After decades of offering only a single model, Lamborghini added a second sports car for the 2004 model year. Priced lower than the Murci�lago, the Gallardo was 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. Engine output has risen from 493 horsepower to 520 hp for 2006, and the gearbox gets lower ratios.
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.
A Gallardo Spyder convertible with a fabric roof debuted in September 2005 at the Frankfurt Motor Show in Germany. The roof stows in the Gallardo's engine compartment. Also at Frankfurt, Lamborghini showed the Gallardo SE, which features a two-tone paint scheme, a more sporty interior, a sport suspension and a rearview camera. Only 250 will be built.
Unlike the Murci�lago's 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.
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.
Recalibrated for 2006, the fully independent suspension uses double wishbones at each corner. 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. A new multimedia system includes a CD changer.
Under the Hood
Gallardos are powered by a 90-degree, 5.0-liter V-10 that has four valves per cylinder. The V-10 generates 520 hp and 376 pounds-feet of torque. The six-speed gearbox can operate with "E-gear" robotized sequential shifting. According to Lamborghini, the coupe can accelerate from zero to 62 mph in 4 seconds. The all-wheel-drive system normally operates with 30 percent of output at the front and 70 percent at the rear, but it can adjust the distribution as needed.
Antilock brakes incorporate electronic brake-force distribution, and side-impact airbags are installed. An electronic stability system is standard.