After decades of offering only a single model in the U.S. market and elsewhere in the world, Lamborghini added a second sports car for the 2004 model year. The Gallardo costs less than the Murci�lago and is a product of the relationship between Lamborghini and its parent company, Audi AG. Audi itself is a division of Volkswagen.
Built with an aluminum body and space frame, the Gallardo has a V-10 engine and all-wheel drive. Its six-speed gearbox is located behind the midmounted engine.
Though it's a true sports car, the Gallardo is intended for everyday driving as well as racing. The model name is taken from a particular breed of 18th-century fighting bulls.
Vehicle assembly takes place at the Lamborghini plant in Sant'Agata, Italy. Gallardo bodies and engines, however, are shipped from an Audi facility in Neckarsulm, Germany.
Lamborghini sold 1,055 cars in the United States during 2004, and most of these sales were of the less-costly Gallardo. Little has changed for 2005, but a Gallardo Spider with a fabric roof is expected to debut in September 2005 at the Frankfurt Motor Show in Germany.
Unlike the Murci�lago with its scissors-style doors, the Gallardo has conventional front-hinged doors. The body sits low to the ground and has big side scoops, sharp edges and curves. The cab-forward cockpit is integrated into the body, which features a sharply slanted windshield and what Lamborghini calls "tensed pillars." Cooling inlets dominate the front end, and foldaway mirrors slant forward.
The Gallardo's styling is based on a proposal from Italdesign-Giugiaro that was developed by Lamborghini's styling center. According to the company, the coupe "integrates the Lamborghini design attributes of purism, athleticism and sharpness."
Built with a relatively long, 100.8-inch wheelbase, the Gallardo is 169.3 inches long overall. Its height is just 45.9 inches. An electronically controlled spoiler is fitted at the rear.
The fully independent suspension uses double wishbones in front and at the rear. Two front-mounted radiators and a side-mounted oil cooler are installed.
Weight distribution is 42 percent in the front and 58 percent at the rear, which Lamborghini says is optimal for traction, braking and handling. Pirelli PZero tires are mounted on 19-inch wheels. Brembo brakes have eight-piston front calipers and four-piston rear calipers.
Two occupants fit inside the Gallardo. Electrically folding outside mirrors and an anti-blinding inside mirror are standard.
Under the Hood
Gallardos get a 90-degree, 5.0-liter V-10 with four valves per cylinder, which produces 493 horsepower at a lofty 7,800 rpm. A drive-by-wire throttle is used. The six-speed gearbox can operate with "E-gear" robotized sequential shifting. According to Lamborghini, the Gallardo can accelerate from zero to 62 mph in 4.2 seconds. The all-wheel-drive system normally operates with 30 percent of output at the front and 70 percent at the rear, but it adjusts the proportion as needed.
Antilock brakes incorporate electronic brake-force distribution. Side-impact head and thorax airbags and dual-stage front airbags are installed. An electronic stability system is standard.