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2012 Lamborghini Gallardo

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2012 Lamborghini Gallardo Review

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Like cannoli, Lamborghini Gallardos come in a lot of flavors and cheeses. The Gallardo is by far the best-selling Lamborghini series, available as a mid-engine coupe and Spyder (convertible) with rear-drive (RWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD). Decoding the Gallardo engine nomenclature, the LP550 gets a 542-horsepower V10, LP560 upgrades tuning to a 552-horsepower V10, and the LP570 tops out with a 562-horsepower version of the V10. This is the Lamborghini you can drive to work during the week and at the track on weekends. The bodywork is angular and angry, the V10’s song wickedly enchanting, and the driving experience enthusiastically Italian. It’s not as slick as a Ferrari 458 Italia, as Bauhaus as an Audi R8 or as lux as a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG, but its unadulterated emotional appeal cannot be denied.

You'll Like This Car If...

If subtlety and contemplation aren’t part of your vocabulary and you want a car that looks, drives and sounds fast, the 2012 Lamborghini Gallardo may be for you. It’s more track-ready than a Mercedes SLS AMG, harder-edged than an Aston Martin DB9, and beats the Ferrari 458 Italia for AWD poor-weather traction.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If freshness and sophistication are your forte, consider that the current Gallardo has been around for a while and is due for an update, while the newer Ferrari 458 Italia has more advanced chassis control and a better ride.

What's New for 2012

Lamborghini continues to roll out special, limited-edition Gallardo models to keep up showroom interest. For 2012, the Gallardo LP550-2 Bicolore (2-tone paint) and the race-inspired LP570-4 Super Trofeo Stradale coupes are new.

Driving the Gallardo
Driving Impressions

While lightning-quick throttle response and intoxicating sounds from the engine bay are ever-present Lamborghini Gallardo characteristics, the car has a split personality. Around town, corn-fed Nebraskans are...

... apt to be annoyed by the tight cockpit, and other downers include a lumpy idle, rock-hard ride, the tires' tendency to follow road grooves, and a full-size pickup-like turning radius. But on a high-speed track, the Gallardo gains its focus, the stiff space frame and taut chassis imparting an organic stability and responsiveness, as well as pinpoint brake control. AWD versions (LP560-4 and LP570-4) experience a bit more understeer and give less feedback to the driver than RWD versions (LP550-2), but the AWD Gallardos forgo the purity of rear-wheel drive for the security of four driven wheels and the traction benefits of front and rear limited-slip differentials.

MATTE-FINISH EXTERIOR PAINT
Lamborghini gets $26,600 extra to turn your new Gallardo into a way-cool rat rod and paint the exterior matte black, matte brown or matte white. But think of all the money you’ll save by not opting for the hot wax treatment at the carwash.

FRONT LIFTING SYSTEM
The low-slung Gallardo’s protruding nose looks sleek, but could snare its share of speed bumps and steep driveway ramps. The 2012 Gallardo’s standard front lifting system raises the front end about an inch and a half with the push of a dash-mounted button for just such occasions.

2012 Lamborghini Gallardo Details
Interior

As you’d expect of an exotic, especially an Italian one, leather is in abundance on all 2012 Gallardo models. Standard on the more expensive Gallardos and optional on the rest is Alcantara suede covering the seats, steering wheel rim, door panels, dash and even headliners. Also available for high-end models is carbon-fiber trim. The standard bucket seats offer good support and reasonable comfort, but the unyielding carbon-fiber chairs in the Superleggera and Super Trofeo Stradale are built for racing and jockey-sized riders. Just remember to pack light because Lamborghini Gallardos haves no back seat and trunk space is less than four cubic feet – room for two small suitcases.

Exterior
2012 Lamborghini Gallardo photo

The low-slung 2012 Lamborghini Gallardo has sharp-angled body work and prominent front fascia, side and rear engine air-intake scoops. Conventional doors make ingress and egress easier than its scissors-door Aventador stablemate. The cab-forward interior contributes to the Gallardo’s overall wedge shape. On all but the race-inspired Super Trofeo Stradale coupe, the rear spoiler deploys automatically at high speed to enhance stability. Spyder models have a power-operated insulated cloth top that can be raised or lowered in 20 seconds.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Most of the expected premium-car trappings are here, such as dual-zone A/C, a power tilt/telescope steering wheel, a power adjustable driver’s seat, power heated side mirrors that tilt in, keyless remote entry, and so on. Likewise for safety hardware like ABS, traction control, stability control, dual front airbags, dual side airbags and pop-up rollbars for the convertible. But moving to the extra-cost side of the ledger are a power passenger seat, heated seats, even front cupholders. Cruise control isn’t available at all, probably because being attentive and involved with your Gallardo at all times is a major reason you’d purchase one.

Optional Equipment

First off, every paint color but gloss black is an extra-cost option, the $26K matte-finish paints being the most expensive. Other popular options include a navigation system, back-up camera and rear park-assist system (highly recommended), ceramic disc brakes, and an alarm system. The E-shift automated manual transmission is a $10,000 option on the base LP550 and LP560 Coupe and Spyder models. The 2012 Gallardo is available with lots of accessory and trim packages for you to customize to personal taste. Painted brake calipers come in a number of colors, and the transparent engine cover and carbon-fiber engine compartment dress-up items show off that beautiful V10.

Under the Hood

Like that tune you just can’t get out of your head, the 2012 Gallardo possesses a V10 noisemaker that’s impossible to put back in the toy box. Acceleration is as effortless as it is addictive, any Gallardo model capable of grabbing 60 mph from rest in less than four seconds and topping out just shy of 200 mph. But what’s the hurry? The Gallardo sounds great just idling at a traffic light. A slick-shifting 6-speed manual transmission is standard fare on all but the LP550-2 Bicolore and LP570-4 Super Trofeo Stradale models, the latter two sporting an automated manual 6-speed gearbox with paddle-operated E-shift control. Optional on the rest of the Gallardo line, the E-shift transmission features driver-selectable modes, "A" for lazy shifts and laid-back cruising, "Sport" for quicker shifts and "Corsa" for a day at the track with tire-chirping, wide-open-throttle shifts.

Gallardo LP550-2
5.2-liter V10
542 horsepower @ 8,000 rpm
398 lb-ft of torque @ 6,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 12/20 mpg (manual transmission), 13/20 mpg (automated manual)

Gallardo LP560-4
5.2-liter V10
552 horsepower @ 8,000 rpm
398 lb-ft of torque @ 6,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 12/20 mpg (manual), 13/20 mpg (automated manual)

Gallardo LP570-4
5.2-liter V10
562 horsepower @ 8,000 rpm
398 lb-ft of torque @ 6,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/20 mpg (automated manual)

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