Lamborghini may be blowing out 50th birthday candles, but you won’t hear it crowing on about another anniversary: that the Gallardo turns ten this year too. That’s a long time in this business, especially when the Ferrari 458/McLaren 12C firefight has left the Gallardo almost completely out of the spotlight of late. The latest facelift won’t alter that, but it is a chance to be reminded of why this remains a great car.
What's new for the 2013 Lamborghini Gallardo?
The changes are re-profiled bumpers front and rear, plus a new set of polished 19-inch alloys, yet it all combines to make this still-fresh design look even more modern. Ten years old? Launched yesterday, more like.
Does the Gallardo still feel as fresh inside?
In a word, no. The laughter lines are more apparent when you climb in the cabin with its out-of-date Audi switchgear and ancient sat-nav that, as a £2295 option, can be considered good value only in the same way as Berlusconi is good value after a few jars. A six-footer’s head will be pushed up towards the roof, your legs are offset to the left and the screen is more deeply raked than the late Richard Briers’ vegetable patch, but good god it feels special to just sit here stuck in your parking space while you fumble around for the reversing button.
What's the 2013 Gallardo like on the road?
It feels unbelievably special to drive, too: the 552bhp V10 has a richly layered, guttural roar, and time hasn’t tempered the savagery with which it fires you down the road. No turbos here, remember, so the throttle response is utterly incisive, every flex of your foot met with an immediate, precision-metered response.
The four-wheel drive system makes the Gallardo’s limits incredibly high on a dry road. Brake deep into a tighter corner and you’ll feel the front tyres starting to slip, while a subsequent push on the throttle will allow the rear a tiny bit of attitude before slingshotting you down the next straight. Safe, yes, but you’ll make a 458 dance at saner speeds, where a dancing Gallardo is a bigger roll of the dice.
The steering is meatier than a Ferrari’s and zings with response, if not feel, and the ride is surprisingly good, especially when you consider how flat this thing corners.
The steel brakes are too mushy, though, the clutchless manual gearbox a mixed bag – rivals have dual-clutch autos. In its most relaxed Auto mode it’s downright dopey, Strada is preferred but lacks the finesse of rivals, while shifts in maximum-attack Corsa are so violent you’d swear the front driveshafts were briefly disconnecting. Combined with the four-wheel drive’s manic quest for traction, it can feel overwhelming.
All things considered, this remains a great supercar, a car that’s aurally and visually thrilling, and can still back it all up with a thoroughly absorbing drive. But when a Ferrari 458 costs just £14k more, this particular bull is destined to end up as horsemeat.