LP 560-4 Goes Topless : Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 Spyder [review]

Car Specifications
Engine: 
5204cc
Cylinder Layout: 
V10, DFI, Naturally-aspirated
Top Speed: 
324 km/h
Transmission: 
6-Speed E-gear (automated manual)
0-100km/h: 
4.0 sec
Power: 
560bhp at 8000rpm
Torque: 
540nm at 6500rpm
Features: 
  • Sport seats
  • 20-second roof retraction
  • Pirelli P-Zero Corsa types
  • Bi-Xenon and LCD front lamp cluster
  • Switchable ESP

photos by Barry Hathaway

Lamborghini has taken on a whole new persona ever since under the aegis of VW-Audi they actually turned in a profit in their very first full year of production. This amazing success was a result of their then all-new Gallardo (pronounced Ga-yar-do which is a breed of Spanish fighting bull). It has taken them two cautious years to bring forth this open top variant called the Gallardo Spyder.

The additional year of gestation was obviously well spent on perfecting the new roadster. It now boasts of the industry’s strongest open top chassis and this was patently apparent while driving on the roads around Key Largo and Miami. There was not a trace of the chassis shudder when the suspension accidentally finds a pothole.

Precious few are those open-top cars that can pass this kind of abuse without causing the whole car to quiver. With this sort of strength, the engineers can be daring enough to fit a suspension as firmly sprung as the Gallardo coupe from which the Spyder is derived which should confer the Spyder similar handling characteristics as the excellent coupe.

The latest raft of 2006 Gallardo improvements like lower fuel consumption, quicker steering, better intake and exhaust systems also find its way into the new Spyder.

In the beginning of 2000, the Spyder was conceived at the Lamborghini Centro Stile studios back in early 2000 along with the coupe. So it is by no accident that the Spyder’s lines are so perfectly suited to the roadster form, revealing the purpose of every crease line found in the original coupe’s styling.

On road
If anything the Spyder is even more sensuous and alluring than the coupe. The canvas top is operated at a touch of a button which engages a battery of six hydraulic arms that in unison completes the graceful transformation of the Spyder into a its final form, the roadster, revealing the stunning hand-crafted, leather-wrapped interior for all to see in just twenty seconds.

Under the carbonfibre rear tonneau cover resides a potent 520bhp 5-litre V10 engine. It gets 20bhp more than the original engine and makes all the right kinds of sounds befitting an Italian purebred supercar. Yet the exhaust system remains fairly quiet as long as the engine is kept below 3500 rpm.

In this way the Gallardo can sneak pass the strict European and Swiss noise emission regulations. At higher rpm it gets noticeably louder and nearer 7000 rpm the aggressive exhaust snarl nearly makes one’s hair stand on end. Its sonorous note is just music to any aficionado’s ear.

And it is not all bark either. Together with the engine’s full 520 bhp fury, Lamborghini’s E-gear robotized paddle-shift transmission system, helps rocket the Spyder to 100 km/h in a blazing 4.0 seconds equalling the revised Gallardo Special Edition and 0.2 seconds ahead of the original Gallardo.

This is an excellent result considering the Spyder is 140-kg heavier thanks to the mandatory reinforcement required to shore up the open top chassis.

Dynamically, the Spyder feels every bit as energetic as the lighter coupe. This can also be attributed to the revised gear ratios that have been lowered significantly to produce better acceleration through the gears.

It has also contributed to an astonishing top speed of 324 km/h, just 1 km/h slower than the latest Gallardo SE coupe and 5 km/h more than the original coupe proving that the aerodynamic signature of the Spyder is surprisingly close to that of the coupe.

The Spyder’s considerable prowess was put to the test at Miami’s Homestead Speedway circuit. Needless to say the Spyder was flogged ruthlessly around the racetrack but it did not just withstand the pressure, it shone and delivered.

It behaved impeccably, not merely going fast but it felt stable and confident through the tight sweeping bends. Even when handled in a rough manner the Spyder always remained composed and never threatened to snap back.

It may lack the edgy feel that thrills but most if not all of its owners will appreciate its user-friendliness even at the extremes of its performance potential. The huge steel brakes had the toughest job of all but they stood up to the repeated abuse rather well.

Notwithstanding, Lamborghini will be introducing Carbon-Composite Brakes in due course to improve braking stamina further not to mention bragging rights.

Although the Gallardo Spyder truly impresses while circulating around the track at breakneck speeds, its considerable power and handling may seem wasted in the city environment but here is where it garners the most attention.

This is where the supercar will reside, in the eyes and minds of all who see it, where the mere glimpse of the Spyder will draw baited breath. Here is where this work of art is shared with all onlookers whether in admiration or envy, reaffirming its status among the league of supercar greats.

FAST FACTS : Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 Spyder
ENGINE
CAPACITY : 5204cc
CYLINDER LAYOUT : V10
VALVES : 40-valves
BORE X STROKE : 84.5 x 92.8mm
COMPRESSION RATIO : 12.5:1
MAXIMUM POWER : 560 bhp at 8000 rpm
MAXIMUM TORQUE : 540 Nm at 6500 rpm

 

TRANSMISSION
TYPE : 6-speed E-Gear robotized manual
DRIVEN WHEELS : AWD, Viscous center diff, front by ABD, rear with 45% locking torsen type

PERFORMANCE
TOP SPEED : 324 km/h
0-100KM/H : 4.0 seconds

SUSPENSION
FRONT : Double Wishbones, Roll bars
REAR : Double Wishbones, Roll bars

BRAKES
FRONT : 365mm Floating-type Discs, 8-pot caliper
REAR : 356mm Floating-type Discs, 4-pot caliper

TYRES
TYPE : Pirelli P-Zero Corsa
SIZE : f: 235/35 ZR 19, r: 295/30 ZR 19

SAFETY
ABS : Yes.
AIRBAGS : Yes, x4
TRACTION CONTROL : Yes, ESP, ASR, ABD

MEASUREMENTS
LENGTH : 4345mm
WIDTH : 1900mm
HEIGHT : 1184mm
WHEELBASE : 2560mm
KERB WEIGHT : 1550-kg
TURNING CIRCLE : 11.5m

Summary
It may have a soft top but soft this Spyder isn't. It has the same suspension settings as the coupe which means equal fun or more if you like air in your hair motoring. The business end, its engine is fiercely potent at any speed and boy the sound it makes takes your breath away. Worthy of cult status. - AL in Miami, USA
Photos: 
photos by Barry Hathaway
On road
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