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Take Two: Lamborghini Gallardo Review

l2832.jpgAs their respective logos suggest, driving a Ferrari requires courage and finesse; piloting a Lamborghini means taking the bull by the horns and hanging on for dear life. In fact, driving a Lambo is something of a pistonhead rite of passage. It says you’re able to control– or at least survive– a monster. Anyway, that’s the old rep, before Audi started playing with the bull’s balls. I mean, finding a way to harness automotive testosterone for more “civilized” progress. Though enraptured, Farago wasn’t entirely convinced by the Gallardo’s Audiefied manners. Nuts to that.

The baby bull certainly looks the biz. During my tenure, the beast of Bologna attracted the wide-open throttles of two Texas-bred Taurii eager to bask in the limelight of their bovine overlord. The Gallardo’s creases are a youthful interpretation of the family bloodlines. The trim lines and eager headlights are puppy-dog cute against big brother Murcielago’s stern-faced mug. 

l2854.jpgSurprisingly, when highway stunt turns to stationary floss, bedazzled bystanders don’t notice the Gallardo’s lack of upwards opening doors. It’s a brand hallmark that turns heads faster than a Kanye West performance at a Republican Party fundraiser. Still, it’s a fair exchange: scissor doors for adorable. And there’s still less chance that onlookers will mistake the Gallardo for a “normal” car than Kayne West will perform at a Republican Party fundraiser.

Supercar interiors are known for yards of fragrant leather, exquisite metalwork, Alcantara decadence and an aesthetically incoherent smattering of modern amenities, usually lifted from someone else’s parts bin. Check. More to the point, the Gallardo’s aromatic thrones are g-force ready and boulevard compliant, and its rearward visibility puts the Chrysler 300 to shame (as if it needs help). 

l2814.jpgThe Audi-sourced interior bits are no bother– especially when contemplating the joys of a 512hp V-10 that shares an occasional blueprint with das mittel Audi sedan. Twist-up the quad-cammed meisterwerk capolavoro. The unfiltered engineering loosens your bowels even as it intoxicates your soul. Let the idle settle, put your hand on the aluminum shifter and the aft-mounted pistonage persuades your heartbeat to match its elevated cadence. Sweet.

With all wheel-drive and enough torque to launch a yacht, the Gallardo does a lot more than accelerate. It MOTIVATES. Stay in the sauce past 4000 revs and a tidal wave of forty-valve madness churns your mind and pummels your kidneys, The psycho-somatic assault doesn’t let up until the 8000rpm redline arrives. Zero to 60 takes 4.2 seconds, but who’s counting? Certainly not the driver, whose mind is occupied with a lot more serious matters than keeping track of numbers on a stopwatch.

l2921.jpgRF tested a Gallardo with E-gear, which is a bit like having sex with a bad hangover. The Lambo’s conventional six-speed manual is the perfect dance partner; never once did the driveline wince from a misplaced command. Whisking through the metallic gates was effortless and accurate. Even better, the sound of aluminum clacking against aluminum provided peerless mechanical intoxication.

Even with massive 19” hoops underfoot, the Gallardo’s ride adds enough compliance to give the impression there’s an A6 badge on the rear. Let the throttle plates relax and this Lambo takes pavement poundings with charm school restraint.

l2933.jpgThe Gallardo has the mad cornering skills to justify the bills. Yes, the effortless control of a 911 is absent. Whereas the Porsche has that hot knife through butter gestalt, the Gallardo’s helm is more akin to pushing a vario-speed Dremel through a sheet of balsawood. You get all of the Porker’s capability, just not as much tactile satisfaction. That said, like any good super car, extra speed makes everything better. The Gallardo’s power-on cornering is mostly unflappable.

It should come as no surprise that the Lamborghini Gallardo cuts corners like Motown’s finest bean counters. But the car’s idiot-proof dynamics are a big bonus. Make no mistake (so to speak9); I pushed the Gallardo hard. Its Quattro-esque driveline planted me in my seat, patiently waiting for my right foot to catapult us out the apex. The traction control knows its place; its mildly intrusive manners are summoned only when your bacon must be saved. 

l2878.jpgNever before has a carbon-based body been in such perfect harmony with four Pirelli gumballs. It’s quite surreal; thrashing a vehicle that flirts with the limits of one’s prowess and then yanks you down to reality with nary a hint of drama from the 14” rotors. The Gallardo is a supercar that doesn’t require superhuman effort to extract maximum pleasure from the asphalt. 

And it’s a total babe magnet. OK, you might not want to sleep with any woman/man who wants to sleep with you because you own Lamborghini Gallardo. But there’s plenty of inter-personal pleasure to be had as the driver of a one-car advertisement for Italian automotive heritage. But the real thrill comes from wringing the neck of a supercar that lets you live to tell the tale. Yes, the Lamborghini Gallardo is a beast, but it’s about as friendly as a 500hp+ sports car can be. And that’s no bull.

[Momentum Motorcars provided seat time in the vehicle reviewed]  

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