a sort of backhanded-compliment if ever i read one.
part 1: http://www.jalopnik.com/cars/jalopnik-reviews/jalopnik-review-2006-lamborghini-gallardo-se-part-1-164058.php
part 2: http://www.jalopnik.com/cars/jalopnik-reviews/jalopnik-review-2006-lamborghini-gallardo-se-part-2-164324.php
part 3: http://www.jalopnik.com/cars/jalopnik-reviews/jalopnik-reviews-2006-lamborghini-gallardo-se-part-3-164506.php
Of all the thrills provided by a performance-oriented hyper-exotic automobile, my favorite is the singularity. In physics, a singularity is the point of mass density where gravitational forces are so great they distort space and time ? and then the whole shebang collapses into a black hole. The Lamborghini Gallardo SE?s supercar singularity arrives somewhere around 5000rpm. The intensity of the V10?s operatic bellow becomes so great that forward thrust and relative speed become subjectively unquantifiable. Planting your right foot until the engine winds out to 8100rpm whilst heading towards an oncoming eighteen wheeler?s bow wave is an act of quantum-level insanity. And a bit of a hoot.
So if you?re wondering why anyone would pay $190k for an extreme sports car designed by a Belgian for an Italian tractor manufacturer turned sports car maker under the watchful eye of a German provider of OCD-level sedans and SUVs owned by a union-controlled multinational mass-market manufacturer, there?s your answer. Unfortunately (for someone in that mix), the days when a supercar could provide a single thrill and call it good are gone. Fortunately (for well-heeled car collectors), the unrelentingly angular Gallardo has another trick up its two dozen creased sleeves: handling.
More specifically, the Gallardo SE uses father Audi?s Quattro system to keep the mid-engined machine?s back end from coming ?round during hyperspace forays into Lateral-G World. This is what accelerative drivers with a family and less than generous insurance coverage call ?a good thing.? Like the equally benign Lamborghini Murcielago, the Gallardo SE can be flung around corners without the slightest regard to whether or not you should have done that quite so goddamn fast. An understeer slide is the only penalty meted out for adhesive miscalculation. And unlike its Mercy stable mate, the baby bull is small and light enough to make even experienced passengers nauseous through the turns without a nose-first tire plow.
Other than that, you can have it. I reckon anyone stumping up the better part of two hundred large for an automobile should get a paddle-shift gearbox that doesn?t make the vehicle shunt like a badly bumped bumper car. And an interior that doesn?t have the exact same head unit and climate control system found in an Audi A3. And an engine with at least as much bottom end torque as an Audi A3. And a chassis/suspension set up that doesn?t make the car vibrate like a cheap massage chair above 120mph. And brakes that offer some kind of stopping feel and power in the first inch and a half of pedal travel. But hey, that?s me.
I?m sure there are plenty of Manhattan trustifarians ? I mean discerning drivers ? willing to overlook these ergonomic and aesthetic deficiencies just to get a taste of that singular shove and go-kart clich?. And, let?s not forget the snob appeal. For most people at this level, a crazy-ass Italian sports car is a far better whip than a Porsche Turbo. Except that it isn?t.
Exterior Design ***
The Gallardo is bedeviled by its details: a snout that drops a hair too precipitously, oversized air intakes and headlight openings, etc. Taken as a whole, the Gallardo looks a bit like a mid-80?s Countach with all the addenda removed (rear wings, side skirts, haunch-mounted air intakes, federalized bumpers), that?s been squeeshed from both ends. In short, it?s dramatic and modern, and about as sexy as a Danish furniture.
Any car that can accelerate from zero to sixty in four seconds without once threatening to paint the tarmac with rubber gets the Jalopnik Holy Shit seal of approval. A vehicle that tops out at 195mph qualifies for the autobahn association?s Sturm und Drang sweepstakes. But the Gallardo?s lack of bottom end grunt? a situation familiar to drivers of BMW?s V10-powered M5? obviates the much-loved ambling into thrusting process.
The Gallardo?s lack of braking prowess is a major blot on the supercar?s playbook. The first inch or so of left pedal travel yields? nothing. After that, the binders are numb but effective? until they aren?t. Do you want brake fade in a $190k supercar? You do not.
The Gallardo offers reverse Bond ride quality (stirred but not shaken). Result.
Porsche Turbo aside (as if), the Gallardo is the safest yet most capable supercar a Halliburton stuffed with unmarked Benjamins can buy. The final astral accolade is denied because the press car?s e-gear couldn?t be activated mid-corner without upsetting Lamborghini?s entry level applecart. Aggressive drivers in search of a tail out attitude who switch off the Gallardo?s ESP traction control and e-paddle down a cog or two will only do so once.
Before Audi/VW?s sublime DSG hit the streets, we would have pronounced the Gallardo?s e-gear the worst of all the paddle shifters? except for all the rest. Gallardo drivers now face knowing smirks from less financially fortunate pistonheads? which is not something you want at this or any other price point. Add in the fact that the baby bull?s paddles are fixed, and, well, we would have stopped Gallardo e-gear production until a DSG could?ve been fitted. (Yet another reason why no one lets us manage a car company.)
Extra star power for the backup camera, null points for the grating quality of the stereo, the fact that replacing the Audi head unit with a proper stereo would be more complicated that a lung transplant, and the lack of an iPod holster.
The Gallardo is a toy.
The Gallardo?s miniscule front compartment renders it useless for weekend jauntage. Still, it?s one of the world?s fastest briefcases.
Why you should buy this car: When you were a penniless pre-pubescent pistonhead, a poster of a white Lamborghini Countach poster held pride of place on your bedroom wall, right next to the soft core porn shot of Cheryl Ladd in a bikini. Even though you eventually learned to see the Italian be-winged behemoth as a foul-handling, garish pimpmobile, you never got quite over the desire to nullify feelings of self-doubt by driving a Lambo (although Cheryl?s recent appearance on NBC?s ?Las Vegas? has cured your onanistic affliction).
So now that you?re made of money but still have to be somewhat careful (thank you first wife), buying a Gallardo (instead of a Murcielago) makes some kind of sense ? even if the e-gear is e-gregious engineering and the brakes fade faster than your pre-teen?s interest in Brittany Spears. In other words, the Gallardo is something you have to go through.
Why you shouldn?t buy this car: Your left testicle isn?t willing to sacrifice itself for the design, the cabin offers less of a sense of occasion than Caesar Chavez Day, there?s not enough bottom-end grunt, the brakes fade, the e-gear ain?t DSG, the Porsche Turbo exists, the Corvette Z06 exists, the Audi R8 is on its way and equivalently priced ?pre-owned? F360s are out there (somewhere).
? Speed Merchants: Yes
? Fashion Victims: Yes
? Treehuggers: No
? Mack Daddies: Yes
? Tuner Crowd: No
? Hairdressers: No
? Penny Pinchers: No
? Euro Snobs: Yes
? Working Stiffs: No
? Technogeeks: No
? Poseurs: Yes
? Soccer Moms: No
? Nascar Dads: No
? Golfing Grandparents: No
? Manufacturer: Lamborghini
? Model tested: Gallardo SE
? Model year: ?06
? Price as Tested: $194,850
? Engine type: 5.0-liter V-10, DOHC 40-valve aluminum
? Horsepower: 512 hp @ 8000 rpm
? Torque: 376 lb-ft @ 4500 rpm
? Redline: 8100rpm
? Wheels and Tires: Pirelli P-Zeros 235/35 ZR 19 (front), 295/30 ZR 19 (rear)
? Drive type: AWD
? 0 - 60: 4 secs. (est.)
? 1/4 mile: 12 secs. (est.)
? Top speed: 195mph
? Fuel economy city/highway: 9 / 15
? NHTSA crash test rating front/side/rollover: NA
[by Robert Farago]