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.