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Few names in the car business have more cachet than Lamborghini, and its entry-level Gallardo has proven to be one of the Italian automaker's best-selling models. Even though it's been around for several years, the Gallardo still commands attention thanks to its outrageous styling and throaty exhaust noise—it is, after all, a Lamborghini. But thanks to the company's Audi ownership, it also has everyday usability.
A 5.2-liter V10 powers all Gallardos, although output varies with model and drive type. The 550-horsepower rear-wheel drive LP550-2 and 560-horsepower all-wheel drive LP560-4 are similarly equipped, with standard 19-inch alloy wheels, an adaptive rear spoiler and a passive system that raises the nose of the car on low curbs or speed bumps.
Xenon headlamps, leather upholstery, a navigation system, a four-speaker audio system with iPod interface, and a dual-zone automatic climate control round out the standard features list. The LP550-2 has a standard six-speed manual transmission; its optional automated manual gearbox is standard on the LP560-4.
The LP570-4 Superleggera Edizione Tecnica is a more serious performer that benefits from extensive use of carbon fiber, a boost to 570 horsepower, carbon ceramic brakes, Alcantara upholstery and special 19-inch alloy wheels. The special edition Gallardo Bicolore is based on of the LP550-2, but comes with a special black contrasting roof, matching interior stitching and premium leather, and the six-speed manual transmission. Finally, the LP550-2 Tricolore is another special package with a stripe motif that honors the Italian flag, as well as Alcantara upholstery and special 19-inch alloy wheels.
The Gallardo, then, is a ticket into the fantasy of driving a high-performance Italian sports car with some of the real-world usability Lamborghinis traditionally lack. It may not be the most advanced supercar out there—and many of its rivals have caught up with its performance—but it has the special something that justifies a six-figure price tag.
The LP550-2 may be the entry-level Gallardo, but there's nothing entry level about the equipment or performance from the rear-wheel drive sports car. The engine is the 5.2-liter V10, this time with 550 horsepower as the name suggests. It's mated to either a standard six-speed manual in the coupe, with an optional e-gear automated manual transmission. Included as standard equipment are 19-inch alloy wheels, an adaptive rear spoiler and a passive system that raises the nose of the car on low curbs or speed bumps, xenon headlamps, leather upholstery on the seats, silver trim on the dashboard, the Multimedia Interface system with satellite navigation, a four-speaker audio system with iPod interface, and a dual-zone automatic climate control. Options include matte finish exterior paint, special 19-inch alloy wheels, a carbon ceramic brake package, different-color brake calipers, a clear engine cover, Alcantara or premium leather upholstery, carbon fiber trim or a full-leather interior.
The LP560-4 trades some of the LP550-2's sports car bite by adding the traction and security of an all-wheel drive system and 10 more horsepower. Therefore, it's going to be easier to control this car's power on a day-to-day basis, as well as unleashing it on a track when you want to. Otherwise, it's equipped identically to the LP550, with unique 19-inch wheels, a leather interior, satellite navigation, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, and the standard e-gear automated manual—there's no way to get the manual on the LP560. On the options list are several trim packages for the interior, offering things such as carbon fiber or piano black interior trim. The Style Package for the exterior includes badges and a blacked-out front spoiler.
The LP570-4 Superleggara Edizione Tecnica is the most advanced, sophisticated and powerful Gallardo for sale today. Lightened, restyled and given more power, it's also the most outrageous Gallardo. Its V10 is boosted to 570 horsepower and mated to the e-gear automated manual transmission with all-wheel drive. The LP570 also gets a lighter fixed rear spoiler, stronger carbon ceramic brakes and substantial body components made from aluminum and carbon fiber. The windows are also lighter, made from composite material that's lighter than glass. The LP570 also gets unique, lighter 19-inch alloy wheels and special Alcantara interior upholstery. Options include special Edizione Tecnica paint with a two-tone stripe on the exterior, a chrome-and-carbon-fiber interior trim package, firmer sport seats and roll bar preparation. All of these modifications make the LP570-4 a fast and track-ready car that stays true to the tradition of outrageous Lamborghinis.
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