Full 2011 Lamborghini Gallardo Review
What's New for 2011
Two new Lamborghini Gallardo models debut for 2011: the 570-4 Superleggera coupe and the 570-4 Spyder Performante convertible. Both are lightweight versions of the Gallardo that utilize extensive carbon-fiber components. As their model designations suggest, they also get more power than the regular Gallardo.
There are things about the 2011 Lamborghini Gallardo that we simply cannot share with you in this model review. Oh, it's nothing taboo, like illegitimate children or the fact that it once wet the bed. Rather, there is just no way one can properly express through words those aspects that must be heard, seen and felt. For instance, we could come up with clever metaphors comparing the majestic wail of the Lamborghini V10 to the singing talents of Pavarotti, but they would never really do it justice.
As such, we shall leave the noises to YouTube, the visuals to our own handy photo gallery and the feeling to your local Lamborghini dealer who shall hopefully deem you worthy of a test-drive. Instead, here are the cold, analytical meat and potatoes about the Gallardo that just might help you determine whether it's the right exotic car to add to your garage.
The Gallardo is technically known as the LP 560-4, which sounds like the model number of your DVR but in fact is code for the car's powertrain. The LP refers to the V10's engine placement en Italiano (longitudinale posteriore) and that it produces 560 PS (a European power measurement) which is equal to 552 horsepower. The 4 refers to the standard all-wheel-drive system, which gives the Gallardo its incredible traction, impressive balance and surprisingly forgiving demeanor.
For 2011, there is also a pair of LP 570-4 models known as the Superleggera coupe (making its reappearance after a year off) and the new Spyder Performante. Both get more power, as their higher numbers would indicate, while also dropping pounds (154 for the Superleggera, 143 for the Performante) due to the extensive use of carbon fiber and other lightweight materials like polycarbonate windows. There are also firmer dampers, stiffer antiroll bars and several aerodynamic improvements like a fully covered underbody that Lamborghini says makes these models "as close to a racecar" as any vehicles graced with the logo of the charging bull.
Regardless of which Gallardo you consider, though, it will be a much saner choice than other Lamborghinis ? both past and present. It isn't wider than a Chevy Silverado. The doors don't scissor. There aren't any crazy scoops or wings. Its surprisingly compact size and standard rearview camera mean it isn't a nightmare to park. The interior controls not only work but are laid out in a sensible manner thanks to parent company Audi's oversight. It also isn't insanely expensive -- just very expensive.
Yet despite all this sense and sensibility, the 2011 Lamborghini Gallardo is a wild child at heart that will provide the thrills, looks and noises you expect from an exotic sports car. We could mention competitors like the Aston Martin V12 Vantage, Audi R8, Ferrari 458 Italia or Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG, but then they aren't easily and/or properly described either. So we highly recommend test-drives of them all -- not necessarily because it's what a smart consumer should do, but because doing so sounds like one hell of a good way to spend a weekend.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2011 Lamborghini Gallardo is an exotic sports car. It is offered as the LP 560-4 coupe and Spyder roadster, as well as the LP 570-4 Superleggera coupe and LP 570-4 Spyder Performante.
Standard equipment on the LP 560-4 models includes 19-inch wheels, an automatically extending rear spoiler, nose-raising suspension for curb clearance, bi-xenon headlights, power-folding outside mirrors, dual-zone automatic climate control, power seats, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, leather upholstery, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a rearview camera, a navigation system, a multimedia driver interface similar to Audi's Multi Media Interface (MMI) system and a four-speaker stereo with six-CD changer, auxiliary audio jacks and iPod integration. The Spyder has a full power-operated soft top.
The Travel package adds a cupholder, a luggage net behind the seats and a small storage compartment located near the steering wheel. A pair of interior Carbon packages bathe the cabin in carbon-fiber trim; you get less with one package and more with the other. Stand-alone options include upgraded alloy wheels, faux suede upholstery, fitted luggage and heated seats. Lamborghini also offers its "Ad Personam" customization program, which gives the buyer extensive input into exterior and interior color combinations.
The Superleggera and Spyder Performante get carbon-fiber exterior and interior components, a more powerful V10, a standard automated manual transmission, polycarbonate rear and side windows, lighter 19-inch wheels, faux suede upholstery and special colors. Carbon-ceramic brakes and a permanent rear spoiler are optional along with most of the regular Gallardo's extras.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2011 Lamborghini Gallardo LP 560-4 is powered by a 5.2-liter V10 that sends 552 hp and 398 pound-feet of torque to all four wheels. A six-speed manual transmission with a gated metal shifter is standard, while a six-speed, single-clutch automated manual transmission (known as "e-gear") is optional. The Gallardo is expected to go from zero to 60 mph in the mid-3-second range. EPA-estimated fuel economy (should you care) is 12 mpg city/20 mpg highway and 15 mpg combined with the traditional manual and 13/20/16 with e-gear.
The Superleggera and Spyder Performante get a retuned version of the 5.2-liter V10 good for 562 hp and 398 lb-ft of torque. The e-gear transmission is standard. These models should hit 60 in the low 3s and they also get an additional mpg in the city, which makes the Superleggera the environmentally conscious Lamborghini.
Standard safety equipment for the 2011 Lamborghini Gallardo includes antilock brakes, stability control, side airbags and a rearview camera.
Interior Design and Special Features
Unlike previous Lamborghini models, the 2011 Gallardo provides a fairly livable cabin, thanks in large part to influence from parent company Audi. Leather and soft-touch materials adorn much of the interior as one might expect, but the switchgear, gauges and multimedia driver interface are essentially pulled from the Audi parts bin. Some might bemoan this dilution of Lamborghini's traditional Italian character, but most will be thankful that everything actually works. Further advancements can be found in the fundamentally sound driving position and the comfortable and supportive seats.
The aforementioned multimedia interface leaves something to be desired, however, 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.
The 2011 Lamborghini Gallardo's performance is just as otherworldly as one would expect from any exotic sports car. The V10 power plant shrieks off the line as the revs climb toward redline. Compared to the 458 Italia from arch-rival Ferrari, the LP 560-4 is slightly less nimble. It is, however, perfectly at home blasting down the highway and carving through high-speed sweepers. The Superleggera and Spyder Performante represent a further refinement of the Gallardo's capabilities, as these lightweight special editions are perfect for those who want to squeeze every drop of excitement possible from this lithe Lamborghini.