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Lamborghini Gallardo
July 2003
What a way to say Happy Birthday! It's 40 years since Lamborghini charged on to the scene, and as an anniversary present it's launched an all-new car. For the first time in nearly three decades, the Sant Agata firm has a two-model line-up, so it can really lock horns with Ferrari.
Meet the Gallardo (pronounced Guy-ardo and named after a breed of fighting bull), the £115,000 'baby' entry-level Lambo. Backed by the VW Group, the Italian firm has been able to innovate. So the Gallardo boasts an all-aluminium spaceframe construction, an optional paddleshift gearbox (set to account for 75 per cent of sales) and, as with the Murciélago, four-wheel drive. But the way it looks is more important to most buyers. Lamborghini calls it cutting edge and, in terms of proportion, aggression and stance, the Gallardo is spot-on.
It's also compact for a car with such visual power, being smaller than a Porsche. However, the rear looks blocky and some of the detailing fussy. The 19-inch wheels hide some special Brembo brakes - needed to rein in the mighty engine. The 5.0-litre is a V10 purely because it betters a Ferrari 360 by two cylinders, while V12s are reserved for top Lambos. The same applies to scissor doors, so this model's open normally.
But with five valves per cylinder delivering 493bhp and 510Nm of torque at 4,500rpm, you'd expect the Gallardo to be faster, particularly as the aluminium construction keeps the weight below 1,500kg. A 193mph top speed and a 0-62mph time of 4.2 seconds are impressive, but the car is very long-geared. From rest, first takes you to within 2mph of the motorway speed limit, so twisty roads are second-gear affairs. In third, the Gallardo lacks punch when exiting corners. We'd also stick to the traditional open-gate lever. The E-Gear paddleshift may be one of the best of its kind and makes the car easier to drive, but for sheer involvement, the manual adds to the intoxicating driving experience.
Climb into the snug, low-slung cabin and the first thing to strike you is how good the driving position is - both seat and wheel are widely adjustable. After that, your eyes are drawn to the Audi switchgear on the centre console. This isn't a problem - Ingolstadt's heating and stereo controls are among the best - we're more disappointed by the plastic door handles and lack of stowage. At least there's a decent boot up front.
The real action takes place further back. The V10 may not wail like a V8 or bellow like a V12, but find a tunnel and it'll send tingles down your spine. As the Gallardo is designed to be driven every day, it has a long wheelbase to improve ride and stability, and 4WD for traction.
On the road, it's capable, planted and sure-footed, with a trace of understeer at the limit - traits it shares with the 911 Turbo. However, with less steering feel, a long-travel brake pedal and duller throttle response, it's not as communicative or nimble as the 360. But unless you're a track-day regular, you won't mind. The Gallardo is not only more reassuring, it's also every bit as eventful to drive. Oliver Marriage


 

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Re: (vertigo)

Quote, originally posted by vertigo »
I'd take a 360 Modena over this car any day.

The Modena might look better, but this will blow it into the weeds.
 

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Re: (Litespeed)

Quote, originally posted by Litespeed »

The Modena might look better, but this will blow it into the weeds.

We shall see. Maybe better 0-60 but the Modena is a track car at it's core and the Gallardo is not.
 

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Re: First drive: Lamborghini Gallardo (_RevLimit_)

If I was in the market I'd take this over the Ferrari simply because it's more exotic.
Every uppity dillweed lawyer and stockbroker has a 360 Modena or a 911 turbo, I see them so often in Montreal that they're becoming (gasp!) almost mundane. The Gallardo just has this exotic aura about it. I love it.
 

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Re: (vertigo)

Quote, originally posted by vertigo »
I'd take a 360 Modena over this car any day.

I'd take this car over 360 Modena any day.
 

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Re: (haydar)

based on what I jsut read, they're saying they're a bit dissapointed by it's performance... while saying with the weight and the engine specs it should perform better.
That was exactly my thought... but when they said something about the gearing being too tall it all fits. Why would Lamborghini want the "baby" lambo to outperform the big brother? For those lucky ones that will have this car it will be interesting to see who experiemnts with gearing and suspension/LSD tuning... I bet it will be quite the screamer.
 

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Re: (haydar)

Quote, originally posted by haydar »

I'd take this car over 360 Modena any day.

Same here. Modena is played out. Looks more dated than an F355. In fact, I'd way rather have a 355 than a Modena.
 

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Re: First drive: Lamborghini Gallardo (intercedeGLI)

Quote, originally posted by intercedeGLI »
Anyone else see the shape of the 360 in the car? The Gallardo just screams 360 rip-off to me.

I'd still drive the hell out of one though

it does resemble the 360...What is this....VAG ripping someone else off.
 

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Re: (Rob)

Quote, originally posted by Rob »

Same here. Modena is played out. Looks more dated than an F355. In fact, I'd way rather have a 355 than a Modena.

I suppose everyone is entitled to their own opinion. But I'd hardly think that the Modena looks dated. IMO, it's still the best looking thing on the road today.
On the other hand, I can see how the Gallardo will look dated in a couple of years time.
 

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Re: First drive: Lamborghini Gallardo (_RevLimit_)

It's odd how the more "affordable" exotics like the Modena and Gallardo are almost more desirable than the high end products like the 575 and the Murcielago - at least to me.
However, when it comes to comparing this car to the equivalent Ferrari, I would take the Modena in a heartbeat. With this type of car, I just don't see a need for AWD. It just makes the car heavier. If I want something with AWD I'll buy an Audi or Volvo.
 

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Re: (MrRoboto)

Is this the production version or prototype? The only one I've seen is the same yellow one going all over the show circuit. It's a beautiful car. I would have to agree that I would probably take a 360 instead if I were blessed with such a choice. I agree with Lambo styling looking dated after a few years. IMO the only ones that prove other wise are the Miura and original Countach. Ferrari's on the other hand are timeless, with an exception or two of course.
 

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Re: (BlackGTiTurbo)

Quote, originally posted by BlackGTiTurbo »
I agree with Lambo styling looking dated after a few years. IMO the only ones that prove other wise are the Miura and original Countach.

Look back at a late-model Countach, the only thing I can think of is "80s excess". To me, the Countach is very dated.
 

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Re: (MrRoboto)

I just don't understand the last paragraph. How can a car with less steering and throttle response and a long brake travel be more reassuring?
No matter how much money VAG puts into Lamborghini, they are still years behind Ferrari in building a great track/street car. Just wait until Ferrari ups the ante when they drop the 4200 motor in it from the Maserati.
 

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Re: (GTurboI)

Quote »
we're more disappointed by the plastic door handles and lack of stowage. At least there's a decent boot up front.

If you are woried about stowage and the size of the "boot" you have no business driving this car.
 

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Re: First drive: Lamborghini Gallardo (intercedeGLI)

Quote, originally posted by intercedeGLI »
Anyone else see the shape of the 360 in the car? The Gallardo just screams 360 rip-off to me.

I'd still drive the hell out of one though



Judge for yourself.
 
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