Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 priced and available in limited numbers
Written by Nelson Ireson
Tuesday, 12 August 2008
The follow-up to the best-selling Lamborghini of all time has a lot riding on its shoulders, but by sticking close to its forerunner’s brash looks and fierce performance while improving on the basic figures, the Gallardo LP560-4 has ensured its acceptance and success. The growling 560PS (412kW) 5.2-litre V10 powerplant for which it’s named is the heart of the update, though new sheet metal and upgraded suspension also play a role in the LP560-4’s arsenal of performance.
Weight has been shaved from the outgoing model, making the new car a full 20kg lighter. Combined with a gain of 29kW, incremental improvements in grip and aerodynamic plus an improved transmission, the LP560-4 is an accumulation of moderate performance upgrades that come together to form a cohesive whole that substantially improves the car’s overall capability.
Only handful of the high-performance cars will be available at launch, but most of those interested in purchasing the latest version of the car that's sold 7,100 units since its debut in 2003 will likely want to order them from the factory with their individualised choice of custom options and features.
Powertrain and mechanical upgrades
At the core of the Gallardo LP560-4 lies the mid-mounted 412kW 5.2-litre V10. Since performance is one half of the dual purpose of any Lamborghini - the other half being style - the engine delivers like few others, sending the all-wheel drive two-seater from 0-100km/h in 3.7 seconds. It takes just 11.8 seconds to reach 200km/h and carries on to a top speed of 325km/h.
The new, highly efficient engine derives its performance increase from a direct fuel injection system. Despite its the jump in power, however, fuel consumption and CO2 emissions have been reduced by 18%. Fuel consumption is 13.7L/100km when equipped with the e-gears transmission.
Maximum power is produced at a stratospheric 8,000rpm, and the engine can continue revving to 8,400rpm at redline. The top torque figure is 540Nm at 6,500rpm. The combination of weight reduction and increased power push the power-to-weight ratio to 3.4kg per kilowatt, a truly supercar-worthy statistic.
The all-wheel drive system is complemented by a mechanical differential at the rear that provides up to 45% limited-slip and an electronic differential lock at the front. Both axles are tied together with a centre differential viscous-coupling unit that distributes power in a 30/70 split between the front and rear, respectively, under normal conditions, though the torque can be redistributed in milliseconds as grip levels require.
That grip is ensured by the redesigned suspension system. The double wishbones are made out of aluminium with newly designed kinematics, while the springs and shock absorbers are tightly adjusted for maximum adhesion. The rear axle now has an additional track rod which further improves control. New rubber-metal bearings throughout improve dynamic response and character.
The final mechanical upgrade lies in the e-gear transmission, which speeds up shift times by 40%. The system has been completely redesigned, made lighter and quicker by 40 per cent in ‘CORSA’ mode, which also allows higher slip angles and enhances acceleration. Highly adjustable, the transmission allows the driver to choose between five different programs: in addition to the ’normal’ mode, the Gallardo LP560-4 offers a ‘sport mode’ that makes gear changes quicker. ‘Thrust mode’ ensures maximum acceleration from neutral by adjusting the angle of the throttle valve and the clutch to each other for a perfect launch, and finally ‘automatic mode’ enables the car to be driven comfortably when style, rather than performance, is the objective.
Optional carbon-ceramic brakes can be fitted to replace the standard steel units. These race-level parts offer repeatable maximum stopping power with a minimum of fade. Even larger than the standard 365mm front and 356mm rear brake discs at 380mm and 356mm, the carbon units are clamped by the same Brembo Specialist eight-piston callipers up front and four-piston units in the rear.
Enhanced styling with an aerodynamic purpose
The LP560-4 finds several ways to improve upon the original’s already strong aerodynamics. The rear diffuser has been newly designed, and its efficiency, together with the smooth underbody, contributes to excellent steering stability even at extremely high speeds.
At speeds above 120km/h an independently extended rear spoiler increases the down force on the rear axle, acting in association with the specially formed underbody which directs the airstream under the car. The sum total of the aerodynamic improvements is a 31% increase in efficiency compared to the outgoing model.
While functionality is of primary importance in the aerodynamic system’s design, the car’s appearance is equally important, and the designers have managed a careful balance between aesthetics and pragmatics in the LP560-4. Sharply creased lines join smooth surfaces and broad intakes, all sculpted to maximise impact, both on the street and on the track.
Interior styling marries road and track with high-end luxury
A high level of standard equipment is fitted, as one might expect from the nearly $500,000 base price. Essential elements include vehicle passenger and lateral air-bags, a two-zone air-conditioning system with sun regulation, the Lamborghini Multimedia System with USB connector and sports seats with electronically operated backrests.
Like all Lamborghinis, however, the new Gallardo is almost infinitely configurable with a wide array of options and add-ons. Some of the extras that can be had include a navigation system and a module for TV reception, a hands-free Bluetooth phone set, an anti-theft device and a rear-view camera. An additional option is the lifting system control of the front of the vehicle which, at the touch of a button, is raised to enable driving over obstacles.
For the buyer that wants a truly custom Gallardo, the Lamborghini Ad Personam program offers a host of options allowing customers to give the car an imprint of their own style with respect to the interior trim and exterior. Among the many options are three exclusive new, fashionable matte colours: Nero Nemesis (matte black), Bianco Canopus (matte white), Marrone Apus (matte brown).
Seven round instruments in the cockpit with a new graphic theme provide the driver with essential engine data and a multifunctional display between the speedometer and tachometer provides the driver with essential information and statistics.
On sale now in Australia, the new Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 is priced at $475,000.00 plus on roads and options, with the e-gear transmission option an additional $27,204.00.