Lamborghini Gallardo Although it's probably difficult for most people to think of a nearly $200,000 automobile as "affordable," that's the position the Lamborghini Gallardo coupe and spyder convertible find themselves in within the Lambo product lineup. But no matter -- sports cars with exotic looks and the performance to match have a built-in ownership audience.
Since its introduction, the mission for this "baby Lamborghini" has been to maintain the style and attitude of Lamborghini's 12-cylinder cars but be more livable in everyday use. It's been a successful strategy, as there's been no shortage of takers who rightly lust after such a usable and alluring sports car. In fact, the Gallardo has become this Italian automaker's best-selling model ever.
In terms of layout and design, the Lamborghini Gallardo is a true exotic. There's a mid-mounted V10 engine, all-wheel drive and the availability of an F1-style transmission. To keep weight down, the chassis is a composite blend of alloy stampings, extrusions and castings. And except for the traditionally opening steel doors (no scissors), the exterior is constructed of thermoplastic-formed panels.
Inside, the Gallardo's handsome furnishings sublimely marry form with function and offer a surprising level of comfort for a vehicle of this type. Credit is certainly due to the influence of parent company Audi, whose expertise with interior design has been of no small benefit since the Volkswagen Group purchased Lamborghini in the late 1990s.
Without too much difficultly, one can claim that the Gallardo is Lamborghini's best sports car ever. If there's anything lacking, it's the outrageous spirit and flair so often associated with the company's more expensive or legendary offerings. But the trade-off of a little spirit for a lot of functionality has been a good one, and there's no doubt that the Gallardo is a true, world-class exotic.
Current Lamborghini Gallardo
The exotic Lamborghini Gallardo is currently available as a coupe or spyder convertible, with the coupe available in two trim levels: base and SE. Standard equipment includes 19-inch alloy wheels, xenon headlights, fully powered accessories and a CD audio system. A winter package adds heated mirrors and seats along with winter tires and specific wheels. A sport suspension, navigation system, carbon-ceramic brakes and rear back-up camera are also available. In keeping with its pedigree, the Gallardo's trim and paint can be further customized, too. The limited-production SE is similar to the base coupe mechanically, but has a specific two-tone color treatment and includes as standard equipment some of the base car's optional features.
Produced only for 2008 was the Gallardo Superleggera. This coupe-only model is modified for even better performance. It features 10 additional horsepower, slightly different suspension settings and an approximate 150-pound-lighter curb weight thanks to extensive use of carbon fiber and reduced feature content.
For optimum dynamic balance, the 5.0-liter V10 engine is positioned just aft of the driver. It develops 512 horsepower (522 for the Superleggera) and 376 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent to all four wheels through a six-speed manual transmission. An automated, sequential-shifting manual "e-gear" transmission is also available, which can be placed in an automatic mode or shifted via steering-wheel-mounted paddles. Antilock brakes, traction control and stability control are standard safety fare, as are head-protecting side curtain airbags.
Audi's influence is obvious inside the Lamborghini Gallardo, with plenty of precisely fitting leather and soft-touch materials. Despite the fact that this is an exotic sports car, seating is comfortable enough to accommodate the occasional road trip. Though not as flamboyant as its extroverted exterior, the interior styling still befits a vehicle in this price range. Storage space is tight, though, with a minimal amount of room available behind the seats and in the nose-mounted trunk.
But once behind the wheel, you'll gladly leave everything behind in exchange for the sweet, sonorous symphony of its V10 at full throttle. With more than 500 horses at your command, the Gallardo is capable of spine-compressing speed in any gear. The big V10 and all-wheel-drive system do add quite a bit of mass, so it doesn't deliver the razor's-edge responsiveness of some of its rivals. And the powerful brakes can feel a bit inconsistent at the limit. But there's still plenty to like about the Gallardo. Its gearing practically begs you to rev the V10 for all it's worth, and its AWD system certainly gives it a clear advantage for safely wringing out maximum performance when the road ahead is slick and unfamiliar.
Past Lamborghini Gallardo Models
The Gallardo coupe debuted in 2004. An expanded lineup arrived in 2006 featuring the addition of the spyder convertible with an automatic folding soft top and the SE model featuring two-tone color treatments and a host of mechanical updates that ultimately extended to the regular Gallardo as well.

Lamborghini Murcielago

Massively powerful, definitively flamboyant and as eyeball-grabbing as an A-list Hollywood celebrity, the Lamborghini Murcielago LP640 firmly embodies the spirit and meaning of the word "supercar." Big and brashly styled, it has an undeniable street presence that few other cars can match.
In Spanish, Murcielago means "bat," though Lamborghini says the name actually refers to a 19th-century Spanish bull that earned fame through its courageous nature in a bullfight. As Lamborghini's top sports car, the Murcielago carries on the tradition laid down by its V12-powered predecessors, including the Miura, Countach and Diablo. It's not a particularly easy car to drive or, given its approximate $300,000 price, an easy car to obtain. Then again, that's all part of the appeal.
Current Lamborghini Murcielago
The Lamborghini Murcielago LP640 comes in two body styles -- coupe or convertible -- and both are powered by the same 6.5-liter V12 engine. Positioned amidships, it's capable of 632 horsepower and 487 pound-feet of torque. While the car's basic form was introduced seven years ago, it underwent major changes for 2007, including the addendum to its name, LP640, which refers to its engine position en Italiano (longitudinale posteriore) and that it makes nearly 640 hp.
Feeding and cooling its powerful engine are a variety of scoops and ducts, including two electronically controlled air scoops that automatically raise from the car's rear haunches when needed. Power is sent through an all-wheel-drive system. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, and e-gear -- a paddle-shifted automated-clutch manual gearbox -- is available as an option.
The Lamborghini Murcielago's top speed is in excess of 200 mph. All body panels except the roof and doors are constructed of ultra-lightweight carbon fiber. The suspension features electronic adjustable damping, which can raise the car's front suspension 45 mm to avoid scraping the Murcielago's (normally) low-slung chin on driveways and inclines.
In contrast to the wildly styled exterior, which includes the trademark Lamborghini scissor doors, the Murcielago's interior is an exercise in simplicity. The seats are supportive and comfortable, though difficult to get into. Standard equipment includes air-conditioning, a tilt and telescoping steering wheel, power windows and locks, and an audio system with CD player. Options include a Kenwood touchscreen navigation system and a variety of custom accents for the interior, including carbon fiber.
The Roadster features a cloth roof panel that plops atop the cockpit like a toupee and takes several minutes and a great degree of difficulty to erect. Lamborghini also suggests not exceeding 100 mph as the roof tends to fly off -- the owner's own toupee will follow shortly thereafter.
In road tests and reviews, we found the Lamborghini Murcielago drives every bit like the supercar that it is. Its trucklike amble at low revs gives little clue as to the apocalyptic power delivery that awaits. At full throttle, there's a quick surge at 3,000 rpm, which gets more urgent at 4,500 as the exhaust clears its throat. This thrust is followed by the all-wheel-drive system shuttling torque to the rear and the most magnificent feral yowl up to redline. You can feel the accelerative Gs weighting your very fingertips, the scenery exploding through the wide-screen windshield. Handling, though never known as a Murcielago strength due to the car's size and weight, is still quite impressive.
Past Lamborghini Murcielago Models
The Lamborghini Murcielago was introduced in 2002 with a 6.2-liter V12 engine producing 580 hp and 478 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual and the e-gear automated clutch manual were the transmission choices. Other than the Murcielago Roadster introduced for 2005, there were scant few changes made until the LP640 arrived for 2007 with changes made to the suspension, gearbox, exhaust, brakes, styling and interior appointments.

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