Lambo’s `Junior Murcielago’ — the Gallardo coupe — was as sporty as mid-engined, mid-sized supercars come. Named after a renowned breed of fighting bull, the Gallardo (Spanish for `gallant’) first appeared as a rival to the Ferrari 360 in 2003 and went on to become Lamborghini’s all-time bestseller.
This reflects the company’s success in retaining driver and passenger comfort without compromising raw performance. The latter was achieved with the help of a 5 litre V10 putting out 500 bhp, coupled with a six-speed manual gearbox (or optional mechanized sequential shift) and Lambo’s Viscous (no, not vicious) Traction all-wheel drive system.
The Gallardo has double-wishbone suspension and a sophisticated aerodynamics package, including an electronically controlled rear spoiler. Unlike the Murcielago, the Gallardo didn’t have scissor doors. Lamborghini doesn’t stand still for long and the Gallardo was soon a beneficiary of technological advance. A convertible Spyder came along in 2005, followed by two special editions — the SE (2005) and all-black Nera (2006-2008). Next out was the mighty Gallardo Superleggera, a star of the Geneva Motor Show in 2007.
As the result of a disciplined slimming regime, the Superleggera improved on the Gallardo’s already-impressive performance figures. But even this spectacular speedster failed to survive an upgrade in 2008, when all previous models were superseded.
The new Gallardo LP560-4 had a bigger fuel-injected engine (at 5.2 litres) than its predecessors and set new standards for super sports cars. The all-wheel drive system was upgraded, along with the suspension, and the Gallardo’s slippery shape was further refined to improve aerodynamic efficiency.
More power, traction and high-speed stability all contribute to increase driving pleasure — whether on a long-distance run or enjoying a track day. An LP560-4 Spyder appeared in 2009, as did the Super Trofeo destined for a one-make racing series.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
4,961 cc or 5,204 cc 2xDOHC V10
LP560-4 – top speed of 202 mph (325 km/h); 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 3.6 secs
YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Who’d be an Italian traffic cop? In 2008 Lamborghini presented a Gallardo LP560-4 Polizia that was intended to get Italy’s State Police up to speed. This replaced an earlier first generation Gallardo police car that had dawdled along Lazio’s highways, crime fighting at a mere 192 mph (309 km/h).