2009 Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4: Fiend vs. Fiend

2009 Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4: Fiend vs. Fiend

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Lieberman: All too often reviews of supercars are little more than a numbers game. Engine capacity (5.2-liters)? Cylinders (10)? Horsepower (552)? Weight (3,307 pounds)? Weight distribution (42/58 front/rear)? Torque (398 lb-ft)? Zero to sixty (3.6 seconds though some say 3.4)? Quarter-mile (11.4 seconds at 126.9 mph)? Top Speed (202 mph)? Standing Mile? 0-100? MPG (about 17 mpg)? CO2? Turning radius? And so on. And what you’re supposed to do is figure all these out, add ‘em all up and then you know how good the car is. According to this method, the Dodge Viper ACR is the very greatest vehicle ever made. Which it simply isn’t. And compared to the Audi R8 — which the Viper wups in every numerical category — the Viper is a rusty pipe wrench. I mention this because as numerically competent as the new Gallardo LP560-4 is, you have to hear it, feel it and smell it to understand it. Quantifiable metrics take a back seat to emotion. After all, this is a Lamborghini.

Levy: True, all of the above. If I really took a cold hard look at how to spend a quarter million on some wheels — because that’s what this Gallardo is going to cost with a couple of ticks on the option list — then there are a multitude of choices. My first thought was to similarly merge German Sturm und Drang with Italian Dolce Vita style and pick an Audi R8 and a Maserati Grand Turismo. Or maybe, though less so, a Nissan GTR for similar performance, a BMW M5 for daily use, and a full boat track model Lotus Exige for fun days. The combinations are endless, but that all went out the window the first time we blew through a tunnel redline to redline, from second to third gear, with 5.2 liters of V10 screaming like Lucifer’s own brass band eighteen inches behind me. Jonny and I exploded into giggles like a couple of schoolboys who’d just blown up the bicycle shed with five gallons of gas. The numbers mean nothing! Lamborghinis, especially this one, provoke a physical and emotional response deep in the reptilian brain. How do you price that?

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Lieberman: That’s the kooky thing — you don’t. Honestly, cars like this have odd effects on a mere pleb like me. All my usual auto-journo instincts have gone on vacation. I don’t care how it looks. I don’t care about the interior. All that matters is the feeling I get behind the wheel. And oddly, that’s probably the LP560-4′s biggest selling point. I mean honestly, spending $222,000 on a car is grotesque. Yet my usual red-diaper tendencies took a hike every time I squeezed off another gear. Yes I said squeezed. In a rare occurrence I’m agreeing with Levy that paddle shifters make this car better — though the full auto mode is pretty poor. The whole experience is just so right on. Physically, acoustically — the car even smells great. How can you beat a whiff of hot carbon, hotter clutch and leather? Oh man — do you even want to get into the carbon ceramic brakes?

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Driven

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