2009 Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 Review
Dig to the bottom of our current fiscal nightmare and you’ll discover an oddball type of derivative that Warren Buffet famously termed, “financial weapons of mass destruction.” Also known as Credit Default Swaps (CDS). Essentially, it’s a bet that a bad investment will fail. A strange type of insurance to be sure, where the purchaser of said CDS isn’t required to have anything to do with what’s being insured. Oh, and it’s a $55 trillion market. Er, was. And because of Gordon Gekko-huffing-PCP style greed, all of our 401ks have been halved. If not worse. Maybe the Adderall-addicted pukes that tanked our economy were trying to accumulate enough cash to buy a Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4? While I can’t forgive ’em, I do understand.
As you may or may not know, the LP560-4 has both an exterior and an interior. Got it? Moving on.
The sick thing about the latest, greatest Gallardo is that you’d have as much fun thrashing it down your favorite road as you would sitting in a closed garage and kicking the throttle. If cleanliness is next to Godliness, the LP560-4 makes the single filthiest noise I’ve ever heard. That’s what you get when ten cylinders and forty valves are all exploding 142 times per second twelve-inches from your neck. Utterly devilish. Here’s one for your bucket list: driving this raging bull through a tunnel with the windows down and the tach pegged at eight grand. Even I’m jealous of me.
The LP560-4’s all new 5.2-liter V10 now sports direct injection and variable valve timing that together increase fuel economy while cutting emissions. Who bloody cares? All that matters is the fact that your right foot is now in command of 552 merciless horsepower and 398 lb-ft of ruthless twist. Even better, redline is 8,500 rpm. Hey, if peak oil and chronic global warming are really here, best to go down swinging. Or is that swigging?
As you may imagine, this car is fast. Like, stupid fast. Yes you can hit 60 mph in 3.6 seconds on your way to a top speed of 202 mph. But all supercars do that. What so blows your frigging mind is when you’re under the impression you’re jogging along at 75 mph when in reality you’re doing a buck thirty. Velocity becomes so effortless– and the Gallardo LP560-4 is so firmly planted and composed– that you might as well be having tea.
I’ll come back to the maniac acceleration in a moment: first I have to explain Lambo’s new e-gear transmission. It’s a paddle-shifted affair, though you can run around in full auto. Which sucks. However, one tug on a lever and you’re in control of the gears, which is actually pretty good. Of course pressing “Sport” is much better, as the shifts happen much faster. There’s a new button that reads “Corsa” and it happens to be best of all because gears get swapped via angry gunpowder. BANG! I say, BANG! Don’t believe me? My driving companion got whiplash. Corsa’s that wonderfully violent.
Back to acceleration. We found a very straight and even emptier stretch of road to “test” Corsa. Up until this point we’d been going relatively easy on our borrowed $222k Italian plaything. Not here. I activated Corsa, deactivated the ESP and by mashing the gas pedal inadvertently activated launch mode where the $20k optional carbon ceramic brakes hold the car until the revs hit 5,000. Then sheer lunacy broke loose. Honestly, NASA could learn a thing or two about defeating inertia from this Gallardo. The combination of the skin being tugged from your skull and Satan’s trumpet blasting your ear acts as an adrenaline pump. It’s physically addictive.
Oh yes– handling. That’s superb, too. Thrust is split 30/70 front to rear through the AWD system. There’s also the aluminum intensive chassis and body: together they engender a power-to-weight ratio that rivals Napoleon. We never approached the car’s limits, but even at (maybe) 6/10 we constantly giggled. The rest of the time was spent shaking our heads in skeptical disbelief. Why? Because when diving into 45 mph turns at more than 90 mph you realize you could be doing 120 mph. Best of all, the LP560-4’s attitude becomes both more responsive and eager when the nanny’s sent packing. I mentioned the addictive thing, right?
I ran into Tanner Foust at the Formula Drift Championship that afternoon. He’d recently driven a LP560-4 around Italy for a week. We compared notes. His biggest beef with the newest Lamborghini is that in America, people look and assume you’re a cock. When Mr. Faust was in Italy, the citizens literally got out of their cars and clapped as he roared by. We should follow the Italians’ lead here, as the LP560-4 is a masterpiece. Bravo sirs. Bravo indeed.
(Lamborghini supplied the vehicle reviewed, insurance and a tank of gas.)