Riding the Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4

The Lamborghini is like a succubus inviting you for the ride of your life. Haunted by gorgeous posters of this rare infernal, you’ll be enthralled in the presence of the supercar and will want to sell your soul to drive it. The latest Gallardo LP560-4 in metallic white ( or what Lamborghini calls Blanco Monocerus—“white single-horned beast” ), is a street lethal, origami spacecraft with the Lamborghini badge.

Inside the spaceship, sensuous black leather is taut over everything but the floor. There are signs inside that show that Audi guides Lamborghini—the climate-control system has been lifted from the A8 and the stereo and navigation system are from a last-gen A4.

The ignition is activated by an Audi-like switchblade key, giving life to the reconfigured V10. Some minor style changes were made but most of the significant mods were done on the engine—direct fuel injection, a 12.5:1 compression ratio and displacement adjustment from 5.0 to 5.2 litres now boost horsepower to 552, 40 more than last year’s standard model and 29 more than the Gallardo Superleggera special-edition.

The new exhaust keeps the engine noise down while cruising, but once you stomp on the throttle, the engine roars like a race-car V10. Like riding a screaming dragon—the music makes us feel alive and forget that we troll at droll desks, even if the afterburner kick lasts for only a few moments.

How agile is the beast? The transmission is the magic box that makes the Lamborghini, all quicksilver and lighning. E-gear, the single-clutch automatic gear shifter that costs an extra $10,000, now shifts faster than before. It even performs better than the BMW’s SMG. The automated manual comes with launch control—electronically revving up the engine from a stop to 5200 rpm, engaging the clutch violently. The Lamborghini rockets to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds as 552 horsepower overwhelm all-wheel drive and the grip monster, Pirelli rubber leaves skid marks and smoke on the asphalt. The spaceship eats a quarter mile in 11.2 seconds at 130mph; and there are few cars that you can count on one hand that are quicker.

Even with the extra power, the smallest Lambo acts like a refined lady when the dial to launch control is set to delicate. The chassis is stable, driving position is comfortable, and visibility is clear in all directions.

The only downside is the car’s bon-ceramic brake system that costs $15,600 over standard brakes. The custom brakes require all-or-nothing touchiness which makes it difficult to drive the Lambo smoothly. But the brakes achieve an excellent 158-foot stop from 70 mph. One can avoid the expensive brake set up and choose the standard brakes which function well enough. If you forget about the optional brakes (and save $15,600), the Lamborghini Gallardo may have just beat the Ferrari F430.

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