days in the saddle.

Worth Noting

The noise from that 5.2-litre V10 is one-hit-and-you're-hooked addictive, stamping its soundtrack into your eardrums with every pounding of its cylinders. You can enjoy it even more by pressing the Sport button to open up the valve in the exhaust that lets the engine sing in its full baritone. For motorways and cruising, leave the Sport button alone and the LP560-4 is surprisingly refined for a car with such a rabid alter ego. Lamborghini has also got its sequential manual E-gear transmission well sorted. There are no clunks or thunks as it engages gear and changes are smooth and swift, while downshifts summon up a lovely automatic blip of the throttle.

Summary

Lamborghini's LP560-4 elevates the Gallardo from desirable to must-have. On looks alone, the LP has 'want me' written all over it, yet it's the changes to the engine and how the Gallardo drives that really set this revised model apart from its predecessor. It has superb handling, masses of grip and a decently supple ride. It's also just the right side of broad for UK roads, so you can deploy its power and pace without feeling things might spiral out of control. Some might argue that a Ferrari 430 Scuderia is the more capable machine, but since when have Lamborghinis been about delicacy? No, the LP560-4 is a big, healthy dose of supercar hedonism and all the better for it.

Alisdair Suttie - 19 Sep 2008









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2008 Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 specifications:
Price: 143,350 on-the-road (E-gear auto is 6,250 extra).
0-62mph: 3.7 seconds
Top speed: 202mph
Combined economy: 19.2mpg
Emissions: 327g/km
Kerb weight: 1410kg

Full technical specifications

2008 Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4. Image by Alisdair Suttie.2008 Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4. Image by Alisdair Suttie.2008 Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4. Image by Alisdair Suttie.2008 Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4. Image by Alisdair Suttie.2008 Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4. Image by Alisdair Suttie.

2008 Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4. Image by Alisdair Suttie.2008 Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4. Image by Alisdair Suttie.2008 Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4. Image by Alisdair Suttie.2008 Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4. Image by Alisdair Suttie.2008 Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4. Image by Alisdair Suttie.



2008 Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4. Image by Alisdair Suttie.
 

2008 Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4. Image by Alisdair Suttie.
 

2008 Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4. Image by Alisdair Suttie.
 

2008 Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4. Image by Alisdair Suttie.
 

2008 Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4. Image by Alisdair Suttie.
 

2008 Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4. Image by Alisdair Suttie.
 






 

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