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Wednesday 31st December 2008

Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder

At a time of economic and environmental panic Tim Oldland thinks he's found the world's most inappropriate car...



It’s not easy being a car enthusiast these days. Everywhere we look there is pressure to downsize, de-power, and slow down. It doesn’t sound like a recipe for driving nirvana. The other day I pondered for hours on the current economic climate, petrol prices, climate change, the lack of Cod in our seas, and of course, the bees disappearing.

After this period of serious contemplation, and with the rain clouds gathering in the sky, I decided there was only one car that I simply had to get behind the wheel of: The 8mpg, 520bhp, 5.2l V10 powered, 400g/km emitting Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder. Sorry Greenpeace. Could this be one of the most appropriate cars on the road today? Quite possibly, so what does it feel like to drive?

Pop open the heavy, Germanic feeling door, and swing your buttocks down, what feels like about 10ft into the shapely leather clad-bucket seats. For me, this is what a supercar should feel like inside. Snug, like you’re driving an Alcantara letterbox. Look around the cabin and those of you who’ve owned a recent Audi with feel a sense of deja-vu coming on.


The Sat Nav system, climate control system, and a few other ancillary controls are straight from the A6 and A8, but in view at least, they integrate nicely. Some feel that these parts have no place in a car like this, but I’m of the school of thoughts which teaches function over form – and the ergonomics of the interior are fantastic.

Everything is close and within reach, everything works with a satisfying clunk and everything feels like it will last. Though if I’m being picky, some stereo controls on the steering wheel wouldn’t have gone amiss…

So here I am, cocooned in the Gallardo, ready for the off. As I look down at the centre console, I’m slightly disappointed to be reminded that there is no shiny gate and stick there, but a row of three buttons. This is a Gallardo e:Gear, and I have not heard amazing things about it. You see, I have driven ecurie25’s older Gallardo Spyder, but it was a manual – and ranked amongst my favourite ever cars so this paddle-shifter has a lot to live up to.

Foot on the brake pedal, a simple old-school twist of a key, and after a typically Italian-supercar-length turning of the starter motor, the V10 bursts into life what feels like inches from your head. Something is lacking though – ah yes – a press of the roof button, and a look in the rear view mirror shows a complex display of moving fabric and body parts.

After no time at all, there is nothing but sky above me, and a lot less between that fantastic engine and my head. Already the engine note has developed into a more mechanical, higher pitched sound, without the cabin’s sound deadening doing its job, and it bodes well for what is to come.


Foot on the brake pedal again, a flick of the right hand paddle selects 1st, and I’m moving off into London traffic once more. This is the most frightening part of picking up one of these cars for me, being a non-Londoner – I don’t think I’ll ever get used to piloting a £150,000 car with limited visibility though our capital’s streets.

I know some say that a supercar shouldn’t be easy to drive, but I find the Gallardo remarkably so as I crawl through Shoreditch at 15mph. This is one area the e:Gear really suffers though - at low speed it will slip the clutch, and the throttle mapping is remarkably sensitive, so you have to be a little careful to avoid either sitting in an all-encompassing smell of burning clutch or kangarooing down the road.


But once moving the steering is not too light, the brakes are well modulated, and the ride is very composed on our notoriously bad roads. One thing that I feel really helps is the fact that the Gallardo is shorter than a Focus (and only 40mm wider), and the nose is very short from the driver’s seat, so it’s very easy to position the car on the road - which really helps when you have motorbike couriers missing the £500 wing mirrors by millimeters.

Once out of the city and onto some proper roads, the Gallardo comes alive. First derestricted section of road, I slow to about 20mph in 2nd, then bury the throttle into the bulkhead. Good Lord, I’d forgotten what 500bhp feels like… I’m pinned into the seat like a rat in a trap, and past 3500rpm the exhaust valve opens and there is an aural explosion behind my head. Such a noise deserves to be put on vinyl and listened to by the finest musical scholars on the planet, such is its multi-tonal brilliance.

Before you shift up though, it’s best to back off the throttle a bit. E:Gear doesn’t like full-bore changes, but my chiropractor does. One of those changes keeps him working on my neck for days. But back off a little, flick the paddle again, and the g-force punches you in the face once more. It is good to always have your hands on the wheel, I’ll concede that, but for me I’d still have the manual gearbox. Call me a Luddite if you will, but I still get pleasure from perfectly heel-and-toeing a downchange, and love the ‘clack-clack’ of an open gate.

Once the twisty sections come around, there’s no need to be scared of this raging bull either, as its handling more than lives up to its performance. Perfectly balanced entering a bend, you flick the paddle down, revs blipping and giving your ears another blast, turn in and the steering is weighted on the heavy side, but you’re getting more than enough feedback.


A light throttle to balance the car just before the apex, then foot to the floor again, putting your faith in the 4wd system and its immense grip. Sure enough the car just squats a little more and carves round the corner, back end feeling like it might give way if you push a little too hard, but when you do it progressively breaks away, requiring only a little opposite lock and a steady throttle to bring it back into line. I could do this all day, and as it turns out, I do…

Parked up near the Leigh-on-Sea seafront this Ferrari rival looks fantastic. In my eyes it knocks the F430 Spider clean out of the ring. The short, stubby nose, the angular flanks, the long swept back headlights, everything gels to give this car the most incredible presence. I think the dark grey of this car is perfect too. Some think Lamborghinis should be lairy yellows or oranges, but I think the battleship grey of this Spyder suits it down to the ground, especially when I park it near some old military equipment for some photos.


Stealthy even, and I think this gives it as much subtlety as it’s ever going to get. This is a very rare convertible in that it looks just as good with the roof up as it does down. Admittedly the roof is only about 2ft long, but it’s a stunning car no matter how you look at it.

The ‘Callisto’ rims of this particular example also give the car an extra edge, they are gorgeous. If I were forced to find a negative about the looks, it would be nose-on, squatting – it looks a little too low and wide, almost like it’s been squashed. But like I said, I’d have to be forced.

In manual guise especially I would happily drive it all day, every day (until my bank denied any more funds for fuel, that is…). It has also served to whet my appetite even more for the forthcoming LP560-4. Another 40bhp, a much improved 4wd system, revised looks, and even better economy are all on the cards. If what I have read so far is true, it raises the bar even higher. Here’s hoping…


Beefmeister
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Author Discussion

mrclav

Original Poster:

573 posts

111 months

[news] 
Wednesday 31st December 2008 quote quote all
Beautiful, loving the review sir.

Car's not half bad either - one day...

Beefmeister

12,047 posts

118 months

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Wednesday 31st December 2008 quote quote all
Thanks!

Its definitely my favourite car in the ecurie25 fleet - hands down winner this year.

That may change though when the 430 Scuderia arrives.... thumbup

Legion

142 posts

72 months

[news] 
Wednesday 31st December 2008 quote quote all
Wonderful read.
The Gallardo has such an unfussy, clean but dynamic design. It's raised the bar for precise, useable supercars.
I'd be interested to read a comparison from you when you've tried the F430.

Legion.

stew-S160

6,546 posts

126 months

[news] 
Wednesday 31st December 2008 quote quote all
lovely car and great review.

Beefmeister

12,047 posts

118 months

[news] 
Wednesday 31st December 2008 quote quote all
Legion said:
Wonderful read.
The Gallardo has such an unfussy, clean but dynamic design. It's raised the bar for precise, useable supercars.
I'd be interested to read a comparison from you when you've tried the F430.

Legion.
Thanks!

Have already driven the 430 Spider, but i'm expecting the Scuderia to raise the bar another notch.

e25 now have the LP560/4 too, so i'm just waiting til the new year to arrange taking it away and spanking it for the weekend.... biggrin

Edited by Beefmeister on Wednesday 31st December 18:11

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V6

2,978 posts

109 months

[news] 
Wednesday 31st December 2008 quote quote all
Excellent review, nice car!

I hate the wheels though, too fussy on an otherwise very clean and sharp car.

briancorish

179 posts

72 months

[news] 
Wednesday 31st December 2008 quote quote all
I test drove one of these in Vegas recently, lovely car, but I have to agree full throttle gear changes would give you whiplash!

blot

1,308 posts

125 months

[news] 
Wednesday 31st December 2008 quote quote all
Nice write up, no mention of the wonderful popping and banging on lift off, but will let you off on that one smile

Beefmeister

12,047 posts

118 months

[news] 
Wednesday 31st December 2008 quote quote all
I should add:

Huge thanks to Coalhouse Fort in Tilbury for the military photo location. They were really helpful and gave me the run of the place.

See here:

http://www.coalhousefort.co.uk/




Cupramax

4,382 posts

140 months

[news] 
Wednesday 31st December 2008 quote quote all
The RNS-E Satnav is from A3/A4 not the A6.... /pedant mode wink

Polarbert

17,537 posts

119 months

[news] 
Wednesday 31st December 2008 quote quote all
Saw one of these today in black with a Tubi or other similar loud exhaust.

Such a crime that they make them automatic nowadays.

Beefmeister

12,047 posts

118 months

[news] 
Thursday 1st January 2009 quote quote all
Cupramax said:
The RNS-E Satnav is from A3/A4 not the A6.... /pedant mode wink
nerd


hehe

Justin French

655 posts

118 months

[news] 
Thursday 1st January 2009 quote quote all
Good write up ...

Do ecurie25 still have a Scuderia coming in ? It's not on their website.

Cheers,

J

ironictwist

6,945 posts

93 months

[news] 
Thursday 1st January 2009 quote quote all
Oh god yes...Nice review, stunning car. I'm itching to drive one after reading that!

One day indeed.

chr55y

1,907 posts

75 months

[news] 
Thursday 1st January 2009 quote quote all
What a write up. I still picture myself driving the lime green one I saw in London. I really must get Diablo Pete to hurry up and sell the two Diablos then maybe I can have a Gallardo Roadster to go with his Murci Roadster, but I think it would have to be GREEN. biggrin

AndrewD

5,324 posts

172 months

[news] 
Thursday 1st January 2009 quote quote all
Good write up!

The 560 has improved egear too so you'll be in for a treat - it is a much improved car in just about every respect as far as I can tell

Ipelm

519 posts

80 months

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Thursday 1st January 2009 quote quote all
Hey, Beefmeister you apologised to Greenpeace, what did you do that for, its all eco-bo**ocks. Dont you believe a word of it!!

DiabloRojo

384 posts

78 months

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Thursday 1st January 2009 quote quote all
Forgive me if I am wrong, but isn't this a repost?

Beefmeister

12,047 posts

118 months

[news] 
Thursday 1st January 2009 quote quote all
DiabloRojo said:
Forgive me if I am wrong, but isn't this a repost?
Not that i'm aware of!

Beefmeister

12,047 posts

118 months

[news] 
Thursday 1st January 2009 quote quote all
Justin French said:
Good write up ...

Do ecurie25 still have a Scuderia coming in ? It's not on their website.

Cheers,

J
Thanks Justin!

Not sure about the Scud, it has gone from the site, i'll ask next time i'm in.

To be honest the LP560 is more appealing in the current weather!
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