What's New for 2009
Significant changes are in store for the 2009 Lamborghini Gallardo. Now called the Gallardo LP560-4, this all-wheel-drive exotic has even more V10 vivacity than previous Gallardo models. Various weight-saving measures have also been taken, and the LP560-4 sports LED headlights and taillights, a redesigned rear fascia and other stylistic tweaks.
Like its illustrious forefathers, such as the legendary Countach and Diablo, the 2009 Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 is poster-worthy material for the bedroom walls of teenagers everywhere. Unlike those classic models, however, the Gallardo is a supercar that you could actually live with every day. Well, make that most days. If you ever carry more than one passenger and a duffel bag, the Gallardo isn't going to cut it as a daily driver. Yet Gallardo owners will surely have other vehicles to choose from when such needs arise -- and in the meantime, they'll be tickled by how tractable and ergonomically sound this full-on exotic can be during daily use.
But all right, let's cut to the chase. Lamborghinis are fundamentally about face-flattening speed, and the Gallardo LP560-4 -- the "LP560-4" part has been added to the car's name for '09 -- is even more powerful than Gallardos past. A variety of changes made to its mid-mounted V10 engine, including direct fuel injection, have added 40 extra horses, for a grand total of 552. Thanks to a weight reduction of about 45 pounds and quicker shift times from the optional sequential-shift automated manual transmission, the Gallardo is now good for 0-60 sprints in the mid-3-second range.
Other updates this year include revised exterior styling, particularly around the rear fascia and taillight area, which softens the Gallardo's angularity a bit. Chassis rigidity has also been stiffened. Finally, the Gallardo LP560-4 benefits from rear suspension modifications adopted from its Audi R8 platform-mate, which are said to enhance the Gallardo's already otherworldly cornering capabilities.
These updates should make the Gallardo -- now in its sixth year of production -- even more desirable to those with the financial means to make a purchase. Of course, there are a number of worthy competitors at this stratospheric price point, but the Gallardo LP560-4 continues to measure up well. Ferrari's F430, for example, is a wonderfully balanced canyon-carver, yet the Gallardo has more distinctive styling, and its Audi-like interior makes it a uniquely practical proposition among Italian supercars. Porsche offers the tremendously capable trio of the turbocharged 911 GT2, the normally aspirated 911 GT3 and the iconic all-wheel-drive 911 Turbo; however, none boasts the cachet and visual impact of the Lambo. And while the all-wheel-drive R8's performance is perhaps a little too close to the Gallardo's for comfort, Audi hopes that the Lamborghini brand's exclusivity will win over those who might cross-shop the two.
At the end of the day, the 2009 Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 is a very expensive toy. However, while many such toys don't feel at home unless they're on a racetrack, the Gallardo can actually ferry you and a lucky passenger around town in reasonable comfort. Add the Gallardo's distinctive look and sound to the equation, as well as its chest-compressing acceleration, and you've got a highly desirable supercar. Few cars say "I've arrived" as authoritatively as a Gallardo.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2009 Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 is an exotic sports car. For now, only the coupe body style is available, though one can assume that the Spyder convertible will eventually be produced in LP560-4 guise as well. Standard equipment includes 19-inch wheels; an automatically extending rear spoiler; bi-xenon headlights; dual-zone automatic climate control; power seats; leather upholstery; a four-speaker stereo with six-CD changer and two auxiliary audio jacks; and a multimedia driver interface similar to Audi's Multi Media Interface (MMI) system.
Options include an adjustable front suspension that helps avert front spoiler scrapes, upgraded alloy wheels, a back-up camera, Alcantara upholstery, carbon fiber interior trim, Bluetooth and a navigation system. Lamborghini also offers its "Ad Personam" customization program, which gives the buyer extensive input into exterior and interior color combinations.
Powertrains and Performance
The Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 coupe is powered by a mid-mounted 5.0-liter V10 engine that sends a massive 552 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque to all four wheels. A six-speed manual transmission with gated metal shifter is standard, while an automated six-speed sequential-shift manual transmission known as e-gear is optional. The LP560-4 should chop a healthy half-second or so off the previous Gallardo's 4.0-second 0-60 sprint. Fuel economy is said to be improved, but the LP560-4 is still a bona fide gas guzzler.
Standard safety equipment includes antilock brakes, stability control and side airbags.
Interior Design and Special Features
It's clear from the 2009 Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4's interior that parent company Audi is calling the shots. There are leather and soft-touch materials galore, as one might expect, but the switchgear, gauges and multimedia driver interface are all Ingolstadt. Some might bemoan this distillation of Lamborghini's traditional Italian character, but most will appreciate Audi's injection of ergonomic know-how into the Gallardo's cockpit. Further advancements can be found in the fundamentally sound driving position and the comfortable and supportive seats.
However, the aforementioned multimedia interface leaves something to be desired, as the control knob and accompanying buttons are placed next to the screen rather than near the shifter, requiring altogether too much driver attention given the Gallardo's fearsome capabilities. Furthermore, storage space is negligible, and only the most limber drivers will find ingress and egress to their liking -- par for the course in this segment, perhaps, but some competing models provide supercar performance without requiring contortionist antics to get behind the wheel.
If you don't get a kick out of piloting the 2009 Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4, you should have your automotive enthusiast card revoked. At wide-open throttle, the lusty V10 plays a veritable mechanical symphony befitting the car's Italian heritage. As has long been the case, Ferrari gets the nod over Lamborghini when it comes to tossability and razor's-edge handling. The Gallardo feels most content on straights and in high-speed sweepers, whereas a car like the F430 can slice through tight corners like the proverbial hot knife through butter. At this rarefied level of performance, though, that's really splitting hairs. For those who have the means to procure one, the Gallardo surely won't disappoint.