Exterior Design ***
The Gallardo is bedeviled by its details: a snout that drops a hair too precipitously, oversized air intakes and headlight openings, etc. Taken as a whole, the Gallardo looks a bit like a mid-80's Countach with all the addenda removed (rear wings, side skirts, haunch-mounted air intakes, federalized bumpers), that's been squeeshed from both ends. In short, it's dramatic and modern, and about as sexy as a Danish furniture.
Any car that can accelerate from zero to sixty in four seconds without once threatening to paint the tarmac with rubber gets the Jalopnik Holy Shit seal of approval. A vehicle that tops out at 195mph qualifies for the autobahn association's Sturm und Drang sweepstakes. But the Gallardo's lack of bottom end grunt— a situation familiar to drivers of BMW's V10-powered M5— obviates the much-loved ambling into thrusting process.
The Gallardo's lack of braking prowess is a major blot on the supercar's playbook. The first inch or so of left pedal travel yields... nothing. After that, the binders are numb but effective— until they aren't. Do you want brake fade in a $190k supercar? You do not.
The Gallardo offers reverse Bond ride quality (stirred but not shaken). Result.
Porsche Turbo aside (as if), the Gallardo is the safest yet most capable supercar a Halliburton stuffed with unmarked Benjamins can buy. The final astral accolade is denied because the press car's e-gear couldn't be activated mid-corner without upsetting Lamborghini's entry level applecart. Aggressive drivers in search of a tail out attitude who switch off the Gallardo's ESP traction control and e-paddle down a cog or two will only do so once.
Before Audi/VW's sublime DSG hit the streets, we would have pronounced the Gallardo's e-gear the worst of all the paddle shifters— except for all the rest. Gallardo drivers now face knowing smirks from less financially fortunate pistonheads— which is not something you want at this or any other price point. Add in the fact that the baby bull's paddles are fixed, and, well, we would have stopped Gallardo e-gear production until a DSG could've been fitted. (Yet another reason why no one lets us manage a car company.)
Extra star power for the backup camera, null points for the grating quality of the stereo, the fact that replacing the Audi head unit with a proper stereo would be more complicated that a lung transplant, and the lack of an iPod holster.
The Gallardo is a toy.
The Gallardo's miniscule front compartment renders it useless for weekend jauntage. Still, it's one of the world's fastest briefcases.
[by Robert Farago]