It’s hard to believe that it has been six years since the unveiling of the original game-changing Gallardo.
Back in 2003 at the Geneva Auto Salon, Lamborghini revealed what would become yet another iconic supercar, continuing the bold tradition the legendary automaker has enjoyed. This “entry-level” Lamborghini was a bold step for the exclusive super sports carmaker. By attempting to increase production and sales of a more inexpensive Murcielago alternative, they not only risked reducing the exclusivity of the brand, but they could have decreased demand for their flagship model.
Five years and over 7,100 Gallardos later, Lamborghini proved that increasing production and expanding their product lineup simply resulted in selling more cars, period.
Anticipation for the updated Gallardo was considerable: Could it be significantly better than the original without outshining the LP640? Could it possibly draw on the styling of the previous Gallardo while still appearing fresh and innovative? The answers to the two previous questions happen to be a resounding and unequivocal “Yes!”
So what makes the new Gallardo, new? Maurizio Reggiani, Lamborghini’s director of research and development summed up some of the improvements during a dinner discussion by saying, “Weight has been reduced, power increased and emissions lowered.”
That certainly isn’t a bad start, to say the least. The figures are impressive indeed as they are either rivalled or increased over that of the previous generation Superleggera. The LP560 weighs 20 kilograms less than the preceding Gallardo while gaining 39 hp, 22 ft-lbs of torque and expelling 18 per cent less emissions.
The exterior changes are not difficult to see, as the new model is certainly more imposing and aggressive with more definitive, jagged edges.
Other improvements include revamped variable valve timing, a more linear torque curve and entirely refigured suspension geometry in order to achieve improved handing and comfort.
Although purists are free to disagree, another redeeming quality of the new Gallardo is that it is amazingly easy to drive. As I threw the car into turns tight and wide, I could feel the ESP system giving me a nudge instead of the smack in the head that some systems offer. The 30/70 traction split between the front and rear wheels means that grip is incredible, but with 560 horses sitting behind you it can easily be lost if you happen to be careless or incompetent.
After spending a significant portion of the day piloting the LP560 around Las Vegas Motor Speedway as well as through the winding roads of the desert, I can say without question that Lamborghini has managed to recapture the magic of the past while making advancements towards the future.