2010 lamborghini gallardo LP560-4 Spyder
Maybe it was the perfect place for a Lamborghini Gallardo—about 5000 feet above Tenerife Island in the Canary Islands off Morocco, where the winding climb finally levels off onto an utterly empty, treeless moonscape of volcanic desolation. Welcome to God’s frying pan, this one with a two-lane blacktop running across its center. In the ’60s, Raquel Welch madeOne Million Years B.C. one island over, because that’s what the place looks like.
Towering into view up ahead on this plateau is the cone-perfect peak of the El Tiede volcano, 12,000 feet from the Atlantic waters below. It looks like a Salvador Dalí playground without the melting clocks, and we expected at any moment some prehistoric killing bird to come screeching and flapping out of the sky, snapping and biting and hissing, providing a real moment for that busload of tourists that pulled off the road behind us, all of them now padding around in their Nikes on the crunchy volcanic ash.
About a half-mile up the road, a brand-new, chalk-white Gallardo LP560-4 Spyder makes a U-turn. Its driver can see there is no place for cops to hide in this sorrowful emptiness. In a moment we hear the first explosive sounds of the guy laying into it. Suddenly, the car’s howl seems to split the sky open. The tourists turn fearfully and begin to move to the road’s edge. The paddle shifts come one-two-three , and there’s that piercing cry of an F1 car that a moment later turns into an eye-bulging Pavarotti high note—and yes, it does look like some killer pterodactyl coming at you, hugging the ground, hawk-eyed, closing quickly, wailing. And when it blows by flat out, it whips a whoosh of wind across the faces of a busload of open-mouthed but definitely thrilled Spanish tourists.
That would sell about anybody, this mid-mounted, 5.2-liter V-10 engine in full song. All 552 hp flung out of the box, it honks to 60 mph in about 3.5 seconds and to 100 mph in just over seven. Given enough room, it will go a claimed 201 mph.
The Delectable Result of an Italo-German Marriage
This is what you hope will happen when you mix flamboyant Italian looks with hard-nosed German engineering. The convertible top is two layers of primo black nylon that take 20 seconds to lower (or raise) via two switches. The top folds in a way that turns the rear window into a wind deflector, and there are two spring-loaded bars behind the seats that jump up at anything portending of a rollover. In this era of metal folding convertible tops that preserve a coupe’s slick rooflines, however, this softie has all the allure of a bald spot.
The all-wheel-drive Gallardo Spyder is much smaller than the bully-boyMurciélago LP650-4. Interior space for two is excellent port and starboard although less so fore-and-aft—the price paid for this car’s wickedly plunging wedge shape and the big engine at your back. Passengers under six feet are likely not penalized. The seats are handsome and quite comfortable, even though they verge on being bench-hard. The sensible interior has an Audi knob here and an MMI screen there that serve as reminders of who runs the fabled shop in Sant’Agata Bolognese these days.
Pretty Boys Can’t Clutch, Apparently
Oddly, of two dozen LP560-4 Spyders shipped over for the press launch, none had a manual shifter. It remains hard to think of a Lamborghini without one, like Sophia Loren without lipstick. How many would be sold with manuals, a company man was asked? “Close to zero,” he said, waving off the question airily. Nonetheless, it comes standard with a manual, although you get the idea it must be ordered. The paddle-shifted e-gear automated manual transmission is a $10,000 option (carbon-ceramic brakes are $16,400 and a set of rather ordinary-looking black rims are $4460, so you can see where this could go, and quickly). E-gear has a button that puts it into—oh, dark day—fully automatic suburban-shopping mode. Paddle-shifted, it works excellently under full thrust, a bit less smoothly if you’re called on to fetch 750ml of Bling H2O from a 7-Eleven in traffic-clogged Saint-Tropez.
The steering wheel is as thick as a ferryboat railing and at first feels as heavy, too, but once under way it lightens up and is forgotten. The car always feels clamped hard to the road and lead-bar solid; there isn’t an ounce of wander in the wheels, not an inch of slack in the steering. The power is there for the taking, tons of it all across the band, and it comes pouring out like gangbusters. To drive it hard is to live out a boy’s fantasy—it’s truly thrilling.
Vehicle Type :
mid-engine, 4-wheel-drive, 2-passenger, 2-door roadster
Estimated Base Price:
DOHC 40-valve V-10, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection
318 cu in, 5204cc
Power: 552 bhp @ 8000 rpm
Torque: 398 lb-ft @ 6500 rpm
6-speed manual, 6-speed manual with automated shifting and clutch
Wheelbase: 100.8 in
Length: 171.1 in
Width: 74.8 in Height:46.6 in
Curb weight (mfr's est):3800 lb
Performance (MFR'S EST):
Zero to 62 mph: 4.0 sec
Zero to 124 mph: 13.1 sec
Top speed (redline limited): 201 mph
Fuel Economy (MFR'S EST):
EPA city/highway driving: 13/20 mpg
The convertible weighs a claimed 309 more pounds than the Gallardo LP560-4 coupe, or just over 3800 pounds. The extra weight will slow most performance tasks by about 0.3 second, Lamborghini says, which should allow 0-to-60 times to come in at around 3.5 seconds.
When it arrives in May, the LP560-4 Spyder will sell in North America for $244,700. Oh, and throw in $2000 for getting it to your dealer. (If that bill’s not big enough, upgrade to the hunky Murciélago LP670-4 SuperVelocefor $455,400.)
The thing you get in big hysterical doses with this new spyder is attention. (Some of it possibly due to a few colors on the historic palette to which Lambo’s front-office traditionalists cling.
But, really, mustard-green looks good only in a jar.) Seeing the car circle a roundabout an hour earlier, two women in their 20s stepped quickly to the curb and stuck out their thumbs, and their faces said they weren’t kidding. Elderly European men in fedoras, out for a stroll, almost walk into its path in smiling admiration. Kids start whooping and jumping up and down. It’s a fantasy, but only to people who don’t have gobs of hedge-fund money. Those with the cash will be satisfied with the reality.