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A True Dream Machine

Lamborghini's new $255,000 supercar sets the standard for one of the industry's most exotic brands.

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Even for Lamborghini, the 2009 Gallardo LP560-4 is pretty damn flashy. Like its brethren, it has razor-sharp bodywork, gaping air dams and extra-loud color options that make it the couture cousin to the racing-inspired Ferrari. Yet this super sleek $200,000 ride machine may be its greatest auto yet.

Our Test Drive
Any Lamborghini owner knows to pack light. The trunk, actually up front, can barely swallow a gym bag. That may be this car's only shortcoming. Of course, it has impressive performance credentials (such as a top speed of 202 mph), but this Gallardo is also packed with luxurious amenities, and a superposh suedelike material called Alcantara bathes most of the interior. Indeed, the value of the options alone can easily exceed $55k, about the cost of a new BMW M3 sedan.

The fancy frills are meaningless, however, once you experience the purr emanating from the rear dual exhaust pipes. The mid-mounted V10, which produces 560 hp at 8,000 rpm, wails as you bury the needle deeper and deeper into the tach. And it's stupid, crazy fast. As you rapidly negotiate through the quick-shifting transmission, it's easy to forget that 124 mph comes in a couple of heartbeats (about 12 seconds). The Gallardo also comes in a special orange as a $3,390 option called "Arancio Borealis," a reminder that cruising in a Lambo isn't exactly inconspicuous. So if you would like to remain out of handcuffs, don't forget to utilize the optional carbon ceramic brakes (a $15,600 option), which provide 1.3 g's of unbridled stopping power.

The New Gallardo's Upgrades

  • The new 5.2 V10 produces 560 hp at 8,000 rpm, thanks to a new direct injection system and variable valve timing.
  • The power-to-weight ratio is an astonishing 5.5:1, compared with the 500 hp BMW M5, which has a power to weight ratio of 8:1.
  • The aerodynamic efficiency is increased by 31%, helping to reach its top speed of 202 mph.
  • The new E-Gear transmission, a $10,000 option, reduces shifting time by 40%.

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