Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder unveiled at LA Auto Show | CAR Magazine

Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder unveiled at LA Auto Show

Published: 19 November 2008 Updated: 26 January 2015

This is the new Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 Spyder, unveiled today in Los Angeles as part of the company’s promise to reveal one new model at every major motor show. Suddenly that Ferrari Scuderia Spider 16M has a homegrown rival, and we’re left wondering if the Scud is really so tempting after all…

So is this new Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder an LP560-4 with a fancy folding roof?

Spot on. And that means it mixes a mouth-watering prospect of a 5.2-litre V10, four-wheel drive and one of the best exhaust notes around – now aided by the removal of the roof.

That 5.2-litre V10 was new to the hard-top LP560-4 – driven by CAR in May 2008 – and now finds work in the Spyder. It produces 552bhp (560 if you measure in PS, hence the name) at 8000rpm and 398lb ft at 6500rpm.

Yet despite the bigger capacity (up from 5.0 litres in the old Gallardo) comprehensive re-engineering, and the fitment of direct injection, means fuel consumption and CO2 emissions are claimed to dip by 18 percent. Apparently that means 20.2mpg if you spec the automated e-gear transmission.

But you don’t care about those figures, do you? What you want to know is that the 1550kg Spyder  (down 20 kilos versus the old car) will reach 62mph in four seconds dead, before rampaging on to a 202mph top speed.

How does the Spyder differ from the hard-top LP560-4?

Penned in Lamborghini’s Centro Stile, the new drop-top has the same Reventon-inspired lines as its hard-top sibling, with daytime LED running lights, a pointy snout and arrowhead rear lights.

But for the Spyder the roof is removed (obviously) and the rear deck raised to accommodate a cubby hole for the fully lined fabric hood. The low nose and high rear thus means the side profile reveals one very wedge-shaped supercar.

Various other tweaks and changes here and there, including a rear diffuser and smooth underbody, are said to make the new LP560-4 Spyder much more aerodynamically efficient than its predecessor, and that means it’s now more refined too.

Talk me through this roof

Available in black, blue, grey and (worryingly) beige, the fabric hood folds away in 20 seconds thanks to one hydraulic pump, six hydraulic cylinders, one electric motor and two electric actuators.

Touch a button on the centre console and that rear screen drops out of the way, before the carbonfibre-composite rear-hinged engine cover flips up to allow the roof to be stowed. Once the hood is tucked away – between you and the V10 – the engine cover locks back into place and the rear screen pops up to act as a wind deflector.

That rear screen can also be dropped down when the roof is tucked away if you want a real wind-in-your hair experience, or lowered when the roof is up so you can stay warm and snug but still listen to that V10 wail.

Anything else?

Ceramic brakes are on the options list, along with sat-nav, a rear-view camera and a height adjuster for the nose to help to negotiate speed bumps – but surely going slow is all the better for posing…

But just in case you drive this Lamborghini like it’s meant to be driven, but somehow get it all wrong, two rollbars hidden in the seats can deploy in just 250 milliseconds in the event of a rollover.

Expect prices to start at over £150k and UK sales to begin in early 2009.

By Ben Pulman

Ex-CAR editor-at-large